Calvinism and the Sovereignty of God, Calvinism’s “god” of Limited Sovereignty!

posted by Califgracer

In his 1986 book, Inside The Tulip Controversy:  Calvinism Rebuked and Revisited, author Kent Kelly lays out a convincing argument for the blatant hypocrisy of Calvinism (on page 59) in that, although Calvinists pride themselves on believing in and boldly declaring an “all-sovereign God” [a term that is not even found in the King James Bible, although the concepts of God’s being all-knowing and all-powerful are certainly declared], Calvinist theology itself inherently and duplicitously DENIES the sovereignty of God that they so vociferously proclaim.  Kelly explains:

“Rather than magnifying the sovereignty of God, the Calvinist denigrates His sovereignty.  A sovereign God has the power to overcome total depravity [a Calvinist term shown by the “T” of their favorite acronym “TULIP”] and provide an opportunity for rational choice if He wills to do so.  The Calvinist denies Him that sovereignty.  A sovereign God could provide an atonement that is legitimately available to every sinner.  The Calvinist would deny Him that sovereignty.  A sovereign God can desire the salvation of every sinner and see that desire unfulfilled, for His own reasons, without being a failure.  The Calvinist would deny Him that sovereignty.”

Kelly goes on to describe (p. 59) the false, unloving, mean-spirited god of Calvinist invention:

“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 and His atoning work.  But this god provided no 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 to be unable to do—then sent them to Hell for not doing it.  If this is your god, you have my sympathy.”

Kelly delineates above the dark dark side of Calvinism!

Your comments are welcome.

81 responses to “Calvinism and the Sovereignty of God, Calvinism’s “god” of Limited Sovereignty!

  1. You know what’s funny to me John? They can’t answer Romans 5:18 really if they are truthful (at the end of the article). Because all is in there both ways. It does mean all regarding sin, so it HAS to mean all regarding the gift…

  2. Holly, thanks for the link.

    “…all really does mean all.”

  3. I did an article today on Limited Atonement John, mostly just Bible verse pictures with a few thoughts.

    http://redeemingmoments.com/2015/07/08/limited-atonement-true-or-false/

  4. WHO AM I (part 2 — trying to keep the posts shorter) 🙂

    ►This god lies about the blood of Jesus being shed for all.
    ►This god explains away the Lamb of God taking away the sins of the world.
    ►This god lies about Israel and who they are and convinces Gentiles they are Israel.
    ►This same god often gets men to curse Israel.
    ►This god also deceives people about Revelation and upcoming prophecy yet to be fulfilled, I assume because the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
    ►This same god corrupts minds from the simplicity that is in Christ and preaches another Jesus and another gospel.
    ►This god convinces Shepherds/pastors of flocks that these scholars are sheep, so they let them into the sheepfold and announce it’s ‘non-essential doctrine’.
    ►From the beginning this god uses Scripture the same way, out of context and in part, twisting it.
    ►This god has them in denial about the men they follow. Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, Luther and their murderous traits towards the Jews, and towards those who didn’t believe the same way.
    ►The same god has them behead those who believe another way, or burn them at the stake. Somehow their followers find a way to defend it.
    ►Their god has them call the gospel something it is not…i.e. Calvinism or Tulip, or has them use ‘excellency of speech’ with their ten cent theological terms.
    ►This god has people brought up in the hypercalvinist branch believing God is hate, causing many to turn from God.
    ►This same god seems to make some of the proselytes twice the sons of hell as their teachers.
    ►Also this god seems to make the followers specifically hateful towards women which would fit with the enmity between her and their god.
    ►Their god is hate, and hates God, and wants to be like Him. He also has a double bonus in lying about the tender and loving character of our longsuffering God whose lovingkindness is eternal.
    ►Their god puts people in bondage, our God came to set the captives free.
    ►Their god sheds blood, our God shed His blood for us in great love.
    ►Their god points people to men — Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, Knox, Spurgeon, etc., and these men loved to have it so.
    ►Our God via the Holy Spirit speaks of Christ alone.

  5. Funny to run across this older article, and think on the logical conclusions one must face if they end up believing in the doctrine of TULIP. I’ve seen some friends fall prey, others in serious doubt, depression, some even suicidal. I was thinking of what they attribute to God, and wrote a post back when they were likening God to characteristics that are not Him.

    WHO AM I?

    ►I know a god that points people to men’s quotes.
    The Holy Spirit always points people to Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. He gives glory to Christ alone, never to men, God gives His glory to no other.
    ►This god shares his glory with men. People call themselves after these men, quote them, study their theology day and night.
    ►I know a god that blinds people’s minds from the gospel. Never mind that it is the glory of God and the glory of Christ.
    ►I know a god that keeps people from believing in him (which is a sin in John 16:8-9), that god is guilty of sin.
    ►There is a god who has people impressed with the wisdom of men (which is foolishness to God).
    ►A certain god has people exalting themselves above others and beyond what is written. Doesn’t the Word say they will be abased?
    ►This god hates a majority of mankind and pretends he loves a few (evanescent grace).

  6. Welcome Craig!

    Thanks for joining our forum today. Kent Kelly’s book “Inside the Tulip” is very powerful in systematically dismantling the petals of the Calvinist tulip through logic and Scripture. You are blessed to have had him as your pastor. I was saddened to hear of Pastor Kelly’s stroke and eventual death in 2008. But his book is still selling and is reaching many for Christ.

    Thanks for the sermon links. I listened to the one on John 5:37-47. In it Pastor Kelly points out how multitudes believe in the existence of God (theism) yet they do not trust Christ Jesus as their God and Savior. A brief word of caution about SermonAudio. There are some wonderful grace preachers available on that site, like our friend Dr. Thomas Cucuzza. But please use the site carefully as there are many Calvinists represented there as well.

    Blessings in Christ.

  7. Craig DeSpain

    A good sermon here from Pastor Kelly about unbelief. I have over 600 of his sermons here. http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=528120121610

  8. Craig DeSpain

    For more sermons by the author of the book Inside The Tulip, go to http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?SpeakerOnly=true&currSection=sermonsspeaker&Keyword=Pastor^Kent^Kelly
    Pastor Kelly was my pastor from my childhood until his death in 2008.

  9. oh thank you! I’m having such a great time looking at all these verses with the help of the Holy Spirit. It’s a little annoying though, because even the study tools I’m using, like Studylight.org lean towards election to salvation in their definitions of the Greek/Hebrew. I wish I could find one that wasn’t biased. You guys are great. Carry On!

  10. Daisy,

    You are right — good exegesis. We start by knowing there are no contradictions in God’s Word.. We use clear scripture to shine light on some that may not be quite so.

    Therefore we as believers are sanctified and believers of the Truth… because we believed. John 3:16.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  11. I’m thinking, in retrospect, that the answer lies in “through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth” Is it because we are believers, and have believed in His Son that we are chosen? So looking forward to your reply. Daisy

  12. Okay, guys, here’s a doozy. I really need help with this one. I was looking up all the words, and believe me there are thousands in the old and new, relating to chosen, choose, chose, and elect. After I finished with the Old Test., I began looking at New Test. Greek words and definitions, looking also at Scripture for context. When I read 2 Thess., I felt so defeated, but knew there has to be a good explanation for this and thought maybe you guys knew. So, Austen, Jim, Jack… Let’s have it, in 2 Thess. 2:13 – it reads But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: The word “chose” here in the Greek means to take for oneself, to prefer, choose. In Cambron’s exegesis of this topic, he states: “Thus, we conclude that God does not predestinate or elect men to be saved or lost, but that salvation is on the basis of “WHOSOEVER WILL!” Can anyone clarify this? 2 Thess. is glaring at me… 🙂 Daisy (did this post twice? Sorry if it did… : /

  13. Okay, guys, here’s a doozy. I really need help with this one. I was looking up all the words, and believe me there are thousands in the old and new, relating to chosen, choose, chose, and elect. After I finished with the Old Test., I began looking at New Test. Greek words and definitions, looking also at Scripture for context. When I read 2 Thess., I felt so defeated, but knew there has to be a good explanation for this and thought maybe you guys knew. So, Austen, Jim, Jack… Let’s have it, in 2 Thess. 2:13 – it reads But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: The word “chose” here in the Greek means to take for oneself, to prefer, choose. In Cambron’s exegesis of this topic, he states: “Thus, we conclude that God does not predestinate or elect men to be saved or lost, but that salvation is on the basis of “WHOSOEVER WILL!” Can anyone clarify this? 2 Thess. is glaring at me… 🙂 Daisy

  14. Trust4himonly, it wasn’t just the Calvinists that were heavily influenced by Plato. Unfortunately, most of the earliest theologians in the church were very well read in Plato and other such works. They were revered and thought very highly of. Many of the errors in our time can be traced back to the first few years of the church. You would be surprised how many of the same “doctrines” that are being propagated today existed in one form or another in the earliest years of Christianity, even though they were struck down by orthodoxy.

  15. I did some research on a web site that was mentioned earlier in this thread, Paul’s Passing Thoughts. It is an interesting site and it took me a while to finally realize that, though he is wildly against and attempts to expose the “New Calvinism,” he nonetheless supports the Calvinism which some call the Old Calvinism of John Calvin.

    Therefore, I must issue an alert that the web site is confusing. The author is obviously Calvinist of some sort while he properly rails against the New Calvinism.. His Statement of Faith misapplies and misinterprets the doctrine of Election, and as such his definition is from a Calvinist point of view. The blog owner also has several links to very strong Calvinist web sites.

    Just a note, please be very cautious if you visit that site.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  16. Hi Faith, we appreciate you by whatever name you comment. Welcome anytime.

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  17. Hi Faith,

    Good to hear from you again. Blessings!

  18. Again its me Faith with the last post
    always messing this up

  19. trust4himonly

    Hey Jack and Bruce
    Was wondering where everyone was and found you guys here talking about Calvinism again :). Interesting info. on predestination and the history of Calvinism. I have been visiting a site called Paul’s Passing Thoughts and he goes extensively into Calvinisms connection with Plato and other connections as well – worth the time to read his articles.
    I did not, however, know about the Valentinians. With studying about Calvinism I did learn that they view Christ as being outside of a Christian instead of living inside of a Christian. This explains now why I never really heard about the Holy Spirit living inside a Christian and sanctifying from the inside. Enjoyed everyone elses posts.

  20. Jack, I’ve been all over the Cambron Inst. site. I read through and even cried over the sound and beautiful statement of faith; have listened to two sermons already, and am studying the Bible Doctrines. Excellent stuff, and thanks for the warnings. When I read he had gone home, I cried because as you said he was an, “excellent teacher of sound Bible Doctrine and he did so with a touch of appropriate humor.” So few like him today. As our LORD said, the path is narrow and few there are who find it… Blessings to you all, Daisy

  21. Jimmy,

    Yes, the elitism of Calvinism is/was one of the big attractions to some graduates. Even some who went on from FBC to Dallas Theological Seminary jumped headlong into Calvinism there. Some graduates (not necessarily associated with FBCAA that I know of) slid into LS and others floundered into the charismatic and emergent movements. I try not to follow those folks too closely.

    Several years ago one of the stated objectives of the FBCAA was to try to resurrect Florida Bible College — but to me, the thought was ludicrous considering some of the folks who were pushing the idea. Numbers seem more important to many of those folks rather that Biblical discernment. (my humble opinion).

    In those days (the 70s) Seminaries seemed to be the graveyard of sound doctrine for many (not all). Thankfully, now there are some good Free Grace seminaries around which were non-existent then, or at least I was not aware of them.

    In Christ, Jack

  22. jimmyorourke

    Jack,

    Max has informed me in the past that many FBC graduates have indeed, as you say, “drifted” into many unbiblical positions. That’s too bad.

    Even though I’ve visited the Cambron Institute’s page on several occassions (to access Dr. Cambron’s writings), I know nothing about the FBCAA. You point out that “some past speakers and participants of the FBCAA reunions might be hard pressed to agree with Dr. Cambron’s explanation of ‘predestination for believers’. In your opinion, is this because of their slide into Calvinism?

    Jimmy

  23. Jimmy and all,

    Yes, Dr. Cambron was a well loved, excellent teacher of sound Bible Doctrine and he did so with a touch of appropriate humor. We who studied under him learned solid Bible Doctrine.

    I was not aware of the Cambron Institute and I pray it will go well.

    I do note however, that it was formed and promoted by FBCAA, the Florida Bible College Alumni Association. Some past speakers and participants of the FBCAA reunions might be hard pressed to agree with Dr. Cambron’s explanation of “predestination for believers only;” likewise some may not agree with the accurate Cambron Institute’s statement of faith (which for all practical purposes is a duplicate of the original Florida Bible College [FBC] Statement of Faith). Tragically many graduates of FBC have drifted or even plunged headlong into Calvinism and other errors.

    Just be aware.

    IN Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  24. jimmyorourke

    Daisy,

    I couldn’t have put it better than you did, “…how utterly freeing it is to know truth!” Hope you enjoy Dr. Cambron’s writings…http://www.thecambroninstitute.org/

    Tom,

    I didn’t notice it before, but you appear to have the mistaken impression that I attended Florida Bible College, where Dr. Cambron taught. I wish I had! I’ve looked far and wide for a bible college like FBC was. I was introduced to the writings of Dr. Cambron and A. Ray Stanford by one of your FBC alums–Dr. Max Younce. I thank God for these men often.

    Kind Regards,
    Jimmy

  25. jimmyorourke

    Tom,

    Dr. Cambron’s writings have helped me many a time. It must have been a joy for you to learn the Word from him. Sadly, great expositors like him seem to be few and far between these days…

    Jimmy

  26. I’m sure you can understand how utterly freeing it is to know truth! It is an honest and forthright saying of our Lord’s, “The truth will set you free.” And it does. Thanks Jimmy for the wonderful post. I’ll hang on to it and visit Cambron’s site. Blessings to you. Also, your other post on Ephesians 1:4 & 5 was a huge eye opener. Thanks. 🙂

  27. Jimmy,

    I too, along with Jack, had Dr. Mark G. Cambron as well as a teacher. I completely agree with the explanation.

    Tom Cucuzza

  28. jimmyorourke

    Hello MicsaDaisy,

    Your sincere question earlier in this thread regarding election/predestination hit close to home for me since I myself stuggled with that very issue for years. In order to keep it simple and memorable in your mind, I share with you the following words from the late (and great IMO) Dr. Mark Cambron:

    “Predestination is for the saved man. God knows who is going to be saved, and thus He has predestined certain blessings for those who are going to get saved by faith. In other words, God draws a circle, figuratively speaking, and says that whosoever believes in the Lord Jesus Christ will get in the circle. So the believer, upon his faith in Jesus Christ, steps into the circle. Then God says, figuratively speaking, ‘Whosoever is in that circle by faith, I have predestinated that they shall receive these blessings.”

    You can read Dr. Cambron’s concise article on Foreknowlege, Predestination, and Election here:

    http://www.thecambroninstitute.org/library/Foreknowledge,_Predestination,_and_Election.pdf

    Blessings in Christ,
    Jimmy

  29. MicsaDaisy,

    You speak encouraging yet sober words here. Yes, the Lord that is IN you is stronger than he (Satan) that is in the world.. and we need to remember and be reassured by that scripture.
    Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. 1 John 4:4

    Fret not and don’t give up — it does not take a seminary scholar to comprehend God’s Word and His Awesome Free Grace Salvation.. it is simple and straightforward enough for a child. And we all grow in Grace.

    We appreciate your passion for the Truth of God’s Word.

    And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  30. I just want to say thanks again. I’ve been following this post for days and have found the information in it highly useful to one who is desperately seeking truth. History plays an important role in the Church. We have to know it. It is no wonder Paul and other “true” Christian believers were so hostile toward false teachings and heresies. If they (heretics or aberrant teachings) weren’t caught and destroyed and thrown out with the rest of the trash right then and there, it would have festered and grown into something like what we have today. What we have today is a church that is politically correct, tolerant of heresies, prideful, not soft to rebuke or the truth. They throw God’s Word around like a bunch of confetti, that gets lost in their desire to be heard and correct. As I was walking this morning, taking in His creation I found myself talking easily with Him, as I always do. I was hurting in my heart for truth is lost among the masses today. Even in the KJV of the Bible, the Protestant Reformation has changed certain words to make their doctrine of election more “truthful” to the reader. I told God it was too much to fight, I don’t have the training or teaching and can’t overcome the fear I have of sharing the truth of it all because the church is so infiltrated with lies. It’s way more than just Calvinism. He reminded me that “He who was in me is greater than he who is in the world, and I, (Him not me), have overcome the world.” Praising His awesomeness today. Just feeling a need to be at peace. Blessings to you and thank you my brothers and sisters for bearing witness to the truth of who He is. When that is lost, I see real darkness. Carry on…

  31. jimmyorourke

    Bruce,

    Glad you received what I shared in the spirit you did. You’ve sharpened my thinking on several things…therefore I see our discussion as nothing more than that–iron sharpening iron.

  32. Hi Jimmy,

    Thanks for your insightful points on Ephesians 1. You and Jack have given me some solid food to chew on regarding the passage.

  33. jimmyorourke

    Hi Bruce,

    Been extremely busy lately…sorry for the delay. Resuming our discussion…

    Here’s what I gleaned from the passage (Eph. 1:1-14) you cited in support of election to SALVATION: (sorry for the caps..I can’t figure out how to bold or italicize)

    Verse 4 [“According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.”] informs that in eternity past God determined that we believers SHOULD lead righteous post-conversion lives. This verse is in perfect harmony with Eph. 2:10, [“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”]. I don’t find election to salvation in these companion verses, but I do find election to a desired-by-God service. NOTE: I figured it would be redundant to adress the “in Him” aspect of Eph. 1:4 since Jack already covered it.

    Verse 5 [“Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”] According to Vine’s Expository Words on the Greek New Testament, the word “predestination” comes from the Greek verb “proorizo” which means to “mark out beforehand, to determine before, foreordain.” So, all Christians (Paul uses the plural “us”) have been marked out beforehand by God for something, namely the “the adoption of children”. Now, I used to think “adoption of children” here was referring to what happens at salvation. The Greek (and Romans 8:23) changed my mind. The word “adoption” comes from the Greek word “huiothesia”–from “huios” meaning “a son”, and “thesis”–“a placing”. Someone says, “Fine, ‘placing of a son’ is in view, but isn’t this what occurs at salvation? Romans 8:23 clears it all up [“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION (placing of a son), TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODY”] To be sure, we believers are positioned in Heaven as a son now, but according to Romans 8:23 our “adoption” (placing of a son) does not occur until “the redemption of our body” (which clearly does not happen at salvation, but rather when we get our glorified bodies). A friend of mine writes, “The Jewish Bar Mitzvah may aid in understanding adoption and sonship. Bar Mitzvah means ‘a son of the commandments, or the placing of a son.’ When a Jewish boy reaches the age of 13, he is then considered as a adult. He is expected to accept adult religious responsibilities. It is a joyful occasion accompanied by gifts from friends and family. He is no longer considered a child, but an adult son. Just as a Jewish boy is placed as an adult son on the day he reaches 13, we Christians also experience our sonship when we are placed in Heaven at the day of the Rapture. This is when we have our physical bodies redeemed for a new glorified body.” His summary of Eph. 1:5:

    WHO: Negative: Nowhere are the lost said to be predestinated to be saved.
    Positive: The saved are predestinated to receive something.

    WHAT: The Adoption. Romans 8:23, “the adoption, to wit, the redemption
    of our body.”

    WHEN: At the Rapture. 1 Thessalonians 4:17, 1 Corinthians 15:50-54.

    Sorry for the length of this post Bruce. I’ll have to continue the rest of the pertinent to our discussion verses of Eph. 1:1-14 later.

    Blessings,
    Jimmy

  34. Welcome Austen!

    Thank you for all of the historical information on the roots of Calvinism. Very fascinating and you educated me about the connection of LS and Calvinism with Gnosticism.

    Come back often.

  35. Thanks, I’ve been hanging around for awhile, thought I would finally contribute something 🙂 Yes, the Valentinians were a Gnostic sect. The early church argued that Jesus did not come to force people to salvation but instead, to compel humanity to himself. They also believed that those whose hearts are hardened by God actively refused to believe anyway.

    Calvinism served a purpose in its time though. I remember reading that the Catholic church liked to ex-communicate towns, groups, and individuals that they did not get along with. This of course led to some worry about a person’s eternal destiny while they were ex-communicated from the church. Calvinism’s doctrine of pre-destination arose to partially address this problem in that time, so that the Catholic church no longer had the “keys” to a person’s salvation but that it was God’s decision alone (which they were right in of course, just went about it the wrong way).

    Its a shame people worship dead men and systems of theology instead of Jesus. I remember seeing a sermon that was put up by a proponent of LS and Calvinism entitled “STOP worshiping famous preachers”, and the irony of it all was just too rich.

  36. Thanks Austen,

    Welcome to our discussion.

    Interesting information. Don’t know much about them but if I recall correctly, Valentinians were Gnostics of some description..

    So Calvinists have a long and “rich” history of error. “St.” Augustine’s influence on Calvin was bad enough.

    Stick around, you will enjoy our discussions and we will enjoy your contributions.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  37. You all may be interested to know that Calvinism is basically a modern-day manifestation of a 2nd century heresy. In the 2nd century, there was a group of people called the Valentinians who also believed that God elected individuals for heaven or hell, and nothing anyone did could change that. The early church then vehemently opposed them and affirmed man’s free will as given by God. The early church thought of election in terms of the church being elected and pre-destined to go to heaven, while other groups are pre-destined to hell. So, no matter what Calvinists say, the first Christians most certainly did NOT believe what they do.

  38. jimmyorourke

    Hello again Bruce,

    Thanks for providing that passage. I have taken a look at Ephesians 1:1-14, and would like to make several comments…only I won’t have time until later this evening. Suffice to say, my first impression is that I am making a distinction (whether right or wrong) between what is involved in God’s FOREKNOWLEDGE [ONE element only–God knowing what is going to happen before it takes place] vs. what is involved in PREDESTINATION [TWO elements–One is the prediction (God’s omniscience) and the other is the act of God (His omnipotence) to bring it to pass]…..whereas you appear, at least to me, to not be making said distinction. I suspect this is partly why your answer to Micadaisey remains confusing to me.

    More later brother….

  39. Jack, I gave him Titus 2:11, as well as Proverbs 3:5-6.

  40. Thanks Bruce,

    Yes believers are “chosen” because we are IN Christ for HIS purpose.. to serve Him.

    IN Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  41. John these verses in context may answer some of your friend’s questions.

    God in His Omniscience knows who will believe but does not determine so. Belief, faith, salvation is the decision of the individual to believe. It is God’s will that all would believe — but many will not. All have or will hear of God’s Grace that brings salvation.

    For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Titus 2:11

    For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Romans 1:20

    No second chance after death:

    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27

    Hope this helps.

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  42. Hi Jack,

    Thanks for your thoughts and perspective on Jimmy’s question. That’s a bit of a different angle on things, frankly, than I had considered. I would also accept your explanation of “chosen” to be a valid NON-Calvinist option. So, what I take from your statement is, “We were chosen for a purpose! That’s not a bad way to look at things.

    Bruce

  43. Jack and Bruce, this is a very important thread for a number of reasons.

    I have a friend at work, a fellow believer, who has asked me why we need to witness, since God already knows who is going to be saved and since it is all in His hands anyway. He also has asked me what happens to people who never hear the Gospel. He thinks such people may be given another chance to believe after they die.

  44. About the Calvinism discussion: Just a little different perspective on chosen, calling, election, etc. Subject to further discussion.

    BTW I was never comfortable with the concept of the sign over the gates of Heaven — as the same illustration could be used over the gates to hell.

    Fact: The Lord draws all men to Himself — some believe and some don’t.

    And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. John 12:32

    So all are drawn to Christ — all (the world) have the opportunity to believe in Christ (John 3:16-18)

    Almost exclusively, the terms “elect” and or “chosen” mean “to service” not to salvation — such as a person who is elected or chosen to serve a constituency. Judas Iscariot was chosen to be a Disciple yet was never saved, never believed in Jesus as his Savior.

    To believers:

    According as he hath chosen us *in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Ephesians 1:4-5

    * In Him:

    And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: Philippians 3:9

    How/why are we chosen for service? Because we are IN HIM (Philippians 3:9) by believing in Jesus. Every believer has been chosen to be holy, without blame and to serve our Savior because we are IN HIM. Some believers then choose to obey and others not. Our choice.

    [V4] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

    Note — we believers are not predestined to salvation but to adoption as children — which happens to every believer after or as we believe in Christ. That in fact IS God’s will.

    Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 2 Peter 1:10

    I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, Ephesians 4:1

    Those verses are NOT a warning to “check out our salvation” but to check out our calling, vocation or service to our Savior.

    The following verses illustrate the meaning of called for service (the words [to be] are added by the translators):

    Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called [to be] an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, Romans 1:1

    For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. 1 Corinthians 7:22

    I pray this might shed some light on the confusion caused by Calvinism. I also pray I have formatted this correctly — subject to editing, please.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  45. Hi again Jimmy,

    I don’t think that I can add much to what I have stated. Perhaps others would like to join the conversation. I would say that Ephesians 1:1-14 does teach election and I think that I gave some practical explanations above. I choose to leave some issues in tension awaiting a more complete understanding in glory. Ryrie made this statement about that tension: “Election, though unfathomable to the human heart, need not be uncomfortable to the human heart, since it is our gracious, loving God who did it.”

  46. jimmyorourke

    Bruce,

    You stated, ” One phrase that I’ve heard often is, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” In other words, using your example above, God “elected” Joe to be saved in the sense that he knew in advance, from eternity past, that Joe would one day believe the gospel and thereby become saved. In no way do I support the Calvinist notion that God selects certain individuals to go to heaven and others to go to hell, and that there’s nothing that they can say or do about that.”

    I still remain confused by such reasoning. If God in his foreknowledge (the aspect of omniscience wherein God knows what is going to happen before it does happen) knows that a certain person is going to be saved by grace through faith in Christ, why would it be necessary for God to (from eternity past) elect that person TO BE SAVED?

    I see many examples in Scripture where God “elected” believers to a particular SERVICE (I’m in a rush so, I’ll provide those later), but I can’t recall seeing a passage where God ever “elected” anyone TO SALVATION. Would you mind providing me an example(s) of this?

    Thanks,
    Jimmy

  47. Hi Jimmy,

    Good question. As I said earlier, divine election is certainly not an easy concept and it is one that has been argued over for centuries. I will not settle the matter here. There are some pretty good non-Calvinist explanations that seem logical and solid to me. One phrase that I’ve heard often is, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God.” In other words, using your example above, God “elected” Joe to be saved in the sense that he knew in advance, from eternity past, that Joe would one day believe the gospel and thereby become saved. In no way do I support the Calvinist notion that God selects certain individuals to go to heaven and others to go to hell, and that there’s nothing that they can say or do about that. That’s not an all-loving God of the Bible. Rather than using the term “foreknowledge,” I prefer to say “Elect according to the omniscience of God,” since the latter term does not limit God’s all-knowing nature to future “knowing” [although foreknowledge is obviously one aspect of omniscience]. Out here in California, as I’m sure that you know, there is the annual Rose Parade on New Year’s Day in Pasadena. Suppose that you purchased a ticket for one of the bleacher seats at the parade. You would be able view each aspect of the parade from start to finish, each participant, one-by-one, for the entire two hours or so that the parade goes on. Picture in your mind, for a moment, however, that there is a Goodyear blimp flying high over the parade. Now, from the vantage point of the blimp’s pilot, he can see the entire parade going on from start to finish, simultaneously. He can see each and every flower-covered float; he sees each decked-out high-school band; he sees each contingent of ornate silver-covered horses with their riders onboard; he can even spot the guys with the shovels following behind the horses. Crude as any comparison to God must necessarily be, nonetheless, this does give to us a bit of a feel of how God resides in the eternal realm in which he can see all of the goings-on on earth, past, present and future, as the eternal NOW. He knows exactly who will reject and who will accept his gracious gift of salvation. In this sense, it can be said that God elects some to be saved.

    I’ll reprint a brief excerpt from a class that I taught on Ephesians 1 about a year ago:

    Are any of you troubled by the idea of election/predestination? Don’t get hung up over the idea. Stay balanced. Free will is also taught clearly in Scripture by Jesus himself: Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often have I longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” 2 Peter 3:9 says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (there is NO double predestination). J. Vernon McGee explained it like this: “Picture in your minds the entrance to heaven having above its doorway the phrase, ‘Whosoever will may come.’ Then once you enter into heaven you turn around and read above the inside doorway, ‘Chosen before the foundation of the world.’ With an infinite, omniscient, that is, an all-knowing God in charge of all of creation, there is no contradiction whatsoever.”

  48. jimmyorourke

    Hi Bruce,

    I’m having trouble understanding your following statment:

    “We are elected to be saved by God’s infinite knowledge (omniscience). God knows from all eternity to all eternity who will trust in him by faith, and he makes the way wide open to all who will come.”

    Why would God need to elect or choose Joe “to be saved” if He, in His foreknowledge, knows Joe is going to become saved by believing the Gospel?

    Thanks,
    Jimmy

  49. Thanks for your kind words Micsadaisy!

    Don’t allow the pseudointellectuals to buffalo you. The Bible presents the message of the gospel in a very simple, clear, straightforward fashion. It’s the LS/Calvinists who muddy up the waters. There’s no need to be a PhD in theology to recognize when a teaching does or does not line up with Scripture.

  50. Thank you, Califgracer. Thank you for taking time to answer a difficult question. I am concerned… Like Jack, I have friends and “family” devoted to Calvinism, some under the guise of “reformed theology”, but all who teach what I’m reading about. I’ve even found myself spouting off some of this nonsense. 😦 Anyway, I’ve chosen not to debate with them because I don’t have the “intellectual” background and seminary training that my friends have. I was told, in a polite way, that I was untaught and unstable, distorting the scriptures to my own destruction, and that some scripture is hard to understand… ha, I’ll be the first to admit I’m dense, but oh well, 🙂 I know who my Redeemer is and I will stand with Him on that day… Thanks again.

  51. Greetings Micsadaisy! Thanks for joining our discussion today.

    Of course you are inquiring about a subject, divine election, that is certainly Biblical, yet has been debated for centuries. Calvinists, in my opinion, oversimplify the concept by, in a nutshell, teaching that God chooses some for heaven and others for hell, and there is nothing that any can do about that choice. I believe that this teaching is wrong, in view of scriptures such as 2 Peter 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.” An omnibenevolent (all loving) God does not “elect” or “choose” anyone for hell. His way of salvation is open to ALL who will come by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). But, sadly, many refuse or reject God’s gracious loving offer of salvation. Matthew 23:37 speaks of Christ’s loving desire for the multitudes to trust him for salvation, but also addresses the sad realization that many or even most will refuse him: “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!” Just as God does not “elect” anyone for hell, he also does not “drag” anyone, against their will, into heaven. Theologian Norman Geisler calls this Calvinist notion of salvation, “forced love,” which is really not love at all. Forced, robotic love is not what the Bible teaches. Numerous scriptures declare that God’s gracious loving offer of salvation is open TO ALL who will come to Christ, trusting in him alone and not in their own works for salvation (Acts 16:30-31; Romans 4:5; John 3:16-16; Titus 3:5; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8—the Gospel; Acts 4:12; John 11:25-26).

    So where does election fit into the picture? We are elected to be saved by God’s infinite knowledge (omniscience). God knows from all eternity to all eternity who will trust in him by faith, and he makes the way wide open to all who will come. Charles Ryrie, in his book, So Great Salvation (pp. 135-136), puts it this way: “If God could not or did not elect, none would be saved, for all have sinned and no one seeks God (Romans 5:12; 3:11).” Ryrie also said, “God has the ultimate Grand Plan. To qualify requires only faith in Christ as one’s Savior. Then the benefits become available immediately and continue forever. His Grand Plan began in eternity past and continues throughout eternity future. Its purpose is to bring or lead many sons to glory (Hebrews 2:10).”

  52. Very informative article and blog. 🙂 I have a question if anyone can share some insight. I KNOW that Calvinism is a terribly wrong doctrine. I knew it within 24 hours after I had agreed with it. God would not let me alone. There was such an unsettled nagging thought that I was wrong about my confession of being a Calvinist. Anyway, there are several passages in Scripture that use words like “elect” and “predestined” especially in Romans and Ephesians. My Scofield Bible even teaches about “election” and “predistination” from a reformed theological view; and so do some of my commentaries by Matthew Henry, Albert Barnes, and John Gill. The verses I’m trying to study out but am having little success at are Romans 8:29, 30 and Ephesians 1:5. How do we take those verses? The definitions of these words in the Greek don’t lie. Thanks! Also, I think you should add to the list of Reformed teachers Paul Washer for sure…

  53. Friends..

    Please continue posting here — but just a note to you who have not yet subscribed to receive notification of new posts.
    We have a new article:
    The Pope and Obama. Why has President Obama Not Condemned the Occupiers? Maybe there is a Reason.
    http://www.expreacherman.com/2011/11/09/the-pope-and-obama-why-has-president-obama-not-condemned-the-occupiers-maybe-there-is-a-reason/

    Thank You,

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  54. John,

    You are right about the “faith that works” issue. It seems to be an issue of those promoting it not wanting to let go of the works for salvation issue. Man’s pride runs deep. 🙂

    Tom

  55. Tom,

    Thanks, I remembered not that One-Naturism article .. That may somewhat answer John’s question.
    https://expreacherman.com/2011/02/21/lordship-salvation-calvanism-and-one-naturism/

    We appreciate your dropping in.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  56. Thanks Tom! I agree.

    I think when people say its a “faith that works”, this is the same thing as LS/perserverance of the saints – salvation by works.

  57. John,

    Jack did a great post a while back on “One-Naturism”. I think that’s what it is called. You are right, if a person believes in #5, then they will believe in the perseverance of the saints which even MacArthur says “IS lordship salvation” (his words.) While I seldom agree with him on these issues, he is accurate on that one.

    Many folks today who do not believe in Calvinism per se, and also say they don’t believe in works for salvation, are strong proponents of the perseverance of the saints. They do not see that LS and Perseverance are indeed the same. LS and perseverance ARE works for salvation. The focus is on the works of man and not the finished work of Christ.

    Tom

  58. John,

    Yes those who believe the #5 theory seem insecure in their “faith” because their works don’t seem to meet someone’s amorphous standard. None seem to be able to prove to anyone by Scripture that they are in the group of “chosen for salvation” elite.

    And often the Calvinist invented phrase “perseverance of the saints” is interpreted differently depending upon who is defining it.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  59. Thanks Jack. I agree with your addition ot Covenant item number 1.

    Regarding reformed theology, I have seen an interesting hodge podge of these errors in practice. Many of these errors are sufficiently destructive, individually, to undermine belief in salvation by faith alone in Christ alone. For example, if someone believes number 5 (that believers no longer possess an old nature), then they would lean toward a perserverance of the saints mentality. Thus, one would have to look to his works as evidence of his faith.

  60. John,

    That is a good synopsis of Covenant/Calvinism.. I would add to your Covenant item #1. You said, Covenant theology does not appropriately differentiate the church from Israel
    Their main push is that the Church has actually replaced Israel.. and Israel is no longer a factor in the future Biblical history of mankind. This corrupt teaching has led many churches to side with the Palestinian hoards against the sovereign nation of Israel. The list of all brands of churches doing so is substantial, growing and having an anti-Israel influence on politics, not only in our country but the world over..

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  61. Thanks Jack. I have read several articles on Reformed Theology, Dispensationalism and Progressive Dispensationalism from the Grace Family Journal, as well as the link Bruce gave me above.

    The broad synopsis of the error of Covenant theology seems to be as follows:

    1. Covenant theology does not appropriately differentiate the church from Israel
    2. Covenant theology does not consistently use a single method of interpreting the Bible – namely the historical, grammatical method
    3. Covenant theology does not appropriately recognize that the ultimate purpose of history is the glory of God through the demonstration that He alone is the sovereign God. Rather, covenant theology would maintain that the ultimate purpose of history is the glory of God through the redemption of the elect.

    Reformed theology has the following errors:
    1. Christ died only for the elect (versus all of mankind)
    2. Regeneration precedes faith
    3. Faith (rather than eternal life) is the gift of God
    4. Requirements for salvation are added to faith in Christ
    5. Believers no longer possess an old nature
    6. Denial of the literal thousand-year Kingdom
    7. Embraces covenant theology
    8. Believers are still under parts of the Mosaic law
    9. Neglects the Heavenly ministry of Christ (overemphasis on His earthly ministry)
    10. Neglects the Heavenly position (as in “For ye died, and your life is hidden in Christ with God – Col. 3:3)

    Is this consistent with your understanding?

  62. John,

    Your question is well answered in the latest issue of Israel My Glory magazine (you may sign up for a gift subscription).
    http://www.foi.org/img

    Sign-up for free snail-mail subscription using the button on the right column. Also at the bottom of the page is the name of the article, “The Facts and Flaws of Covenant Theology” (Part 1). You may read it only by subscription. I would never attempt to paraphrase the article.

    Occasionally I find some very minor things with which I disagree in their magazine but generally, using discernment, it is very informative with false teachings about Israel. If I find a misstatement, I write them and usually get a satisfactory answer or correction.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  63. John and Bruce,

    John, good question…

    Bruce’s explanation is very comprehensive, probably more that I could have mustered without some study.

    The only thing I would add is — Covenant churches are usually based on Reformed/Calvinist teaching. For instance, my Dad was a co-founder of a Covenant Presbyterian Church, which in my mind, is a double whammy hit of Calvinism. Though he was a Presbyterian Deacon, then an Elder, he could never explain to me the essence of either the Covenant or the Calvinist/Reformed part of his faith.

    My Dad was a business leader in his community — and I have found many times Covenant/Calvinists seek out business leaders to be church leaders whether they “know” the church teaching or not.

    Pitiful…

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  64. Thanks Bruce.

    I read the link you provided. I am still confused as to how covenant theology defines Calvinism. I will try to do some more reading.

    T

  65. John,

    I’m sure that Jack can and will explain this much more clearly than I, but I view “Covenant theology” not as the Covenant church, per se, but rather as a manmade structure or system of theological thought which is basically opposed to a Dispensational understanding of Scripture. This system embraces Replacement Theology (Israel is replaced by the church) and amillennialism. A Dispensational view of Scripture takes the Bible in its most literal sense, meaning, when the literal sense makes good sense, stick to the literal sense. Covenant theologians, instead, interpret passages figuratively when the texts do not fit their preconceived theological structure. I’m sure that much more could be said.

    Here’s a pretty good link for seeing the basic differences between Dispensationalism and Covenant theology:

    http://www.4himnet.com/bnyberg/dispensationalism02.html

    I trust that Jack and others can add more thoughts to the discussion.

    Bruce

  66. Jack, can you explain what “covenant theology” means? If I see a church called “Covenant Church” or something similar, is this a red flag?

  67. John,

    I accept your assessment of LS, but I will defer to Dr. Tom Cucuzza’s book to detail the differences (see the link on the side bar to “secure” his fine book on eternal security).

    Bruce

  68. Very clear “warning list,” Jack, Thanks! It’s quite a well-known cast of characters.

    Thanks for your helpful comments, friend.

    Bruce

  69. John, I think maybe all of us have used Calvinist catchwords without realizing it.
    Pearl, Maybe later.. big subject and Bruce is covering it really well.

    Just in case some of our readers might run across these and don’t know them, here is a list of Monergism web site’s Calvinist theologian’s Contemporary Hall of Fame:
    ** John Piper
    ** RC Sproul
    ** James White
    ** Tim Keller
    ** Sinclair Ferguson
    ** John MacArthur
    ** Al Mohler
    (Pres. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
    ** CJ MaHahaney
    ** Michael Horton
    ** DA Carson,
    ** Mark Dever,
    ** John Frame
    ** James Boice,
    ** J. Ligon Duncan
    ** Ian H Murray,
    ** J I Packer,
    ** Arturo Azurdia III

    So if you run into one of those, you will be forewarned. (I know, I know, you already know all of them). 😎

    The plethora of dead Calvinist “theologians” are not listed here.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  70. Worthy of its own post, Jack! Very informative. Thank you.

  71. Jack, I am guilty of using the term “saving faith”. I had used it to differentiate it from LS or other “works-assisted” faith, but I think I’ll drop it from my lexicon.

  72. Pearl,

    Calvinists are good at buzzwords:
    ** Sovereignty
    ** Depravity
    ** Saving Faith (When we put our faith in Christ, when is it NOT a faith that saves?)
    ** “Come to the knowledge of Christ” (rather than trust Christ alone as Savior.
    ** Monergism (The view that the Holy Spirit regenerates folks and enables them before they believe in Christ)
    ** PreTemporal — God’s sovereign pretemporal decision to save only some sinners whom he had chosen to be saved.
    ** “Covenant” theology. (defines Calvinism)

    There are many more —

    In Jesus Christ eternally Jack

  73. Thanks, Bruce. I think just because the term so permeates the bloggosphere, I will refrain from using the term given that it is their own buzzword.

  74. Thanks Bruce! I don’t wish to quibble, but does LS go beyond perserverance of the saints? What I mean is that many LS advocates also think that being a believer is not sufficient. They would also say that one must be a “turner” (turn from sins) and a “committer”.

  75. Great thoughts,

    Having been raised unsaved around Calvinist Preachers, Deacons, lay people, church starters, etc, I am convinced none of them fully understands their religion or the horrible implications of their beliefs unless they have been brain dirtied in a Calvinist college or seminary. Sadly, the general Calvinist populace cannot answer, from the Bible in context, basic questions on the “why” of their religion.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  76. Pearl,

    Good question about the term “sovereignty.” I think that as a concept, PROPERLY DEFINED, it is not necessarily a wrongful term. Although, Jack correctly points out that it is not a term used in the Bible. HOWEVER, we must always keep in mind that it is a buzz word which Calvinists use to justify their ENTIRE SYSTEM of theology. So, be very cautious if using the term.

  77. Hi John, Good question.

    T=Total Depravity/Calvinists prefer to say Total Inability. To the Calvinist, every man, woman or child is completely dead in their sins from the fall of Adam; they are completely unable to respond to God in any way. This concept hits as a loggerhead against the many clear calls to salvation in Scripture.

    U=Unconditional Election, meaning, everyone who is elected to become saved WILL be saved. The individual has NO PART in receiving God’s gracious gift of salvation in Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16, Acts 16:30-31, etc. Geisler calls this kind of “salvation,” “forced salvation.”

    L=Limited Atonement, hence, salvation is limited only to the elect, or put another way, Christ died ONLY for the elect.

    I=Irresistable Grace: No one elected to salvation can resist God’s “gift” of forced salvation.

    P=Perseverance of the Saints, meaning, every true believer will live a life characterized by works of service to God; anyone who claims to be a believer but fails to live a life of faithfulness to God is deemed to have never been saved to begin with. Perseverance is the same thing as lordship salvation. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Tom Cucuzza’s fine book on this subject—“Secure Forever: God’s Faithfulness or Our Perseverance?” (see the link in the upper right column to get his book).

  78. Bruce,

    Kelly’s facts are powerful and his conclusions undeniable.

    It amazes me how Calvinists can convince intelligent people that:
    1) They are in an elite group who, by twisting Scripture) have been “chosen” for salvation above other billions in the world.
    2) They can “evangelize” (in their own way) knowing full well that their “god” has picked only a few to be “saved.”
    3) They are so totally depraved (also not in the Bible) they cannot make a decision to accept God’s Free Gift of Salvation offered in the Bible — but if they do make such a decision — it is invalid because they are not “elected” to do so.

    As Kelly writes, such a total lack of common Biblical logic elicits sympathy. I pray daily for my Calvinist family and friends.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  79. Quite disturbing. Do you think reformed folk lay in bed at night and ever contemplate these things?

    I never had a problem with believing God is omniscient, omipresent, and omnipotent; and I never knew until late last spring when I had posted a devotion by Lehman Strauss pertaining to trials in a Christian’s life that the term sovereign was an issue at all . Jack, reading it first, noted the term used throughout the article, and informed me it wasn’t even found in the KJ, and is also a catchword in reformed theology. Ever since, I see the term frequently used at blogs everywhere, reformed or not. It’s as if they mean to communicate something apart from how I’ve always understood the attributes of God. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it has a coldness to it. Is there doublespeak going on here?

    Playing devil’s advocate merely in an effort to understand, what’s the big deal with my using the singular word “sovereign” in place of the three omni terms above? Aren’t we talking about the same thing?

  80. Bruce, can you remind me what each of the letters in the TULIP acronym stands for?

    Also, I know at least one guy who is marginally Free Grace-oriented, but thinks evangelism is unnecessary, since God already knows who is going to Heaven. I think this is an appalling abdication of responsibility, but it kind of fits with the whole Calvinism thing.

  81. Just to be clear, the article posted above is not designed to promote any facet of Calvinist “TULIP” theology. Its point is to demonstrate the hypocritical, fallacious, cruel nature of such teachings.

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