Monday, August 15, 2011

Irresistible God? A Considerate Search into Calvinism, Part 7 of 7

Two passages of contention:

#1: Acts 13:48, a pro for Calvinism.
The portion of the verse that seems to strongly support Calvinism is, “And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” The KJV uses the word “ordained” in place of “appointed.” The Greek word for “ordained” is “tasso” and can mean either “appointed, determined, or disposed (to a certain position or lot).” In the sense of the latter two uses of the word the verse’s context would entirely alter, and read as such it would suggest that those who were disposed to eternal life believed the gospel. There is another Greek word rendered as “appointed” in Acts 17:26; the word being “protasso.” It literally means “to pre-arrange or appoint before.” Surely, had Luke intended to clarify this verse in Acts to teach predestination as Calvinism explains it this would have been the word of choice.

#2: 2nd Peter 2:1, a con for Calvinism.
The portion of the verse we are most interested in states: “there will be false teachers among you…even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.” Compare this passage with Jude’s letter. He describes the same men Peter does, and says of them that they are, “sensual persons…not having the Spirit,” Jude 1:19. So these false teachers who had been purchased by Christ will still be eternally destroyed, according to Peter and Jude. This verse only makes sense if Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross paid for the sin of all men, whether they choose to believe in Him or not. Their destruction resulted from the singular fact that they chose not to accept Christ’s payment for their sins.

For your interest, here are the five points of Calvinism again simply explained in order of its acronym, TULIP.

1. Total Depravity: that man, because he is spiritually dead to God in trespasses and sins, is incapable of responding to the gospel, though able to make other moral choices.


2. Unconditional Election: that God decides on no basis whatever but by the mystery of His will to save some (the elect) and to allow all others to go to Hell even though He could save them all if He wished to.


3. Limited Atonement: the elect are the only ones for whom Christ died in payment for the penalty for their sins and that His death is efficacious for no one else.


4. Irresistible Grace: that God is able to cause whomever He will to respond to the gospel; without this enabling no one could respond, and that He only provides this Irresistible Grace to the elect while damning the rest.


5. Perseverance of the Saints: God will not permit any of the elect to lose their salvation which He has freely given to them.

Here are a smattering of verses that speak about God’s salvation, and the extent to which this salvation reaches. Read each one prayerfully and consider, against the teachings of Calvinism, if Total Depravity, Unlimited Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints (TULIP) are Biblically accurate doctrines.

1. “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature,” Mark 16:15.


2. “Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people,” Luke 2:10.


3. “That repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations,” Luke 24:47.


4. “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29.


5. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but the world through Him might be saved,” John 3:16-17.


6. Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world,” John 4:42.


7. “For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world,” John 6:33.


8. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world,” John 6:51.


9. “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life,” John 8:12.


10. “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent,” Acts 17:30.


11. “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life,” Romans 5:18.


12. “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came in to the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief,” 1st Timothy 1:15.


13. “For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all,” Romans 11:32.


14. “[God] desires all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth,” 1st Timothy 2:4.


15. “[Christ] gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time,” 1st Timothy 2:6.


16. “For to this end we labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe,” 1st Timothy 4:10.


17. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,” Titus 2:11.


18. “But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared,” Titus 3:4


19. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone,” Hebrews 2:9.


20. “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance,” 2nd Peter 3:9.


21. “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world,” 1st John 2:2.


22. “And we have seen and testify that the Father sent the Son as Savior of the world,” 1st John 4:14.


23. “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” and let him who hears say, “Come!” and let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely,” Revelation 22:17.

I will not judge John Calvin’s intentions. But I am commanded to test the spirits (1st John 4:1), practice discernment (Hebrews 5:14), and look for spiritual fruit (Matthew 7:16-18; Galatians 5:22-23). I see God’s love, mercy and grace impugned. I see this done in an effort to glorify God’s sovereignty, which is commendable. Yet strict Calvinism is divergent and radical enough to manifest as an entirely different gospel upon closer inspection. Is God sincere in His pleadings with fallen man throughout the ages? Or is He working out a greater purpose that involves the destruction of many souls to the pleasure of His will? If the latter, then God lied to us so many times in His pleadings that we cannot trust Him any longer, because those pleadings were not only in vain but insincere mockery, since God already foreordained those listening to be given spiritual life or suffer eternal death. My eyes have been opened to the reality of Calvin’s teachings and I cannot agree with them, because the Bible does not agree with them. John Calvin was one man, and he created a system of doctrine that has distorted the real God the Bible. Be wary brethren that we are learning from Christ, not men who stray into doctrinal aberrations.

1 comment:

  1. Jesus stated by their fruits ye shall know them. I John 4:8 states, "He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love." The lack of love many Calvinists display is a clear indication of their lack of spiritual power. Another evidence is the number of Christians who are turned away from the church as a result of the argument.

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