By johninnc (with special thanks to William, Bruce Bauer, and the late Jack Weaver)
I recently received an e-mail from one of our friends (we’ll call him “Steve”) of the Expreacherman ministry, asking for help debunking some false Calvinist doctrine.
Calvinism and Lordship “salvation” are perversions of the gospel that can keep lost people lost and can render believers ineffective.
Following is a quote from Ron Shea that underscores the dangers of these false theologies:
“In Lordship and Perseverance theology, grace is redefined as an ethereal substance that God “infuses” into a lost sinner, and that will then irresistibly effect changes in the sinner’s life, including empowering the lost sinner: 1) to hate his sins, 2) to turn from his sins, and 3) to persevere in faith and good works. If a lost sinner eventually returns to his sinful ways, he is judged as having never really been saved. This redefining of the word “grace,” along with the linking of the “lordship” and “perseverance” doctrines, is a Roman Catholic invention set forth in Thomas Aquins’ Summa Theologica, Part I, of the Second part, Question 109-114; Treatise on Grace. This heresy now flourishes in Protestant Theology.”
Following are excerpts, slightly edited, from Steve’s e-mail (in italics), along with my response (in bold):
A friend of mine recently called to discuss with me a few verses on the issue of God choosing only a few people for eternal salvation. I explained to him that God gives us the responsibility to believe on the gospel of Jesus Christ or not believe.
But he, in turn, told me that the Bible does not say anything about our responsibility to believe in Him or not. My friend continued in explaining that God chose only a few for eternal life, even before the foundation of the world.
I then went back to look up the statement of faith at expreacherman. I agree with the SOF, which explains that all people have free will to chose or reject the free gift of eternal life, which is obtained by grace, through faith in Christ.
I cannot imagine why my friend would say this, but he said free will is not found anywhere in the Bible. He quoted John 15:16, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you…..”. He explained to me that this proves that no man ever chooses to believe in Jesus as his Savior, but that only God authorizes to chose some (few) people for eternal life. He said that it is IMPOSSIBLE for the large majority of people to believe the gospel.
My friend earned a Master’s degree in religion from of a university that is affiliated with the SBC.
In addition, he said that to only believe in Jesus as Savior is not enough, but one must also repent (turn from sins) in order to have eternal life. He repeatedly said that one must accept Jesus as both SAVIOR AND LORD.
What do you think about the following verses that he gave me to prove that God chose only a few for eternal salvation (John 15:16, Eph. 1:4, 2 Thessalonians 2:13, Matthew 22:14, Deut. 7:6, John 6:37, Romans 8:29,30, Eph 1:11, John 6.44 and 1 Peter 1:2.)?
I thank the Lord that Jack Weaver founded this website.
Steve, you’ve given me quite a homework assignment.
Jesus is Lord. We cannot “make” Him Lord. If making Him Lord means giving up one’s sins to be saved, then none of us would ever be saved.
Remember – eternal life is a gift. It is not a trade. If we had to stop sinning to receive the free gift of eternal life, it would not be a free gift. Neither must we be willing to give up our sins, or even desire to turn from them. God is willing to save us just as we are.
Regarding God choosing only some people for eternal life, that is a lie,and an affront to the gospel.
I think it is revealing that it is often the same people who tell you that one must give up sinning to be saved, who also say that God only chose some for salvation. If this is true, then He also only chose some to stop their sinning.
God desires that all men be saved (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4).
Jesus tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9).
God is just, and the justifier of whoever believes in Jesus as his Savior (Romans 3:26).
Whosoever believes in Jesus shall not perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16).
I’ll try to address the verses you gave me. But, a Calvinist will ALWAYS find more verses to prove his heretical doctrine, as will a Lordship “salvationist.”
Please note that one of the common misconceptions of Calvinists is that the word “chosen” always refers to eternal life. It doesn’t.
1. John 15:16 – refers to Jesus’ selection of disciples, not who would
have eternal life.
2. Ephesians 1:4 – refers to the fact that God has chosen that all believers in Christ will be Holy and blameless before Him, based on Christ’s righteousness, not our own. We become children of God through belief in Christ, not through predestination (see John 1:12).
3. 2 Thessalonians 2:13 – God has chosen that those who would be saved would be saved through BELIEF of the truth (believing in Jesus as Savior).
4. Matthew 22:14 – this is a parable, so not the clearest passage on how to have eternal life. But, I view the word “chosen” as chosen to get to stay at the wedding feast. They are chosen to get to stay, because they are dressed appropriately – clothed in Christ’s righteousness, which can only happen by believing in Him alone as Savior.
5. Deuteronomy 7:6 – refers to the nation of Israel. Remember, not all of them will receive eternal life, and both Jew and non-Jew receive eternal life the same way (see Romans 1:16).
6. John 6:37 – this is a great eternal security passage that does not teach that God chooses only some for eternal life. It says ALL. It means that anyone who believes (whosoever believes) has been given to Jesus.
7. Romans 8:29-30 – once someone becomes a believer, he is predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ and transformed into an immortal body when he goes to be with the Lord (like Jesus’ body in Luke 24:39).
8. Ephesians 1:11 – Christians are predestined for an inheritance. That is, those who believe in Christ as Savior will have an inheritance in heaven – 1 Peter 1:3-5, John 14:1-3, Romans 8:17.
9. John 6:44 – God draws ALL men to Him.
10. 1 Peter 1:2 – God does have foreknowledge, but does not choose who will be saved.
Steve, I hope this helps. Don’t listen to this guy’s poison.