Author Archives: califgracer

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.”

John MacArthur Speaks on Predestination: A Rebuttal

photo

John MacArthur Speaks on Predestination Question:

A Grace-Based Rebuttal

Source of the MacArthur Interview: Shepherdsconference.org, 2010, Media, General Session 5, an Interview with John MacArthur
Johnny Mac
Introductory Comments:
Generally speaking, when I review an article or interview, I will select several salient statements upon which to comment. This methodology usually works well, but, at times individuals have made the accusation that the writer’s or speaker’s statements have been misquoted or taken out of context. In order to head off this dodge, I have chosen to print the MacArthur interview on the subject, “The Question of Predestination,” in its entirety. My brief, clearly-labeled comments or responses to MacArthur’s open questions and statements will be inserted throughout the text of the interview; they will be in [brackets].

Note: To view the article in its entirety, go to:

http://califgracer.wordpress.com/

John MacArthur on Predestination:

A Grace-Based Rebuttal

Source of the MacArthur Interview: Shepherdsconference.org, 2010, Media, General Session 5, an Interview with John MacArthur

[Interspersed with bracketed comments]

Question posed to MacArthur:

“Why witness? How do we tell people that God loves them and that Jesus Christ did not die for them? Or do we tell them that?
[Inserted comment: A great question posed to John MacArthur. I have often myself asked Calvinists a similar question: “If God’s got it all slated as to who gets to go to heaven and who must go to hell, and the individual has abolutely no say in the matter, then, WHY HAVE MISSIONS?” To date, I have never heard anyone give a logical biblical answer to that question. Let’s see whether John MacArthur will be the first] . . . .

MacArthur answers:

Well, you tell them whatever the Bible tells you to tell them. And the Bible tells you to go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature. That’s what you do because that’s what the Scripture says.”

[Inserted Comment: Right so far, John: Mark 16:15. And verse 16 tells why Jesus commanded the preaching of the gospel (the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, 1 Cor. 15:1-8)—so people would believe and become saved (cf. Acts 16:30-31); he also warns that those who refuse to believe (right through the point of death) will be lost (cf. John 3:18, John 5:40, 47). Christ Jesus would never command something be preached to the world if that proclamation had no possibility of efficacious results, i.e., if the individual had no ability to respond to the message in belief (Calvinists teach “Total Inability,” the “T” of the Calvinist acronym “TULIP,” that is, that men and women are completely dead in their sins and have absolutely no ability to respond in believing faith to the gospel of Christ Jesus). In view of the multitude of verses that call people to believe and thus be saved, e.g., John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31; John 5:24; John 6:29, 40; John 7:37-38 (ALL are welcome); John 11:25-26, this (Calvinist) teaching is UNBIBLICAL and illogical.]

MacArthur continues: “Any tension you have between that and the doctrine of divine election and predestination; any tension you feel in those areas, I feel. I feel the same tension. I ask the same question. I don’t know that there’s some kind of quick answer to the question. I am, however, happy to concede that God can resolve all things that I can’t (crowd laughter and applause). Really! I don’t expect the view and you shouldn’t expect of me to be able to unscrew the ‘unscrutable’ [inscrutable?]. Uh, you, you, really don’t think that I’m going to solve all the vast theological dilemmas that have existed since the Scriptures were penned. [Interviewer inserts, ‘Actually, some people do.’ (crowd laughter; then MacArthur continues)] Ya; the best answer to this question is, ‘My brother, I feel your pain’ (crowd laughter).”

[Inserted Comment: Really, Dr. MacArthur? The best answers that you can give are, “I feel the same tension,” “I ask the same question,” “I feel your pain”? Might it be that these issues are “painful” and “unresolvable” only because you view the Bible and the gospel through skewed Calvinist lenses? Christ called us, not to live in tension, anguish and fear, but in trust and rest in his finished work on our behalf. Matthew 11:28 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” ]

Mac Arthur: “I, uh, I’m not here to give you an answer, but, I will tell you this: I do not believe that Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody. And I believe he died specifically for those who would believe in him, and those who believe in him are those who are regenerated by the Holy Spirit based upon the eternal sovereign electing purpose of God. I think his atonement was an actual one, not a potential one. I don’t think that it was a general one; I think it was a specific one. I think it was a real death for sin. The issue here is the nature of the atonement.”

[Inserted Comment: Wow, Dr. MacArthur, you are speaking at a leadership conference at a question and answer session, and you say, “I’m not here to give you an answer”? Let’s look at some of your statements: “I do not believe that Jesus died for nobody. I believe he died for somebody.” Response to MacArthur: The Bible declares that Jesus died for everyone, for the world: John 6:33 “The bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto THE WORLD.” John 3:16 “For God so loved THE WORLD, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” 1 John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD.” 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some me count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH but that ALL should come to repentance.” 1 Timothy 2:3-6 “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. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who GAVE HIMSELF A RANSOM FOR ALL, to be testified in due time.”

Yet, sadly, NOT ALL THE WORLD WILL RECEIVE his gracious gift (Ephesians 2:8-9) of salvation: John 3:36 (which clearly demonstrates man’s free will to accept or reject God’s gracious gift of salvation through believing in his Son, cf. Matthew 23:37; John 3:18) “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”]

To view the entire article, go to:

http://califgracer.wordpress.com/

Free Grace Gospel Tract: Let’s Build it Together

saved by grace

Greetings Free Grace Friends!

This is a new project which I trust will be instructive, beneficial and a good way to demonstrate the Truth of the Free Grace Gospel as opposed to the Folly of other “gospels.” Anyone can participate, but the administration reserves the right to review and possibly edit some of the comments for appropriate content, grammar or length.

Here are the rules:

There will be two categories listed in the tract. The first will be comprised of genuine presentations of the Free Grace Gospel of the Bible. The second category will be made up of poor or false presentations of statements which are commonly referred to as, “the gospel.” Please keep your statements BRIEF (one or two lines per category maximum) as this process is meant to assemble an easy-to-read free-flowing tract. Brief Scripture references or Scripture quotations are fine (King James refs. preferred). Please limit your comments to one entry per category per day. This restriction will allow lots of people to take part in the project. As the entries come in, they will be checked as indicated above, and, if appropriate, they will then be added to the tract. Well, that’s about it for now. Thanks, in advance, for participating. Here are the two categories: “Proper, Biblical, Free Grace Presentations of the Gospel,” and, “Inappropriate, False or Erroneous Presentations of What is Called, “the gospel”

Proper, Biblical, Free Grace Presentations of the Gospel:

“And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31)

Ephesians 2:8-9
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”

Jesus Christ was fully man yet fully God. He lived a sinless life and died on a cross, shedding his blood in the process, as a payment for our sin. It was only by a perfect sacrifice that our sin could be forgiven. Jesus died, was buried, and rose again. He is in heaven and is the only means by which man can be saved from the penalty of sin and thereby escape eternal damnation.
Do you realize that you are a sinner that stands condemned before God? Rom 3:23 Do you understand that Christ died for you? Will you this very moment trust Christ alone to be your Savior? The Bible says that whosoever believes on Him (Christ) shall have everlasting life. John 3:16.

“Trust in Christ alone for your Salvation and in nothing else.”

We don’t “do” anything to be saved. It is a free gift. We only need to BELIEVE!

Shorthand equation…: Eternal Salvation = Faith + Nothing

There really is no other way to obtain salvation than this:

John 3:14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
John 3:15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
John 3:16 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.
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.
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.

(true) Acts 16;30-31 “what Must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ . . .

True: “We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, as a representative and substitutionary sacrifice, and that all who believe in Him are justified on the ground of His shed blood.”

Genuine:
Romans 6:23(NKJV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
“Our salvation was infinitely costly to God, but it is absolutely free to us.” Quote by Dave Branon.

1Pe 1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
1Pe 1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Eph 2:8-9 For by grace… There is no price that we can add to obtain salvation. Christ paid the price. There is no additional price to be paid on our part. We must simply put out faith in Christ alone to save us.

Statements Below are Inappropriate, False or Erroneous Presentations of What is Called, “the gospel” (again, these statements below are NOT the true gospel of the Bible).

“Turn or burn”

“Faith sandwich” – works on the outside, faith in Christ on the inside. Can also be served “open face”. Example:
Works – Repent of your sins
Faith – Place your faith in Jesus
Works – Surrender to Jesus as Lord

A sampling of “the MacArthur” plan of salvation (for the full message, see: Comments, Holly’s list of MacArthur sayings). Sample: “Becoming a Christian is not easy. It’s hard. Another way to say all that is that the Kingdom opens up to those who seek with all their hearts. You’re not going to sleep your way into the Kingdom. The Kingdom requires earnest endeavor, untiring energy . . .”

Two false gospel quotes: 1. Calvinism is the Gospel. (Sermons, Vol. 1, p. 50) Spurgeon . . . . 2. I believe that Christ came into the world not to put men into a salvable state, but into a saved state. Not to put them where they could save themselves, but to do the work in them and for them, from first to last. (Sermons, Vol. 3, p. 34) Spurgeon

Inappropriate expressions I hear a lot:

“Count the cost”

“Forsake your life”

There are so many mountains in your life, so many obstacles in your life; so many things in your life that seek to derail you−to stop you. And they’re going to stay there because some of those things just don’t go away by counseling. They go away by falling on your face before God until He delivers you. ~Paul Washer

So I would like to add that the notion of “praying a sinner’s prayer” or “asking Jesus into your heart” is one example of a false or faulty gospel.

Erroneous faith + works analogy: Salvation is like a row boat. One oar is faith. The other oar is works. If one uses one oar only, the boat goes in circles. If both oars are used, the boat travels in a straight path to its destination (i.e., heaven). But we are not going to Heaven in a rowboat. Rather, we are carried to heaven on the shoulders of the good Shepherd, Jesus Christ!

(Illustration above based on a Dr. Harry Ironside sermon)

False quotes:

• “Christ did not die to forgive sinners who go on treasuring anything above seeing and savoring God… If we don’t want God above all things, we have not been converted by the gospel.”
― John Piper, God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God’s Love as the Gift of Himself

“Gospel repentance is tapping into the joy of our union with Christ in order to weaken our need to do anything contrary to God’s heart.” [@DailyKeller]
“You are not saved by love, joy, peace…You are saved by faith not fruit, BUT you are never saved by fruitless faith.” [@dailykeller]

And finally today, one more head scratcher from Spurgeon:

“Avoid a sugared gospel as you would shun sugar of lead. Seek the gospel which rips up and tears and cuts and wounds and hacks and even kills, for that is the gospel that makes alive again. And when you have found it, give good heed to it. Let it enter into your inmost being. As the rain soaks into the ground, so pray the Lord to let his gospel soak into your soul.” Spurgeon

(false statements )-faith alone justifies but the faith that justifies is never alone; also salvation is free but it can cost you everything (these two are not for the tract but I couldn’t resist mentioning them—kept them in, they are worth mentioning)

(this is a common tract prayer) believe in Jesus, feel sorry for your sins and turn or be willing to turn from your sins etc, etc.

More false definitions of even what faith is, by W.E. Vine as quoted by Macarthur in “the Gospel according to Jesus”:

Faith consists of “a firm conviction…a personal surrender…[and] conduct inspired by such surrender” (173-174). According to this definition, faith includes conduct, that is, works. Faith is conviction, surrender, and conduct.

False: “We believe that all who receive by faith alone, Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and who confess Him as such before their fellow men, are born again of the Holy Spirit and thereby become children of God.”

Here was one on FB: Instead of hugging and accepting a sinner in their sin, how about warning them of the truth of hell damnation and salvation through repentance to Jesus? Few warn because most are with sinners on the broad path to destruction. TIME TO REPENT AND DEDICATE TO JESUS AND BE SEPARATE FROM SIN. . . . When asked what one did with the woman at the well or later they asked about why Paul still sinned, this was the answer: Dear soul, those whom were forgiven were changed and left their sin…Jesus didn’t forgive those who stayed in their sins…He didnt say to the pharisees who refused to repent “Your sins are forgiven” Dont be fooled if you stay in sin and won’t turn from the broad path, then you won’t find the forgiveness needed to enter heaven…Rather hell instead…Time for you to repent and seek to know Jesus and he will lead you and forgive you…….

What You Must Do:
God commands all men everywhere to repent of their sins, turn to God, and believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Him and flee from the wrath to come! To repent is to turn away from everything in your life that goes against God’s will, including your works, words, and thoughts.
Stop fighting against God! Fall down before Him and stop trying to justify yourself and think you’re good enough. Admit your wickedness before a holy God, your helplessness to do anything to please Him, and trust in nothing except what Christ has done.
If you come to Christ, repenting of your sins and believing in Him, you will be saved. . . .

Repentance: 1) to change one’s mind, i.e. to repent
2) to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins “Repentance (metanoia, ‘change of mind’) involves a turning with contrition from sin to God; the repentant sinner is in the proper condition to accept the divine forgiveness.” (F. F. Bruce. The Acts of the Apostles [Greek Text Commentary], London: Tyndale, 1952, p. 97.)

On the topic of salvation in one sermon MacArthur compared it to an exchange. He said, “It’s an exchange of all that I am for all that he is.”

The Mistrusting Groom: A Portrait of Lordship Salvation’s Capricious “god”

just married 3

The following story illustrates the vindictiveness and absurdity of the false “god” of Lordship Salvation, an unbiblical “god” who denies that salvation comes by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31); a whimsical “god” who denies assurance of salvation to all; a “god” of man’s creation who demands the promise of a lifetime of obedient [some say “over-the-top,” “on-fire”] unwavering commitment—failure to fulfill that promise for a lifetime will, for the purveyor of Lordship Salvation teaching prove that one was never saved to begin with. What a mean ridiculous unbiblical “god” is this “god” of Lordship Salvation.

Source for the following story: Sarah Hinlicky Wilson, “What’s His Is Ours,” from ChristianityToday.com, September 14, 2012, vol. 56, No. 8, Pg. 32.

“Picture this: a bride and groom dashing out of the church, through the showers of birdseed and into the limo, all aglow with the light of love from the vows they’ve just taken. In the backseat of the car, en route to the reception, they embrace and kiss. Then the groom announces that he has something to say.

“Now you realize, my dear,” he begins, “that, as far as I’m concerned, we can’t really say we’re married, because I don’t know yet what kind of wife you’ll turn out to be. I hope for the best, of course. And I’ll help you all I can. But only at the end of our lives will I be able to tell if you’ve lived up to my expectations. If you have—then, and only then, I’ll agree that we truly got married today. But if you don’t, then as far as I’m concerned we were never married at all. After all, how can I call you my wife if you fail to be a wife to me?”

Under such circumstances, it will not be a happy honeymoon—if there’s one at all. A wife cannot be a wife if her whole existence as wife is conditional and under constant scrutiny (likewise for a husband). She will certainly fail. This groom has completely misunderstood what just happened. A marital vow is a forward-looking creative act, not a retrospective judgment. The couple that tied the knot only 60 minutes ago is every bit as married as the couple celebrating their 60th anniversary. Whatever happens in the course of the marriage does not affect the “married-ness” of that couple.”

Lordship Salvation for Kids? “Crazy Love” Lite: A Review of Francis Chan’s Children’s Book, “Halfway Herbert”

“Crazy Love” Lite: A Review of Francis Chan’s
Children’s Book, “Halfway Herbert” (Colorado Springs: David C. Cook Publishers, 2010)

by Califgracer

Halfway Herb

At First Glance:

Here’s a sampling of praises from glowing online reviews of Francis Chan’s children’s book, “Halfway Herbert”:

· “Excellent children’s book!”
· “great book for children of all ages!”
· “awesome book for kids and adults alike.”
· “a favorite with my children”
· “the book is great!”
· “an excellent book that helps teach honesty, integrity, hard work, and doing your best work.”

After taking a brief glimpse at the book, cover to cover, my superficial assessment was somewhat in line with the comments listed above. The artwork is attractive, bright and colorful. The narration is pithy with large letters for children to be able to follow along. The book’s layout is skillfully organized with artful interspersing of pictures and narration. The basic theme seemed innocuous, emphasizing virtues such as achieving goals, integrity, proper enthusiasm, and honesty. If my children were still young and I came across this book in a secular bookstore, not knowing anything about the book or its author, I might be inclined to pick up a copy. However, let’s investigate the book, “Halfway Herbert,” a little further.

A Closer Examination:

First, let’s look at the author of “Halfway Herbert,” Francis Chan. Chan is a former pastor from Simi Valley, CA, who now spends much of his time speaking at various conferences nationwide. He is the author of the best-selling book (two million plus copies sold to date), “Crazy Love.” He teaches and preaches a caustic, judgmental, all-or-nothing, brand of Lordship Salvation which absolutely decimates assurance of salvation for the believer who follows his teachings. For the unbeliever, his teachings may thwart that person from experiencing genuine Biblical salvation through trusting in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation—Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; John 11:25-26. This fact has been well chronicled at Expreacherman.com. See, for example, the articles:

http://expreacherman.com/2012/07/22/francis-chans-latest-speech-to-5000-christian-youths-questioning-their-faith/

http://expreacherman.com/2012/03/27/francis-chans-latest-pronouncement-failure-to-help-the-poor-could-send-you-to-hell/

Chan’s book, “Crazy Love,” could be viewed as a manual for Lordship Salvation teaching (a.k.a., Lordship Faith or Lordship Probation). In “Crazy Love,” Francis Chan concocts his own artificial list of characteristics of what he dubs, “the lukewarm.” In a nutshell, “lukewarm” means basically any churchgoer who does not live up to some lofty, on-fire, over-the-top level of service for God, whatever all of that entails. According to Chan, all of the “lukewarm” are unbelievers bound for hell. To read a complete review of “Crazy Love,” coming from a Free Grace perspective, see:

http://www.freegracealliance.com/pdf/BookReview%20ofCrazyLove.pdf

Since “Halfway Herbert” comes from the pen of Francis Chan, I would expect for there to be an emphasis on Lordship Salvation in the book. I was not wrong, although Chan’s approach was more subdued and veiled in this book written for children. Was “Halfway Herbert” intended to be a “Crazy Love” Lordship Salvation message targeted at children? The top headline on the rear of the book answers that question in no uncertain terms. It boldly and proudly refers to the book as, “The ‘Crazy Love’ Message for Kids!” I refer to the book as, “Crazy Love Lite.”

Content of the Book “Halfway Herbert”

In the book, “Halfway Herbert,” we are introduced to a young boy who has quite a problem: he does everything halfway. He eats only half of his meals; he brushes only half of his teeth; he does only half of his homework; he plays soccer only half-heartedly; he tells half truths. After we find out about Herbert, he experiences a minor bicycle accident, denting his father’s car, and then lying about the incident to his dad. His dad lovingly admonishes him and then uses the occasion to give him a Lordship Salvation type “salvation” message :

“Jesus doesn’t want us to love Him halfway. God doesn’t want us to live out of just half of our hearts. He tells us this in the Bible.” (Chan proceeds in the book to tell the story of a man building a tower, from Luke 14:28-30; a classic text used by Lordship Salvation teachers to try to prove that genuine salvation requires first “counting the cost.” In actuality, the text refers to the cost of discipleship, NOT salvation.) Chan continues: “This man didn’t just try halfway with his tower, and we shouldn’t follow Jesus halfway either. He deserves our whole hearts, our total devotion.” “But I’ve never been able to do things all the way,” cried Herbert. “God knows that none of us can love Him all the way by ourselves. So He gave us a friend called the Holy Spirit to help us live out of our whole hearts,” Herbert’s dad said. “When we decide to follow Jesus all the way, God’s Spirit fills up our hearts and helps us obey God.” “Can God’s Spirit help me?” Herbert asked. “Yes,” his dad answered. “God loves when we ask for His help!” So Herbert prayed, “Jesus, I am sorry I haven’t obeyed You. I want to follow You, but I don’t want to follow You halfway. I need Your help. Please give me Your Spirit so I can know how to follow You.” God answered Herbert’s prayer. Now he finishes things! . . . He also tries to obey what he reads in his Bible. He isn’t perfect, but God’s Spirit helps him.

Closing Thoughts

So what can we take away from our brief look at the book “Halfway Herbert?” Some would certainly say, “It’s just a simple harmless book, written strictly for children, which has a nice sweet innocent message.” But think about it for a moment. If the book is really what it claims to be, namely, “The Crazy Love Message for Kids!”, then, by self admission, it is a declaration of a false gospel, namely, Lordship Salvation. Did you notice that nowhere in the father-son dialog was anything mentioned about trusting in Christ Jesus alone by grace alone through faith alone for salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 16:30-31)? On the contrary, all you see is a call to striving, a call to working harder for God, for attempting to do your best—namely, a works-for-salvation approach—a FALSE gospel! And it’s targeted at KIDS! How tragic!

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?
.
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!

Lordship “Salvation” Authors/Speakers Francis Chan and David Platt Team Up to Create the “Multiply” Discipleship Movement

discipleship

Francis Chan, author of best-selling book, “Crazy Love,” and David Platt, author of the book “Radical,” haved teamed up to form a new movement called, “Multiply.”

On the face of this undertaking, the motivation may seem harmless, perhaps even noble—to motivate, to encourage, to enable people to make disciples. But we must analyze this situation more deeply by asking a couple of pertinent questions:

What happened to the gospel? The Bible declares that we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31). Why is it that this new “movement” pushes discipleship but not salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone?

Make disciples of whom or of what theology? A disciple is simply a “follower.” But whom or what are people being asked to follow? Buddhists have their disciples (followers); so do Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons. Promoters of Lordship “Salvation” have their disciples too.

As I read through some of the materials on the “Multiplymovement.com” website, it became quickly obvious that the “discipleship” principle being promoted was the standard radical Lordship “salvation” agenda which David Platt and Francis Chan have pushed for years through their radical LS books, videos, sermons and articles.

Here are a few excerpts from the Multiplymovement.com website:

From Part I, # 1, page 1, “What is a Disciple?”:

“It’s impossible to be a disciple or a follower of someone and not end up like that person. . . . Yet somehow many have come to believe that a person can be a ‘Christian’ without being like Christ. A ‘follower’ who doesn’t follow. How does that make any sense? Many people in the church have decided to take on the name of Christ and nothing else. This would be like Jesus walking up to those first disciples and saying, ‘Hey, would you guys mind identifying yourselves with Me in some way? Don’t worry, I don’t actually care if you do anything I do or change your lifestyle at all. I’m just looking for people who are willing to say they believe in Me and call themselves Christians.”

Comment: Standard Lordship Faith caricature of Free Grace theology.

From Part I, # 2, page 2, “How Do I Become a Disciple?”:

“The word repent means ‘to turn.’ It has the idea of changing direction and heading the opposite way. It involves action. . . . Jesus says we need to repent. This implies that we all need to turn from the way we are currently thinking and living.”

Comment: Standard Lordship Faith “salvation” message of “turning from one’s sins” and performing some kind of action in order to be saved. For LSers, believing in Christ alone by grace alone through faith alone is not meritorious enough, i.e., it is not sufficient to save a person from his sins.

From Part I, # 3, page 3, “The Lord of Grace”:

“Salvation is all about the grace of God.”

Comment: Great! Why don’t you believe it?

Continuing from page 3, “But keep in mind that while this is simple, it’s not easy. Faith in Jesus Christ means believing that He is Lord (according to Rom. 10:9). Have you ever thought about what Lord means? We sometimes think of it as another name for God, but it’s actually a title. It refers to a master, owner, or a person who is in a position of authority. So take a minute to think this through: Do you really believe that Jesus is your master? Do you believe that He is your owner—that you actually belong to Him? . . . The problem is, many in the church want to ‘confess that Jesus is Lord,’ yet they don’t believe that He is their master.”

Comment: Again, this is the standard Lordship Faith misapplication of Jesus Christ as “Lord.” Yes, Jesus Christ is Lord God of Creation, Lord God of Redemption, Lord God of the Universe, Lord God of ALL; He is Lord, in spite of any puny declaration that one can make. We do not make Jesus “Lord.” He IS Lord!

From Part I, #5, page 4, “Count the Cost”:

“As you work your way through this material, you will be challenged to consider what it means to be a follower of Jesus. . . . But before you set out to teach other people to be disciples of Jesus, you need to examine your heart and make sure that you are a disciple. Read the following words from Jesus slowly and carefully. Understand that Jesus is speaking these words to you. Think about what Jesus is saying and how it should affect the way you approach this material and your relationship with Him. After you have read this section, use the questions below to help you count the cost of following Jesus (quotation given from Luke 14: 25-33).”

Response: This text from Luke is often cited by Lordship Faith advocates to claim that salvation requires a whole array of promises to fulfill, statements of commitment to make, promises of things one must give up (money, lifestyle, etc.), and the carrying out of these promises in order to be worthy of acquiring or maintaining salvation. This is a misuse and a misapplication of a Scripture that has nothing to do with salvation; furthermore, it is a denial of the multitude of Scriptures that declare that salvation is completely a gift of God by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. There are NO STRINGS ATTACHED!