I received an email today from a very dear, long time personal friend, Richard, with whom I have been sharing my faith continuously for probably 15 or more years. As yet, he has not made the decision to trust Jesus Christ alone as his Savior. He is a brilliant man, conservative politically and former military. We have had some wonderful personal conversations (at our home) and by email for years. I will share his email (with his permission – anonymously, of course) and let you, my readers, comment on it for his benefit.
I need help in understanding the appeal of Calvinism, please.
I don’t see what its inherent appeal is. Ok, I get it if I can sign on to a doctrine that says the Elect can be saved, PROVIDED I know that I’m for sure one of the Elect.
As I understand it, however, a Calvinist DOESN’T know that he’s saved. All he knows is that he might be. Why sign on to that? It’s like enlisting in the Army in the hope that one MIGHT be paid and fed but having no guarantee.
There appears to be or have been a kind of frantic or, at least, anxiety-ridden, life that the Calvinist then leads not knowing his fate. Apparently, as a way to deceive oneself, the Calvinist then works hard to achieve material success in life to kid himself that success is God’s way of saying, “Don’t worry. You’re one of the ones I’ve chosen.”
But this apparently isn’t sanctified by official Calvinist doctrine.
Even before one embraces and embarks upon a hamster-in-the-wheel life, the new or would-be convert is still faced with the stark doctrine that the Elect are on a list that only God can see, which list, at least official/doctrinally, he may not be on at all.
Why would anyone jump on that initially? If it’s unknowable what gets one onto God’s list, you live a life of Christian despair.
Do I have this right?
Richard, you have nailed one of many problems of Calvinism, “Election.” I am so happy to read that you see the inherent errors in that teaching and will not fall for it. Obviously, by your question, you have done some serious thought and reading about Calvinism.
It is clear to any serious student of the Bible that the Calvinists have manufactured their teaching by taking God’s Word out of context and by building a religion based on men such as; John Calvin and Augustine of old days, and then the more modern purveyors, John MacArthur, John Piper, R.C. Sproul, Francis Chan and many more. Their words seem convincing to the naive or the dedicated followers until they honestly investigate the teaching in light of a contextual study of God’s Word. It is no wonder that this theology so often morphs into a commitment or lordship type “salvation” message.
Calvinism seems to be growing by leaps and bounds which is not understandable since it has NO appeal to an honest, dispensational student of the Bible. From my experience it seems most folks who become Calvinists have either been raised in it or perhaps they trusted Christ in a Biblical environment and then chose the “appeal” of Calvinism as an easy way to shun any personal responsibility for themselves.
I will limit my comments for now as I am anxious to see what our discerning and faithful readers will have to say. We have covered this subject in several ways in past posts but this one is unique and personal to both of us Richard, and as you know Shirley and I pray daily that you will see and believe the Truth.
“And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you free. … If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John 8:32, 36
That word “free” in the original Greek means “exempt (from obligation or liability) :- free (man, woman), at liberty.” One who is under the uncertain yoke of Calvinism can never be sure they are “elect” (their definition of the word) and thus they can never honestly say, “I am free (and secure) for all eternity.”
We can be FREE when we decide to believe that Jesus Christ, God in the Flesh, died on the cross for every sin of mine for all eternity.. History confirms He was buried and arose from the grave. Scripture confirms that and Jesus is alive today as an advocate for every one who has put their trust in Him for eternal life.
Richard, thanks for your note and the idea for this post.