Calvinism is extremely tricky. It is hard to label them a cult because there are so many good, Bible Believing Christians that love the LORD and want to serve him, but go to a church that has a pastor that has accepted this false teaching. These people are deceived by a philosophy that is completely non-biblical and has its roots in Catholic theology. You think you know what they are saying is what you believe, but in reality what they are saying is completely different from what the Bible actually teaches because they put different definitions to the words that most people use.
A preacher once said, “If you read the Bible without ever hearing the teaching of Reformed Theology, you will never come away believing what the Calvinists teach, it just isn’t in there.” You have to be taught Reformed Theology by man, you can NEVER pick it up on your own from studying the Bible on your own.
That is why I believe Calvinism or Reformed Theology is a heretical teaching.
Ephesians 5:10-11 – 10 Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. 11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
That word reprove means to “tell a fault” or “expose”. False doctrine a work of Satan to confuse God’s people and to keep them in the darkness of ignorance of God’s teaching. but the light of God’s word takes away that darkness and replaces it with the light of truth.
Psalm 119:105 – Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
God’s word lights our way as we walk the path that God has set before us.
Calvinism or Reformed Theology is a man made philosophy depending on fallible human logic which totally ignores many clear Scriptures, perverts many, and misuses others. Long before John Calvin’s time the teaching was presented by the Roman Catholic heretic Augustine. The mere idea that a doctrine of any kind has its roots in Roman Catholicism ought to raise a flag or two about the legitimacy of the doctrine. John Calvin admitted that he was a student of Augustine’s teaching and he was heavily influenced what Augustine believed about the Bible and Theology.
One of the sad things about Calvinism is that most of the Bible teachers and preachers that have accepted this false teaching are spot on in everything else they teach, which is why it is amazing to me that they got it so wrong when it comes to God’s plan of Salvation.
So, having said all that, let us look at the false teaching of Calvinism or as it is called today: Reformed Theology.
The acronym TULIP is used to teach the 5 main points of John Calvin’s teaching. I will use the definitions from their own website.
- T = Total Depravity – Man is so depraved that he cannot choose God or believe in God of his own free will. God has to “give” him the faith to believe before can be saved. Total depravity is taught as the Total Inability of man to choose Truth. The Calvinist plays many such word games. The Word of God teaches that God created man with the ability to reason, choose, and receive Truth. The problem with the teaching of “Total Depravity” is that the Bible is full of verses show that man has the ability to choose truth and is given ample opportunities to do so. For example: Ephesians 2:8; Romans 10:17; James 1:21; Isaiah 1:18; Joshua 24:15; Psalm 119:30, 111, 173; John 1:12; 2 Timothy 1:12; to name a few.
- U = Unconditional Election – Calvinism teaches that God selects those who are to be saved without any condition, but the Bible teaches that there is one condition to salvation: faith. To accept this teaching, you also have to accept that if God has pre-elected some to Salvation, then He has also pre-elected the others to go to Hell. Also, in order to accept this teaching, you have to walk all over Scripture that states that teach that God wants all people to be saved. A staunch Calvinist, John Piper wrote: “Before you were born or had done anything good or bad, God chose whether to save you or not.”, which is also implying that He also chose who will go to Hell. Unconditional Election also implies that God picks and chooses favorites for no apparent reason. But we know from Scripture that this simply isn’t true. Here are two verses that Calvinists use to support unconditional election. Look at them carefully.
Romans 8:28-30, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom
he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
- Who is under consideration here? “Them that love God” ¬ not a few whom God loves
- “The called according to His purpose,” we are not called by a still, mysterious voice or by a direct operation of the Holy
Spirit or by God Himself, but by the gospel (2 Thessalonians 2:14).
- Those who hear, believe and respond in obedience are referred to as “the called” (Galatians 1:6; 1 Peter 2:9).
- In Romans 8:28-30, we can see the unfolding of God’s plan. God determined to send mankind a Savior to die for all men.
- He foreordained all of the events before they actually took place.
- In that sense, God predestined our salvation. It was not that He selected us individually to be saved or lost, but that those who accepted the gospel call would be saved.
- Those who answer that call are justified and glorified. What was predestined in Romans 8:28-30? That we should “be conformed to the image of his Son.” Thus, as in the next passage (Ephesians 1), it was God’s eternal plan that we become His children through Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:7, “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory:”
- The context shows clearly that it is God’s plan of redemption that was foreordained. In verse 5, the power of God is in the gospel (Romans 1:16).
- In times past, it had been a mystery, not fully revealed.
- Even the prophets did not understand completely about Christ.
- But now this plan is revealed as the wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:3,5; 1 Peter 1:10,12).
- This sacrifice was for our salvation. It was a part of God’s eternal purpose (Ephesians 3:8,11).
We are God’s chosen people, not individually selected, but as a whole. Just as the nation of Israel was at one time God’s chosen people (Deuteronomy 7:6), so likewise we are now such. 1 Peter 1:1-2 talks about Christians being “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” But it is clear Peter is referring to the Christ’s assembly, not selected individuals, in 1 Peter 2:9, when he says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:”
To accept Unconditional Election, you have to completely ignore or twist the following Scripture: 1 Peter 1:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Luke 7:50; Ephesians 2:8
- L = Limited Atonement – Calvinism teaches that Christ died only for the elect, but the Bible teaches that He died for all mankind. The reason not all are saved is because they failed to repent and receive the Saviour, not because He didn’t provide for their salvation. Look at:
1Timothy 2:4 – Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. (the word “all” means all, not a few, not some, but ALL)
2 Peter 3:9 – not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (God is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance.
There is no possible way Limited Atonement could be true with verses like these and this is only a sampling of the many verses that teach that God DOES NOT elect only a few to Salvation. You have to twist Scripture and make words say something that they don’t mean and ignore the context of the passage to make ANY verse support limited atonement.
Check out the following Scripture: Isaiah 53:6; 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 2:9; John 3:16
- I = Irresistible Grace – Calvinism teaches that God’s grace for salvation cannot be resisted, but the Word of God says it can be resisted. The doctrine of Irresistible Grace states that God wills a person who is elect to believe, and that it is therefore impossible for that person not to believe. This too contradicts the Bible, for there are many examples of those who indeed resisted. In John 5:39-40, Jesus said that the Scriptures bear witness of Him. But, He says, “You are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.” In Matthew 23:37, Jesus laments over Jerusalem. He was certainly willing for them to be saved, but they were not. In Acts 6:8-10, Stephen was “full of grace and power . . . and the Spirit,” and yet those who heard his preaching resisted. In Acts 7:51, before Stephen is put to death, he said, “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit.” While the Calvinist may claim that these were not the “elect”, I have proven above that Unconditional Election is not Biblical. If that teaching is not Biblical, then Irresistible Grace is also not Biblical. It cannot stand on its own. Check out the following Scripture: Lamentations 3:35-36; Matthew 23:37; John 5:39-40; Acts 7:51; Proverbs 1:24-26; Proverbs 29:1; John 3:17-18 (Mankind is condemned by his own decision, not by ANYTHING God does.);
- P = Perseverance – The Bible teaches preservation of the saints; not perseverance of the saints. Perseverance teaches that the true believer will persevere to the end. A kind of works salvation. Perseverance of the saints takes away what God has already accomplished for us in Christ. The payment has been made and we can trust Him and know that our salvation is secure in Him from the very moment we believe. We do not have to struggle through life with only a hope that we will persevere somehow proving that we are indeed one of the select few who were destined to be saved. God desires obedience and faithfulness in the lives of His children. We need to be adding to the foundation of our faith. This is not for salvation but for maturity.Jude 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24; John 10:27-29; Colossians 3:3-4; Hebrews 7:25
Calvinism clearly errs from the teaching of the Word of God on all 5 points of it’s TULIP. The logical conclusion of Calvinism is that God is an unfair respecter of persons who chooses people to salvation, not according to any standard that He established, but arbitrarily. This strikes at the love and justice of God, contradicts the fact that Christ gave his life for ALL, and rejects man’s responsibility to choose and love his Creator.
Proverbs 24:23: “… It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.”
Acts 10:34-35: “… Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.”
John 6:28-29: “… What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? … This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent.”
Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.”
- All have sinned and deserve eternal separation from God. (Romans 3:23, 6:23)
- Christ (the Son of God) died on the cross after living a sinless life on earth, was buried, and rose again. His shed blood provided the atonement needed for sin. (I Corinthians 15:1-4; Galatians 1:3-4)
- All may receive the provided salvation from the penalty of sin based on what Christ has done simply by faith. (Romans 3:22-28; Romans 5:1-2; Romans 5:18; Ephesians 1:10-15; Philippians 3:9; Romans 4:3-5)
- Those who then believe in Christ based on the gospel for salvation are indeed saved and know so right from that point on into eternity. Everlasting life means forever. (Romans 5:21; John 3:15-16; Ephesians 2:8-9; Ephesians 3:6; Colossians 1:4-5)
- We are preserved by God as His children. (John 10:25-30, Galatians 3:26-29, Galatians 4:7)
- The blood of Christ covers our sin. (Ephesians 1:7, Ephesians 2:13, Colossians 1:14)
- We are sealed with the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1:13).
- No saved person is ever subjected to eternal condemnation. (Romans 8:1, 15-17, 29-30, John 3:18)
- Believers ought to walk in obedience but the motivation is love for Christ, His love for us, and thankfulness for what He has done – not fear of losing our salvation or fear that we will eventually prove that we weren’t one of the elect. (Ephesians 2:10, Romans 6:4, 11-13, 2 Corinthians 5:14, John 14:21, Romans 12:1-2, Titus 2:11-12, I Peter 2:1-3)
- God is glorified by our obedience and choices to grow in sanctification and will one day reward those who are faithful. (I Corinthians 3:9-14)
- God still saves those who have little to show for themselves yet so as by fire. (I Corinthians 3:15)
- Man has both a fallen nature “old man” and a “new man” and walking in either does not prove or disprove salvation. (Ephesians 4:21-32, Galatians 5:17, I John 1:8)
Calvinism or Reformed Theology has its roots in Catholic doctrine and it is a heretical theological doctrine. Calvinists use their theological system to interpret Scripture rather than allowing the Bible to determine their theological system.
Here is a link to a conference our church held that addresses this false teaching in much more detail. It is well worth taking the time to listen to all the sermons.