The Grace of God

That Brings Salvation Has Appeared to All Men (Titus 2:11)

Refuting Calvinism

Posted by israeliteindeed on July 5, 2011

This is a very well-written article by Doctor Patrick Johnston, demonstrating how Calvinism is contrary to Biblical reason and sound doctrine.  God bless you!

Refuting What Calvinists Believe with What Calvinists Know

Muting the Objection of Conscience and Creation

There are many Calvinists both dead and living who have earned my admiration over the years. That I believe that they are in doctrinal error does not mitigate my respect and admiration for them as mighty men of God. Some of the greatest open air preachers and evangelists during the first and second Great Awakenings were Calvinists. Calvinists are leading Christendom in the restoration of biblical order for the home, in pioneering Christian home education, and are at the forefront of the attempts to apply the truths of God’s Word to issues generally thought of as secular: public education, welfare, economics, criminal justice, and the lordship of Christ over all matters of life. For that, they have my deep respect.

A Calvinist I deeply admire is Greg Bahnsen, one of my favorite Christian apologists who taught me, through his writings, books, and sermons, the presuppositional approach to evangelism and strengthened my belief in theonomy – the belief that governments and nations should obey God’s Word in all matters. When I prepared to listen to a CD that he preached on the subject of Calvinism, I grew concerned that my worldview was going to come crashing down. I have never heard Bahnsen say anything where he wasn’t overwhelmingly persuasive. I felt for certain he was going to bring a probing application of presuppositional apologetics to prove that Calvinism was true, necessitating a sea change in my theological beliefs.

What I heard from him, however, was the opposite: rather than a vigorous appeal to conscience and creation to prove the veracity of the Calvinist system, he advocated rather a suspension of our rational faculties and the muting of the predictable objection of human conscience. He did so based upon a passage from Isaiah, which is often misinterpreted. I’m sure you’ve heard a preacher say it: “God’s ways our not our ways, and God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.” They often take that passage to mean that we just cannot understand God, and therefore shouldn’t try; just accept the truth of His Word by faith. However, a cursory perusal of the passage reveals the gross error in this thinking.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. For My thoughts are not our thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so our my ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your  thoughts.” Isaiah 55:6-9

If your ways aren’t God’s ways, you shouldn’t just accept the conflict as unavoidable – you should repent. If your thoughts aren’t God’s thoughts, you shouldn’t give up trying to think God’s thoughts – you should repent. That’s what this passage plainly means. To interpret this passage to mean that sincere Christians cannot understand God or His thoughts or ways is absurd.

Before one fully embraces the Calvinist system, they must first fall prey to the unstated presupposition that we must suspend our rational faculties and mute the objection of our consciences to simply accept by faith whatever God’s Word says about how He governs. First of all, this is an impractical mission. Without our rational faculties we could not even understand Scripture, much less build a cohesive theological system.  In order for Calvinists to suspend their rational faculties and mute the objection of conscience, they first must engage their rational faculties to come to that conclusion, and enlist the mandate of conscience to submit to the Word of God. Thus, the unstated presupposition of Calvinism is false based upon what Calvinists in fact do. Calvinism’s conclusions so plainly contradict the testimony of nature and conscience that we must constantly be reminded by Calvinists like Bahnsen at the onset of their teaching on Calvinism that “God’s ways aren’t our ways” and we just need to accept Calvinist doctrine in spite of its apparent contradiction to self-evident truths.

Is it not a sin to reason. “Come let us reason together, saith the Lord.” It’s as if Calvinists think that God made our bodies and the devil created our intellect and reason. No, we are to “love the Lord thy God with all thy mind.” (Read More)

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2 Responses to “Refuting Calvinism”

  1. I cannot thank you enough for this post!!!! Somehow, I ended up getting into a discussion on Calvinism and every time I hear that name, my Blood Pressure goes up! If my take on the doctrine of Calvinism is true, then it doesn’t work out! Taking that doctrine back to the Garden of Eden, God told Adam and Eve NOT to eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, but did God KNOW they were going to disobey Him, or did He decide that they would? According to my friend, who is also a Calvinist, it’s one and the same. But then that would make God culpable in the fall of man and the Crucifixion of Christ, as that would be what it took to bring us back to God.

    That said, according to Calvinism (again, if I’m reading their views correctly) God chose some to go to heaven and some will go to hell. It’s not our choice. We have no say in the matter. Eeeny, Meeny Miney, Mo. But what about John 3:16? What about 2 Peter 3:9// Ezekiel 33:11 HOW can we make a choice already made for us? That said, if people going to hell are going to Hell because GOD decided, then the Great White Throne Judgement will be no more than a KANGAROO COURT as you cannot be tried for a crime you had no choice in committing. Like a bank robber putting a gun into the hand of a sleep walker and pointing their hand at the teller. The poor sleep walker is being walked through a crime, only to wake up in jail; totally unaware of the crime he’s been accused of. That may not be the best comparison, but IF Calvinism is true, then God is the Master Puppeteer on a level to make Jim Henson look like an Ameteur! He walks us through life and we end up where HE decides. Which, would, in effect, render the Bible totally USELESS unless you’re one of the lucky ones. Then you can find out what’s going to happen to those HE decided to send to hell.

    I grant you, I still have a problem with verses like ‘He Chose us in Himself….’, but I’m GUESSING that has to do with the verse in Romans, “WHO HE FOREKNEW…” If you can help me with that, it would be gratefully appreciated.

    Not sure if you’ve ever heard of Jack Kelly (Gracethrufaith.org) but he said, “We either have a choice or we don’t.” And pardon me for using human logic here (God’s ways are not our ways) but WHY in the world would Jesus come to die for the whole world if He was just going to send so many to hell? It’s almost like the J.W.’s and their perverting the book of Revelation; taking the 144,000 to be J.W.’s and not actual jewish men. Calvinists say that so many are going to heaven. So many are going to hell and we have NO choice in the matter. If that were the case, I’d become an atheist in a minute!

    If I’m TOTALLY off base on this matter, please set me straight, but I’ve heard too many calvinists say, “God can send all of us to hell. Be thankful he has chosen to save you.” Thing is, I’m not sure I want to spend eternity with the God of John Calvin. Bottom line: Satan wants us all in Hell. The God of the BIBLE (NOT to be confused with the god of Calvinism) would want us all in heaven. Thanks to JESUS, we can all go to heaven, but a CHOICE has to be made. 64 Million dollar question. WHO makes the CHOICE?

    • Dear friend,

      Thank you so much for stopping by.

      I completely agree with you. We are chosen “in Christ” according to God’s foreknowledge. My post on election is here https://israeliteindeed.wordpress.com/calvinism/election-and-the-elect/. It is not exhaustive of that subject, but maybe there is something there for you.

      God’s ways are not our ways, and yet it is foolish of Calvinists to assume that God is less just than mere men are. Our common sense tells us that it would be unjust for God to operate according to the TULIP scheme.

      I came to the exact conclusion you did when I was grappling with Calvinism and all that it proposes about God. What if that’s who God was?–Could I respect and love Him? Thankfully, He began to manifest Himself to me so differently than what is written in the distortion of Calvinism.

      A very good question–Who Makes the Choice? God wants/wills all men to be saved. If God were making the choice for all men, all men would be saved. All men are not saved, so God must not be making that choice. He must have sovereignly given the power of choice to men. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deut. 30:19)

      Keep warning others, in love, about these dangerous false teachings that malign the character of our gracious and merciful God!

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