Opinions on faith and life

The Spirit of Calvinism

2006-07-01

I’ve written a lot about Calvinist theology, but I need to speak out about the attitudes displayed by the majority of them. Note that I do not condemn all Calvinists in this little rant of mine, since I know a few who are not like this at all and display a Christlike spirit. But by far the majority I’ve met or read about have displayed no such Spirit.

There are consequences to all belief systems, and the predictable result of Calvinism is blind devotion to man’s wisdom to the point of publicly renouncing all non-Calvinists as somehow not letting God be God. This is a vicious lie, as I will show.

First let’s look at the concept of Sovereignty.

Sovereignty basically means that God is absolutely supreme; there is none beside or above Him. This is something no real Christian would deny. But what the Calvinist means by it is something entirely different, and completely sinister: that God is a cold-blooded monster, deciding before anyone was born that billions would go to hell and a very few would go to heaven, all by some imaginary ’divine decree’.

What Calvinists cannot grasp is that sovereignty does not exist in a vacuum. They elevate this one aspect of God to the point it rules over another very important element of His character: love. God’s sovereignty is limited and tempered by his love and holiness. Without that, with sovereignty alone, we aren’t talking about God but Satan, who ruthlessly abuses his power over those under him. Was Hitler sovereign? Hussein? Stalin? Absolutely. Did that sovereignty define them as righteous? Absolutely not!

So the fact that God is sovereign does NOT mean he can violate His own nature, or make us live up to a standard higher than He lives up to. To think that anyone who rejects this twisted, lopsided view of God is somehow denying that God is sovereign is a lie, and all who perpetuate it will have to answer to this very God for their blasphemy.

Now let’s look at what ’spirit’ most Calvinists display.

If you believe that God has decided who will be saved, then there is no point in evangelization. To preach the gospel from that perspective is dishonest at the very least. They say, “we don’t know who has been chosen so we preach to all”, but that ignores two important points: that if election is true then preaching is a waste of time because God will save the chosen no matter what, and no one can claim God didn’t know whether he had chosen Cain or not:

Genesis 4:6-7 Then the LORD said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it.”
If God had already decided that Cain would sin, then His ’witnessing’ to Cain was deceptive and evil. Why not just take the text as written? Clearly God had given Cain a choice. But because Calvinists must defend their belief in disproportionate sovereignty, they are forced into claiming God made Cain sin, and that this instance of ’witnessing’ is an example of God’s right to be deceptive!

In all my dealings with Calvinists, and others have reported the same, I’ve seen a lot of hatred, disinformation, defamation of character, and many other expressions of very un-Christlike behavior. Yet according to them, those of us who disagree with their theology are made by God to do so, so why do they get so upset? Are they mad at God for making us ’wrong’? Their very reactions and lies reveal the truth: that they know deep down that people have a free will. If not, then they are really blaming God for putting us here to disagree with them.

This whole fatalistic, people-are-robots scheme is an affront to the God of love the Bible tells us about. Reader, if you rejected Christianity because of this twisted Calvinistic idea, please understand that the God of the Bible is not like their claims at all:

John 3:16

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

If God, sovereign as He is, decided to give man a free will, who are Calvinists to say He did not? Are they calling God a liar when He says He is “not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9)? They deny God’s sovereignty every time they say God must direct and ordain every little detail, that He cannot be sovereign if man has free will, or that God cannot know the future without causing it. It is Calvinists, not others, who deny not only the sovereignty of God, but his love and justice as well.

If there are any Calvinists reading this, take a good hard look at the implications of your theology. Read some of the excellent rebuttals to it that I have on my website, instead of only always reading material by Calvinists. I have deeply and open-mindedly studied Calvinism, so I’m not asking you to do something I haven’t done.

And any of you who have reviled fellow believers for not being Calvinists, you need to repent!

4 Comments

rejoice

I’m on my way out the door, but I have to say I have personally witnessed a hateful attitude in calvinist believers. I apologize to those who believe in predestination and are loving, but for the most part what I have encountered is a hateful spirit. The history of murdering and chasing FAMILIES from their homes is a sure sign that they were not abiding in Christ.

Paula Fether

Hi, rejoice! Thanks for your comment. Yes, it’s a shame that many believers, in their zeal for a system of interpretation, will forget what Christianity is all about and start attacking people merely for disagreeing with them. It’s one thing to speak out strongly against what we perceive as error, but quite another to actually hate fellow believers. I think Jesus’ parable about the master returning to find some servants beating others is one that many Calvinists need to take warning from. To be fair, I’ve seen the same hatred from KJVOs and the "tolerance" crowd as well.

rejoice

Also, Calvin believed God ordained Adam’s fall.

Paula Fether

Yes, Calvin did. Which, ironically, is exactly what Mormonism teaches.