Notes on Calvinism: Calvinism, a Rigged Carnival Game

Carnival Games
Remember going to a carnival as a child? Pretty fun; pretty exciting, right? I used to love the carnival games. So magical! So enticing! For a small price of a couple of quarters, along with a bit of skill and luck, I just knew that I could win one of those giant stuffed pandas, or a camera, or maybe even that alluring stereo set on the top shelf. Sadly, all that I ever won was a goldfish, a five-cent goldfish for a fifty-cent game fee. Rigged carnival games have been around for generations. Here are few of the most common:

1. Shooting Gallery: Air guns are armed with tiny BBs, air pressure is lowered and the sights are bent to skew the shots.

2. Land the Dime on the Plate: Plates are sprayed with silicone to make the coin slide right off.

3. Milk Bottle Pyramid: Lower bottles are filled with lead weights. Softballs are very soft indeed, being filled with straw or sawdust.

4. Basketball Shoot: Balls are overinflated; rims are undersized, sometimes slightly oval shaped and set higher than regulation height.

5. Balloon Dart Throw: Darts are lighter that store brands; tips are filed and dulled; balloons are underinflated and thick.

6. Ring Toss: Rings are made of hard bouncy plastic; their openings are only a fraction of an inch larger than the bottle tops on which they are supposed to land.

7. Sledge Hammer Ring the Bell: Hammers large but underweighted; carnival operator can apply “brake” as desired.

In many ways, Calvinism is very much like a rigged carnival game. For the Calvinist, some are prechosen to win and others are prechosen to lose. The individual has no say in his own destiny, no opportunity to trust in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation, as the Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18, 36; John 5:24; John 6:29, 40; John 11:25-26; Acts 16:30-31; Romans 4:5. But in the case of Calvinism, “losing” involves much more than spending a few dollars at a carnival; it means spending eternity in hell, sent there by a whimsical Calvinist “god.” Yes, Calvinism is a rigged “game” and a very deadly one as well.

Listen to the words of Kent Kelly as he describes in detail the false “god” of Calvinism: a true ogre! (Source, Kent Kelly, “Inside the Tulip,” Southern Pines, NC: Calvary Press, 1986, page 59):

“The sovereign god of the Calvinist planned in a past eternity that billions of men, women, and children would be tormented in the Lake of Fire forever. he had no desire that any of them would be saved. This god was well aware that because of the sin nature received at conception, they could do nothing but become Hell-deserving sinners by the very fact of their existence. This same god said that the basis for their condemnation would be a failure to believe in the Saviour for them, and no atonement was made available in which they could believe. he sent forth people into all the world to command these billions of men, women, and children to believe in a Saviour who was not their Saviour. he commanded them to repent knowing that he had personally selected them to burn in Hell before they ever received their sin nature. This god of the Calvinist created billions of vessels of wrath fitted for destruction—commanded them to do what he had willed them unable to do—then sent them to Hell for not doing it. If this is your god, you have my sympathy.”

62 responses to “Notes on Calvinism: Calvinism, a Rigged Carnival Game

  1. Bruce, this is a great article as we approach State Fair season down here in the South.

    In addition to all of its other errors, I think Calvinism makes God Himself the author of sin. If God gives faith to some people, yet withholds it from others, that means He predestined some to go to Heaven and others to go to hell. But, God could not have predestined some to go to hell, unless He predestined them to be guilty of sin. It would follow that God is the author of sin.

    As we both know, God is not the author of sin.

  2. Thanks John,

    Great points: we know that God doesn’t want or will for anyone to go to hell. They only go there as a result of a lifetime of rejecting God’s gracious offer of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. 2 Peter 3:9, a favorite verse of mine, says, “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.”

  3. Bruce,

    Thanks for that great post.

    It is a shame that Calvinism is such a clever sham. It is a shame that the perpetrators of Calvinism are just like the Carneys except using highfaluting language and, for the most part, dressed in pious black robes of the revered (my childhood memories).

    While it brings back fond, fun memories, I remember how disappointed I was when I finally realized I had been scammed. I just pray many Calvinists will read this and also realize they have been scammed.

    Beware the Calvinist Carneys!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  4. Great analogy Bruce, simply written, a poignant point was driven home in a sad incident in my home today.

    We found a stray kitten and have raised him for the last 5 months.. He was pretty bone thin, near death when we found him, could barely stand. He managed to puff up with one threatening menace when my little schnorkie approached him, but then collapsed.

    I never wanted the cat, but helped nurse him back to health, and turn him from wild into tame. He turned into a very intelligent, friendly cat, plus his hair was like fur, no shedding. He liked to join me at my lap top.

    Today, we saw a mangled heap lying out on the lawn, we do not know if a coyote or a mastiff got him. He escaped last night. How much I wept for that cat I thought I did not care much for, and the tremendous guilt I feel at having let him get past me and not searching for him long enough, for forgetting even that he was out there. The cat I didn’t want and surely didn’t want to love.

    A cat…

    And these people dare say our loving God can stand to lose one of His own creations? The merciful and loving God who from the beginning of the time the first sin was committed, made a way to save us?

    They do not know Him. He is a good and perfect, merciful and loving Creator, who loved us so much He gave Himself for us, died in our stead a terrible death, knowing awful betrayal, rejection, hatred, pain and suffering, ridicule from His own.

    I know it’s pointless to compare myself to the way God thinks, His Word say says if I want to give my children good gifts as an earthly parent, how much more does He? He is good to the children of men.

    He does not want ANY to perish, so to even vaguely imply that He does, is a lie, they lie against the truth. I am a mere human being mourning the loss of a cat I never wanted. Sick and grieved inside. But He is longsuffering, I am not. He is perfect, and I am not. He is forgiving and merciful and mankind not so much….

    I do not understand how they can think of our Lord in that manner. There is only thing I know, it is not wisdom from above.

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

  5. Holly,

    Very powerful story and statement about the nature of God!

    A professor of mine used to say: We worship an omnibenevolent God, meaning, simply, God is all love and all loving all the time.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us—very apropos!

  6. Holly,

    Thanks for that very touching story — of your cat.

    As you say there is no comparison between our love for an animal and God’s Love for us — God’s Love is far, far superior to ours in every respect.

    And His love is so great that “… God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

    As you have so well illustrated, the pernicious “god” of the Calvinist TULIP is NOT my Loving God who sent His Son to die for me (and for everyone), was crucified and rose from the dead.. so I/we/everyone may choose to believe in Him alone for eternal Life in Heaven!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  7. Calvinism is a fraud, a sham, a false gospel that leads to hell. Its origins come from Augustine, and not the Bible. And Augustine got it from Greek philosophy.

    Calvinism is also for the most part amillennial, which means they are working with anyone that wants to build the “kingdom of God on earth” through man’s means. Thus, it denies the Gospel and the end-times warnings which those in calvinism are, for the most part, deceived into.

  8. Abe,

    Thanks! Excellent points about the flaws of Calvinism. I have read that their amillennial beliefs have led them to treat Israel as non-existent in God’s plans for the present and future, claiming that Israel has been “replaced” by the church.

  9. Holly, wow. What a great post about the nature of God. Truly awesome!

  10. califgracer, yes, that is true. That’s why some have even gone to the point of becoming verbal persecutors of the Jewish people and Israel.

  11. Thanks Jack… He is so far above our ways or our thoughts, and Calvinists say we limit God, but it is they who do not understand God and they limit Him to their own understanding and wisdom of words. They elevate some texts in Scripture, underemphasize others, and exclude others altogether. They don’t realize I guess that they have unwittingly been a dupe of the enemy, since they are still blinded by the god of this age. (Or at least most, some may just have been stunted in any growth hopefully for a short time)

    I can be cut to the heart over what Christ has done for me, and I am, moreso as my understanding increases, as my knowledge of Him grows, His great love becomes more apparent for me, His goodness is unfathomable. I hate Calvinism because it is an enemy of the truth.

  12. Abe, good insight, they are willing to join hands with many for their cause, and different ones will cross different lines in order to further their agenda.

  13. Califgracer – you know one of them is Voddie Bauchum. It’s really nice how it doesn’t take too much time to find the error if we are testing and proving if we are doing what we are supposed to. I did not listen to him, but had a feeling I should when I saw a video pass by on Facebook. I believe it was on Romans 11. It didn’t take terribly long to hear him say,

    Should we love them because they’re Israel? NO! Because I believe that The church is the true real new Israel, Jew and Gentile alike.

    They don’t have eschatological significance to me.

    (Source available if Jack would like that also for Wiki)

  14. What a splendid article, Bruce!
    The fact that I was gullible enough to pretty much never realize ANY of those carnival games were a scam is part of the reason I remain anonymous here . . . (That’s a bit tongue-in-cheek . . . a BIT).

    Welcome, Johninnc. Yes, I would go so far as to say Calvinism DOES make God the author of sin. I became convinced of that when reading a book about Calvinism several years ago. I’d rather not elaborate about said book at this point as the author’s view of the gospel (I’ve recently learned) was not exactly clear. Besides, logic leads us to that conclusion anyway–that Calvinism makes God the author of sin.

    Holly, I’m glad you brought up your touching (gut wrenching, really) and very illustrative story about your cat. My wife and I have been big time cat lovers for many years. We’ve lost two precious kitties over the past 14 months. Once in July of 2012 and once this past July. I won’t go into the usual “Oh we loved them both so much” (we did). But suffice to say at some point over the past several years but while I was still in bondage to Lordship “Salvation” doctrine (and unwittingly to Calvinist beliefs in SPITE of reading a book refuting it) I started having thoughts about my cats. I became convinced that their unconditional love for my wife and me was one way that God communicated His love to those for whom He died (everyone of course). Likewise, my love for them helped remind me about how much I should love God.

    You see, the lies of LS (and let’s be fair, my own failure to walk with Him as closely as I should) got me to the point around 2006 or so where I was having a REALLY hard time believing God loved me.

    I hope those comments were apropos of the topic and not too indulgent . . .

  15. Johninnc

    I never ceased to be amazed at His ways and thoughts. The way He shows us His care, compassion and concern for the children of men (Ps 107), just even as we see animals we love and who love us, children, spouses, parents, the beauty in creation.

    He’s always showing us something as He commands His lovingkindness each day, His great faithfulness and tender mercies in the morning, His song over us at night… (Kind of a blend of Ps 42:7-8 and Lam 3:23)

  16. Thanks, Holly, for educating me on Bauchum.

    I hadn’t heard of him before. Sounds like a standard Calvinist replacement theology promoter. Haven’t these guys ever read Romans 11, Revelation 7 or Revelation 14?

    Thanks again

  17. FryingPan9, your story of how their unconditional love for you and your wife and how it was one way that God communicated His love to those for whom He died? So true how animals can remind us, or good spouses like I had too, loving me the good, the bad and the ugly…how did that work, but he was an excellent picture of unconditional love. He helped me believe God really did love me, for I knew he wasn’t perfect, but God’s love was, and his was pretty darn good example…

    And you spoke of how your love helped remind you how you should love God? I just think of all the examples in Scripture He gives us of a Father who is the giver of all good gifts, and how we are His creation, His children, and we expect Him, to choose to abort some to hell? It just sickens me… And you are right, it sure does make it hard to believe God loves us, because when we are honest, we know down deep we have nothing, no goodness, without Him. So unless He is perfectly good, no way He could love us….

    What fear and angst these people promote.

    I appreciated your comments very much….

  18. Thanks FryingPan9!

    Yes, what a horrible thought that millions, through their bad theology, can make their “god” the author of sin. That “god” is not THE GOD of the Bible!

    Thanks again for commenting

  19. Bruce, I just caught your prior comment, somehow I missed it, but how I love this,

    “We worship an omnibenevolent God, meaning, simply, God is all love and all loving all the time.”

  20. Holly,

    Thanks, we will be grateful if you will send to me privately the info on Voddie Bauchum for the Wiki-Index page.

    Thanks for your research.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  21. Bruce and Jack, sent over some brief info on Voddie, he is well respected in and out of Reformed Circles, walked out of the “Elephant Room” discussions when T.D. Jakes was invited and is instituting some pretty legalistic things in the church he pastors including woman not working outside of the home. (I’d be in real trouble supporting my family)….

  22. Awesome article!!! I check this website almost everyday for good reads/teaching. I have a question if someone can answer it. What does hebrews 12:14 mean??? This verse is hard to understand in light of eternal security… Thanks everyone!!!!

  23. Welcome Timothy and thanks for your kind words!

    Hebrews 12 clearly speaks words of admonition to believers (“our faith,” verse 2; “every son,” verse 6; “sons,” verse 7). Verse 14 calls believers to live lives of holiness and peace, lives befitting the rich spiritual heritage which they already possessed through faith in Christ alone. Inherent in the verse is a warning that failure to live such lives may hinder their fellowship (not their eternal standing, however) with God. Matthew 5:8 gives a similar exhortation: “Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.”

  24. Welcome Timothy!

    Like Bruce said, Hebrews is written to believers, and verse 12:14 calls believers to lives of peace with others and holiness.

    In addition to our fellowship with God, it may be that this verse addresses how we relate to others, and the example we provide, because these things influence other people. How we relate to other believers may help, or hinder, their spiritual growth. And, how we relate to non-believers may help, or hinder, their receptiveness to hearing the gospel.

  25. Timothy,

    We appreciate your faithfulness in visiting ExP — and for your observation regarding Hebrews 12:14.

    Bruce and John wrote excellent answers to your question and provided a clear understanding of the Biblical context. You stated: “This verse is hard to understand in light of eternal security…”

    You are basically on target. One of the most vital principles of Bible study is: When studying Scriptures, always study them “in light of eternal security.”

    Why??? Because, if you find what you believe to be a questionable verse or someone has told you that a particular verse contradicts “eternal security,” you may rest assured, such an understanding or interpretation is plainly false. There are NO verses in the KJV Bible which, taken in context, contradict God’s free Gift of Eternal Life, that IS God’s Eternal Security.

    However, you will find many verses in some of the “newer” translations which, sadly and maybe deliberately, contradict the vital, Biblical principal of God’s Character and His absolutely free Gift of Salvation — eternal life by Grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  26. Thanks everyone for your responses. This site has helped alot to get a better understanding. Sometimes there are passages like the one I mentioned that look contrary to eternal security so its nice to get some explanation. I try not to hide from the “tough” verses. I look forward to more great content on here!!

  27. Timothy, if you haven’t already done so, you might enjoy reading “The Permanence of Salvation” from Tom Cucuzza’s collection (linked at the top of this website) and Jim’s excellent article on eternal security, linked below:

    http://standforthefaith.wordpress.com/2013/09/07/the-foundation-of-eternal-security-a-breath-of-fresh-air/

  28. Great recommendation Johninnc –

    TimothyNJ – I don’t know if you have a kindle, but on Amazon, they also have the kindle version, I read it and went to all the passages, although he usually expounds on each, I like to always check context, appreciated his book very much.

  29. calvinism is also a contributor to the idea of the evil replacement theology and the teaching of amillenialists. i know our local presbyterian church had a split and the more conservative group left and started their own church and teach replacement along with amillennialism and they are a calvinism based church.

  30. Thank you Holly I will try to check it out. I really thank everyone for the quick responses. I love reading on Eternal life and I’m looking forward to being absolutely grounded in scripture with it. Not only for myself but to teach others.

  31. Do you want to improve your discernment?

    Following are excerpts from Tom Cucuzza’s sermon of September 1, 2013 entitled “Spiritual Gifts, Part 2″. This really drives home the point of how backloading the gospel is the exact same thing as frontloading the gospel. That is, it is teaching salvation by works. It is a little long, but well worth it:

    Minutes 4:32- 8:07:

    So anybody who believes that they have to believe and do good works – according to the Bible – OK, now, now, here’s the best I can say for them: maybe they’re saved earlier and then got messed up. But, you can’t deal with people that way. You have to assume as a Christian, as you’re sharing your faith, that these people are lost. A person who says that, as far as I’m concerned, they are lost. Why? Because they are trusting in their merit.

    People will say “well”, you know, “we’re saved by grace through faith, plus nothing, minus nothing. But, if you don’t live Godly, and walk the straight and narrow, then you’ll lose it.” No, well then what you’re saying is that’s a requirement to getting to heaven. OK? If I have to live right to keep it, that’s a requirement for me getting to heaven, to having salvation.

    Salvation is by grace. It is unmerited favor. Undeserved mercy. And people say “now that’s frontloading the gospel.”

    And then people today, they, they, frontloading the gospel has pretty much been blasted pretty well, although John MacArthur still doesn’t get it.

    What people love to do nowadays is backload the gospel. And, you know what? This is something that he (MacArthur) does get. Because, he basically says that backloading the gospel, which is the perseverance of the saints, the false doctrine of Calvinism – he says this – he says: “perseverance of the saints is Lordship salvation. That’s a direct quote from him. And, it is.

    See, wherever you put the works, if you’re adding it to faith for salvation. Now, should Christians live for Christ? Yes. Absolutely. Christians should live for Christ. But, if you say at the front end you have to do certain things besides believe to get to heaven, you’re adding works to faith.

    If you say you have to do certain things after you are saved, or else you’re not saved, then you’re adding works to faith.

    So, it’s either you’re putting them on the front end or on the back end. And God says “don’t put them on either end.” You’re saved by grace, through faith, apart from works. OK? Yes, we’re saved unto good works, but we’re not saved by good works.

    Ephesians 2:10 – you don’t have it on the screen, today but it says:

    For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works (amen to that), which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

    The word “should” is the only word that you could put in there that goes with grace. Because grace is free. So “should”. “Should.” And we should.

    But, it isn’t we must, and it isn’t we will.

    People say: “oh, you will!” OK, how many? How much? How often? How long? “Well, you can’t tell me…” Wait a minute! Wait a minute. Are you telling me that God has not provided salvation as a gift? He says it over and over. He says it – what – three or four times in Romans chapter 5. He says it in Ephesians 2. He says it in Romans 6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Over, and over, and over, it’s the gift. The gift, the gift, the gift, the gift. What are gifts? Gifts are free.

    (People) say: “yeah, but you can’t accept the gift and then go out do what you…” Well, wait a minute then. What you’re saying, then, if that’s true – now, you shouldn’t go out and live like the devil – but, if it’s true that you can’t accept the gift and then go do something that’s contrary to the will of God, then you’re saying that you have to behave to keep the gift. Well, then, it’s not a gift, it’s a contract. Salvation is the gift of God, apart from works.

    http://northlandchurch.com/2011/sermon-archives?sermon_id=45

  32. Today I encountered another example of Calvinistic influence when I had someone quote Psalms 139:16 to me and say they were surprised that I didn’t think the verse taught that we each have an “expiration date” as she put it. Here’s the KJV:

    “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalms 139:16 KJV)

    I searched and didn’t find any discussion on here about this verse. If you read the NIV translation (that I believe she quoted), then you could easily reach the conclusion that our days are literally numbered to the day/hour/minute/moment.

    My own understanding is that this verse has to do with God knowing how and when our unformed body will come together – like having a blueprint and project plan (very bad analogy) for our being rather than having every day of our life planned out in detail. The KJV translation is a bit hard to follow, but it seems obvious to my untrained reading that the proper understanding of this verse is not anything like the NIV. The NIV seems to confuse “members” with “all the days”. Jack, Bruce, Jim, or others, would you please comment with the thought of addressing what seems to me to be a Calvinist interpretation of this verse? Thanks!

    -Chuck

  33. Hi Chuck,

    Nice to hear from you. Great question!

    I have long held the view that corresponds to that of J. Vernon McGee on this wonderful text. I agree with you that the NIV rendering distorts the meaning of the end of verse 16. Let’s back up the quotation a bit (Ps. 139:13-17) and view it in a larger sense: “For thou hast possessed my reins; thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them. How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!”

    Chuck, I believe that this is one of the greatest anti-abortion texts in the Bible. It speaks of God’s omnipotence and omniscience and of his creative involvement through the process of the creation of a new human life from the point of conception onward. This section of Psalms leaves NO DOUBT whatsoever that life begins at conception. David understood this fact (“my soul knoweth right well”), even though he lived thousands of years ago! Pity that much of modern society doesn’t get it, referring to a human fetus as “tissue,” often treated, not as a real person, but, rather as an inconvenience to discard, like yesterday’s garbage.

    Look carefully at some of the terrific specific phrases:

    “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb” God watchfully cares for the child from conception onward.

    “I am fearfully and wonderfully made;” Every child, from the point of conception on is a beautiful unique creation, wrought by the hand of God.

    “Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect;” God knew every aspect of our innermost and outermost being, even before we were completely formed in the womb.

    “in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” God knew every aspect of our being: every finger, every toe, every vein, every organ, every cell, before they were even formed physically, as well as every inclination of our personalities to come. And note, all of these things were fashioned by the hand of God, as the text says, IN CONTINUANCE, meaning, that the formation of a human life occurs as a continuum from conception to birth. There is never a point, from conception on, that God’s creation is not a human being. It is a real person from conception onward (through eternity)!

    I trust that this interpretation has been helpful.

  34. Chuck,

    Some Calvinists will say that every single thing right down to the movements of atoms are pre-planned and orchestrated by God’s sovereign active control. They often apply this right down to God making people believe or reject the gospel.

    Jim F

  35. Thanks Bruce and Jim. Yes, Bruce, your interpretation is great and I’m glad you included more of Psalm 139. Jim, I came out of the R.C.S. camp so I understand exactly what you mean. Glad I survived camp and came to fully understand and appreciate the Free Grace truth of the Gospel.

    So, I’m wondering if anyone here has any insight as to how or why the NIV translators would end up with a translation in English that has such different meaning from the KJV for the last half of verse 16. I assume that they read the KJV while working on their own translation (maybe not). Is the NIV a valid translation from Greek to English – if you ignore the broader context of the verse, or were they trying to instill their own belief system into the scriptures, or is this simply an honest mistake on their part (not likely sense it would have been corrected in subsequent printings or in the TNIV), or something else? Just curious since the answer might help dissuade NIV fans from using that translation.

  36. Thanks Chuck!

    I do see some apparent evidence of an agenda in the newer translations. The TNIV (now 2011 NIV) takes many or most male references out, for one example. So, “man” or “men” becomes something like, “humans” or “humanity.” That definitely changes meaning from the original text. If one is to use an NIV at all, with much caution and discernment, the 1984 edition would be the better choice.

  37. Chuck,

    About the NIV, though it may be “easier to read,” I do not use it because it is simply an unreliable and loose “translation” of the more accurate KJV. It is also almost a word-for-word rendition of the Jehovah Witness “bible.” That makes one wonder “Why?”

    Our friend Dr. Tom Cucuzza wrote a wonderful and informative article here at ExP entitled:

    Why I Use The King James Bible.”
    http://expreacherman.com/2011/10/28/why-i-use-the-king-james-version/

    In that article Tom examines the positives of the KJV and speaks to some of the errors in the NIV. He does so by comparing verses in the NIV to the KJV 1611 Authorized Version. Be sure to read the comments on that article also.. several examine even more errors in the NIV.

    I do not consider myself a “radical KJV only” kind of guy — but I find it much easier to study Bible text and context within the accuracy of the KJV rather than trying to study any other later version, knowing in the back of my mind there are errors and inaccuracies in the newer ones.

    Are the errors deliberate? I would guess they could very well be. As Bruce points out — the latest NIV is designed to render the Bible “gender neutral”.. a dangerous thing to do. Why would anyone do that unless it was a deliberate attempt to cater to a certain segment of society?

    The KJV is universal, speaks to everyone and needs not cater to any special segment of humanity.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  38. As a “Calvinist” (which I realize may be a bad word around here!) I just want to offer that we (or at least those of us who read the Bible) do not believe that God “authors sin.” What we do believe is that man is fallen (thanks Adam) and we are all sinners in need of the saving Grace of Jesus Christ. Most of us would agree that God will’s all to be saved (1 Tim 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9), where we should differ is on election vs. free will and regardless of which you believe, I praise God that he gave His Son on the cross so that even one of us could be saved!

  39. Welcome Matt D!

    You said: “I praise God that he gave His Son on the cross so that even one of us could be saved!”

    My comment: I praise God that He gave His Son so that anyone could be saved, including me. I am thankful that I don’t have to wonder whether or not I have been chosen for salvation, but that I can rest in the promises of God from scripture. I am thankful that I can tell people with sincerity that God loves them and wants them to be with Him in heaven. I am thankful that no one has been excluded from God’s offer of salvation.

    I am thankful that I know with certainty that God’s offer of salvation is extended to my children, without having to wonder whether or not they have been selected.

    Please continue to read the posts and comments on this site. I think you will find them extremely comforting.

  40. Hi Matt, you know I was really pondering how proof texts of different doctrines seem to explain away the clear meaning in context of His Word. How can the whole world be changed? Or just the world into meaning the elect? How can belief be something we glory over? Jesus told us it IS what WE are to do. If it was God’s work to give us repentance (change of mind) or if faith was the gift, it couldn’t really be a free gift if it was only offered to a select few. I really do believe it is a simple as believing that God so loved the world…

    I do hope you’ll stick around. In His love to you and yours, Holly

  41. Well i think your understanding is a caricature. Gods choice is simply Gods choice. Men deserve hell after the fall. It is because the choice was made before this that the Lord waited patiently.Men as creatures have a right to obey God as the creator but not to sslvation.

  42. poj, welcome and thanks for your comment.

    You said: “Men as creatures have a right to obey God as the creator but not to salvation.”

    My comment: I agree that men do not have a right to salvation. However, I cannot fathom a loving God creating someone with no hope of salvation. If God were to choose man’s response to His offer of salvation for him, then man would not be making the response of his own will. He would, therefore not be responding, nor responsible.

    The GOOD NEWS is that God has provided access to salvation for EVERYONE through Christ Jesus. God has given everyone the ability to respond in either accepting or rejecting Christ. Hence, we are all responsible to Him.

    Hebrews 2:9: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

    1 Timothy 2:3-4: For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

  43. Poj,

    All people have the ability to believe the gospel of Christ based on God’s choice that the world might be saved through Christ.

    John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

    Gal 1:3 Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Gal 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

    1Jn 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

    God does not pick and choose who will believe or not.

    2Pe 3:9 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.

    Notice also here who does the blinding. (the god of this world)

    2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
    2Co 4:4 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.
    2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
    2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

    Jim F

  44. Jim, excellent point.

    You said: “Notice also here who does the blinding. (the god of this world)”

    My comment: We also see this in the parable of the sower. Luke 8:12:

    “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”

  45. Exactly John, this concept is consistent with scripture. The idea that God chooses and predestines people for damnation is not.

    We must always remember that Satan is opposed to God and working in His lies while making them appear to be the truth. Adding works to the gospel is a sure sign. Making God the author of sin is another. Many of these deceptions aren’t new but they just get new coats of paint from time to time.

    Jim F

  46. Johninnc,

    First of all no one can fathom anything of God unless it has been revealed to him. Second, God is also sovereign, sufficient, just, independent, all – powerful, and all- knowing too. Not Just love. Scripture says God is love, he is also Holy. Scripture also says he is one. Therefore His love is a holy love as well as a just love. therefore he hates sin and those who do the sin. He must punish sinners. He is also a covenant making God – Scripture reveals this to us as God makes His covenant with verious people. So your argument fails.

    The Good News is not that Christ made salvation possible for all people, but that HE actually does save His people (the elect). Hebrews speaks of the fact that Christ did actually taste death for everyone of those for whome he died for – unless you want to say he died universally to save all people and so that all are saved? (That is unscriptural).

    The context of 1 Timothy is in line with the fact that there is therefore now no distinction between Jews or Greeks, Slaves or Free, Male or Female. It is not All men universally but of different kinds of men (ranks or what not).

    In Christ Alone,
    POJ

  47. Jim,

    Galatians is written to Christians, not unbelievers or to the general public. The us is speaking about the Church as a whole. Ephesians says Christ gave Himself up for the Church (encompassing of all of God’s elect people) Thus the us is a definite group of people.

    2 Corinthians is a great passage, but you misuse it. Even if I concede that Satan is the one blinding the lost, it still does not prove your point. God alone must reveal the beauty or the glory of the gospel to sinners. Since not all believe it remains the fact that God only reveals this truth to particular people (primarily His chosen few). But, in fact I do not concede. For one many of times does scripture speak of secondary causes. God sends an evil spirit, God hardens hearts. God sends satan to blind the hearts of the lost so that they wont see. Nothing in here speaks against God’s pure and sovereign grace.

    in Christ alone,
    Kirk

  48. POJ, a few thoughts:

    You said: “Second, God is also sovereign, sufficient, just, independent, all – powerful, and all- knowing too. Not Just love.”

    My comment: True. Now, lets turn that around. God is just, holy, righteous, loving, merciful and gracious. Not just sovereign.

    God, in His sovereignty has created man with volition to respond to His gracious offer of salvation through faith in Christ. God does not make this decision for us.

    You said: “therefore he hates sin and those who do the sin.”

    My comment: God does not hate those who do the sin. Romans 5:8: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

    You said: “He must punish sinners.”

    My response: Christ took the punishment for our sins. That is the heart of the gospel.

    You said: “Hebrews speaks of the fact that Christ did actually taste death for everyone of those for whome he died for – unless you want to say he died universally to save all people and so that all are saved? (That is unscriptural).”

    My response: I am not a universalist. I interpret this passage to mean that Christ died on behalf of, or for the benefit of, all mankind. This is scriptural. John 1:29: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

    POJ, the Bible says that people who have not believed are condemned already. John 3:18: ” He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” If God has preordained some people to belief, as you think, then John 3:18 is a lie. That is because someone who has not yet believed, but who has been chosen by your Calvinistic god, could not have ever been under any threat of condemnation.

    Calvinists always seem to think that ALL means “all kinds”, not ALL. This is reading your beliefs into the Bible, instead of reading the Bible for what it says.

    I have prayed that you will realize that salvation is by grace, through faith in Christ. It is not faith that is the gift of God. It is eternal life that is the gift of God. Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

  49. POJ, if you think that it is God, not Satan, that blinds men to the truth of the gospel, then what are you doing trying to convince us of the truth of your point of view? In other words, why are you here? If God has chosen us to believe, he doesn’t need your help. And, if God has chosen for us to not believe, you can’t help us.

    But, if God has given us the choice of whether or not to believe, and He wants us to believe, why would He send you here to tell us that it has all been predestined?

    The Bible says that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation for all who believe. Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

    You have not proclaimed the gospel in any of your posts to this website so far. So, I have to assume you are not here to help God find the lost.

    Our mission is to proclaim the gospel in its clarity. We will not be debating you further.

  50. It never ceases to amaze me how Calvinists can’t wrap their minds around the fact that God has died for all men but that not all will be saved. They think that somehow God is defeated or His sovereignty is tarnished if one rejects the gospel. So often I hear the lame reasoning: well either God only died for the elect or He died for everyone meaning that all are saved. The simple fact is that God has indeed revealed what all men need to know concerning salvation and it is found in His Word. What is needed is for people to proclaim it to the lost. Proclaiming to the lost that God may have chosen them or that God may have loved them enough to die for them is indeed not the good news of the gospel. It is the bad news of a false gospel.

    Jim F

  51. Kirk (POJ)

    You say, “God sends satan to blind the hearts of the lost so they won’t see.”

    Where do you find that in His Word? 2 Cor 4:4 does not say that.

    You say,“Even if I concede that Satan is the one blinding the lost, it still does not prove your point.”

    No one needs you to concede, the Bible says it, therefore it is truth, and it is sharper than any two edged sword, don’t change the truth….

    You say, “God alone must reveal the beauty or the glory of the gospel to sinners.”

    Kirk, He did already, when He commanded the light to shine out of darkness, the same who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

  52. I’ve got another thought for the Calvinists:

    Matthew 22:39 “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

    I’m pretty sure some of us have neighbors who are not believers. Should we love them? Many Calvinists say (or suggest) that God only loves people that He has preordained to be saved, and that He doesn’t love anyone else. Other Calvinists will say that God loves everyone, but that He loves certain people (His preordained elect) in a certain way. In either case, why would God command us, as mere mortals, to love people that He does not love (or loves, but has preordained to spend eternity in hell)?

  53. Great point, johninnc.

    Which reminds me: I’ve discussed it (in general) on another thread months ago, but let me repeat here that many years ago I believed certain doctrines which can only reasonably be attributed to Calvinism or doctrines that preceded John Calvin. I’ll forgo fishing for comfort or compliments here by beating myself up for having had said beliefs out of ignorance. I’ll stick to the facts here.

    One thing I believed in was predestination. I didn’t even know it was a “Calvinist” doctrine. I just trusted the source, believed the teaching, and accepted it without being able to interpret my experience through God’s Word.

    My belief about God’s love was so askew back then (this was around 1994) and well, let’s be honest, PERVERTED that I actually told someone that God doesn’t love everybody. I used “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated” as my proof text. This person argued (correctly) that God’s love is perfect and unconditional. I basically shouted her down. I think I said something like, “So, God loves those in hell??”

    My main point here is I know I wasn’t alone. If I was going around spreading that kind of slander about God, there HAD to be others. And sadly, that misguided type of thinking is still out there as evidenced in POJ’s comment, “therefore he hates sin and those who do the sin.”

    I’ve suspected some Calvinists out there who are prominent and very influential also believe this. If that’s the case and they persist in teaching false doctrine one can hope that one or more of them will be honest enough to tell us what they’re really thinking as POJ has done here, to his credit. That way the absurdity of their beliefs can be more readily exposed to those who need to see them.

  54. Fryingpan, I agree that POJ has been honest in saying what he really believes. Like you said, it does make it easier to point out contradictions of scripture and logical flaws of Calvinism.

  55. Yes, they are shocking and they revel sometimes in their “shocking” message, as if they are doing God a favor. And I imagine that is how men like Calvin and those that followed him, put others to death, for not agreeing with their doctrine, and probably thought they did God a favor…

    I was shocked by Paul Washer alright, just hearing things he said. I remember seeing a couple of his quotes, and just getting sick at how he portrayed God.

    The last thing the accursed person will hear when they take their first step into hell, is all of creation standing to its feet and applauding God because God has rid the earth of them. ~Paul Washer

  56. My wife found the following seasonally-themed “Calvinism for Kids” out on Facebook last night:

    “A 10-year old little girl was asked by another classmate, ‘what is it like to be a Christian?’ The girl replied, ‘it’s like being a pumpkin. God picks you from the patch, brings you in, and washes all the dirt off of you. Then he cuts open the top and scoops out all of the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc., and then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside of you to shine or all the world to see.'”

    This version of “Charlie Brown meets the Great Pumpkin” does faithfully depict the false religion of Calvinism. Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with Christianity.

  57. John,

    What a shame!! Charles Schultz, the originator and former writer/illustrator of Charlie Brown, was always advertised as a model “Christian.” His message there is far removed from the Biblical Gospel of God’s Grace and man’s will.

    The Gospel message is not that we are “picked from the Pumpkin Patch” but “whosoever will” believe in Jesus Christ alone as Savior HAS everlasting life.

    The battle with Satan’s lies was joined in the Garden and continues even today. Satan was defeated on the Cross of Calvary but his person, his slick lies and influence still abound.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  58. Yeah . . . I’m pretty sure the parallel to Peanuts in the Calvinism for Kids thing is only implied and not directly associated with Charles Schultz (The original cartoon is actually called, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown).

    But, I shouldn’t presume to speak for John and I’m sure he can clarify a lot better than I can here so feel free to delete this. I just didn’t want any misinformation to go unchecked.

    As for the “quality” of Charles Schultz’ faith and witness, I only know from hearsay that he had a reputation for witnessing to those around him a lot but that could of course mean a lot of things . . .

  59. Jack and FryingPan, I didn’t mean to bring Schultz into the fray – this little pumpkin metaphor was not attributed to him. I was trying to compare the false religion of Calvinism to another fairy tale, and I used the only one I could think of that involved a pumpkin.

  60. John,

    I brought up the Schultz name issue because I recall many, many years ago (I presume at a time when Schultz was still alive) seeing a similar Charlie Brown cartoon in the newspaper (remember newspapers?). That must have been 30 years ago. I admired his boldness in openly speaking of God. Little did I realize then how subtle a pitch for Calvinism it really was. Maybe it was ignorance on his (or the comic syndicate’s) part. Obviously, back then, it was ignorance or lack of discernment on my part for not “getting it” at the time. It is very subtle.

    Yours was a perfect metaphor.

    If not attributable to Schulz, one wonders to whom?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  61. Dan Harris

    In comment 20368 above ( 9/22/2013), JohninNC quotes from a sermon by Dr. Cucuzza, in which he says the following:

    [quote]
    if it’s true that you can’t accept the gift and then go do something that’s contrary to the will of God, then you’re saying that you have to behave to keep the gift. Well, then, it’s not a gift, it’s a contract. Salvation is the gift of God, apart from works.
    [/quote]

    If we have to obey in order to attain salvation, then salvation is “not a gift, it’s a contract.”

    Add that to something that he said yesterday in another thread, “The New Covenant is not the gospel, but a new arrangement. The New Covenant is God’s new arrangement with men based on the death of Christ.”

    Hmmm… the light just came on! From a covenant theology perspective, I had always believed the the covenant of grace was the gospel. Thus, if the covenant of grace is conditional on obedience (perseverance), then the gospel is as well. Thus, it seems to me, there may indeed be a connection between believing in an overarching conditional “covenant of grace” and believing in a gospel of works.

    From a Covenant Theology perspective, salvation is a conditional contract.

    [See Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology Part 3, Chapter 2, Section 1 "The Plan of Salvation is a Covenant."]

    The Covenant of Grace is conditional.

    Many would say that the only condition required of man in the covenant of grace is faith (as does Hodge in the above reference; see also Westminster Confession (WCF) 7:3 – “the Lord was pleased to make a second, commonly called the covenant of grace; wherein he freely offereth unto sinners life and salvation by Jesus Christ; requiring of them faith in him, that they may be saved.” )

    However, they attach works to faith as indispensable (WCF 11:2 – “Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and his righteousness…is no dead faith, but worketh by love.” Hodge [Systematic Theology, Part 3, Chap 16, Sec 3:] – “That faith which secures eternal life…works by love, and is fruitful in good works.”).

    By attaching works to faith, the covenant of grace becomes conditional not just on faith as an initial condition, but also on works as a consequent condition.

    Others, like Wayne Grudem, are more transparent. Grudem explicitly makes obedience a condition of the covenant of grace:

    [quote]
    But while the condition of beginning the covenant of grace is always faith in Christ’s work alone, the condition of continuing in that covenant is said to be obedience to God’s commands. Though this obedience did not in the Old Testament and does not in the New Testament earn us any merit with God, nonetheless, if our faith in Christ is genuine, it will produce obedience (see James 2:17), and obedience to Christ is in the New Testament seen as necessary evidence that we are truly believers and members of the new covenant (see 1 John 2:4-6).
    [/quote]

    By saying that there is a “condition [for] continuing in that covenant,” Grudem implies that one can be removed from the covenant of grace (that is, externally) by failure to persevere. Thus continuance in the covenant is conditional on covenant faithfulness, or perseverance.

    I believe there is a link between the Reformed holding that the Mosaic Covenant is an administration of the covenant of grace (WCF 7:5) and in their making the covenant of grace conditional (consequentially so) on good works.

    (Now, there are some who do not consider the Mosaic Covenant as an administration of the covenant of grace, but as a republication of the covenant of works [eg., Edward Fisher, Thomas Boston, see "Marrow of Modern Divinity." See also Bryan Estelle, J.V. Fesko, David Van Drunen, "The Law is Not of Faith" 2009, P&R Publishing]. However, this is a minority position).

    The Mosaic Covenant was a “do this and live” covenant (Exodus 19:5,8). By including the Mosaic (or Old) Covenant as an outward administration of the covenant of grace, they allow for the need of covenant faithfulness, external membership, and penal sanctions to be attached to the covenant of grace. Thus, they look for the same in what they call the New Covenant administration thereof. Just as one could be an outward participant in the Old Covenant, fail to persevere in covenant faithfulness and thus be cut off from the blessings related to the covenant of grace in the former administration, so also one can be an outward participant in the New Covenant, fail to persevere in covenant faithfulness and thus be cut off from the blessings of the New Covenant. (Thus Romans 11:20-22 is understood to mean that our faith must be of a persevering type, else we can be cut off from the Olive Tree).

    Thus, it seems there is a link between holding covenant theology and salvation by perseverance, especially if one sees the Mosaic Covenant as an administration of the covenant of grace.

  62. Dan, I never realized that about Covenant theology (that they taught it was conditional). Although Grudem is in town and used to be an elder and frequent preacher at Scottsdale Bible, I could never tolerate his teachings. I didn’t know why, but I just could not finish listening to him. (Thank You Lord!)

    How do they not see the “I will” promise from God? He swore by Himself and Jesus is the mediator of that covenant, the promise was made with Him-Gal 3:16, but given to mankind as a promise in Gen 3:15, then later through Abraham, the promise was again given and noted as being the gospel that was preached.

    And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. Gal 3:8

    That was an unconditional covenant, made with One party, God swore by Himself. These men are so intelligent, so how do they not see? I can only surmise they are blinded.

    So interesting concerning the Mosaic Covenant. We know why it was added (because of sin), and how long it would be in effect (till the Seed would come). We know the purpose of the law was to point us to our need for Christ. The law never justified anyone so why on earth would they see it that way? Unless a deception of the enemy…. (it is).

    The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it. Luke 16:16

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