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Note: A complete study on the doctrine of Calvinism can be found at www.reformed.org
What is the Reformed Movement, i.e. the T.U.L.I.P.? It stands for, Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints.
Don't be intimidated by these terms. These are not complicated issues. Sometimes big words have simple meanings. Before we expose Calvinism's fallacies, i.e. the T.U.L.I.P., it is important to explain the truth first…then we can expose the lie.
Which is true, predestination or free will? You might say, "Are you kidding? People have been arguing predestination as opposed to free will for centuries. How can we resolve this matter in one article?" Well, we're not going to resolve it. We'll let the Bible provide the solution.
Do these terms contradict one another? Actually, there is no contradiction at all because both are true. Here's the explanation:
I'm sure we can all agree that God is omniscient, He is all knowing. He knows all things past, present and future. How do we know that God knows the future? The proof is in the prophets. For example, Isaiah 7:14 prophesied that the Messiah would be born of a virgin…before it happened, Jeremiah 25:11-12 foretold of Israel's seventy-year captivity in Babylon…before it happened, and Micah 5:2 revealed that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem…before it happened.
On an individual basis, God also knows everything that will occur in the future…before it happens. Here are a few examples:
First, when Abraham's son Isaac married Rebekah, she eventually became pregnant with twins. When the twins began struggling within her, Genesis 25:22-23 tells us what happened. She said:
"…why am I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD. And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; AND THE ELDER SHALL SERVE THE YOUNGER."
According to this passage, the LORD knew the fate of both twins before they were even born. Just like God said, it came to pass that the elder Esau served the younger Jacob.
Another example in the Bible proving that God knows all things beforehand is found in John 6:70-71, where Jesus said to Peter:
"...Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve."
How could Jesus possibly know that Judas would betray Him? Unless of course, His Father told Him!
Here’s another example where God knew what an individual would do before he did it: Remember when Jesus informed Peter that he would deny Him three times, before he denied Him three times? How did Jesus know that Peter would deny Him? Unless of course, His Father told Him!
The point is this: Even though we have free will, God is all-knowing and knows all free-will decisions we make before we make them. There is nothing that we can do to surprise God. For example, if we suddenly decided to sing or count from 1 to 20, God knew we would do it beforehand.
Before Esau was born, God knew he would despise his birthright. And before Jacob was born, God also knew he would covet Esau's birthright and offer to trade it with Esau for some venison. God also knew that Esau would choose to accept Jacob's offer. This is why Romans 9:13 says, "As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated." Does anyone really think that God arbitrarily hated Esau and loved Jacob for no apparent reason? Well, Calvinists do!
Before we expose Calvinism's view on Unconditional Election as an attack against God's very character and nature, let us address the predestination and free will issues first. In the beginning, God decided to create mankind for both fellowship and a relationship. Even before He created Adam and Eve, He knew they would fall. Though He would give them the choice to eat or not to eat the fruit of the tree, He knew they would disobey Him. Why? It's simple: because God knows all things!
God also knew that because of Adam and Eve's disobedience, they would pass down their sin-nature to all future generations. As a result, this would prevent everyone from having a close relationship with Him. Though some would choose to have a relationship and some would opt against it, it really wouldn't matter. Because of sin, it would be impossible for anyone to have a relationship with God
So, what did God do before He created man? The answer: He decided to send them a Savior, His own Son. This is why Revelation 13:8 indicates that the Lamb was "...slain from the foundation of the world."
Now God's plan for mankind’s salvation was in motion. Those who would choose to fear Him, love Him, and covet a relationship with Him would have a way. The way would be the cross. Just like Jesus said in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Why does God call His people the elect, as 1Peter 1:2 states, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father...?” The answer: foreknowledge. It’s that simple! God knows beforehand, through His foreknowledge, everyone who will choose to fear Him. And His elect, individuals who choose to fear Him, would be shown the way. And it all begins with having the fear of the LORD.
How do we know that fearing the LORD is a God-given choice? Regarding the unsaved, Proverbs 1:29 says, "For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD."
So, according to Proverbs 1:29, the fear of the LORD is undoubtedly a choice. Actually, God has always been a God who provides choice. He gives everyone the ability to make decisions. He just happens to know what we'll choose before we make our choices. Why? It's simple! Because He's God, and God knows all things!
And, based on our free-will decision to fear God, look at what Psalm 25:12-14 says:
"What man is he that feareth the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth. The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant."
This passage teaches that God responds to all those who fear Him by revealing to them His covenant and showing them the way. And, according to the Bible, what is the covenant for those who choose to fear God? The covenant is the New Covenant; the covenant is His Son! As written in the New Testament, in Acts 13:26:
"Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent."
As shown, the Bible teaches that the path to salvation is as follows. It begins with God, who gives everyone a choice. He reaches out to every single man, woman and child. Proverbs 1:29 teaches that the fear of the LORD is a choice. And, Psalm 25:12-14 reveals that, based on man’s choice to fear God, He shows them His covenant. And, what is His covenant? The answer: His covenant is His Son! And Acts 13:26 confirms as follows, "Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent."
1Peter 1:2 reveals that we are, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." This is because God knows beforehand His elect since He knows all those who will fear Him. Why? Because He's God, and God knows all things!
Finally, Romans 8:29-31 summarizes:
"For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"
As we begin to unravel the doctrinal confusion adopted by those who embrace Calvinism, we need to remember one thing: God has always been a God who provides choices. For example, Deuteronomy 30:19 says, "...I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live."
After reading this verse, it becomes apparent that mankind has the ability to make the proper choice with respect to salvation. Even after Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, Genesis 3:22 described them as follows:
"And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil, etc."
Genesis 3:22 reveals that, after Adam and Eve sinned, they knew both good and evil. And Deuteronomy 30:19 indicates that mankind still had the ability to choose either life or death. This proves one thing: even though mankind is considered spiritually depraved, this doesn't necessarily mean that we are totally incapable of making the correct choice with respect to our own personal salvation.
Keeping this in mind, let's take a look at Calvinism's misconception of mankind's total depravity:
According to them, mankind's spiritual downfall prevents everyone and anyone from making the proper choice regarding salvation. They believe that it is impossible for us to come to God on our own. However, this position seems to be in clear contradiction to the Scriptures. Once again, Deuteronomy 30:19 provides the evidence because, if man was totally incapable of making the correct decision to choose life, why would God say to choose? It doesn't make any sense, does it?
In summary, it all begins with God. He has instilled a conscience in every single one of us. Based on our consciences, we make the choice. Since God has foreknowledge, He just happens to know the decisions we will make before we make them. It's that simple!
If you think Calvinism's position on Total Depravity is scripturally baseless, take a look at what it teaches about Unconditional Election. According to Calvinism, God has unconditionally or arbitrarily elected those to be saved before the foundation of the world solely on the basis of the counsel of His will, not taking anyone's accountability into consideration. As a result, no matter what anyone does, some are pre-destined to salvation, and the rest are pre-destined to damnation. This view is not only without merit, but also quite ludicrous. But there's more! This is where their position on Irresistible Grace kicks in. Regarding Irresistible Grace, they believe that God spiritually draws to Him only those who He has unconditionally pre-selected for salvation before the foundation of the world. According to Calvinism, as far as God is concerned, the rest can burn in hell...and God doesn't care!
Have you ever heard anything like that in your life? These doctrinal positions insult God’s very nature and character to the highest possible degree, portraying Him as a sadistic monster.
Let us further explain why Calvinism's positions on Irresistible Grace and Unconditional Election are so silly. Back in the days of the Old Testament, God likened His relationship with the children of Israel as a marriage. For example, in Jeremiah 3:14, God pleads with the house of Israel to return to Him. This is what it says:
"Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion."
In Jeremiah 31:32, God refers to Himself as Israel's husband and, when the house of Israel turned to other gods, God described their act as adultery, giving her a bill of divorce. For the sake of illustration, this is how Jeremiah 3:8 reads:
"And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also."
Keeping this in mind, according to the New Testament, Jesus' relationship with His church is no different. In Matthew 22:2, Jesus said: "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son." And, in Matthew 22:8, Jesus continues as follows: "Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy."
For final emphasis, Revelation 19:7-9 states that all the saints of God will take part in the marriage supper of the Lamb.
So, both Old and New Testaments clearly liken God's relationship with His people as a marriage. In the Old Testament, God is likened to a husband, while in the New Testament, Jesus is likened to a bridegroom. In the Old Testament, Israel is referred to as God's wife, while in the New Testament, the church is referred to as Christ's bride.
Remembering this, let us think about a relationship within a marriage. Isn't it about two parties choosing to be together? For example, I'm married, and I have a wonderful wife. We both chose to be married. Before we took our vows, I didn't force my wife to be with me, and she didn't force me to be with her. Our marriage was by mutual consent. It was a free will decision for the both of us.
Calvinism's views on Irresistible Grace and Unconditional Election completely violate this clear Bible principle. First, let us take a look at its position on Unconditional Election. As we have seen, it claims that God has pre-selected certain individuals for salvation before they were even born, thus denying salvation to those He didn't select. My goodness, I don't know about you, but Calvinism's position on this matter is infuriating! We at the King Messiah Project believe that, if God left it solely up to Himself, He would choose to save everyone. But like any marriage, God wants a relationship with those who want a relationship with Him. For example, before I married my wife, I didn't force her to be with me. She is with me because she chose to be with me. And vice versa!
To prove this point, Acts 10:34 tells us that God is "no respecter of persons," and Acts 10:35 continues, "But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him."
Though God loves everyone, He chooses to have a relationship only with those who choose to fear Him and covet a relationship with Him. To demonstrate God’s heart for everyone, according to Ezekiel 33:11, He pleads with those who rejected Him to return. This is what He said:
"...As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"
From these illustrations, we remain hopeful that everyone who reads this article will agree that Calvinism's position on Unconditional Election is absolute nonsense.
Let's take a look at Calvinism's view on Irresistible Grace: They believe that God regenerates and spiritually draws to His Son only those who He arbitrarily chose, or unconditionally elected before the foundation of the world. With all due respect, this concept likens God to a spiritual caveman who sees a pretty girl, hits her over the head with a rock, and drags her off to a cave, giving her no choice at all. That's nonsense! I didn't have to do that to my wife, and God doesn't have to do that to His!
According to the Bible, Calvinism's claim that a person's spiritual regeneration takes place before faith in Christ is incorrect; and, Titus 3:4-6 provides the evidence. It reads as follows:
"But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour."
This passage teaches that one's faith in Jesus as Savior is the catalyst or springboard to receiving the Holy Ghost, and it is He who does the regenerating. So, man's regeneration comes after confessing Christ, not before!
In summary, Proverbs 1:29 states that fearing God is a choice. And Psalm 25:12-14 reveals that, upon choosing to fear God, He will show us His covenant. Additionally, Acts 10:34-35 and Acts 13:26 confirm that the message of salvation is sent to all those who fear God. Upon one's acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, Titus 3:4-6 reveals that the born-again and regeneration process begins through the Holy Ghost.
Regarding salvation, these are the Scriptures! But unfortunately for those who embrace Calvinism, they rely on a completely different view, their own make-believe version, which is an insult to God’s nature and character. My goodness, regarding Irresistible Grace and Unconditional Election, Calvinism's position sounds almost convoluted!
Let's review Calvinism's equally confused position on Limited Atonement, the L in the T.U.L.I.P. First, according to the Bible, the definition of Limited Atonement is as follows: God sent His Son into the world so that salvation can be provided to all those who choose to believe. John 3:16 states:
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
1John 3:23 adds: "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment."
Keeping this in mind, Proverbs 8:13 defines the fear of the LORD in the following manner: "...to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, etc."
As we can see, the fear of the LORD is man's inward expression of humility and the hatred of sin. Moreover, Proverbs 1:29 reveals that this is a choice. Therefore, according to the Bible's definition of Limited Atonement, Jesus died only for those that God foreknew would display these attributes. Upon our sincere expression of humility, hatred of sin, pride and arrogance, i.e. 'fear of the LORD,' Psalm 25:12-14 reveals that God points us in the direction of salvation and toward His covenant.
In retrospect, Calvinism's position on Limited Atonement is quite convoluted. It teaches that Christ died only for those that God unconditionally or arbitrarily elected before the foundation of the world. Sad, isn't it?
That pretty much summarizes the differences between Calvinism and the teachings in the Bible. As you can see, the Scriptures wilt the T.U.L.I.P., i.e. the Reformed Movement. Those who embrace the teachings promoted by John Calvin centuries ago need to reconsider their position. And that's the Gospel truth!
In conclusion, God loves each and every one of us in spite of our sins. There might be some who find this hard to believe, but it's true! Does everyone know that before God made Himself known to Moses, Exodus 2:11-12 reveals that Moses murdered a man? And how about King David, who God described as a man after His own heart? David actually slept with another man's wife and, when Bathsheba became pregnant as a result of their affair, David intentionally sent her husband Uriah to the front lines in battle, and Uriah was killed. And after that, David married Bathsheba.
Both Moses and David were sinners. Yet, God knew their hearts. He knew that deep down in their hearts, they feared Him.
How many of us would love to be like Moses, or King David? But our sins convict us, and we feel unworthy and sorry for ourselves. If anyone feels unworthy and conviction in their sin, that's a good thing because they fear God. They are expressing both humility and hatred for their sins. They are just the kind of people that God is looking for.
A lot of you might be thinking that this is too good to be true, how can this be? You may say, "Do you mean to tell me that all I have to do is choose to accept Jesus as my Savior and my sins are forgiven and I have everlasting life?" According to the Bible, the answer is 'absolutely yes.' So, it boils down to this: Eternal life, or eternal damnation? Eternal life, or eternal damnation? For the intelligent person, that really isn't much of a choice, is it?
Tell that to the Calvinists...they don't believe that men are capable of making the right salvational choices. This is because they deny what the Bible teaches, that God has given mankind free will. This is why Calvinism’s positions on Unconditional Election, Irresistible Grace, Total Depravity and Limited Atonement absolutely insult the very nature and character of our Beloved Creator. He continually reaches out to every single man, woman and child in hope that they make the decision to fear Him and covet a relationship with Him.
Always remember that the choice is up to you!
Sincerely and In Christ,
The King Messiah Project