Calvinism Debunked

Introduction

Within Christianity there are generally two schools of thought concerning salvation: Arminianism and Calvinism. There are of course variations of the two but all are general categorized under one of these two headings. I, being a Pentecostal, adhere to what I call Pentecostal Arminianism. As such I will be Debunking Calvinism point by point in the following sections.

Defining Terms

  1. Arminianism is defined as a belief that men are predestinated by foreknowledge, that Grace is Prevenient, and that men basically choose God of their own accord. There are generally three types of Arminianism: Classical, Wesleyan, and Pentecostal.
  2. Calvinism is the idea that everyone is eternally predestinated to go to heaven or hell and they have no choice. Variations range from One Point to Five Point Calvinism.
  3. Classical Arminianism is At in as taught by Jacobus Arminius. Classical Arminians believe that one is born a sinner and thus needs God’s Prevenient Grace to come to God. Classical Arminians don’t make an issue of things like infant baptism claiming that “they can’t be sure”.
  4. Wesleyan Arminians are basically Classical Arminians except that they believe in Infant Baptism.
  5. Pentecostal Arminians believe in a sinful nature but not that we are born sinners. We also believe in Individual Prevenient Grace by the preaching of the word and reject Infant Baptism.

The T.U.L.I.P

Before we debunk Calvinism let’s list its core beliefs known as the T.U.L.I.P and what each part says:

First off what is the TULIP? The TULIP is an acronym that represents the Calvinist doctrine of Predestination. Below are the five points of the TULIP and what they mean:

Total Depravity

Total depravity is the doctrine that man was so damaged by sin that he has no free will or at the very least his free will is insufficient to desire good and therefore he is totally incapable to come to God of his own accord.

Unconditional Election

Unconditional election is the doctrine that because man is totally depraved that God then elects people based entirely off of his own arbitrary decision. In other words it is no longer about faith but rather God simply makes somebody saved whether they want to be or not. This is their claim of double predestination. Basically God chooses who goes to heaven and who goes to hell just on a whim.

Limited Atonement

This is the idea that Jesus’ sacrifice only paid for the elect. That is that even though theoretically Jesus could have paid for everybody’s sins it only paid for the sins of the elect or those whom God arbitrarily chose for no reason whatsoever.

Irresistible Grace

Irresistible grace means that God calls people to be saved and they have no power to resist God’s call. This is where Calvinists try to claim that they do believe in salvation by faith just like everyone else. It goes something like this: God when he calls people imparts to them faith. This faith is saving faith and immediately takes root and forces that person to believe regardless of what they otherwise would have done. In other words faith isn’t something that we respond to God with as a matter of choice but rather something that drags us to God kicking and screaming all the way like angry children who don’t want to go to the dentist and are only doing so because mommy and daddy are making them do so.

Perseverance of the Saints

This doctrine states that because Grace is irresistible and we can’t help but believe that as a result we can never cease to be saved. Basically there is nothing that we can do to back slide and burn in hell. This view is also known as once saved always saved.

 

Having listed the individual parts of the Calvin doctrine of Predestination known as the TULIP let us examine whether or not each part biblically viable.

Debunking The T.U.L.I.P

Total Depravity:

Is the TULIP Biblical? No. Though there are some good biblical based points here most of this doctrine is false junk. We are fixing to see why.

Total Depravity

Total depravity is the doctrine that man was so damaged by sin that he has no free will or at the very least his free will is insufficient to desire good and therefore he is totally incapable to come to God of his own accord.

This part of the TULIP is actually scriptural. It is true that man is in and of himself incapable of desiring good let alone coming to God(see Psa. 14:1-3). The Bible also says that mankind is a slave to sin(see Rom. 6:20). Thus because this is the case man does not seek after God(see Rom. 3:10-12). So to recap mankind is totally depraved because he has no desire to do good or seek God, man is a slave to sin, and as a result no man or woman actively seeks after God.

Unconditional Election

Unconditional election is the doctrine that because man is totally depraved that God then elects people based entirely off of his own arbitrary decision. In other words it is no longer about faith but rather God simply makes somebody saved whether they want to be or not. This is their claim of double predestination. Basically God chooses who goes to heaven and who goes to hell just on a whim.

This is where our beliefs diverge. The Bible totally contradicts unconditional election. The Bible is clear that election is conditional(see Mark 16:16). As a matter of fact man cannot be saved unless he is born of the water and of spirit(see Jhn. 3:5). Thus without faith and baptism no man or woman shall enter the kingdom of God. The Bible says that “the just shall live by faith”(see Heb. 10:38). The same scripture also says that “if any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him”. Thus those who are saved are saved because they are justified(see Rom. 8:29-30). You see everything listed in those two scriptures refers to the same people. The “elect”. So if all of that refers to the elect then those who are saved are automatically justified. So if the “just shall live by faith” then it is faith that justifies you and if it is faith that justifies you then it is faith that also saves you. So if that is the case then why would scripture make the statement “that if any man draws back my soul shall have no pleasure in him”? Unless the elect could back slide and faith is a response to God rather than something that is imparted. As a matter of fact let me deal with Romans 8:29-30 directly. It says, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Let’s take it from the top. “For whom he did foreknow” well that is a dead giveaway right there. God foreknows everybody. He is, after all, by definition all knowing(see Job 37:16;Job 28:24; Psa. 147:5; I Sam. 2:3; Isa. 55:9; I Jhn. 3:19-20; Heb. 4:13; Isa. 46:9). Thus this means that he foreknew everybody even those whom he didn’t predestine. He simply predestined those who he knew would respond to the Gospel by faith. The next part reads “he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren”. So those he foreknew or in other words those that he knew ahead of time which he knew would respond in faith he predestined that they would be saved. How did he do that? God sends ministers into people’s lives to lead them to the cross. In other words God said that you and me would here the gospel on such and such date from such and such person and that is what happened. Why did he do this? So that we would be conformed to the image of Jesus so that Jesus would be the first born of many brethren. Now for the next part. It reads “Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called”. What did he call them to do? He called them to spread the gospel(see Mark 16:15). Why? So that they could minister to the lost souls that were predestined for salvation. Next it says “and whom he called them he also justified”. So he justified those whom he called. And he only called those whom he predestined. And he only predestined those whom he knew would respond in faith.  And those whom he knew would respond in faith constitute the “elect”. So justification applies to all those who are saved. Not just some special group that is saved. But every man, woman, and child to receive salvation is justified. Next it says “and whom he justified, them he also glorified”. Why? Why did he glorify us? Because the more glory we receive the more glory he receives because it is not us but him who works in us. Thus the foreknown are the predestined, the predestined are the called, the called are the justified, the justified are the glorified, and the glorified are the redeemed. Thus it is not double predestination or even predestination at all in the way that Calvinists mean predestination but rather it is predestination by foreknowledge and it is based on a quality in mankind.

Limited Atonement

This is the idea that Jesus’ sacrifice only paid for the elect. That is that even though theoretically Jesus could have paid for everybody’s sins it only paid for the sins of the elect or those whom God arbitrarily chose for no reason whatsoever.

Once again this is false. Jesus’ sacrifice paid for everyone’s sins. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world(everyone) not that God so loved the elect(those who are saved). The Bible also says that while we were yet sinners he died for us(see Rom. 5:8). In other words Jesus didn’t just die for the elect but rather for “sinners” or “the world”. The world is everyone on planet earth at any given time. In other words “the world” constitutes the people on this planet. Aren’t all people “sinners”? Yes. Then Jesus just did die for everyone.

Irresistible Grace

Irresistible grace means that God calls people to be saved and they have no power to resist God’s call. This is where Calvinists try to claim that they do believe in salvation by faith just like everyone else. It goes something like this: God when he calls people imparts to them faith. This faith is saving faith and immediately takes root and forces that person to believe regardless of what they otherwise would have done. In other words faith isn’t something that we respond to God with as a matter of choice but rather something that drags us to God kicking and screaming all the way like angry children who don’t want to go to the dentist and are only doing so because mommy and daddy are making them do so.

Again another false statement in the TULIP. So far the only thing that they have gotten right is that mankind is totally depraved and that God predestines people. Aside from that they have struck out on everything else, including what predestination actually means, and are thus in bad shape. Irresistible Grace says that God basically just forces people to be saved by imparting saving faith to them and that saving faith drags them to God. There is a basic problem with this argument and it is found in Romans 10: 17 which says “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Now if Irresistible Grace is true then according to this scripture everyone who merely heard the word of God would instantly be saved. Why? Because Calvinists preach that God imparts faith and according to this faith is imparted by hearing the word of God if we are to interpret it to be consistent with the TULIP that is. In other words in order for Irresistible Grace to be true then this scripture must be interpreted in a way that is consistent with Irresistible Grace and the only way to do that is to say that God’s means of imparting faith is by hearing the word of God or the Bible or gospel preached which would lead to an understanding of this doctrine that would mean that almost everyone in America and most of the west today is saved. If that is the case then there is really not much need for a church anymore in America and the west and I don’t know why Calvinist organizations such as the Presbyterian church and the Reformed church even bother with America and the west. There is no reason to at this point. Their work would be best suited elsewhere. They should stop worrying about us because we have all heard the Gospel already so we are already saved and according to them you can’t lose your salvation so they might as well pack up and go home. But such an idea is ridiculous anyway. This scripture doesn’t mean that God imparts faith through people hearing the word of God or the gospel but rather that God imparts Grace to people so that they may respond in faith if they so choose. The Bible always describes Faith as a responsive virtue rather than an imparted or a passive one. Thus Faith is the response to Grace rather than the product of Grace. And yes everyone who hears the gospel receives Grace. They may not all respond in faith because they may not all be the “elect” or in other words those “whom God foreknew” but they may have simply been there when the lost who were “elect” were being preached to. So yes they received God’s preveneint Grace but they will never respond in faith because they are not the “elect”. But yes Jesus’ sacrifice is still there for them if they choose it they just won’t.

Perseverance of the Saints

This doctrine states that because Grace is irresistible and we can’t help but believe that as a result we can never cease to be saved. Basically there is nothing that we can do to back slide and burn in hell. This view is also known as once saved always saved.

Again they are wrong and we are going to examine why. First off Grace isn’t irresistible but preveneint as I have already demonstrated. In other words it is Grace that is imparted not faith. Secondly while it is true that Christ said that those who the Father had given him no man could pluck from his Father’s hands(see Jhn. 10:29). And whereas it is true that Paul gave a list of things and said nothing could separate him from God(see Rom. 8:38-39). Yet Jesus also said that those who endure to the end shall be saved(see Matt. 24:13). Now why would we have to endure to the end to be saved if we couldn’t lose our salvation? Did Jesus make a meaningless or unnecessary statement? Or is it just possible that he said this because our salvation isn’t secure until and unless we make it all the way through life to death or through life to the rapture, whichever comes first, in a repentant state? I believe that the latter is more probable than the former. I John 1:9 states “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Now this statement was made about believers. Why does a believer need to repent if he can’t lose his salvation? Wouldn’t such a thing constitute vain repetitions for the believer already had to repent once to be saved(see Matt 6:7; Acts 2:38)? After all vain simply means pointless or meaningless when used in this context. So to repent a second time of any sins after having repented once to receive salvation to begin with constitutes vain repetition if you can’t lose your salvation. Remember that we are supposed to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling(see Phil. 2:12). Thus this isn’t a case that those who are saved will endure to the end but rather that if they endure to the end they shall be saved. They are saved now but they may lose their salvation if they depart from the faith. Titus refers to people who make foolish contentions against biblical doctrine heretics if they do not recant after the first and second admonition and suggests that they are condemned(see Titus 3:9-10). Can a man who is saved be condemned? No. A man who is truly saved is beyond condemnation. So if a man is condemned then he is no longer saved. Also if a person isn’t saved to begin with then they can’t be a heretic. That would be like charging a Chinese citizen with treason against the United States. A Chinese citizen can’t commit treason against the U.S because he was never bound to U.S law by citizenship or sworn oath to begin with. Therefore to charge him with treason would be ludicrous. How much more then would it be ludicrous to charge somebody who never was saved with heresy seeing as how they never were bound to biblical doctrine to begin with? Therefore all heretics are believers who through foolish contentions against the Bible have departed from the faith. Therefore they are not saved. Let me ask you this. Is a man who was born again and then departs to worship Allah saved? No! Can somebody who is born again practice witch craft and be saved! Absolutely not! Can somebody who is redeemed commit blaspheme of the Holy Ghost, which is the only unpardonable sin, and make it to heaven? Heaven forbid! If those suggestions would be abhorrent to you as they are to me then you already know that once saved always saved is a false doctrine. But for those of you who are unsure don’t forget the parable of the seeds(see Matt. 13:1-23). This parable more than anything else in the Bible should convince you that salvation can be lost.

Last Objections

  1. God desires that none should perish(II Pet. 3:9). Thus any honest Calvinist would have to be a Universalist. Why? Because they believe that God’s will is absolute. If God’s will were absolute two things are true: a)Everything that happens is God’s will. b)This verse of scriptures is a lie since the Bible makes it clear in multiple places that many will go to hell.
  2. Predestination in the way Calvinists mean it makes God an iron clad dictator who sends people to hell on a whim. If he doesn’t save them for any reason except “he wants to” then he doesn’t send people to hell for any reason except “he wants to”. Which leads to the next point.
  3. Calvinism is Salvation by Sovereign Decree and Divine whim not Grace or Faith. Grace and Faith have reason and choice. Cosmic lottery does not. Salvation is not a cosmic lottery. God doesn’t choose based off of a whim. If he did he’s a double monster: firstly for asking Christ to die for no reason(since he could’ve saved us anyway); and secondly by sending people to hell for no reason(spilling innocent blood is against God’s law).

My Doctrine

Firstly let me start by saying it’s getting late and I’m tired so don’t expect a lot of scripture (or any). Secondly note that I do have scripture to back these up and I will submit a list with scripture later.

Fallen Nature

Due to Adam and Eve’s Sin mankind has a fallen sinful nature. However man isn’t born a sinner. Rather sin takes hold when a person commits their first sin. Thus infants are born innocent. Also men’s hearts aren’t totally corrupt and as such mankind is capable of Good and Evil equally.

Election Conditioned upon Faith

The Elect are those who respond in Faith. Christ died for everyone but only those who respond in Faith will be saved.

Universal Atonement

Christ died for everyone and as such the offer of salvation is open to everyone. Anyone can be saved if they believe and obey God’s word.

Prevenient Grace

God’s Grace is imparted to everyone who hears the gospel so that they can freely choose God or Sin.

The Ability to Lose Salvation

A person may knowingly and willingly choose to sin. If they do so they must repent. Even saints aren’t exempt from the result of sin. However if they repent God will restore them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s