(I have not kept up with posting comments but will add more I have received soon. Thanks)
I began reading your featured article on Calvinism or Arminianism some days ago, and find it very refreshing. We get a steady diet of Calvinism at -------------- Baptist Church, here in --------, ----- The pastor has been in Romans for over a year now, hammering away every Sunday on how wretchedly sinful we are. I know that I am a sinner saved by grace, but I also want to hear about the love of God. Your article gives me a biblical foundation for refuting the errors of Calvinism. I refuse to be brain-washed by the preacher's sermons week after week. Thank you for pointing me to Bible verses that reveal the truth about Calvinism. I have also listened to some of your sermons, read your answers to FAQ's and Baptist history. You present the Bible in a fascinating, reasonable, and caring manner, which delights my soul! Keep on preaching and teaching for the Lord!
And as a final thank you, I had believed for a very long time that Calvinism was unbiblical and the assumption others were coming to about salvation was unbiblical and did not represent the God of the bible. Your article on the subject finally made the arguments that a lot of Calvinists offered me clear and without any merit. It has taken me almost a year to once again become passionate about the thing I love more then anything else in this world, and that is reading the bible and studying God's word. Thank you for the clarification on the matter, and helping me to regain my first love.
I attend an evangelical church, while I am happy with most of the teaching there is still some things that I have never agreed on such as their Calvinism view on predestination, they also believe that the church has replaced Israel,they're view on Genesis is not a literal 6 days of creation (although they would never preach this from the pulpit), they're view on end times and revelations is wishy washy, they don't believe in a rapture at all before the tribulation. I am also running a bible study group affiliated with our church and I would just like to thank you so much for your website and in sight into bringing the truth of Gods word so plainly and truthfully. I totally agree with everything on your site which has amazed me, the section on whether Calvinism or Arminianism is biblical is awesome and has helped me explain the truth to my group which has been so uplifting for everyone in our group - I think it's only a matter of time before someone in my church is going to confront me on this issue. Since studying your site I have also changed my view on the NIV bible being a solid interpretation of the original texts. In church I always now compare the reading from the NIV with the King James to see the true interpretation of the passage - and it is great to be able to cross reference words and meanings with my Strong's bible concordance which can only be done with the King James version. All in all I just want to say a big thank you! and keep up the great work, we need more people like yourself standing up for the truth of Gods word. Your website has helped me greatly.
felt compelled to write and tell you how much I appreciate your article “Calvinism or Arminianism”. Many years ago I was greatly troubled by Calvinism especially after reading “The Sovereignty of God” by Author Pink. (Actually I was so revolted I couldn't finish it). I though if that is Christianity you can keep it. But as a saved person God led me to study and became increasingly convinced of its error. Your article is the most thorough, the best I have seen on the subject and has been added to my collection reference material. I especially appreciate your dealing with the many verses that Calvinist use to support their false view. Calvinism can be intimidating because the Calvinists appear to be scholarly and serious minded people and who would dare to speak against God’s sovereignty. I am seeing a serious drift here among formally sound dispensational churches with the younger pastors coming out of schools that have reformed leanings.
I believe the Lord lead me to become knowledgeable in area of the preservation of God’s Words and defending the King James Bible largely through Dr Moorman, David Cloud and Pastor Waite (Dean Bergon Society) et al. This is an area of great interest to me.
I too, consider myself to be a Biblicist so I am greatly interested in your study material and audio messages. We are in ‘tough shape’ here ‘church wise’. The sound fundamental churches are shrinking and the emerging/emergent, New Evangelical churches are growing and attracting a lot of the young people. As a note of interest I just celebrated my three score and tenth birthday so we are of the same vintage! I pray that God will continue to bless your work in Utah and am great full for the blessing it is to me.
Dear Mr. Abrams, Thank you for your clear teaching of the Word of God on the subject of Calvinism and Arminianism! I have been studying this subject lately because of a statement my pastor said on the subject which made my skin crawl. You have made it very clear how they are missing the point that it is a plan of salvation for one to walk in, not a calling of some individuals and not others. They always argue that believing this way makes faith a work and that if you make the right choice then you will be saved is a justice salvation. When actually the Bible says that Abraham believed God and it was accredited for righteousness and where then is boasting then it is excluded by the law of faith" (Romans). They also seem to leave out the second part of "you are saved by grace, THROUGH FAITH. This really helped me see the picture clearer. Thanks again. I will pray for you , your family and your fellowship. God Bless You.
| Richard - October 27, 2011 |
I disagree with your bases for suggesting the Calvinism or specifically the Doctrine of Election and Perseverance of the Saints is incorrect and not Biblical. Yes, I am a Presbyterian, PCA specifically so you could say my Christian or believing DNA is steadfast to the Doctrine of Grace or T-U-L-I-P; however, my belief is Biblical first! One comment Presbyterians often receive from Baptists is that we know the Bible. So let me continue. A Calvinistic view is presupposed. All scripture is interrelated. Since the Bible is a seamless garment, it is difficult to address one doctrine without reference to many other doctrines. Historically, Baptists and Presbyterians have shared agreement on the fundamental points of Calvinism, and so that has not presented a stumbling block to my more traditional Baptist friends. You noted in your article several popular Baptist radio preachers or theologian today, John MacArthur and David Jeremiah. I am very familiar with both and believe their theology is Biblical therefore accurate. [Did you notice he says he disagrees, but gives no biblical evidence to support his disagreement. This is the normal response I receive all false teachers. Criticism without basis. Further being a Baptist is not the authority that biblical Christians bases their faith.....it is God's written Word. ]
| M.V. - September 23, 2011 |
Your Calvinism vs. Arminianism website - Awesome. I was feeling so depressed, so "not loving" the God that is supposed to be all loving. I know my mom may not become a Christian, but at least she has a chance to make her own decision. A God who would decide before she was even born to
send her to hell is not a God I want to worship. Thank you so much for such an extensive writing on the subject. Our PCA church teaches Calvinism, but
it is not a requirement to believe it in order to be a member; it is just the pastor's opinion. Most in the church choose not to discuss the issue,
as the messages are otherwise excellent and Biblical (not a "feel good" church), and the people are wonderful Christians. I can smile again.
| Anonymous - September 11, 2011 |
I am so happy to have found your article! I have been dating a very loving Christian man for the last eight months and we have gotten into some serious discussions about the doctrine of election. He goes to a Reformed Baptist church and I have been joining him for worship. The people are so sweet and they have been very good to me...but when I went to the "new members" class, I was shocked to hear about TULIP...it went against everything I had known as a Christian! And my friend seems to almost attack me about it...as if I don't believe God's Word. I spent HOURS reading your article, taking notes and looking up scriptures. Like many of your other readers, I didn't know much about Calvinism until I met my friend and he introduced the "doctrines of grace" to me. I appreciate your thoroughness and how you cited scriptures as you carefully explained Calvinism and the ideas of Arminians. This HELPED SO MUCH! Though I know my friend will be closed off to what I have to say....I need to really think about the future of our relationship.
| Kimberly - September 6, 2011 |
I have no question but only a word of encouragement. Thank you so much for your stand against Calvinism. I am a Pastor who at one time believed the teaching of Calvin but have since had my eyes opened by the Spirit of God. Anytime I see an article such as the one you have posted it makes me rejoice. Thanks again
| Keith - September 5, 2011 |
I have been a believer since 1977 and have periodically studied the doctrine of election. I knew there were two sides of the argument and thought I was a Calvinist. I attended evangelical and Baptist churches most of my adult life then a fundamental Baptist church before moving to the Bible belt. Upon attending a PCA church I really enjoyed for about a year the issue resurfaced. I researched Calvinism seriously and was mortified to see teaching of regeneration BEFORE calling upon the Lord for salvation. As I researched it I found many other logical arguments based upon man's reasoning and some assumptions about the sovereignty of God. Assuming the their definition of total depravity it would logically imply all the other points. I was very uncomfortable and did more research and found that the Calvinistic arguments avoid many of the conditional statements for salvation. The need to believe on the Lord to be saved.
If I was to have written my own paper it would have closely followed what you have written. I might emphasize the role of the Holy Spirit in the conviction process and as a "means of grace" to draw people to God and give understanding and desire to make that choice. I wholeheartedly agree that man can resist the Holy Spirit and be hardened to salvation. This in no wise violates God's sovereignty; He made the rules and gave the choice to us. "If you...." is repeated over and over in scripture.
I appreciate all your hard work and Biblical stance that you take. I have been reviewing your “Is Arminianism or Calvinism Biblical” and like the research that you have put into it. Keep up the good work and diligent study.
I just wanted to write you and tell you that your website has been a huge blessing to me over this past weekend. Up until recently I was in a relationship with someone that I felt very comfortable with except for awhile back he had informed me that he was a Calvinist. I hadn't done much research about what that meant at that point, all I knew was that they believed that God selected some for salvation and rejected others. Obviously this went against everything I had been taught growing up so I was skeptical but I figured that since I didn't know much about it I would try to work it out with him.
Thank you so much for your article. After reading it I slept well. We are having a problem in our church. My husband was on the pulpit committee and the pastor they sought out for our church assured them he was not a Calvinist. After he was voted on and accepted by our congregation, he would not allow one of our young men to be on staff temporarily because he had Calvinist beliefs, stating, "Not on my watch." We all felt for sure he would guard us from this doctrine. He has been our pastor now for 10 years. Recently some of our members have left because they disagree with the direction our church is taking. Our pastor decided to have a "Family Talk" with the congregation on a Sunday night. Everyone was expecting him to confirm that he isn't a Calvinist. Yet he was very vague in his talk, only stating that "It is what it is." You see, he had given several sermons on the sovereignty of God and my husband even thought he may have been struggling with Calvinism. I left the service unsettled in my heart, but I approached him later after a service and he assured me he wasn't a Calvinist. Now a couple of months later the core discipleship groups studies is being pushed. I looked up the authors of the books from which we were to choose to study in our groups and at least 80 to 85% of the authors are well known Calvinist. My husband met with our pastor to get an explanation as to why. Our pastor stated he just wanted us to have the best. This has left my husband confused not to mention me. Our pastor also stated again that he was not a Calvinist. I feel if we are not a reformed church there are better authors for us to be using. This has caused much confusion in our church. I doubt many people studying the books realize of what doctrine the authors are. My husband says you are what you read. I don't think the books would be blatantly Calvinistic in doctrine or our members would realize that. However I think it is only right that our congregation is informed of the authors' doctrines. I want to do what is right in this situation. I want God to be glorified in this. Do you have any godly wisdom to give us. Please advise.
Regarding your article on the biblical explanation of the Doctrine of Election, I did enjoy reading it about a year ago but never said anything for your comment board. I did it today because my Bible study students were given the link for this article just yesterday and I wanted to go on record for any of them who might see it. I teach advanced non-denominational Bible studies to women. Recently, we have been delving into election/predestination quite a bit and it dismayed me that so many never had any part of this Doctrine explained to them. Finally, after having studied both sides of this issue for some years now, having held the Arminian position for most of my converted life, it was that very position that I found confusing on so many levels. Thus, when the Reformed position came into focus through the guidance of the Holy Spirit and much study, it sat so well in my own spirit that suddenly, most of the rest of Scripture came into even more clear focus. People of good will for centuries have been disagreeing about this issue. Because there is still such disagreement, it behooves us, it seems, to continue to search and pray until we find peace with our position. I have found such peace with the anti-Arminianism, pro-Reformed position. So while I do thank you for the fine writing and clarity with which you present your opinions on this matter, I must heartily disagree with it just as you heartily disagree with the Reformed position on the Doctrine of Election. For me, this has never been a "Calvinist" issue; it has always been a biblical issue.
Thank you for your prompt reply. I have been earnestly praying that God would reveal His truth to me regarding election and freewill and your essay and letter are answers to those prayers. I am also trying to take the advice of AW Tozer and not get so caught up in doctrinal disputes that I lose my desire for a closer relationship with God.
Thank you so much for your clear presentation on the Calvinism issue. Of all the articles I have read yours has helped me the most. My wife and I have recently resigned our membership of a reformed church as we could no longer embrace the teaching. We have also upset a few people in the process...
Thank you for the great website. I recently abandoned Calvinism after many years of embracing, teaching and defending it. I originally embraced it as a reaction to the equally false system of Arminianism. I left Calvinism because I could no longer accept its twisting of scriptures. Specifically, I could no longer lie to myself and others that "all" does not mean all, that "foreknowledge" does not mean knowledge beforehand, and that regeneration comes before faith (that one is completely made up!). Anyway, thank you for the encouragement not to try to form another system, but just to walk in the dynamic joy and mystery of my relationship with God through His Son.
I cannot be grateful enough. For the past few days, I have been struggling with whether or not Calvinism is sound doctrine. For the brief moments that I accepted it, I felt despair such as I've never before experienced. During these moments, I feared because though I accept the bible as absolute truth, I seem unable to feel like being obedient. It made me wonder if my efforts were fruitless, if I were 'un-chosen', so to speak. After finding your article online and going back to the Word of God, I have found tremendous peace. I have recognized that though I cannot merit salvation, I do have the ability to accept it. My acceptance is somewhat passive, like catching a line that will pull me from the water; I did not save myself, but I chose not to die. This is reassuring to me, as I am only beginning my life as an adult and, with the arrogance of my generation, I wish to feel as though I know what's right. Again I thank you and I look forward to the life I am called to.
I should tell you a little bit of my testimony before I go into the questions I have concerning Calvinism. To start, I have been a Christ-follower now for over 5 years. Before I was saved, I didn't grow up in a Christ-centered home, so I was never at church and I knew little about Jesus and the Gospel. It wasn't until a friend of mine invited me to a church camp her church was sponsoring, and I agreed to go. It was during this camp that I got saved. I remember the date, which was June 27, 6005, I was 14 years old. I can't remember exactly what the speaker talked about, but I remember knowing that I was a sinner who needed to be saved and that Jesus himself was inviting me to follow Him and give my life to Him. So I prayed to receive Christ that night, and after that, I knew God had saved me and had given me a new beginning that never ends! The church that sponsored this camp I went to, is the same church I have been attending for the past 5 years. I got plugged into a small group and I have been growing in Christ ever since. Fast forward to February of this year. I was on John Piper's website Desiring God and got to reading their article entitled "What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism," which is their article telling their reasons why they think Calvinism is correct. That's when the storm hit. Before that day, I had never really concerned myself with issues like predestination and election, they were issues I simply shrugged off and called a "mystery," but shrugging it off now wasn't so simple and easy. Thinking about Calvinism brought me into a state of depression and confusion I had never experienced before in my life. I dreaded waking up every morning, I was always spiritually exhausted, I wasn't eating right at one point, and I even contemplated death. I was a wreck, and then I read your article on Election and it really helped me understand God's Word and why neither Calvinism or Arminianism are biblical. These past few months God has blessed with many things that have really helped me through this storm. You have been a great blessing in my life and I thank you very much. However, I still have questions that need answers so I will be able to fight off Satan and his attacks, so here they are. (He asked question about John 6:37, 65, 10:26 - My answers are posed at
Election, discussion on Arminianism and Calvinism is a lot of wasted energy. God predestined those He would give to Jesus before the foundation of the Worlds, so why would you say a Calvinist would be 'less that genuine' to preach the Gospel if he knew there would be ones who cannot respond? This is a straw man argument.. . . I do know that if God has called someone: John 6:44 'draws them to Himself" (Greek meaning is Drag!), then they will believe if it is predestined that at that time they respond in belief! It is all about God, or didn't you read the Scriptures? What a folly. [TO READ MY ANSWER CLICK HERE]
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to really think through the doctrines. I've grown up in a PCA church. But I have always been one who doesn't readily believe what is taught. As a result, I have had many problems over years with Calvinism, yet I've never aligned myself with the other pole. The article answers many of my problems like a piece of cake. It's a gemstone. Stay strong and live for Him! - By the way there is a minor typo search for the 'word' "tp" it should be replaced with the word to.
I just wanted to say thank you for taking the time to really think through the doctrines. I've grown up in a PCA church. But I have always been one who doesn't readily believe what is taught. As a result, I have had many problems over years with Calvinism, yet I've never aligned myself with the other pole. The article answers many of my problems like a piece of cake. It's a gemstone. Stay strong and live for Him! - By the way there is a minor typo search for the 'word' "tp" it should be replaced with the word to.
I am a 35 year old bible believing Christian and have been since I was a child. I was blessed enough to be brought up in a wonderful Christian home. It wasn't until a year ago that I had heard the term "Calvinism". Needless to say, I, like many others had sleepless nights, spent hours upon hours researching both sides of this controversy. It sickened me and I had this sick feeling in my gut the whole time I was researching. I felt that God was telling me to just "ignore it" but once I heard of it, I could not rest until I "thought" I had to come to my own conclusion. I was also so sick because I have been blessed with a beautiful 2 year old baby girl and the thought of her not being "chosen" was a horrible feeling.
Thank you very much for your last e-mail in which you explained how (you said "some") Calvinists maintain God created evil, or as you put it, "credit God with the origin of evil." I had explained to you that I have known for many years that Calvinism was unbiblical, but I had not studied it in depth. I had just understood how it couldn't be true when held up against Scripture, and have come to understand many of the unbiblical beliefs and ways of Calvinists. I have to tell you, since I have only just learned this about Calvinism (the origin of evil), it has been horrifying to learn this. I wasn't sure what your reply was going to be, but when I read it I literally felt physically sick. Truly, that this doctrine has passed as "biblical," and for so long, is astounding. It is so repulsive that if it weren't for my love for the people in my life who are vulnerable to this, I do not think I would have the will to expose myself to this heresy.
This article is TRULY the best thing I have ever read on this matter. I appreciate it more than you know and you have truly put my mind and soul at rest with this matter. I had already dismissed BOTH as merely man made views and to believe in God's word and his alone. But I still wanted to take the time to write you to sincerely extend my gratitude because it has done great things and confirmation for my faith!
I just want to sincerely thank you for your article on Calvinism. Our pastor is teaching this in a series right now and I have been struggling very much over it. I seem to be the only one around me that is struggling with it. I have been accused of many of the things that your article has mentioned, and I have been feeling very alone in this. I have been a devoted Christian for almost thirty years, and have felt as though I understand who God is and His plan as is laid out in the bible, so this has been very difficult for me as it seems to contradict so much of what seems to be the thrust of the new testament. THANK YOU! I really needed this right now.
Thank you for your website. I was particularly blessed by the information on Calvinism. I visited a Calvinist Baptist church for about 5 weeks and began wrestling with this issue - something I had never done since I was saved in 1982. I began to wonder if my interpretation of the Scriptures had been incorrect all those years. My joy in the Lord was gone. I tossed and turned at night wondering if I was one of the 'elect'. I discovered a number of books that clarified the subject for me but none as scholarly and succinct as yours. My heartfelt thanks!
I would like to thank you for your article on Calvinism and Arminianism. Yesterday, I had my devotions reading a book which I am enjoying and loving, Knowing God by J.I. Packer, but then I came to p. 265 and caught me off-guard and I lost my bearings. J.I Packer wrote:" ..But does this mean that, as a loaded gun is potentially explosive, and an act of pulling the trigger is needed to make it go off, so Christ's death achieved only a possibility of salvation, needing an exercise of faith on our part to trigger it off and make it actual? If so, then it is not strictly Christ's death that saves us at all, ...we save our selves by out faith, and for all we know, Christ's death might not have saved anyone, since it might have been the case that nobody believed the gospel". And he continues to expound. At this point, I cannot continue to read, prayed to God for an answer, googled election and free-will and came across your article. And peace came back to me and I praised God who is truly a loving God.
I have enjoyed your commentaries - particularly the one on Calvinism and Arminianism. I totally support your view - you have helped me to articulate my position to others.
I am a born again Christian and I have thoroughly enjoyed your site. I have a brother who as of 1 year ago as became a 5 point Calvinist. In doing so he has "disowned"ť his biological family stating he has no obligation towards us for his family is now a spiritual one. We are not his spiritual family because we are not of the "elect."ť (in other words, we are not Calvinists) I have tried to refute him with scripture, but he continues to deny blatant truths. I recently quoted Romans 5:18(using the KJV). He replied stating that the KJV was incorrectly translated to English in regards to that particular verse. Is there any truth behind that? (cpa: I responded with a biblical explanation of Romans showing the KJV says exactly what the Greek text states.)
Tonight, I ran across your article regarding Election. I must say after studying the biblical basis for Election, I was stunned at your twisting and misuse of proper biblical exposition to arrive at your suppositions. You presume that God's highest aim is the salvation of all who would trust in Him. I was shocked that nowhere in your article did you mention God's glory at all, much less that the Father's glory was Jesus' highest goal in His ministry on earth NOT the salvation of men. You impute to God that if he did not make salvation available to all, he is somehow less than who He is. This is a gross misrepresentation of God and His Word. . . . The harshness and lack of Christian love you exhibit to those who believe in Calvinism is appalling, but I am not surprised since Independent Baptists such as yourself are well known for their lack of fellowship and love to other Christians.
Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative article. I have been a Christian for 15yrs and have never questioned God's plan for salvation. I was taught that if I confessed my sins, turned from my sinful ways and accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior I would be saved. I have believed this and never looked back. A friend of our family is a Calvinist and has brought some questionable doctrine into our home. My wife has been asking how can a sinner "accept" Christ when nothing in us is good enough to do so. Am I wrong is seeing this acceptance not as being "good" but rather as just that, an acceptance of a gift paid for with the blood of Christ? Am I missing something? If I am to believe my friend's way of thinking than we are not capable of making that choice and have had to be "chosen" or "elected" by God ( as he puts it) to be saved and NOT everyone is afforded this opportunity. I do not understand this line of thinking. Do we have the choice to accept Jesus or not? Does God create some people who cannot receive His gift of salvation? I understand the "will not" part, but the "can not" part is not making sense to me!
I truly enjoyed your article. I trusted Christ as Savior in 81 while in the Air Force. ... I was unsure of many things, but not about the love of God in Christ. One of the things of which I was unsure was the security of the believer. I did what I thought best and asked a chaplain. (After all, they know, right?) Wow, was I in for a surprise! One of the drawbacks to the military chaplaincy is that if you hold a degree as a theologian, you are a chaplain. If you're a Baptist chaplain, you teach Baptist doctrine, and if you're Methodist, you teach Methodist doctrine. I asked a Methodist chaplain (of Arminian persuasion) about the believer's security and was informed I could lose my salvation. Needless to say, I was terrified! But, sometime later I asked the Baptist chaplain and got a different answer. I was relieved to know I was in no danger of losing my salvation, but I was also very confused! I began reading the Bible to find out what GOD had to say about the matter, and came to the conclusion that I was safe.
Many years later I heard about the five points of Calvinism. The more I learned of Calvinism, the more I didn't like about it. It gave me no comfort whatsoever, for I could not shake the doubts in my mind of, "What if I'm NOT one of the elect?" The thought really had me worried. No, make that "scared." I once again decided to read what God had to say about it.
I read your article, and found some problems in both exegesis, hermeneutics and logic. I was most surprised that you have basically restated the genesis of this debate, which began when Pelagius responded to Augustine's published prayer for the church. . . .You are correct in stating that God commands all men to believe on Jesus. However, when you follow that God has, "in an act of His will enabled all men to receive salvation", you have gone beyond the pale of Christian orthodoxy. This was Pelagius' argument and it was rejected by the church.
I pray that God will bring you to the place where you can see His Glory in His divine decrees of His will and in His wonderful grace. He is jealous for His glory. Salvation is of the Lord (Psa. 37:39; 68:20)
I have been seeing a lot of Scriptures being used to vindicate the doctrine of predestination to heaven and hell, but you are mindful already that I refute this doctrine since it contradicts another portion of Scripture, namely:
"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, NOT WILLING THAT ANY SHOULD PERISH, but that ALL should come to repentance."
It doesn't seem reasonable to believe that God chose men to go to hell and chose some to go to heaven because if God predestined some to be saved and some to be lost, or if God chose from the beginning who would be saved and who would be lost despite their free will, then that clearly means that it WAS the will of God that men should perish if He predestined them there.
I wanted to thank you for your wonderful article on Calvinism, my wife and
I have attended Baptists churches almost all of our married life and never even knew the theology of election existed until because of some
legalistic issues we started looking for a new home church. We found a reformed church and very much enjoyed the people and services, and had no
real doctrinal issues when we first attended (we didn't know to ask about election)
However during a service the pastor taught on election, it went against everything I had ever learned about the nature of God and I challenged it
immediately in private with him. It became a core pivotal issue for me that caused me to start digging into Determinism, Arminian theology and
Calvinism, I very quickly concluded that I could not even remotely accept it's tenants and left the church to continue our quest for a new home
church (reprobation is the most disgusting heresy I think I've ever heard uttered from the mouth of a believer). We finally ended up in a small
bible believing church, one of the first questions I asked was about Calvinism and their theology on election, I would say they like most
people today are soft on the issue. I can deal with that as long as it's not taught from the pulpit or becomes a core belief, we just wanted to
find a church where we could fellowship and grow and not be forced to be at odds with the teaching given. (My underline -cpa)
I am a pastor and want to thank you for your article on Calvinism and Arminianism. I have an M-Div from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and while that was a hotly debated subject on campus, I have never felt comfortable with either. You do a tremendous job giving a very Biblical theology.
I am a Calvinist and I think this article is foolish. The only reason a Calvinist would get angry when talking about these things is because the nature of God is at stake here. Without proper theology we don't know who God is. This is serious business and something well worth defending. "You cannot reconcile being a loving and just God, and on the other hand teach that He withholds His mercy and grace and condemns most of the world to hell, not allowing them to believe and be saved." This statement is totally ridiculous. God would still be God (loving and just) if no one were given a way to know Him. If He withheld mercy from all of us he would be just as loving and just as just. If he made a way for 1 person it would be more than this world deserved. Don't you see? We deserve hell. And without his intervention we would willingly go there. Do you think it loving for God to put salvation in the control of foolish, sinful people? That to me sounds like an unloving God. I thank Him that He intervened in my path to hell. That shouldn't create arrogance (as it does in many Calvinists...I don't know how) but great humility. It was all Him! Praise God! (Note: I underlined these statements. It sad this man cannot see how contradictory his statements are. But that is the way of false teachers)
I am writing this email because while I think you provide a good case against both Arminianism and Calvinism and strive for a middle ground based on the Bible, it had many short comings. I feel that you have made some judgments and false accusations against those who adhere to Reformed Theology that I would like to bring into the light. (I biblically responded to his list of objections, and after eight replies received the following- cpa) Thank you for your speedy response as always. This is a VERY interesting perspective and I am going to eagerly go back this week and read the context of these verses and do some research.
Your article on Calvinism & Arminianism is it Biblical was excellent! No other issued has caused more confusion in the True Church of Jesus Christ. God is not the author of confusion. I am not a Calvinist and I am not Arminian, I am a blood bought, born again Baptist. Calvinism rips the love right out of the heart of God. Arminianism and teachings of losing salvation, weaken the power of God. I'll stick to the scriptures. I've asked Calvinists if it bothers them or not that Calvinism is rooted in Catholicism. I've yet to have my questioned answered. So, I must assume they are not bothered by a false doctrine perpetuated by the Roman Catholic Church, the Mother of Harlots via Augustine.
I recently came across your article "Is Calvinism or Arminianism Biblical" It was a breath of fresh air for me, and confirmed the strong witness in my heart that what I was being told about election was just not true. I spend most of my time out on the streets preaching the Gospel message, and I always believe that everyone I preach to who hears the message can take up the offer that God makes to ALL who will come to him, repent and believe and trust in the Lord.
Thank you for your most helpful piece on Calvinism and Arminianism.
want to thank you so much for your in-depth, amazing article about Calvinism/Arminianism. It was a very informative, eye-opening article that God used to bring conviction and edification. I was especially impressed with how you address the Bible verses that many Calvinists use.
Man is born spiritually corrupt, and can not help himself, but THAT is NOT the definition of depraved. DEPRAVITY= Webster's Dictionary: 1. Corruption; a vitiated state; as the depravity of manners and morals. 2. A vitiated state of the heart; wickedness; corruption of moral principles; destitution of holiness or good principles. There is a hospital near my house, and though it is full of unsaved people, it is full of unsaved people that HELP people, they prove daily that unsaved is not the same as depraved. Calvin murdered a man by burning him at the stake, with green wood.
Calvin was depraved. Perhaps it is time to STOP using the words of a murderous fool.
I just wanted to let you know that I appreciated your article on the Calvinism/Arminianism debate. I have been having a wrestling match with this the last few months, and could not find a very good article explaining this debate. You put it in very easy to read and succinct terms and I appreciate it very much.
Please keep up the great work.
I just read your article Is Calvinism or Arminianism Biblical? A Biblical Explanation of the Doctrine of Election. I just wanted to drop you a quick note saying thank you for not only writing this but putting it out there so we could find it. I just recently learned of the differences between Arminianism and Calvinism and I must say that send me into somewhat of a spiritual cocoon. What was I too believe!? Well your article put this in perspective for me. I will only believe upon the word of our sovereign Lord. Again, thank you for your well written and biblical article, it has been most helpful!
I have to say, I agree 100% and to keep up the fight. You are right about Calvinists being very combative with those that disagree with them. I have been a reader of the blog, Pyromaniacs and like some of the things they write, but ever few months the Calvinist vs. Arminian argument comes up and it just kills me. I want to tell them that if they would just put as much effort in witnessing to others as they do fussing with each other, someone just might get saved! I told someone recently, that when I stand before God on judgment day, he will ask what did I do with the gifts given to me? I hope to be able to tell him how many people I witnessed to, not how many Arminians I converted to Calvinism.
I recently left a Baptist church that was using the NIV Bible and the pastor said it was the newest and best translation on the market. He also was teaching on predestination. He believed was that before you were ever born God made the decision whether you were going to heaven or hell. I read the Bible differently. If there is no such thing as free will what difference would it make as to how we live our life. It was amazing to me that people my age (59) did not catch on to what he was saying. He also stated that his 8 month old grandchild sinned everyday. What is your view on this according to the bible.
Wow what a great article on Calvinism. I listen to John MacArthur and enjoy his teaching until recently when he taught on election. I knew in my heart in was wrong but couldn't put it into words. My associate pastor told me that John was correct! I never knew they taught that at my church. This is a dangerous doctrine because it has made me think that family and friends that are not saved will never be and there is no need for me to give them or anyone else the gospel message. Thanks a million.
Wow. Thank you SO much for posting the article on Cal. V. Arm. I am a pastor and have recently been hammered by a Calvinist, (whom I consider one of my best friends, btw) and the conversations have been leading me to question much of what I believed the Bible to say. I went online searching for clarity and am thankful to have found your article. I have long agreed with your interpretations, but when confronted with the Calvinist arguments, I could not bring to mind the proofs to back it up. Seminary was a long time ago, and I needed a refresher course on election versus free will. Obviously my friend could articulate his points succinctly and had a rebuttal to anything I said. I felt in my heart that his conclusions were faulty, but I haven't been able to speak to them with any authority. Now I can. Thank you thank you thank you. I now have peace in God's word appropriately explained and applied.
FIRST OF ALL, I MUST SAY THAT YOU HAVE BEEN A BLESSING. I READ YOUR WRITING ON CALVINISM AND ARMINIANISM..... I DON'T EVEN HAVE WORDS TO EXPLAIN HOW RELIEF I AM. I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT MYSELF A LITTLE THOUGH... I AM TWENTY YEARS OLD ... BEEN WITH THE LORD FOR TWO YEARS. I GO TO A PENTECOSTAL CHURCH DOWN IN HOMESTEAD. FL. THERE HAS BEEN SUCH A BATTLE IN ME THESE PAST TWO YEARS BECAUSE I WAS INTRODUCED TO THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION, AND I MUST PERSONALLY SAY THAT I ACCEPTED THE DOCTRINE, HOWEVER IT NEVER FELT RIGHT ! MY CHURCH NEVER ACCEPTED THAT DOCTRINE ALSO. AND WHAT KILLED ME WAS THAT THEY BOTH HAD BIBLICAL REFERENCES SO IT ALL CAME DOWN TO WHO WAS RIGHT? AND CALVINIST PEOPLE SURE DO KNOW HOW TO PERSUADE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE IN SUCH DOCTRINE. I ALWAYS KNEW THAT THE BIBLE IS ALL I EVER HAD TO PROVE TO ME. THROUGH PRAYER I TOLD THE LORD TO TELL ME WHO'S WRONG AND WHAT THE DEAL IS. THEN I SEARCHED ON GOOGLE: THE DOCTRINE OF ELECTION AND FREE WILL...AND THEN I SAW YOUR WRITING THERE. "IS CALVINISM AND ARMINIANISM BIBLICAL?"
Another family rejects the Calvinism heresy:
Just wanted to write a quick note to let you know how much God has blessed me through your website. THANK YOU for your Calvinism FAQ page! Unfortunately, most of the internet seems to be flooded with pro-Calvinistic propaganda which can be quite convincing if one is not careful. My family (wife, 2 young boys and I) recently left our church family as of the past 4 years. They started as a Baptist mission church, and quickly grew toward Calvinism (although they shy away from that "C" word and prefer to use a bunch of "code" words, like election) and we were along for the ride probably for the past 2 years. I believe and know from the teaching that many in this church are HEAVILY influenced by the teaching of R.C. Sproul, A.W. Pink, and John Piper to name a few. I honestly didn't know who any of these guys were before going to this church. We are one of only a few families I know of that have left at this point. Fortunately, we left under good terms and made it clear we were leaving due to the doctrine being preached. I have been a Christian for 22 years, and never really even knew what Calvinism was until about 2 years ago... and that's considering that I have been a member of or regularly attended about 12 different churches of multiple denominations, as well as went to a Christian high school and university! Maybe the topic came up at one point and I just dismissed it as gibberish at the time... I don't remember :) We are currently seeking a new church home in the same relatively small Texas town (~30,000 people). Hopefully that search will end soon... Anyway, I pray that God will continue to bless others through your website ministry and continue to provide you the time and resources to keep up with it!
I have been trying to find truth about the bible for about 7 months now. I feel like I go up and down in faith. I have never really studied or read the bible until this year. Calvinism still plagues my mind with its limited atonement. I really don't think God would chose and pick certain people. I know we are saved by the grace of God by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ. . . . I looked into Calvinism. Man, I was blown away. I had to be elected in. Now, I know that doesn't sound like God. I know He's sovereign but wow. Now, I pray to God all the time to help me know Him. I try and not get confused with all this Calvinism and other stupid theologies. Though, all I can hope for is God to save me. I have head knowledge but I just don't feel anything. I try and read my bible everyday. I read but Calvinism plagues me at some verse. Well, hope you answer this. Thank you if you read this. God bless you.
I am a member of a Southern Baptist church, and there are some new people joining who hold this Reformed theology that you have spoken of. I have always found myself between the Calvinists and Arminians (though I don't believe any of tulip is sound [like you said, perseverance is the wrong term, yet that principle is the closest thing to sound in the doctrine]). I have debated this subject with one man in particular, who has caught the ear of our Sunday School teacher, and of course, it is like talking to a wall (except when I state that fundamentally, there is no difference between his understanding of God and a Muslim's understanding of Allah [Allah will save who he will--even Mohammed could arbitrarily be sent to jaheem)]. Your article said it all, and I have forwarded it to my Sunday School teacher, and intend to send it to the man I mentioned. I have to admit to you, I have had some bad experience with "fundamentalist" or "independent" Baptist, due to their legalistic beliefs (which you also addressed), but your website is a breath of fresh air. May God bless you and your ministry and all that you do, and may your website be up until the last days (or after, if God wills it). Thank you.
Following is a sample of e-mails from Calvinists trying to defend this false teaching.
You posed the question: "where in the Bible does God with hold His grace towards the non-elect?"
First of all God's common grace is offered to all mankind (the elect and non-elect) ... His face shines on both the wicked and the just ... we all receive sunshine, rain, and food to sustain us in this life! When it comes to saving grace this is as many theologians have stated: "Christ's blood is sufficient to save all, but only efficient (or effective) to save the elect", even John Calvin himself made that point in his commentary on John 3: 16. I think the point you fail to see or acknowledge is that salvation is owned by God and distributed by God as He pleases through His sovereign choice, just read Romans 9 verse 11 to 13 ... notice it states: "before the twins were born", ... "or had done anything good or bad" ... "that God's purpose in election might stand" ... and it Paul (God) adds in verse 12 "not by works, but by Him who calls" ... "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated". Salvation truly belongs to God ... He owns and distributes it as He wills!
Israel in the OT were made God's chosen people, not because they were so obedient or the most holy ... are you kidding me? They were wicked and disobedient time and time again ... God just simply and sovereignly chose them over others, just like God chose Jacob over Esau!!!
Cooper ... you still have a remnant of works based religion that is infecting your thought life, when you stand before Jesus you better not give Him a list of all the things you did for Him in obedience, instead, my advise to you is fall at His feet and say: "you are the One that has made this unworthy person worthy, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!"
The following was sent to me by a lady who has a friend that has been exposed by her pastor to Calvinism. It is typical of other letters I have received. Cooper Abrams
"One day, my friend called me in tears after hearing the explanation of the TULIP by a speaker sympathetic to that theology. "How can I believe in a God who cares less about the eternal destinations of the souls of His creation than I do?" she cried. Good question, in a way, and all I could answer off the top of my head was, "You can't! But I don't believe in that God either!" Since that time, she has stopped attending church and has been, as I see it, under attack from the devil, who wants nothing more than to rob her of her life of faith. In a way, I think this woman's heart for soul-winning and seeing people come to Christ has been deviously turned against her. The devil is clever, isn't he?
I just wanted to say "thank you" for the excellent article on Calvinism/Arminianism on your bible-truth.org website. It is one of the best, easiest to understand pieces that I have ever read on Calvinism.
I was floored when I came to the end of the article, because you made several statements which confirmed things that I believe that God had been showing me for the past several months. First, like yourself, I reject the notion that a Christian has to be a Calvinist or an Arminian. That is intellectually dishonest and just plain silly. I am neither one nor the other, but simply a Bible-believing individual.
Then, you made the statement that you were beginning to believe that Calvinism is a cult. I could not agree more wholeheartedly!!! It has only been over the last few months that I have believed that myself, after watching what the "Reformed Baptist" doctrine is doing to my son and his family.
Third, I see clear parallels between Calvinism and Mormonism. Actually, I have known many more Mormons than Calvinists during my life, and when I began to get exposed more and more to Calvin-believers, I was shocked at the similarities -- the arrogance, the intellectual dishonesty, the refusal to discuss Scriptures which shed doubt upon their beliefs, and, most strikingly, the total lack of JOY among both groups. Also, interestingly enough, both groups just can't stand ANYTHING they cannot explain, so they come up with absurd explanations for passages and concepts that the Lord clearly doesn't expect us to understand in our current fleshly existence-- in other words, they hate the concept of "mystery" in the Scriptures.
Anyway, thanks for an enlightening article. It made me feel good to know there is someone out there that is seeing the same things I am seeing.
Thank you, sir. I too had been stunned by the man's doctrine called Calvinism. What a blatant heresy. I was sick for 2 weeks, couldn't sleep or eat. I was bothered by it taking away the loving Savior I had known all my life. Creating puppets forced into salvation. Salvation is a free gift from God. You can't work for it or it wouldn't be free. You can't force someone
to take a free gift. Thank you so much for your article. It is what my family and I knew in our hearts as true the moment we were confronted with
Calvinism, but still had to dive into the scriptures for reassurance. I am most shocked at John Mac Aurthur being a hyper-Calvinist. Was he always like
this? I have listened to him for years in the 1985-90's and never caught on til a couple of months ago.. Thanks again. Bless you!
It is obvious that you would side with the rights of Herod,Pontius Pilate,Hitler,etc,over against the rights of Jehovah. The rights of sinners to receive grace trumps the rights of God to give grace. Now the Arminian god agrees with you that Calvinism is evil. After all,He wills as man wills. But the Calvinist God laughs at you. He sees the arrogance of men trying to manipulate Him. Does God predestinate sinners to hell. You bet. Count yourself fortunate if He hasn,t predestinated you there.
[My comment to this criticism: Can you not see the mean spirit in this person's comments. Instead of reading the material and discussing as a Christian, this person resorts to name calling and degrading comments. Note this man compares me to Hitler!? This is the same type of response I get from the cults. Cooper Abrams]
I apologize for having to write to you on this matter, but I feel I must. I am a 23 year old non-Christian living in Oklahoma. I have been studying the claims of Christ for a while now and am about ready to take the leap so to speak and believe in Christ. However, I stumbled upon the teachings of 5 point Calvinism and it shattered me. My question to you is, am I able to make a choice to follow Christ? If I want to follow Christ, can I do so? Or is it not my choice?
I feel odd trying to put this question into words, but I've tried. The bottom line is, if I wished to become a Christian today, tomorrow or whenever I feel I am ready, can I do so?
Calvinists have tried to tell me that I have the inability to call upon Christ, and that if not one of the elect, I won't be saved. Please help!
COMMENT BY COOPER ABRAMS: I have several times received e-mails such as this one in which a person who was struggling with salvation came across a Calvinist and was dissuaded and confused. This is PROOF POSITIVE that Calvinism is a false and hellish doctrine and any person professing to be a child of God should immediately beg God's forgiveness and repent of the sin of believing in Calvinism....!!! Jesus said, "Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:20) Here is a young man trying to respond to the urging of the Holy Spirit and Satan sends a Calvinist to confuse him. I had a young mother recently write that she refused to have any children because she was afraid that God would predestine them to hell, so she would not have any!!!!! My article helped her get out from the this hellish teachings. I wonder just how many people Calvinism has destroyed...?!
I just read your treatise on election. God bless you my brother! What a wonderful essay you have written. It is clear. It is concise. IT IS BIBLICAL, and true. Thank you for putting into such a clear essay, what is so often taught wrongly and so often passed over.
I have spent the last year studying both the Calvinist view of eternal security and
the Arminian view. As you pointed out, both are in error, and I had such a time trying to come to some godly understanding of these issues. I was saved in a Baptist church, and have attended "Arminian" churches. I have always figured I must be an Arminian by belief, but wanted to make sure that it was Biblical to be so. Obviously what I found was that neither of them are completely correct (When in doubt, GO TO THE SOURCE...THE BIBLE, Huh?!).
I had pretty much come to exactly your conclusions, but figured I must be the only
one, and of course my Calvinist vs. Arminianist friends were happy to point out that I could not believe in both! Ă‚Â Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness. least I know that someone else went to the Scriptures for their answers and came out with the same answers I did. It is a confirmation for me, I believe from God Himself. Again, thanks.I will continue to come to your website for more great reading. God bless you Ă‚Â in your work. I used to live in Idaho, and I often drove through Tremonton on my way to Salt Lake City. I know what hard, stony ground you might find there.
Thank the Lord for your website. I read your article on Calvinism vs. Arminianism.
This article finally shed light on the struggle I have been having, in trying to reconcile my Calvinistic beliefs with the "whosoever" passages that are readily apparent in scripture concerning the salvation that is offered to all men through Christ Jesus.
Especially the classic verse; John 3:16. That verse always raised questions and doubts in my mind as to the validity of the Calvinist mantra; T.U.L.I.P There are of course other verses that completely disassemble the five points of Calvinism.
But I was always afraid to stray to far from T.U.L.I.P for fear of committing the Arminian heresy of man's direct involvement in his own salvation, as a work, not of God's sovereign good pleasure,based on the Arminian belief in mans innate goodness, and from this goodness he can choose salvation, without the supernatural conviction of man's sinful condition by the Holy Spirit. Herein lies the fact that God is still in control. Man becomes so despondent at having his sin revealed that it is not a work that he should boast, but a humbling of man's spirit, a contrition of the heart, that actually brings one to make the choice out of the revelation of the complete and utter hopelessness with one's life, and the knowledge then presented of the complete destruction that awaits all at that the Judgment Seat. If that does not soften ones heart towards Jesus Christ unto faith and salvation, then one is truly like the Pharisees, the sons of their father the devil.
The article you wrote has settled my soul on this issue. As a bible studies teacher, I feel that I can now
begin to properly approach the rather difficult subjects of foreknowledge,predestination and election, without falling into
into Calvinism or Arminianism.
Just finished reading your excellent article which refutes both Calvinism and Arminianism...and resolves a host of questions and contradictions. I wholeheartedly agree with you!
I might add that Local Flood advocates like Dr. Hugh Ross, whom Rick Warren promotes to the exclusion of Ken Ham and ICR, Global Flood advocates, uses the same arguments that "all" doesn't always mean "all" but "all kinds" and that the word "world" does not always mean the whole world, but the known world as in the case of the Roman World when Augustus decreed his tax to promote a local flood and discredit Global Flood proponents. And it is true, that sometimes these words have those means. But the context and hermeneutic rule that the specific rules the general demolishes the stronghold of their arguments for both Calvinism and a Local Flood. I refute Dr. Hugh Ross in this article: http://www.christian-astronomers.org/articles/godtime.htm
Thank you for being a good contender and defender of THE Faith.
What a fantastic article! Thank you for articulating everything that those of us who reject the debate between the extreme positions on this matter wish we could articulate so well! Thank you for taking an honest, biblical approach to this argument, not polluted by the pride of Arminianism or the elitism of the Calvinistic view. God bless!!
My name is Len -----. I truly enjoyed the article regarding Calvinism and Arminianism. I too, reject adopting the label or title of either; rather I am a sinner saved by grace, with a great hunger to study the Word of God. I trust the power of the Holy Spirit to reveal to my heart of understanding, that which God would have me to understand; not ANY bias opinion of man. Scripture proves scripture, so long as we stay within the proper context of the text.
Thank you for the presentation delineating Calvinism versus Arminianism, very insightful and well-done, particularly for those of us who know in our hearts neither theory is exactly right.
So answer this question, Did Jesus paid for the sin of those in hell right now? The bible does say that Jesus died for the sins of the world and therefore no one will pay for there sin because Jesus already paid the penalty.
I greatly enjoyed your article on Calvinism and Arminianism. It was very informative. I have a question about it though. You quote the following "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2) as a justification for the statement Scriptures teach that Christ died for all men everywhere and desires all men to be saved. What did Christ's death accomplish? Did it atone for the sins of all men (the whole world)? Certainly not or all would be destined for heaven and the Bible would not speak of souls in hell. If Jesus' death atones for the sins of the whole world everyone should be saved. Certainly it doesn't "open up the opportunity for salvation" b/c the Bible speaks clearly of the falleness of man and his inability to choose God. God must, for His own glory, have predestined sinners to be saved. He must have sent His son for the express purpose of saving those elect sinners. Otherwise Jesus death either failed for some people or God failed in his desire for all men to be saved.
This next part of scripture, which I must humbly submit to though my soul does not inherently like the idea that God prepared people for destruction, shows that God is in control of every humans salvation. He does not want everyone to be saved. It is all to his glory because it is all about his mercy.
(Note From Bible-truth.org: He quoted Romans 9:1-23 as his proof.)
Doesn't it just delight your heart to know that God is in control. Doesn't God get so much glory from the fact that he saved people headed for destruction. I believe that this is not systemizing God's plan for saving His people but is simply showing us how great and merciful He is.
I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the article by Cooper Abrams on predestination. It was just the sort of balanced Bible-based approach that I was looking for to clear up the issue for myself. Having just read one of Mac Arthur's books, I was glad to see that someone else had taken issue with being categorized as 'prideful' because I had issues with the doctrine of election. The whole notion that the doctrine could be true was starting to remove all zeal and desire to share the gospel, lest I should happen to find myself preaching to a room full of 'non-elects' and thus waste everybody's time!
Thanks for your paper on Election, I found it by doing a search on the internet. I've been struggling with this doctrine lately, especially with the idea that God would pre-destine people to Hell with no chance of salvation. It seems counter to the act on the cross, and I appreciate the scripture that you used to show that God did not pre-destine people to hell.
I also agree with you on how Calvinists try and frame the argument, most times I find them to be intellectually dishonest. Calvinist paint people opposed to them as prideful, and ones that question Gods sovereignty. By framing the argument this way the Calvinist simply concludes that since God is sovereign they must be right. It reminds me of those who are pro-abortion and try to frame the argument to be about women's rights, and not the right of a person to live. In other words, those who are against abortion are against women's rights and not for life. In the same vain, the Calvinist would say those opposed to their view are rejecting God's sovereignty and man's sinfulness, certainly not what the Bible actually teaches.
Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to put together your paper, and for providing lots of scripture to back up your view. I too agree that God has made easy to understand, and it is Man not God who has made is complicated and divisive. Take care,