Calvinism

Calvinism, Christmas and Theological Incompatibilities

I’m sure that most people who follow a Calvinistic based theological point of view have never thought about it, but Calvinism and Christmas (and by Christmas, I’m talking about the whole gifting-giving aspect of the holiday) are just theologically incompatible.

One, acting right is expected if we want to stay off the naughty list – no excuses. There goes Total Hereditary Depravity.

Two, asking for what we need/want is necessary to getting it. There goes Unconditional Election.

Three, buying gifts for complete strangers is a common deed that is done. There goes Limited Atonement.

Four, there are people who always willingly leave their gift sitting under the tree. There goes Irresistible Grace.

And five, gifts come with responsibilities – abuse them and you can lose them. There goes Perseverance Of The Saints.

Now, all analogies break down at some point (and by that I’m talking about gifts that people give compared to the gift of God’s salvation), but I hope you can see how the accepted simple concepts of man’s gift-giving reveals how unreasonable Calvinistic theology really is in relation to gifts from God.

Maybe this is why poinsettias are the flower of the season instead of TULIPs. EA

Brethren, I speak in the manner of men…” (Galatians 3:15)

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Calvinism’s “Unconditional” Loses Election, Part 3 – Your Vote Counts

Election, election, election – it’s not just for presidents! Election is for God’s people…people who come to God by faith through Jesus. This form of election is created by God, but we must choose to participate in it. No one elects God to the throne! His government is a monarchy, but we choose whether or not we’ll join His kingdom. The ticket will not change: it’s Heaven or it’s Hell for every sinner, and we can choose Heaven! That is the wonder and grace of the gospel!

But this isn’t enough for some! For some, well, they want the choice made for them. They want their election to be “unconditional.” Not only do they want salvation to be unconditional – they want damnation to be the same! After all, how can one be “unconditional” without the other being the same??? If one person has his or her ticket punched for them then all must follow the ‘party’ line.

The fact is that when it comes to God’s election, a person must choose which ‘party’ they’re going to be a member of; but a person may ask about the people in Romans 9? Doesn’t this chapter prove God chooses people according to whatever His desire is and not according to what a person chooses to do in response to God’s desire?

Good question! Think about the people in Romans 9. How did they choose to react to God’s calling? From Genesis to Revelation a person can read about God’s plan to bring a Messiah into the world to save people from our sins, and from Romans 1 to Romans 11 Paul is saying that God had a right to extend His grace to the gentiles and a right to reject Israel because of their treatment of His election that comes through faith in Jesus. Look at how Paul ends Romans 9:30-33. He ends it by saying that very thing! Israel lost their election because they stumbled at (meaning chose to reject) that elect rock of God’s people – Jesus!

Romans 9:7 mentions Abraham. Why does Paul begin with Abraham? Why did God choose to use Abraham? Because God foreknew him! Genesis 18:19 says:

For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”

Through Abraham the whole world was going to be blessed through One seed – who was that seed? It was Jesus (Galatians 3:16). And through Abraham’s promised son, Isaac, the promise would continue to be brought to fruition.

Romans 9:10-13 mentions Jacob and Esau. Why? Because when it comes to Isaac the Jews could say, “Isaac deserved to be counted in God’s elect and not Ishmael because Isaac was the promised child.” But in the situation of Esau (the older brother) and Jacob (the younger brother) the elder child would have his “promise of inheritance” pulled out from under his feet. And to make this even more interesting, before either of the children were ever born God chose who He was going to use to bring his purpose (salvation from sin) into the world! God predestinated Jacob to be used to bring God’s elect into the world because He foreknew him. And listen to this, God predestinated the service of Jacob, but nowhere does it say He predestinated the salvation of Jacob. Jacob didn’t “earn” anything, but he would answer the call that Esau rejected and traded for a bowl of beans!!! Don’t think so? Then read this:

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.” (Hebrews 12:14-16) (more…)

Calvinism’s “Unconditional” Loses Election, Part 2 – Biblical Election by Faith Wins!

The concept of election is a biblically true and wonderful concept. The woeful concept of Calvinism’s “Unconditional Election” is biblically false. Calvinism takes biblical predestination which means God had a plan to pay the price of man’s sin from the beginning, and turns it into God buying everyone a one way plane ticket with no chance of cancelling the destination. According to Calvinism’s “unconditional election,” once you get on the plane…make that, once you’re forced onto the plane headed toward Heaven or Hell there’s no way off because your ticket is already punched!

Calvinism takes predestination through and turns it into predestination to. It has God throwing people into prison, throwing away the key and then saying we’ll be punished if we can’t get out!

Without a doubt, throughout Bible history, God chose to use certain individuals and nations over others – but the question is why did God choose to use them? Is it because God indiscriminately predestined some individuals to salvation and others to condemnation regardless of individual reaction like Calvinism teaches or is it because God knew exactly how those individuals would respond to His call?

Scripturally speaking the answer to this is clear! Doctrinally speaking, Calvinism muddies the water.

Where Calvinism falls short in its understanding is seen in the fact that God knowing what everyone will choose to do in their own heart when it comes to His commands is not the same as God making (irresistibly forcing) them do it.

Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’” Isaiah 46:9-10

As for you, my son Solomon, know the God of your father, and serve Him with a loyal heart and with a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will cast you off forever.1 Chronicles 28:9

Combine the clear language of God’s attributes from these two verses and what we get is God’s ability to make His will come to pass, not by overriding the free will of men and women, but by using that free will in our hearts to make His plans complete.

With this biblical principle firmly established we can now objectively look at one of the most, if not the most, “controversial” books in the Bible when it comes to predestination and whether God simply chooses His elect’s salvation for them based on nothing they have done or on something they will do.

In Romans 8:28-30 Paul says the avenue to Heaven has been predestined, but those who walk in it must decide for themselves! It’s all about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what we as individuals choose to do with it.

Now, what is the purpose Paul mentions in verse 28? The purpose is salvation in Jesus! This is the same purpose Paul mentions in 2 Timothy 1:9: “who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began,.

Verse 29 follows up by saying God foreknew individuals, not for-chose!!! The verse does not say ‘those He predestinated He predestinated’ does it? Why not? Because the truth of Biblical election revolves around God foreknowing those who would be His elect by their willingness to conform to the image of Jesus. (more…)

Calvinism’s “Unconditional” Loses Election

Despite what some in the religious world thinks or teaches, there are doctrines that are false and dangerous and Calvinism is one of them. Calvinism fundamentally changes the way one must view the entire gospel of Jesus Christ from beginning to end. It changes the meaning of why Jesus had to die, it changes the meaning of what the cross stands for and it changes the invitation to man given by God!

Calvinism begins with Total Hereditary Depravity. It teaches that people are born completely wicked and so spiritually depraved and separated from God that we deserve hell the moment we’re born. Other than the obvious, another result of the doctrine teaches that we can’t do anything good spiritually or choose to love God and come to him in faith. So how can a person ever be saved if there’s no way that we can choose to do good, choose to believe or choose to come to God? What’s the solution???

The solution to that situation (according the Calvinism), whether we’re lost or saved, is that when it comes to salvation the decision has already been made for us and there’s nothing anyone can do about it! From that point on, the unconditionally conditional doctrine of Calvinism’s Unconditional Election walks in the door as a welcome or unwelcome guest; it all depends on what position you find yourself placed in spiritually.

When you get past all the “pleasant talk” Unconditional Election says that God doesn’t ask a sinner to do anything when it comes to responding to his offer of salvation through grace. This goes for both salvation and damnation! The real issue with unconditional election isn’t whether or not God has an elect people (because he does), it’s whether or not that election is unconditional.

There’s an inconvenient flip-side to Unconditional Election that’s not very logical much less scriptural. If a person is unconditionally chosen for salvation by no choice of their own, then the flip-side is that another person is unconditionally chosen for damnation by no choice of their own. To put it more plainly – the flip-side of being unconditionally elected is being unconditionally rejected!!!

Unconditional Election destroys the fundamental foundation of the gospel that says “whosoever believes should not perish” in John 3:16. Calvinism says “whosoever” doesn’t mean “whosoever” because “whosoever” means a choice; and unconditional election gives a person no choice when it comes to salvation or condemnation!!! The doctrine of Unconditional Election says “wait, we do have a choice – the choice we made when Adam sinned.” Talk about being disingenuous with words! What kind of choice is choice if it’s chosen for us?

A huge question is: If a person is unconditionally elected or unconditionally rejected without any consideration for personal response or responsibility then why did Jesus act a like a person is personally responsible? Think about it for a minute… (more…)

Total Hereditary Depravity, Part 3 – The Tangled Web That Total Hereditary Depravity Weaves

Beginning with Total Hereditary Depravity, Calvinism weaves a very tangled web. There are some big problems with saying that everyone who is born is born a sinner. Besides the fact that Total Hereditary Depravity contradicts the teaching of the scriptures, one huge problem arises when the question, “What happens when babies die” is asked. Why ask such a question? Because sadly, it does happen; but even sadder is the answer that Calvinists must give when it does.

Calvinists don’t like this question. At least ones who realize what they’re saying. Why not? Well, remember, all a person has to do to go to hell is be born! After all, it’s sinners who are going to hell. And according to Total Hereditary Depravity that’s exactly what a baby is born!

Babies going to hell??? For being born??? According to Calvinism!!! No wonder the question is so uncomfortable. So how is the situation dealt with? Well, there are a few (howbeit extremely, extremely far-fetched) options on the table.

If you’re Catholic, you baptize the baby. This opens a whole other can of worms, but non-the-less the answer is you baptize the baby without faith contrary to what the scriptures teach (Mark 16:15-16). After you baptize the baby you can “worry” about the faith part later and have them “confirmed” without the baptism. It’s not a good answer, much less a scriptural one, but hey, it’s an answer!

Now if you’re Protestant you don’t believe that baptism has anything to do with salvation (at least the vast, vast majority believe this). If baptism isn’t necessary for adults, then how could it be for babies? The only way Protestants who believe in Total Hereditary Depravity deal with the issue is by saying babies who die get a “special exception” from said depravity. So that leaves all the babies who die as members of God’s predestinated, unconditionally elected group. I guess that makes all the babies who survive the one’s we have to worry about!?

Let’s cut to the chase. If you believe that Total Hereditary Depravity is the truth, you have one of two choices. One, the baby won’t go to Hell because they didn’t sin – but we can’t have that because they were born sinners!!! As for number two, the baby won’t go to Hell because they were born a part of God’s predestinated elect BUT you can’t be sure about it since they never expressed their faith. Either way, there can be no genuine hope because if you ask a person who truly believes in Total Hereditary Depravity, they will say you can’t be sure if a baby is in Heaven because they deserved to go to Hell.

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Total Hereditary Depravity, Part 2 – The Bible Simply Does Not Teach We’re Born Sinners!

From Genesis to Revelation you won’t find a single verse that teaches all of mankind is born completely corrupt and incapable of anything good spiritually the moment we’re born! You would think that would settle the issue, but sadly it doesn’t. Despite the fact that the Bible doesn’t teach Total Hereditary Depravity there are some people who still love to try to make it do so!

People who teach we’re born sinners love to quote David when he said, “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me.” (Psalm 51:5) They don’t love quoting it in context but they still love quoting it. But for some reason they don’t like to quote Job when he said, “But from my youth I reared him [the poor] as a father, And from my mother’s womb I guided her [the widow].” (Job 31:18) I wonder why not???

When did Job say he began guiding the widow??? So what did Job mean by that? Same thing David meant when he said he was conceived in sin! They were both speaking in hyperboles to describe the lifestyle they were living at that particular time. It’s not that David was literally conceived in sin any more than Job was literally serving the widow from the womb! They were symbolic phrases to describe the feeling they had in their heart.

People who teach we’re born sinners love to quote Paul when he said, “among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.” (Ephesians 2:3) They don’t love to quote it in context but they love to talk about how we’re children of wrath by nature – attempting to make Paul teach that we’re born that way. But they don’t like to quote Paul when he said, “for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,” (Romans 2:14). Again I wonder why not???

Never mind the context of Ephesians 2:3 that says the nature of wrath comes from disobedience in verse 2 or that the nature is actually talking about a learned nature, let’s pretend for a second that nature means we’re born completely corrupt, and by nature we can’t do anything good spiritually! If people are born with a nature that can’t do anything good spiritually then how did the Gentiles of the old world follow God’s law by nature??? If people are born with a nature that can’t do anything good spiritually and the heart is nothing but corrupt, then how did Jesus describe the heart as good and honest that the seed (God’s word – Luke 8:11) fell into in Luke 8:15?

How can any of that happen? It’s because we’re not born sinners! We’re not born spiritually depraved! Total Hereditary Depravity is totally wrong!!!

The Bible teaches that we are all born spiritually innocent and we become guilty like Adam when we choose sin over righteousness. Adam and Eve ate from the tree of “knowledge of GOOD and EVIL” – not the tree of “knowledge of EVIL and EVIL.” The heart of mankind goes astray from God – it’s not born astray from God! (more…)

Total Hereditary Depravity, Part 1 – What Kind of Seed Did the Fruit Lead To?

Ever heard of continental divides? They’re areas such as mountains that literally divide geographical regions by causing water to flow in two separate directions thus creating a continental division. Spiritually speaking, there are correlations to continental divides that I call doctrinal divides, and one of the greatest doctrinal divides around is called Calvinism, and once a person hits the waters of Calvinism the truth flows in a completely different direction. Calvinism is not just a doctrinal divide; it’s a “great” one! Why? Because Calvinism fundamentally changes the way one must view the entire gospel of Christ; and it all begins with Total Hereditary Depravity (a.k.a. being born a sinner).

Total Hereditary Depravity teaches the immediate lack of spiritual life and complete wickedness and lack of nature to do any good spiritually the moment one is born. It preaches that the moment we’re conceived, our spiritual heart is so completely fallen and full of sin that we can’t choose to listen to God. It means the moment a baby is born, they are spiritually lost and worthy of God’s judgment and condemnation!

But what does the Bible say about this idea??? Since it’s all blamed on Adam let’s go to the scene of the crime and investigate!

The scene of the crime is recorded in Genesis 3:1-11. There you’ll find that without a doubt Adam and Eve sinned! But the odd thing about it is that, contrary to Calvinism, I don’t see anything there about you and me!!! I see the “origin of sin” for sure – but not the famed “original sin” that I am supposedly guilty of when I’m born. From this point in the Bible, Calvinists say every single person born (except Jesus – which we’ll talk about in the next post) is born with a depraved soul! Why? Because we personally sinned in the garden? Nope. Because we’re born in “Adam’s image and likeness” we’re born the sinner that Adam was (Genesis 5:1-3). Calvinism says to be born in the image of Adam is to be born a sinner – no exceptions!!!

But there are more than a couple of problems with the above idea, but I want to quickly give two of them!

First off, whose image were Adam and Eve created in? (Genesis 1:26-27) It was God’s image! The same image that we bear to this day. Now if being in the “image of God” meant being without sin then why did they sin??? If the beginning of the human race could begin life without being sinners then why can’t we?

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