God according to Calvinism

What does the Bible tell us about God? Among other things:

The Bible says God is perfectly just, honest, and fair, and cannot lie.

The Bible says God sets Himself up as our example of all that is good and right and just.

The Bible presents the Gospel as being extended to – and valid for – all people, without any distinctions or exceptions whatsoever.

The Bible says God desires that none should perish in Hell, to the extent that He “begs” all to be reconciled to Him (a silly thing to do if all are foreordained).

The Bible promises that all who will believe the Gospel can and will be saved.

The Bible says God will condemn those who reject the Gospel specifically because they chose to reject it.

What, on the other hand, does Calvinism tell us about God? A few things:

Calvinism also says God is perfectly just, honest and fair, and cannot lie, and that He expects us to use Him as our example of all that is good and right.

Yet Calvinism says that while the Gospel appears to be extended to – and valid for – all people, in reality it is extended to – and valid for – ONLY those God elected to save in eternity past.

Calvinism says that, in eternity past, God reprobated many, many people – the vast majority of mankind – to the Lake of Fire.

Calvinism says reprobates who believe the Gospel cannot really believe it, and so cannot possibly be saved by it. EVER.

So, if reprobation and condemnation are both the result of God’s will (consistent Calvinists admit this is so), that makes God’s will the cause of the reprobate’s condemnation.

Does that not lead us to conclude that the God presented by Calvinism is not be the God of the Bible? If God

a) issues an apparently universally valid Gospel which SECRETLY was never intended to save all,

b) expects faith from those to whom He SECRETLY has no intention of giving faith,

c) begs those whom He SECRETLY predestined for the Lake of Fire to believe and be saved,

d) condemns those who don’t believe for their lack of faith, even though their lack of faith is SECRETLY nothing less than the result of his reprobative decree in eternity past,

then we must conclude, without overstatement or exaggeration, that the God of Calvinism is in reality unjust, untrustworthy, unfair, hypocritical, and is quite capable of deception and lies. That is a god other than the God of the Bible!

If Calvinism is true, then it is a matter of simple deduction to conclude that the Bible cannot be trusted since the Bible doesn’t say what God really meant, and doesn’t mean what God really said.

Here are a few examples of Calvinistic doublethink I encountered on an Internet message board:

“…God’s promise of salvation is conditioned on faith. He isn’t being dishonest. For someone to be saved, they have to exercise faith. I don’t see that God is dishonest because He only chooses to grant faith to some. Those He reprobates or passes over are still guilty.”

or this from another Calvinist:

“The eternal fate of all humans WAS irrevocably settled in eternity past, AND living people can and do go to heaven or hell depending on their response to the Gospel. The two concepts are not mutually exclusive.”

Yet another Calvinist insisted, in a private message, that the earning of eternal damnation comes as a result of an individual’s sin. But in other threads, this same person said God decided the condemned would go to the Lake of Fire before that person was ever born!

Statements such as these are plainly self-contradictory, and self-contradiction is a symptom of confusion. Yet Calvinism is defended as a system of truth consistent with the God who does not author confusion! An impossible situation, but there it is.

It bears repeating: the nature and actions Calvinism attributes to God are not evident in – and are inconsistent with – the nature and actions of the God of the Bible. So how can students of the Bible come to believe God does the things Calvinism says He does? One does this by becoming a committed follower of Augustinian philosophy (a.k.a. reformed theology), which allows one become an initiate into the secret “truths” mentioned above. The denial of doublethink results from reading Scripture through the distorted lenses of Augustine’s Greek-influenced philosophy, which Roman Catholic John Calvin inherited and, in turn, has passed on to reformed protestantism.

This is precisely where doublethink comes in. In order to make Calvinism appear consistent, one must have the ability to accept and defend contradictory facts (the facts of Scripture and the differing “facts” of Augustinian assumptions) as if they’re equally true and harmonious, even though they cannot be. This, I suspect, partly explains the elitism, intellectual pride, arrogance and condescension peculiar to defenders of Calvinism. SInce it is assumed that a knowledge of these “doctrines of grace” are given only to a relative few – who but the elect could know them? – anyone opposing them are to be pitied (though in Calvin’s Geneva, one would have been very fortunate to receive only pity).

If there is one fact upon which all else may safely rest, it is this: the God of the Bible will not contradict His nature as it is revealed to us in His Word. Yet, as we have seen, the god of Calvinism does exactly that. It requires no stretch of imagination to indict the god of Calvinism for the very things the God of the Bible has sworn to condemn corrupt human judges for doing. This means, very simply, that they are not the same Being. The Calvin-god cannot even be trusted to have elected to salvation any Calvinist reading these words…despite claims to the contrary, in his heart every Calvinist knows it (see our article “Fred”).

This, too, bears repeat: If you can’t know your elect – and no one can – you MAY be a sincerely religious but deluded reprobate! There’s a 50/50 chance of it and Calvinism (consistently applied) gives NO GROUND on which to exclude that possibility.

If Calvinism is true, NONE OF US can say with 100% certainty, “I, right now, AM saved and eternally safe in Christ and I am CERTAIN of it.” The Calvinist can BELIEVE that, or ASSUME it, or HOPE it is true but – to be consistent – he can’t KNOW it is true unless he perserveres in faith UNTIL HE DIES. Any salvationally secure and confident Calvinist is that way DESPITE his Calvinism, not because of it. I speak from experience here: to the degree that one is an informed Calvinist…to the degree one tries to live in a manner logically consistent with the teachings of Calvinism…to the degree that one actually STOPS and THINKS about his Reformed faith…to that same degree one knows the FEAR of uncertainty…of not being fully able to trust God…of possibly falling away into an eternity reprobated to damnation. No less than R.C. Sproul has admitted to harboring these doubts. The honest, informed Calvinist will not deny having such thoughts and feelings.

The “P” of TULIP is Calvinism’s “fail-safe” device. But it gives only the coldest comfort, as it gives no assurance in THIS life that one was elected by God. Instead, it promises only that IF one really is God’s elect, God will make him to perservere unto death. In the meantime, what ground of assurance is there? Without knowing I was one of those elected to have Christ die for my sins, can I have real assurance? No. Even the warmest promises of the Bible I hesitate to claim since I can’t know if I was elected to be blessed by them!

So what could I do? Cram the mind full of theology and more theology…Luther, Calvin, the Puritans, MacArthur, Sproul, White…engage in endless, pointless chatroom debates that never bear fruit…take the fact that you struggle with besetting sins and often doubt your salvation as evidence you really are elect…strive to keep the Law and do good works to prove your regeneration to yourself, if not to others. And whenever inconsistencies in your theology are pointed out, doublethink will insulate the mind from even the most glaring because – inconsistencies or no – how could ALL those vaunted Reformed thinkers be wrong? I could trust them…I could place my faith in these MEN. And that’s what I used to do.

But despite it all, that depressing, dreadful FEAR still hid in the corners of my heart. Some of you know what I’m talking about. Deny it…try not to think about it…sing above it…but it’s still there. Stronger sometimes, weaker at others. But short of entirely abandoning reformed theology (a frightening thought!), there is no way to dislodge that fear. Sad, and unecessary, but true. Again, I used to be there. And I feel so sorry for those who are there now but won’t admit it. It doesn’t have to be that way! But, alas, only the grace of God and a willingness to at least admit the possibility of being wrong can hope to change it.

Calvinism that has reached the level of doublethink is invulnerable to reasoned arguments. It is blind to its own blindness. After reading numerous statements like those quoted above, fatigue sets in and one finally has to admit there’s nothing more to say. One has beat his head on the keyboard long enough. All you can do is back away quitely. Pray for those who are blinded to their own doublethink. But I can’t give up, not when various strains of Reformed theology spread ever further throughout the Body of Christ.

I have never meant offense to any particular person, and I don’t think I can be accused of that. I’m not attacking people but ideas here. No doctrinal system is exempt from the Bible’s command to test ALL things and hold on tight to the good! Implied in that test is the tossing out of whatever is found to be false.

Looked at objectively, Calvinism is nothing more than a system of baffling, almost mystical theological complexities and contradictions piled one on top of the other. It is a tradition so revered and so exalted that most Christians are assumed to be not intelligent enough to understand it fully. Hence we require an intellectual elite – a Reformed priesthood – to explain it to us as if we are medieval Catholic peasants.

And that’s bad enough. However, for the reasons cited in this and our other articles, I am convinced that Calvinism is the most subtly malignant form of philosophical blasphemy infecting the Church today. This isn’t a matter of merely erroneous doctrine. For if Calvinism is true, then the Bible and God Himself are less than totally reliable. That’s what is at stake here.

Every believer should objectively examine Calvinism for himself and decide what to do with it. That is why these articles are on this site, and will continue to be written.



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