Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CALVINISM'S FALSE GOD

The god that Calvinism portrays creates billions of people for the sole purpose of torturing them for eternity in hell. This he did before the foundation of the earth – even prior to Adam and Eve and their sin! In fact Calvin himself stated that his god preordained that Adam should sin – therefore sin and its presence in the world and within mankind is due solely to Calvin’s god’s choice. He preordained man’s fall – and then punishes mankind for falling? Is that a righteous and holy God of justice? (see quotes at end)

The Calvinist god has produced a creation with no reason or meaning. He will eventually destroy it and create a new heaven and earth populated with the predestined robots from this current creation. This god either didn’t have the intelligence to realise he could have created earth and populated it ONLY with his chosen people, or this god is sadistic and malevolent, purposely creating a lost majority he has specifically and personally predestined to eternal torment.

This is NOT the God of scripture and this is NOT the God I follow.
My God is the one who approached Adam and Eve after they has sinned and covered their nakedness. My God is the God that Abel approached with an acceptable offering. The God whose name men were able to call upon (Gen 4:26) after the fall. My God is the God Enoch was able to walk with (Gen 5:24). These are all examples from the very beginning of man’s history in which men WERE able to seek God despite their fallen state, proving the lie of Calvin’s “Total Depravity” doctrine. They were able to seek Him because HE first sought man immediately after the fall and provided a way.

My God is the God who did NOT create this world as a meaningless, cruel farce. My God created a world in which there was (and still is) free will, so that people have responsibility for their destiny. They can repent and turn to God and His provision of redemption or they can continue on their own path to destruction. My God is looking for a willing people, who through faith can be made holy and fit for the new creation that has always been His ultimate intention. This willing people are able to truly love God of their free will – Jesus isn’t getting a Stepford Bride.

My God is the God who shows mercy - to those who fear Him, to those who are merciful, and to those who love and obey Him. My God gives grace to those who are humble and receive His (resistible) gift of grace through faith.

My God is not the false god of Calvinism. The Calvinist god is a cruel counterfeit.


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quotes from Calvin:

“God not only foresaw that Adam would fall, but also ordained that he should….I
confess it is a horrible decree; yet no one can deny but God foreknew Adam’s fall,
and therefore foreknew it, because he had ordained it so by his own decree” (Cal. Inst.,
b. 3, c. 23, sec. 7).

All men are not created for the same end; but some are fore-ordained to eternal life,
others to eternal damnation. So according as every man was created for the one end or
the other, we say, he was elected, that is, predestined to life, or reprobated, that is,
predestined to damnation (Calv. Inst., book 3, chapter 21, section 1).

8 comments:

Con Yates said...

I disagree with Calvinists, as you do, but not so vehemently. None of us understand all of the Bible so that we are infallible. I am more charitable toward them. There are scriptures that point to the Calvinist Doctrine, but with an overall study and knowing the nature of God, I conclude that they are wrong. I'd hate to think any of my misundrstandings of scripture would condemn me. We start out as babes in Christ, but the truly Born-Again christian will increase in understanding. None of us should be beyond correction. I have a Bible Study Blog. I think I'm right, but look for other opinions.
Con

Onesimus said...

Hi Con,
Thanks for your comments.
I think this issue goes beyond minor doctrinal differences and a misunderstanding of scripture. In my article I tried to show the differences in character and motivation between the God of Calvinist belief and the God I have come to know in the 35+ years since I first became a Christian.

A God with different traits, different methods and different purposes seems very much to be a different God all together.

I find the following problems with the Calvinist’s approach. I have noted these problems through discussions with a close friend who describes himself as a “four and a half point Calvinist”.
1) No one becomes a Calvinist primarily through study of scripture; but firstly they find a problem in scripture such as the issue of predestination. Secondly they look for an interpretation of predestination through the teaching of other men (instead of seeking God and the teaching of His Spirit directly). In this process they come across Calvin’s theology which DOES give a plausible explanation of predestination – IF the majority of scripture is ignored and only a few proof texts are applied.
As you point out, some bible verses DO support Calvin’s doctrines – but then again scripture can be used to create and support any doctrine. The strength and weakness of a doctrine is found in the parts of scripture it ignores – not in the parts of scripture that are cherry-picked to support it. All scripture needs to be applied in its context – the ultimate context being the totality of scripture and the God it reveals.
2) I have found that the staunchest Calvinists still tend to preach an “Arminian” gospel. Basically Calvinists have no gospel of their own to preach because their God does all of the work regardless of any preaching done by man – however, since Jesus commanded His disciples to preach they still feel obliged to preach out of obedience even though they understand their preaching has no actual effect on the outcome. (God’s Irresistable grace brings those who He has Unconditionally elected to salvation. Those He has not chosen to benefit from His grace have no possibility of responding to any presentation of the gospel, but must suffer the consequences of the sin that God ordained them to be guilty of).

I seem to have had a very sheltered existence in my Christian life and had never heard of the details of Calvinism until about two years ago; and it has only been six months since I actually met someone with strong Calvinist beliefs. Of course I am now identified as an “Arminian” because of my personal understanding of predestination and election – however, my understanding of these issues came though my own study of scripture, not through a study of anyone else’s theology. I didn’t come across any reference to Arminius until a long while after my own study had led me to a similar understanding as his.

The extent of this “doctrinal” problem will not be solved through a brief exercise of intellectual reasoning. It is an issue of the spirit and not of the intellect, and any change in doctrinal stance can only come about when the traditions of men are cast aside and the scriptures become the sole source of doctrine and the Holy Spirit is allowed to be our primary teacher.

Anonymous said...

Calvinism is a heretical doctrine that strives to pervert 1) man's understanding of the character and nature of God and 2)the nature of our relationship with God.

I can't stand it ...

That does not mean that God has authorized me to condemn those who teach it, but rather I condemn the doctrine. Also, there are some who are apparently saved and repentant but who walk in deception in this regard.

I liked the blog, brother Onesimus.

brother mark

Onesimus said...

Thanks for your comments Mark.

It was not my intention make judgement upon the spiritual state of those who have been deceived by the doctrine of Calvinism.
I have some very good friends who are Calvinists and I know they sincerely love God and seek to serve Him.

I mention some of the weaknesses in their own approach to Calvinism in my reply to Con Yates.

Anonymous said...

Rom 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Rom 8:29 Because whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.
Rom 8:30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.


I'm only partly familiar with Calvin's teachings, and never had any witness of the Spirit with anything i've read of him.

However, when i teach on the above verses, and many others ; saying that God calls certain people, God chooses (elects) etc. then i'm invariably labeled as a Calvinist.

Which is very poor. It's really a slander, accusing such as me as understanding the Bible thru the filter of Calvin.

ian vincent

Onesimus said...

Ian,
One major problem with Calvinism is the way it interprets election.

The Calvinist interpretation makes it unconditional and arbitrary - like a divine lottery.

For example, in one of the Calvinist proof texts it says God "will have mercy on whom he will have mercy" - they interpret this as if there's no recognisable point or purpose behind the sharing of His mercy. That it's not for us to understand. However, scripture gives several examples of the type of people to whom His mercy is given.
One example being,He shows mercy to the merciful.

Likewise His grace is not bestowed in an arbitrary manner. Scripture tells us more than once that He gives grace to the humble.

While the issue of election MAY present some challenges, we will NEVER find understanding by limiting our beliefs by adopting statements in a selection of proof texts while ignoring huge portions of the rest of scripture.

Anonymous said...

I am not a Calvinist.

The issue of predestination, election, etc centers on the sovereignty of God, which is the core "definition" of God.

Seems Calvinists and Arminians both say they believe in God's total sovereignty.

So, a problem comes: If God saw/knew that some would deny him and be cast into hell as a result, would not a good God either not created them or else change them so that their eyes would be opened and embrace truth? Who made him with his temperament, predispositions, intelligence, etc? Who placed him in a particualar family, culture, environment that would further affect his decisions?

Yes, scripture does say that He shows Himself merciful to the merciful and is found by them who diligently seek Him. The question then becomes: By what means did they come by this mercy or desire to seek Him?

This whole thing is far more complex than you have stated because God's sovereignty is the real issue and at the heart of the question/problem.

Calvinism does raise some real issues that need to be addressed if God is indeed sovereign. Most have not thought through what sovereignty has to imply.

If God is less than totally sovereign, then what does He bow to?

Not taking sides, just raising some core issues.

It may just be that it is in only our limited minds that predestination and free will seem incompatible. Seems that God sees no contradictions and may equally endorse the statements of the Calvinists and the Arminians. Yes, they do seem mutually exclusive to us, but evidently, not to Him

Seems making the focus about Calvinists or Arminians muddies the water and sheds no light on God's Glory or His ways. I think all discussion of doctrine should enable us to more fully see His glory, majesty, and sovereignty.

Can anyone say they know God and not have a grasp of His sovereignty?

You have a good mind and honest heart and I look forward to your further investigation and input on the issue of sovereignty.

Onesimus said...

The issue of sovereignty is not complex. God created this earth and all it contains for a reason. God’s sovereign will is not subject to change or temperamental swings.
He created it so that He could obtain the outcome HE desires. That outcome is not obscure or hidden – He has revealed it in His word.
And what is that desire?
He wants a people who will willingly worship Him for who He is: a people to become part of His new creation in which only righteousness dwells.


I have touched on this in the article “God’s Agenda”.

You asked:
“So, a problem comes: If God saw/knew that some would deny him and be cast into hell as a result, would not a good God either not created them or else change them so that their eyes would be opened and embrace truth?”

There is no problem. God DID know that many would deny Him – but to allow some to willingly follow Him, He also had to allow others to willingly deny Him. It’s all about His sovereign choice to give man free will.
God doesn’t want any to perish, but if men make the choice to perish then He allows them to follow that choice. He wants a willing people to become part of His eternal Kingdom – who willingly follow Him with no coercion.
How much more could God have done to give us a way to salvation?
How much more than becoming a human Himself?
How much more than allowing Himself to be mistreated and murdered – taking the penalty for our sin?
He has done everything to make it possible for people to change, for our eyes to be opened and for us to embrace the truth. He has done everything He can do while still maintaining the integrity of His sovereign decision to give mankind a free will.

You also said:
“Seems making the focus about Calvinists or Arminians muddies the water and sheds no light on God's Glory or His ways. I think all discussion of doctrine should enable us to more fully see His glory, majesty, and sovereignty”

I totally agree. These man made philosophies do nothing to further our understanding of God. One thing that is becoming increasingly clear to me is that our reading of scripture is so often influenced by human tradition. So many clear scriptural statements become hard to understand because the clear meaning is at odds with our particular theological viewpoint. An example of this is a friend who found Romans 5 hard to understand – in particular verses 18-19 which didn’t fit his strong Calvinist doctrine.

“Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.”

I hope to write an article about the way our tradition clouds our understanding of scripture in the near future.