Notes on Calvin and Calvinism: Was John Calvin Really a Calvinist?

A Possible Sheep in Wolves’ Clothes or a Hard-core Calvinist Through and Through?—Notes on Calvin and Calvinism: Was John Calvin Really a Calvinist?
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Calvin or not

Sources:

Dr. Phil Stringer, “Was John Calvin a Calvinist?” Grace Leadership Conference, 2011, Quentin Road Bible Baptist Church, Lake Zurich, IL.

Kent Kelly, “Inside the Tulip,” Southern Pines, NC, 1986.

Calvin’s Commentaries and Calvin’s “Institutes.”

Introduction:

In recent years, there has been a growing trend in Christianity for people to claim that John Calvin, the founder of modern Calvinism, did not really believe or teach what is being taught by Calvinists today. Many want to hold Calvin up as some sort of an iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation while, at the same time, they wish to distance themselves from the radical unbiblical teachings attributed to Calvin. They claim that the Five Points of Calvinism, known by the acronym “TULIP,” were actually invented by the Synod of Dort, over fifty years after Calvin’s death, having little or nothing to do with what Calvin actually taught. Some even want to go so far as to claim that Calvin really taught a Free Grace gospel. Startling!

Who are these people, mentioned above?

1. “New” Calvinists. This group generally holds to the modern five points of Calvinism but stands against “double predestination,” sometimes referred to as, “hypercalvinism,” the teaching that God predestined some for heaven and some for hell (neither can do anything to change that fate). They claim that Calvin did not teach double predestination.
2. “Moderate” Calvinists. They hold to only one to four of the five points of Calvinism. Most from this category would object to “limited atonement,” (the “L” of TULIP) the Calvinist false, unbiblical teaching that Christ died only for the elect. Some “moderate” Calvinists also deny that their concept of Calvinism teaches Lordship “Salvation.” Some also deny that Calvin taught Lordship “Salvation.”
3. Free Grace believers. Now, this is astonishing! But, yes, there are actually some who hold to the Free Grace Gospel of the Bible who think that John Calvin was, in reality, a Free Grace theologian! “He has just gotten a bad rap,” they say. How naïve is this! I submit that those who make this claim have read only short isolated clips of what Calvin wrote. Folks such as this love to answer Calvinists by saying, “Well, even Calvin himself didn’t believe what you teach.” Frankly, it is an impossible stretch to demonstrate that Calvin taught Free Grace theology. His standard pattern of writing throughout his commentaries is, when confronted with a Bible text that unmistakably declares that Christ died for the sins of ALL the world and, further, when the Bible explains the Gospel message of God’s Free Grace salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, Calvin initially states what the text says plainly (Free Grace); HOWEVER, he quickly filters the text through his preconceived skewed theological construct, restating, contradicting and denying what the text of the Bible clearly declares. This theological filter appears to have originated from his background of being a Roman Catholic Priest and, for a time, a humanist. He also held the teachings of Augustine in the highest regard.

Was Calvin simply a moderate or limited Calvinist, a Free Grace Gospel teacher who has been misquoted, or, in reality, a strong Calvinist or Hyper-Calvinist? Let’s look at some quotations from Calvin and see what he really said.

From Calvin’s Commentaries
1. John 6:33 KJV: “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” Calvin’s response: “This passage teaches that the whole world is dead to God, except so far as Christ quickens it, because life will be found nowhere else than in him.” NOTE: Calvin’s comment here affirms four of the five points of Calvinism (T, U, L, I) and denies that God gave his Son to the whole world (while God’s gift of salvation through belief in his Son is offered to the whole world, sadly, many will reject his gift—Matt. 23:37).
2. John 3:16 KJV: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Calvin’s response: Calvin begins by acknowledging the clear meaning of the verse, but then quickly reverses his position: Calvin: “Let us remember, on the other hand, that while life is promised universally to all who believe in Christ, still faith is not common to all. For Christ is made known and held out to the view of all, but the elect alone are they whose eyes God opens, that they may seek him by faith.” Additionally, Calvin said, “We must not assume that ‘the world’ means every single individual human being, ‘world’ refers to those who have the capacity and ability to believe.” NOTE: Calvin affirms in this statement, unconditional election, limited atonement and irresistible grace (U, L and I of the Calvinist acronym TULIP). Dr. Phil Stringer relates further that Calvin repeatedly says throughout his Commentaries that “all,” or, “the world” mean, to him, all kinds of human beings, some out of each class or race of people, or ranks of life, not every human being. Calvin, thereby, attempts to dodge the clear straightforward meaning of “all” or “all the world,” in Scripture, as meaning EVERYONE. As Dr. Stringer put it so aptly, “Even a child can understand that all means ALL.”
3. Matthew 23:37 KJV: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Calvin’s response: “Again, when the sophists seize on this passage, to prove free will, and to set aside the secret predestination of God, the answer is easy. God wills to gather all men, say they; and therefore all are at liberty to come, and their will does not depend on the election of God. I reply: The will of God, which is here mentioned, must be judged from the result. For since by his word he calls all men indiscriminately to salvation, and since the end of preaching is, that all should betake themselves to his guardianship and protection, it may justly be said that he wills to gather all to himself. It is not, therefore, the secret purpose of God, but his will, which is manifested by the nature of the word, that is here described; for, undoubtedly, whomsoever he efficaciously wills to gather, he inwardly draws by his Spirit, and does not merely invite by the outward voice of man.” NOTE: Calvin holds to the classic Calvinist denial of free will while affirming the Calvinist U, L and I.
4. 2 Peter 3:9 KJV: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” Calvin’s response: once again, Calvin makes an initial affirmation of what the verse plainly states, but he quickly denies his affirmation with the following statement, “But it may be asked, If God wishes none to perish, why is it that so many do perish? To this my answer is, that no mention is here made of the hidden purpose of God, according to which the reprobate are doomed to their own ruin, but only of his will as made known to us in the gospel. For God there stretches forth his hand without a difference to all, but lays hold only of those, to lead them to himself, whom he has chosen before the foundation of the world.” Comment: Calvin clearly twists the clear meaning of the text, pushing his notion of limited atonement.
5. 1 John 2:2 KJV: “And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” Calvin’s response: “Here a question may be raised, how have the sins of the whole world been expiated? I pass by the dotages of the fanatics, who under this pretense extend salvation to all the reprobate, and therefore to Satan himself. Such a monstrous thing deserves no refutation. . . . It seems to me that the Apostle is to be understood as speaking only of all those who believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, over the whole world. Then under the word all or whole, he does not include the reprobate, but designates those who should believe as well as those who were then scattered through various parts of the world.” Once again, Calvin denies the simple straightforward message of 1 John 2:2, while pushing his own theological platform of limited atonement.
6. James 2:17 KJV: “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” Calvin remarks, “He [James] says that faith is dead, being by itself, that is, when destitute of good works. We hence conclude that it is indeed no faith, for when dead, it does not properly retain the name.” James 2:18 KJV: “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works; shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.” Calvin’s response: “Shew me by works thy faith; for since it is not an idle thing, it must necessarily be proved by works. The meaning then is, Unless thy faith brings forth fruits, I deny that thou hast any faith. This verse is a key to the meaning of James: faith is to be proved by works; then faith properly justifies and saves, and works prove its genuineness.” COMMENT: Calvin makes the standard error of Lordship “Salvation” teachers in misinterpreting James. James’ epistle clearly speaks to believers about the quality of their faith, NOT the reality of faith. Calvin unmistakably declares the Calvinist teaching of perseverance, the “P” of the Calvinist TULIP. Calvinist perseverance is nothing other than the false teaching of Lordship “Salvation.” For a detailed look at this subject, see Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s outstanding book, “Secure Forever! God’s Promise or Our Perseverance,” St. Cloud, MN: Xulon Press, 2008 (see the link on the right column of Expreacherman.com).
7. Finally, if there were any doubt left in anyone’s mind about where Calvin stood on what is known today as, “Calvinism,” look at this main title in Calvin’s “Institutes” section dealing with the subject of predestination. The title itself leaves no doubt on Calvin’s position: “Of the Eternal Election by Which God has Predestined Some to Salvation and Others Predestination in Hell.” This title and statement of his position, declares Calvin to be, not only a Calvinist, but a HYPERCALVINIST!

52 responses to “Notes on Calvin and Calvinism: Was John Calvin Really a Calvinist?

  1. paulspassingthoughts

    Good article, but again, the crux of the issue is that Calvin taught the false gospel of progressive justification.

  2. Good article. It is very easy to see the catholic roots of the so-called “reformers”.

  3. Kenneth Groenewald

    In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 2 Cor4:4. The Calvinists would have us believe that it is God who blinds the minds of the unbelievers and not Satan. The Calvinists have created an Ogre for their God who blinds the minds of the unbelievers so that He prevents them from ever being saved. Sick.

    Kenneth.

  4. Expected Imminently

    Thank you Bruce, this is answering a question I didn’t know I had until very recently ! :)

  5. Calvinism is really inside out Catholicism…I was raised Catholic.
    As a Catholic it is always “Have I said enough Hail Mary’s, did I go to confession? Did I miss mass…I, I, I, I, Did I do enough good to cover such and such a sin….I,I, I, I,….Never Christ! ..In Calvinism it is pulling apart that trust in Christ alone to save. Did I REALLY beleive? Is there enough works to prove my faith? Was my faith REAL? It’s looking to me. WRONG.
    We are to rest in the perfect sacrifice Christ made FOR US. I accept the payment he made for me.
    What do Calvinism and Catholicism have in common? Besides, lack of truth…Lack of assurance!
    On a side note,Dr Stringer is another wonderful Grace teacher.

  6. Welcome paulspassingthoughts!

    Thanks for putting things powerfully and succinctly!

    Come back again soon.

  7. Hi Abe,

    Thanks for your astute comment. Yes, we see clearly the Roman Catholic roots in Calvin’s writings. And, for so-called good measure, he throws in a bit of humanistic philosophy into the mix.

    .

  8. Hi Kenneth,

    Great to hear from you again!

    Thank you for your comment. Yes, it is indeed sad how people’s minds get blinded by Satan through this perverted “gospel” of Calvinism. The gospel message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31) is so straightforward, so easy to understand, so clear. Why do so many people want to muddy it up?

  9. Thanks Sue!

    Always great to read your comments!

  10. Hello again iiagrace!

    Thank you for giving us those strong insights from a former RCC insider.

    I praise God that He delivered you from a “gospel” of works through the gospel of grace.

    You are so right about Calvinism and Catholicism being assurance destroyers. LS is another one!

    Re. Dr. Stringer, yes, I agree that he is a wonderful Grace teacher. His message at the 2011 Grace Conference was very powerful and memorable.

  11. Bruce,

    Thanks for that exhaustive and comprehensive understanding of the real “inside” of John Calvin and his teachings.

    I pray it will be read and comprehended by many of my Calvinist friends.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  12. Progressive justification is obviously bunk, but why is it the “crux of the issue”?

    For me, I can’t get past the teachings which insist that God predestinates some for heaven and most for hell, and that the Holy Spirit must regenerate a soul before he is able to believe on Jesus Christ for salvation.

    Surely God’s character is greater maligned by the latter teachings than the former? Couldn’t it also be said that the teaching of progressive justification is the natural by-product of the latter? It makes for a vicious cycle at least.

    I believe Ron Shea best articulates the role of the Holy Spirit in relation to man’s free will, and that this view is the most harmonious with the [KJV] scriptures and the character of our God described therein:

    “We observe from church history that the corruption of “grace” into an ethereal vitalizing substance, though often starting with the seemingly ‘innocuous’ view that ‘grace’ vitalizes the lost sinner to belief in Christ, deteriorates, almost inevitably, to the belief that the effects of grace, being sovereign or irresistible, will ultimately empower man to ‘repent of his sins,’ to perform certain acts of righteousness, and/or to ‘persevere to the end’ in faith and good works. Finally, we observe that the frequent conclusion of this heresy is that, if permanent and significant lifestyle changes are not manifest in the life of a sinner, God’s ‘grace’ was never received.

    “We reject the doctrine of ‘sovereign grace,’ that God infuses in certain elect persons some divine empowering substance that will ‘irresistibly’ impel them to faith in Christ, and that apart from this infusion, men are incapable of faith. Faith is an act of the creature, not an imposition of the Creator. And the drawing of men to faith Christ is an act of the personal Triune God, not a product of an impersonal Aristotelian substance.” [1]

    and…

    “The fact that all men, even those dead in their sins, have the capacity to believe, is evidenced by the activity of Satan, who ‘has blinded the minds of them which believe not,’ and ‘takes the Word out of their heart’ . . . ‘lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them’ . . . ‘lest they should believe and be saved,’ (Luke 8:4-5,12; 2nd Corinthians 4:4). The plain meaning of the term ‘lest they believe,’ demands that those who are lost have the actual capacity to believe on Christ without some magical infusion of ‘sovereign grace’ or ‘irresistible grace.’ The fact that not all men respond to Christ is evidence that they are endowed with a free will to resist the drawing of the Father, and to reject the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit, thereby calling the Holy Spirit a liar. The failure of men to respond by faith in Jesus Christ has nothing to do with their failure to receive a divine infusion of some ethereal empowering substance.” [2]

    1. http://www.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=19&c_id=51
    2. http://www.cleargospel.org/topics.php?t_id=22&c_id=53

  13. John H. Gregory

    Thank YOU Sister Pearl!. Such a well thought out & articulate statement!
    God bless you,
    John G.

  14. Pearl wrote: “Couldn’t it also be said that the teaching of progressive justification is the natural by-product of the latter? It makes for a vicious cycle at least.”

    Well said. The false doctrine of progressive justification is absolutely essential as a doctrine if the person holds the view that he “can’t” believe in Jesus for salvation. Since the calvinist holds the view that they “can’t” believe in Jesus for salvation and be saved, then they have to do works to prove themselves part of the “elect” chosen for heaven instead of hell, doing the works merely to satiate their fearful hearts that have no assurance, since maybe they were “chosen for hell” according to calvinist doctrine.

    So they keep working, enduring, persevering, all the while attempting an end-run right around the Gospel itself, attempting an end-run right around believing in Jesus for salvation and knowing they’re saved by faith in Jesus. They are taught against the Gospel, so they run to works, endurance, perseverance, and then their understanding of justification is that it is an ongoing, life-long, never satisfied climb up the ladder of works, works, works. And after a life of that kind of unceasing stress and fear, they still have nothing to grasp onto.

    It’s a shame what the enemy does to people that fall for the lie of calvinism.

  15. Hello Everyone
    I agree that progressive justification is one of many problems with Calvinism. The whole faith equals work thing or that faith is a gift prevent the Calvinist from using faith is rooted in progressive justification. How would a Calvinist know that he/she is “elected” unless they endure to the end.
    No really…..How would a Calvinist know they are “elected”? in the light of
    justification/enduring
    faith equals works
    secret will of god
    How?

    Trust in Jesus
    Levi

  16. Levi,

    A calvinist can’t likely really know much as to their eternal standing if they are consistent with their idea of election/reprobation. That is probably why they like inventions such as, heart faith, repentance from sin for salvation, fruit as evidence of “genuine faith” etc.

  17. Kenneth Groenewald

    So true Levi,whenever they come across a believer that is perhaps backslidden or cold towards the Lord, not much fruit,etc etc,they denounce that person as not being part of the elect. Calvinism hinders evangelism.
    Jesus taught us to have compassion on souls as in the parable of the man that was beaten and robbed and left dying on the Jericho Road. Why would Jesus do and act differently and not have compassion on the so called “non elect?”
    Like I said before and I say it again, Calvinists serve an Ogre of a God. Their message is repugnant. If they were to say for example address a crowd of say 300 and preach the Gospel, strictly speaking they would be lying if they told them that God loves each and every one of them.

    In Christ eternally
    Kenneth.

  18. The entire system of Calvinism is nothing more than the philosophical speculations of intellectual FOOLS! I am convinced that Calvinism was conceived and brought forth from the bowels of Hell, and no, i will NOT apologize for saying that– it is an evil and wicked system that perverts the character of our Loving and Merciful God. Excellent article.

  19. Welcome Mark!

    Thanks for joining us and for sharing your thoughts today. There are many more like articles at this site which I trust you will be able to peruse.

  20. Thanks, JohnG. I really do appreciate it. Only, I merely offered a series of honest questions, while Shea’s statements on faith provide the most sound reasoning.

    Abe, good to know I’m not the only one who sees it this way. I’m exhausted just reading your comment; imagine having to live it!

    Levi, it’s my understanding that there are Christians who say they reject Calvinism, yet adhere to election (or is it only that the Holy Spirit must first regenerate a soul that he may believe in the first place [and is there a difference?]?). Anyway, Miles Stanford, for example, is such a one. I don’t really understand how that works or what that officially makes them (I’ve seen the self-ascribed label/term “biblicist”/”compatibalism”). Even so, the question you ask remains and seems a perfectly logical one to me.

    As I’ve said before, I don’t come from a reformed background at all, so my knowledge of Calvinism and all its facets is very crude Yet, these seeming inconsistencies dredge up all kinds of questions in me.

  21. John H. Gregory

    I have read a lot of Stanford’s papers. Any form of or amount of Calvinism
    eradicates the chance of being a Biblicist. Read Brother Jack’s statement
    of faith! That is the Biblicistic Position! The statement may be fleshed out,
    but the statement of faith for this blog is Biblicistic! It has NO mixture of
    Calvinism or Arminianism. Which leaves Biblicism. Another word for Biblicism is Traditionalism.
    Concerning Stanford, except for his small amount of Calvinism,
    I think that the rest of his teachings are in line with what I think. He is
    Dispensationalistic, which is what I am. His thoughts concerning the Church
    & Israel are for me correct. Lastly, the only aspect of what Stanford teaches
    that is not Biblical is his Calvinistic leanings, which are very limited anyway.
    God bless all,
    John G.

  22. Note, JohnG, I said the self-ascribed label of “biblicist”. That label didn’t come from me, but Stanford’s own pen.

    So, regarding Jack’s SoF, I rejoice with you for its purity and simplicity.

  23. Thanks Bruce. I have actually been reading many articles on here for months, but i finally decided to send my views on this unbiblical and gnostic system called Calvinism. God bless.

  24. John G,

    Way back several years ago I was a big fan of Miles Stanford but I sensed something was not quite right and at the suggestion of friends, I began to look for errors.

    Miles Stanford may have a good record on Dispensationalism but as you say, he is off on Calvinism. But even worse, he has several “turn from sin for salvation” messages. You might be interested in them:

    http://expreacherman.com/2011/11/28/why-a-good-boy-bad-boy-lordship-salvation-is-a-lie/#comment-10727

    http://expreacherman.com/2011/11/28/why-a-good-boy-bad-boy-lordship-salvation-is-a-lie/#comment-10728

    http://expreacherman.com/2011/11/28/why-a-good-boy-bad-boy-lordship-salvation-is-a-lie/#comment-10729

    A little leaven leavens the whole lump.. but big chunks of leaven ruin a whole ministry.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  25. Hello Everyone
    Kenneth….I agree…… a lack of grace in the period of grace. When so much grace was shown to us. How great a gift is the gift of salvation.

    Hello Pearl
    I must admit I do not know much about Mr. Stanford. But one thing I have noticed about Calvinists. They want us to treat them as brothers/sisters in the Lord. While all the time sending me to hell for rejecting their Calvinism.

    Trust in Jesus
    Levi

  26. Thank you Jack for the information & for ALL you do on your blog!
    God bless,
    John G.

  27. Hello Jim
    I was thinking about your comments. The forever changing doctrine of Calvinism place them in that state. A sad state…..no rest in Jesus…no trust in Jesus. “If” Calvinism is the absolute truth why the change in doctrine?

    Levi

  28. Levi,

    That is a good question. Why indeed are there new forms of Calvinism such as “new calvinism”? Why do people vacillate between 5 point hyper calvinists to supposed 4 or less point positions? It seems to me that they try to reinvent themselves or “re-package” themselves just like a company would embark on a new marketing campaign seeking to be more relevant to the next generation.

    We don’t need any more re-packaged error. It would be better for Calvinists to scrap their erroneous soteriology altogether and repent (change their mind). The reason it is always changing is because it is not actually grounded in God’s Word. It changes and gets tweaked now and then because it is man’s wisdom and man’s ideas are changeable. God’s truth is not.

    I liken Calvinism’s view of salvation to “trust but verify”. They may talk about faith but are always trying to verify that it was real. To me, they don’t really come to truly believe. I could trust my wife for example to do something, but if I have to always check to see if she did it then did I really trust her in the first place? It’s the same way with Christ. If I trust Him for salvation then I trust in Him for salvation without having to constantly check my works legalistically to see if the proof is there that I am one of the elect in Christ. If I do, then I have a very weak uneducated faith or no faith at all.

  29. John G,

    You are welcome — and I pray the Lord will continue to bless you and yours too.

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  30. To all,

    Be sure to check out Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s new article at ExP, “3 Reasons Why The Gospel of Grace is the True Gospel”

    http://www.expreacherman.com/2013/02/15/3-reasons-why-the-gospel-of-grace-is-the-true-gospel/

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  31. This is in response to Jimfloyd12 who asks about NeoCalvinism or New Calvinism.. These individuals are agressive evangelists of Calvinism. They make Calvinism a matter of fellowship, are completely obsessed with Calvinism, & promoting Calvinism. When confronted with their actions, they will deny & just shove aside any & all accusations by saying “I don’t know anyone like that,” or “Prove it…..Name names!” They deny their own existence!
    They are, like the Jesuits of another time, John Calvin’s Storm Troopers! There is no difference in Calvinists & New or Neo Calvinist except the Neo/New Calvinists are just more adament, agressive, & obnoxious. Just so you can know.
    God bless,
    John G.

  32. Expected Imminently

    Dear Jack and all

    It’s the early hours and ‘things’ have got me down. I have been encouraging myself in The Lord as David did.

    For a small fee, my grandmother had an ‘allotment’, a garden away from her home. It was several fields away on the side of a hill that caught the sun. Nearby was a wood filled with birdsong where the best bluebells, primroses and violets grew from the benefit of coppicing. This opened up the wood to receive more sunlight and moving air to create the perfect growing environment for the best of all the wild flowers and small creatures. The young sticks were bundled up and taken to the garden to provide support for peas and beans.

    Pruning the hazel trees encouraged new growth that was supple and strong, just what was needed to provide a framework for the spindly growth of young vegetables. It hoisted their flowers and pods off the ground preventing them from being spoiled and trampled underfoot. Eventually Nan was rewarded with fat juicy peas and beans to feed her wartime family.

    Onions were scarce, and precious for adding flavour to the rabbit pot. Nan and her girls would trundle the old pram over stiles and through ditches to rescue the fruits of their labour from being stolen by the lads in the army camp. She didn’t begrudge a few and would leave some for the passer by; otherwise, the old pram, now heavily laden bumped along the return journey back to Rose cottage where they would be strung to finish drying off.

    My father was stationed with the Army at Antwerp in Belgium where the tulips, as in Holland, are cultivated in proud displays. They were warned about taking the shallots, a type of onion, to add to their rations. It would be an easy mistake because the gaudy and stately tulips grew from a bulb that looked similar to the shallot, except they were deadly poisonous. The five petals of this outwardly impressive flower may look good for a brief lifespan, but the ingestion of it will prove to be fatal when our works are judged by Christ.

    When our ‘coppicing’ is over, the result will be spiritual nourishment as the Holy Spirit grows us to become like Jesus. The fragrance, and the melodies of a bird and flower filled woodland, is the extravagant beauty of our grace filled Lord just for the pleasure of lifting our souls above the pain of rejection, slander, sickness … God will not allow anything to be wasted, as He manufactures all things together for our good. All that is expected of His children is that we rest in His Word and trust implicitly.

    John 15
    Romans 8:28.

    Maranatha
    Sue
    x

  33. “It would be an easy mistake because the gaudy and stately tulips grew from a bulb that looked similar to the shallot, except they were deadly poisonous.”

    Creation teaches us this lesson in many ways. I appreciated your capturing this one, Sue. So true.

    Hoping you are being encouraged in Him rather than downcast by the critical naysayers of this passing world. I know it can feel downright lonely, but you do have brothers and sisters here who love your fellowship and keen contributions. Bless you.

  34. Sue,

    Touching story and I second Pearl’s excellent sentiments..

    Just remember as with the Apostle Paul,
    Philip. 4:13

    “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  35. Expected Imminently

    Dear Pearl
    Bless your heart for bearing with me and understanding the point I took so long to make. I could have said that in one sentence; but no, I have to do my long winded impression of English literature!

    As for the ‘nay sayers’, it is heartening and certainly encouraging to see so many Biblically sound replies. I strongly suspect Jack and Bruce divert anything that would cause us any serious grief in this particular ‘cave of Adullam’.

    God bless you for caring and looking out for me; that is more precious than words can convey. I do listen and take careful note and am thankful that Jesus has us all in His grip. Praise The Lord!

    God bless you Jack for standing guard over this place of sanctuary where THE Truth is of the utmost priority. Thank you for reminding me that of myself, ‘I can’t’, but through Jesus, I can!

    Sue
    x

  36. Thanks John G,

    I think I have met some of the types of people that you speak of. They spend the whole time acting like what you say “is” Calvinism yet out the other side of their mouth they say you are in error.

    Here are some things that these people don’t get:

    That regeneration does not precede faith.

    That the call to discipleship is different from the call to salvation.

    That the church is different from Israel.

    That the sermon on the mount is not gospel.

    That all may believe or reject the gospel.

    This is for sure not a comprehensive list but beware of those who teach another gospel.

  37. Thanks Jim F,

    That is a great list or, even better, a litmus test for the things Calvinists “don’t get.”

    While not comprehensive, it is a good starting point… and the list is really so simple almost anyone should understand.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. Hi Sue,

    I, for one, enjoyed your poetic excursion. I must admit that I had to look up the term, “coppicing.” What beautiful imagery. Thank you friend,

  39. Like Bruce said, Sue, I didn’t have to “bear” with your writing either; it was a gift from your heart. I felt like I was there, walking over the slopes to tend the garden with Nan.

    “Cave of Adullam”…ain’t it the truth?!

  40. Can you be saved and not believe the inerrancy of the Bible, or certain things the Bible teaches, or any combination of the two?

    In 1 John, Jesus is the Word. If one does not believe in the Word of God, he does not believe in Jesus — but it is possible for someone to believe that Jesus is God and that He paid the full penalty for his sins on the cross.

  41. Kenneth Groenewald

    Hi Jake.
    May I shed some thoughts on your question.
    Jesus is the Word of God but He is not the words of God that is given to us in written form. The word of God did not die on the cross for us but the Word of God did. One does not have to believe in the inerrancy of Scripture to be saved (although that is an important doctrine) but all one needs to do to be saved is to believe that what Christ did on the cross He did for us. That He paid the penalty for our sins,so that we do not have to pay for our own sins which is eternal separation from God in hell.

  42. Dear Sue, 

    I am praying for you and yours.  This life is full of pain, to be sure, but we most certainly can rest in Jesus with that wonderful Sabbath rest because we know that we are His and He is ours.  One Day the pain(s) will be over with – no more sadness for rejection, no more discouragement from slander, no more arthritis from cancer medication – just joy and peace and wellness.  But while we are here, He is working in us and through us.  You have beautiful feet, Sue (Isa 52:7, Rom 10:15)!  Do not grow weary in doing good!  And please do not ever cease to use your God given gift for painting beautiful pictures with your lovely words. I agree with Pearl – after reading your description of your Nan’s garden, I felt as though I had been a young English girl in your beautiful countryside during the war.  What a treat!  Thank you for sharing your heart on this site.

    God bless you,
    Kim

  43. I wonder why Calvin and some of the other “reformers” are so revered? It seems their writings are considered by their adherents to be divinely inspired. As far as I can tell, the reformers tried to fix one false religion by creating others.

    Perhaps the theological seminaries that they have spawned could be called “reform schools.” ;)

  44. John,

    Now that’s a good one “Reform Schools.”

    Not sure the “reformers” ever had it right in their “fix” from Luther through Calvin through the current crop of apostates.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  45. John, that is pretty apropos, “Reform Schools”., love it! Need to make a picture with maybe Luther and Calvin, one over the other, with a yellow “Reform School” picture bonding the two together :)

  46. I’d like to reblog this. Is there a way to re-format at some point in time in the next week or so? If no time, I am happy to re-post in its entirety and re-format and give the credit to your site. Just let me know :)

  47. Hi Holly,

    Feel free to reblog the article and reformat it if you need to. It already ran its course here; perhaps you can show it to a new audience.

    Blessings sister.

  48. What is just as dangerous as believing the whole “tulip” theology is also when a just few parts may be believed by many churches. I never knew about this theology as a whole but in learning about it now I can identify where wrong beliefs permeated my thinking in the past.

    I remember being subtly introduced to predestination as God choosing some and not others. It created an arrogance in your thinking that you are better than another because God chose you and not them. I have since repented of this thinking.

  49. Nathan, one of the more insidious aspects of Calvinism is the whole denial of man’s free will.

    Some Calvinists think that God chooses who will, and who will not be saved.

    Other Calvinists think that man has a free will to believe in Jesus as Savior, but that he loses that free will once he becomes a believer.

    This second group thinks that one can look to changed lives for evidence of salvation. They usually would bristle at being called Calvinists, because they don’t think they are.

    But, perseverance of the saints is where Calvinism and LS intersect.

    There is a huge battle going on in the Southern Baptist Convention between Calvinists and Lordship “salvationists” over their competing false gospels.

  50. You know, two things really stick with me on choosing some for heaven (who will believe) and some for hell (those who are in unbelief).

    We know John 3:17-18 tells us who is condemned and who is not, an unbeliever vs. a believer.

    So in Calvinism, God is the one who keeps people from believing. He makes some unbelievers, and He makes some believers (according to the teaching of Calvinism).

    However, unbelief is a sin that the Holy Spirit convicts the world of (John 16:8-9). How can that be so if God made the person unable to believe? God is then guilty of sin, He would then be convicting Himself of them sinning by their unbelief.

    These false teachers have made God a sinner, and the one who blinded that person.

    But 2 Cor 4, says Satan has blinded the minds of the unbelievers. But in Calvinism, it is God who has kept them from believing.

    So Satan (effectively through this religion), makes people assign to God his wicked attributes. They malign God. People then speak evil of the way of truth because of these people. Probably why many become atheists, (“if God is like that, why bother”?)

    And many follow their pernicious ways. The ironic part of this passage in 2 Peter 2, is that it decimates Limited Atonement although they refuse to admit that Jesus Christ purchased by His blood, even the false prophets that they are….

    1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

    2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

    3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2 Pet 2:1-3

  51. Of course John Calvin was a Calvinist! It is good to understand
    These things. Before John Calvin
    There was Augustine, who later
    In life changed his theology & brought out new ideas, which John
    Calvin took and inflated too his
    Teachings. Both being wrong.
    Later

  52. Holly, John 3:18 totally obliterates Calvinism on so many levels.

    We had an article a while back that discussed this from a slightly different angle.

    See below:

    http://expreacherman.com/2014/03/23/john-318-denudes-and-proves-false-the-main-tenet-of-calvinism-predestination/

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