By Jack Weaver
First let me note that neither of the words “sovereignty” nor “sovereign” appear in the Authorized King James Version of the Bible. The words are simply inventions-with-a-purpose created by the Calvinist/Reformed movement and adopted by Lordship Salvationists (LS) through time. Unfortunately some supposedly clear “evangelical” teachers have likewise adopted “sovereign” and the Reformed meaning of the word into their own vernacular.
“This idea of the sovereignty of God was Calvin’s most central doctrine. It means that nothing is left to chance or human free will. This is what led him to put such emphasis on the doctrine of predestination – the idea that God, not we, decides whether we will be saved.” [Emphasis mine]
The erroneous concept that the “sovereignty” of God supersedes any idea or decision of man undergirds not only Calvinism and Reformed teaching but also Lordship “salvation” teaching as well. Lest you think LSers avoid the sovereignty issue, John MacArthur, the Calvinist king of Lordship teaching says, “No doctrine is more despised by the natural mind than the truth that God is absolutely sovereign. Human pride loathes the suggestion that God orders everything, controls everything, rules over everything.” [My emphasis] From John MacArthur’s article, “God’s Absolute Authority,” Grace to You web site.
It is but a small step from proclaiming the sovereignty (as absolute rulership) of God to the false teaching that man is unable or incapable of making a personal decision to believe in or trust Jesus Christ as his Savior.
God is certainly the Creator and Ruler of the universe — but we as humans have always had the will, the ability if not the innate desire to disobey and dispute His Authority by our own free will (which fact Reformed teachers deny). The Bible chronicles countless examples of God’s people being disobedient and deciding to go “their own way” despite the desires, warnings and chastisements of God. Adam and Eve were the first. Another obvious example is represented by the Children of Israel in the desert after they fled Egypt. The Israelites were rebellious, disobedient and railed against God. They purposely did not obey God’s will for them:
“They soon forgat his works; they waited not for his counsel: But lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert. And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.“ Psalm 106:13-15
Question: Why, in the far reaches of anyone’s mind, would the Reformed, Calvinist and LS proponents need such a doctrine of “sovereignty” to support their teaching?
Answer: Primarily as justification for their out-of-context and unBiblical use of the words “chosen, elect and predestined,” etc. These concepts are, in their eyes, all wrapped up in (1) their false definition of the words “sovereignty of God” and (2) their false presumption of the inability of man to believe in Christ without such “faith” being caused, planted and finished by God in the individual “chosen by God” from eternity past.
Think seriously about this: Without their devised, invented and concocted understanding of the word “sovereignty,” the whole Calvinist/Reformed/LS theology has no core and falls apart.
Then imagine the conundrum that Calvinist LS folks have when their “believers” do not follow their dictates of behavior. Then, rather than the rule of Grace — it becomes the Rule of Rules such as that of John MacArthur, Francis Chan and John Piper, et al.
God’s Gift of salvation is absolutely FREE for the taking, not just for a “chosen” few but for every individual in the whole world. (1 Timothy 2:4, Ephesians 2:8-9, John 3:16, 1 Corinthians 15, 3-4). The just death penalty for our sin debt was made and completed by Christ Himself on the cross, He was buried, arose from the grave and is alive today. To appropriate that Gift is to trust in Jesus Christ alone as Savior and is a decision every individual must make IF he or she ever expects or desires to live eternally with the Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven. We are not talking about a church to join, it is not a matter of being “chosen or elected to be saved,” it is not being obedient to some religious guru’s set of rules to be saved.. Salvation is only by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone. Period. No good works required!