Why Respond to Calvinism?
Calvinism is a doctrine that came from the reformation, mainly through John Calvin. What is wrong with the teachings of Calvinism? Why respond to Calvinism? The purpose of responding to this doctrinal position (that many Christians have taken) is to show that this is not a true doctrine taught in the Bible. For those who think this is done to cause division within the body of Christ, I believe that is not the case at all. There are many wonderful brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus Christ who believe in the views of Calvinism (and I do have friends who are Calvinists). However there are those who hold extreme views of Calvinism who say that you are not a true Christian if you do not believe in Calvinism or that a person is marked because they do not hold to the views of Predestination in the same way they do. In the past there have been friends of mine who were brothers in the Lord and held to the views of Calvinism, and our fellowship was sweet as honey. However when the topic of Predestination came up things changed which, in short, there are those who go to the extent that they cannot fellowship with you if you do not agree with their views on the 5 points of Calvinism known as the "TULIP."
My goal is to give a balanced view on what the Bible teaches on Total Depravity, Predestination, Unconditional Election, Atonement, God’s grace, and the Perseverance of the saints known as TULIP. I do not hold to the views of what is called the “TULIP” as Calvinists do. In contrast to what the “TULIP” teaches I will briefly share what I believe on this matter for those who may wish to know. 1. I do not believe in Total Depravity in which a person does not have the ability to reach out to God. Total Depravity teaches that man is dead in his sins just like a person who is a tomb; they are dead and can do nothing. Therefore a person who is dead in their sins cannot choose God because they do not have the ability. That is incorrect, the Bible continually speaks of people reaching out to God in which they have not been “regenerated by the Holy Spirit” and there are plenty of Scriptures that indicate that man was “unwilling to receive the message of the Lord.” 2. I do not believe in Unconditional Election to where God has only given the ability for “some” to be saved and the rest were called to eternal damnation. The Bible teaches clearly that God loves the whole world and gave His Son that “whosoever believes” will have eternal life. 3. I do not believe in Limited Atonement to where Christ Jesus only died for some, that being those whom God determined on His own will to be saved before they were even born. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is for all mankind, Jesus shed blood is for all who will reach out to receive the gift of eternal life. 4. I do not believe in Irresistible Grace where those who hold to this doctrine believe those whom God has chosen to be saved before the foundation of the world would receive the message of Christ Jesus based upon the will of God, not their own. Those whom God has called will not turn away from God calling them is the view of Irresistible Grace, but the Bible teaches that there are those with whom God has been made known and “they were unwilling” to receive the truth. God did not create robots in this world in which we are puppets, God has given us all a will of our own to either receive Him or to reject Him. 5. The doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints is a Biblical doctrine in which those who are truly born again and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they are saved not based upon their works or efforts, but based upon the promise of God keeping them safely in His care.
In closing here I wish to say that this issue of Calvinism can be both informative and dangerous to the body of Christ. By informative I mean it can stimulate Christians to grow in their faith and in the Word of God, and by dangerous because the enemy will use this to cause (and already has) divisions in which brothers and sisters in the Lord lose fellowship with each other. There is another issue to mention briefly on the topic of responding to Calvinism. To those who are not of the body of Christ, namely non-Christians do observe what Christians do around them and the results on those actions. Many atheists mock Christianity because of the doctrines of Calvinism, many of the Christian Cults look at this and say, “see how much confusion is within Christianity, we must be of the true faith because we all believe the same things.” Christians need to see that our faith causes effects on those around us whether we realize it or not. May the Lord be glorified in all that we do, and may our light shine to those around us who have not come to know Jesus Christ, and may they see the love of God in our hearts so that they will want the precious gift of knowing Jesus and having the assurance of their sins being forgiven.