Calvinism, Defined and Opposed…Mostly

Photo Source: Google
Photo Source: Google

Today on, “Catchy titles of a man desperate for hits…”

This is a post I’ve wanted to do for a while talking about Calvinism and why I’m against it. Of course, I have to also explain Calvinism a tad, so I’m going to break it down by the acrostic TULIP. This is a VERY basic definition of Calvinism, but this is the summation of how I learned it. Arguments are welcome, but please back up what you say and be friendly.

T–TOTAL DEPRAVITY 

This basically means that mankind, on its own, is totally deprived, totally sinful. I would argue this, but I think it needs better definition first.

If it’s talking about forever and always, I say no. If one accepts Christ into their life, they are a new creation according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. God gives us new hearts (Ezekiel 36:26) and we are able to do good and Godly things.

If it’s talking about just people without God, I say…sort of. I think it’s ignorant to say that non-Christians can do no good. Heck, often times, they do better than the Christians. However, I agree that human kind, without God, is a chronic deterioration. Look around; we’re a very self-indulgent “me” people. Look at history, it ain’t just us and it ain’t just now. Mankind fights for itself, its own causes, and to its own ends.

Agreement: 50%

U–Unconditional Election

This part states that God chooses us before the beginning of time. His calling us is not based on what we do or who we are. That’s what they mean by Unconditional.

To this I say absolutely yes. You cannot earn salvation; it’s a gift from Jesus. No one is righteous, no not one (Isaiah 53:6), so God’s choosing us is based on his own love and goodness.

Agreement: 100%

L–Limited Atonement

God’s Unconditional Election chooses some people for salvation, but not everyone. Thus, not everyone can be saved.

To this I say ABSOLUTELY NO. Limited atonement says that some people have absolutely no chance of getting into heaven. To that, I say, “What about the cross?” Did Jesus just die for a few people? Did he die only for the select? Does God only love a few people and the rest can suffer for all he cares?

John 6:40 says that it’s God’s will that anybody who looks on Jesus (and who hasn’t) should be saved. God wants everybody, not just a few. John 3:16 says that God so loved the world, not just a couple people in it. It’s a character argument–I cannot reconcile God’s great character with someone who just picks and chooses people while claiming to love them all.

There’s another argument for that, but it falls in line with the next one.

Agreement: 0%

I–Irresistible Grace

In a nutshell, when God moves, you can’t fight it. His grace is so great and so powerful that anyone caught in it is drawn in. This goes in line with Limited Atonement, because if Grace is Irresistible, then God doesn’t give that grace to everybody, only the select.

My big problem with this tenant is that is spits in the face of free will. God is VERY concerned about free will–the whole Bible shows it. Adam and Eve had a choice. Abraham could have kept Isaac for himself. Moses had to be convinced. The Israelites were given a covenant and asked if they accepted it. The recurring theme of the Bible is that when people screw up, it’s their own fault, not God’s.

God gives us a choice because you cannot force love. He doesn’t overpower anybody except in revelation. Yes, God may reveal himself in powerful ways, and yes, it’s life changing. But the life change is a result of our choice. God’s revelation convinces us; it doesn’t force us.

Again, I say look around. People deny God’s awesome grace every single day. People who see and feel the power of God one moment will forget it in the next. The parable of the soils says so itself (Luke 8:4-15).

Agreement–10%

P–Preservation of the Saints

Once saved, always saved. Again, it depends on what they mean. I believe that Jesus’s sacrifice was once and for all; no further sacrifices need to be made (Hebrews 10:11-12). All sins are dealt with on the cross. But there is also a balance. Shall we go on sinning because God’s grace has cleansed us? By no means! (Romans 6:1-2).

The Bible does say that nothing can separate us from the love of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35-36). However, this is not someone to take lightly or abuse. If you’re abusing God’s grace, then that is direct evidence that your heart is not changed. You don’t really love God or want a relationship with him; you want his benefits. Sorry, friend, but the Israelites tried that, and if God’s chosen people couldn’t do it, what makes you think you can? (I’d tag a scripture, but there are too many. The books of Kings, Chronicles, Lamentations, and most all of the prophets say so).

Agreement–50%

TOTAL AGREEMENT–2.1/5 (42%)

As you can see, I’m not totally against Calvinism. I see some very strong points, such as God’s choosing us out of his love and guarding us with his grace. I simply disagree on the points that show God as partial to a certain group of people and the parts that discount free will. God is too loving and values his creations far too much to just ignore some. The Bible is God’s love story to us, calling mankind back to him.

Will the whole world be saved? No, not even close. Does God wish it? Yes. Well, if he’s an all-powerful God, why doesn’t he just exert his will? First of all, sin is in the world, and God has allowed it for a time. Where did sin come from? Free will. God wasn’t surprised by the Fall of Genesis 3. But I think he knew that he couldn’t force us to love him, and he wanted a true relationship with us.

That’s why he calls us, courts us, romances us with his revelations and his goodness. But like any lover, we reserve the right to say “No.” Will we regret that decision? Yes, eternally. But it is our choice to make, and we cannot blame God for our own choices.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Calvinism, Defined and Opposed…Mostly

  1. Thank you for a brilliant thought provoking article. I think the way you presented TULIP I would join with your conclusions. Sadly I think you, as I were, did not present them as they were taught by the long line of theologians mostly as presented by Augustine, Aquinas, Luther and Calvin.

    Example none of these author taught total depravity. They taught radical depravity. They taught that after the fall, man is blind, dead, and deaf to the things of God. Paul quoting Psalms put it this way: ““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good not even one.”(Rom 3:10-12) They contended that man by his fallen nature is radical fallen and cannot choose God. That is why the Spirit of God must give them life, open their eyes and ears.(Effectual grace wrongly tagged Irresistible grace)

    Reading this giants you will also discover that none defended limited atonement, since they believe that all, unless holding universal salvation, hold to a kind of limited atonement. The question was whether it was God or man that limit the extent of atonement. Historical reformers called this particular redemption, or definite atonement, namely that Jesus lived, died and rose again particularly for those whom God the Father gave him from the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless. Thus Jesus is said to offer a definite atonement for those whom God unconditionally elected.

    Irresistible grace is simply false, since all Augustine-Calvin knew that grace is not only resistible but is been resisted each day. What they contended was effectual grace. The process which the Holy Spirit transform the heart of stone to heart of flesh. The process God awake the spiritual dead to see the power of the Cross.

    Sorry for a long comment but I hope I began a search in you to understand what led 19th century American theologians to tag TULIP. There is so much more. I did not know until I started reading original source. From Augustine-Calvin.

    – Prayson

    Like

Who Cares What I Think? What Do YOU Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s