Predestined, to What? Are We Puppets?
By E. Kalteck
Some Bible teachers seem to thinks so.
Do you know what is meant by predestination ? There is a very good reason for asking. A misapplication of 'predestination' has become the underpinning of what is being taught widely today, causing discord and confusion, and dare we say depression among those who are in doubt over their salvation, or who have come to question the character of God, due to the aberrant teaching of Calvinism.
Harry Ironside said there are “only two chapters in which this word predestinate or predestinated is found. The first is Romans 8:29-30, the other chapter is Ephesians 1:5 and 11 . You will note that there is no reference in these four verses to either heaven or hell but to Christ-likeness eventually. Nowhere are we told in scripture that God predestinated one man to be saved and another to be lost. Men are to be saved or lost eternally because of their attitude towards the Lord Jesus Christ. Predestination means that someday all the redeemed shall become just like the Lord Jesus"
"D.L. Moody used to put it very simply the elect are the 'whosoever wills' the non-elect 'whosoever wont's'. This is exactly what scripture teaches, the invitation is to all, those who accept it are the elect. Remember, we are never told that Christ died for the elect".
"Whosoever means, whosoever." Only a biased theologian, with an axe to grind,
could ever think that it meant only the elect."
Calvinism is often described by the letters T U L I P:
T- Total Depravity (so depraved as to not be able to even make a choice, total inability to believe. This ends up in teaching that man must be born again BEFORE he believes.)
U- Unconditional Election (they teach that God has chosen who will be saved and who will go to hell, because these latter have not been gifted to believe. This is supposedly to the glory of God. Faith gifted to the elect by the Spirit is said to bring true conversions while personal faith is considered a “work” that produces false conversions.)
L- Limited Atonement (Many Calvinists teach that Christ died only for those He chose to be saved, and that the Gospel is not for all.)
I- Irresistible Grace (God calls only some to be saved, and they cannot resist. They will be saved automatically regardless of whether they want to be or not while those whom He 'reprobates' have no chance of salvation.)
P- Perseverance of the Saints (those whom God chose will not be lost. However since they do not know who the elect are, there is the torment of uncertainty, which may result in a works/Lordship salvation in an attempt to prove to themselves they are indeed elect. Biblical Christianity teaches the PREservation of the saints, not the persevering--hanging on for dear life to convince yourself you are elect).
The above is my own summary of TULIP. For better definitions see David Cloud's
book linked below. (It is free online and easily understood.)
To teach that a man is made for hell because it pleased God (which in fact is what Calvinism teaches--they call it the doctrine of reprobation) goes against the very nature of God. It sounds blasphemous and at best heretical. We might well ask as Dave Hunt asked, 'what love is this?' That is the title of a need- to- read book he wrote on the topic.
How often we see the tenderness of the Lord in His dealings with man. How often He says, CHOOSE. How often is it stated that the Lord is not willing that any should perish? How the Calvinist can ignore all the passages that show the love of God is incomprehensible. The entire doctrine of Calvinism seems to rest on a misapplication of a few verses, as illustrated by Ironside above. We could go over verse after verse to illustrate that the Lord died for all (1 John 2:2, 1 Timothy 2:4, 6), that He desires that all should come to repentance, and that we all must choose. I'll not take time to reinvent the wheel here, but it is a good exercise to prove to ourselves from Scripture that God meant it literally when He said, 'whosoever will may come' (Revelation 22:17). We will need to have a grasp of these passages in our own understanding, as Calvinism floods the religious landscape.
Calvinism seems to present itself in a ministry we supported for years. I am troubled by the fact that for years we put friends on the mailing list for the magazine of Friends of Israel, Israel My Glory. For years our family learned a lot from their publications. As we became aware of the message of Calvinism and I was told by a leading FOI man that he subscribes to a number of points of Calvinism (he is not alone at that mission), it began to make sense when we noticed what seems to be an increase in numbers of articles in IMG that teach Calvinistic ideas. Having myself introduced many to the ministry, it now seems imperative that I also acknowledge a word of caution is in order—my motive for this message.
It seems to be a trend among Calvinists, to not let the cat out of the bag all at once. Could it be that once people find out, the financial support drops (except that now it seems to be becoming mainstream thinking in our Biblically illiterate churches)? Indeed as we move briskly along in the apostasy of the last days, heretical teachings seem tragically to gain more support, not less. If you do it slowly, a line here and a line there, and people do not process as they go--gradually if we hear false teaching often enough we believe it, and may not even know why we have come to believe what we believe. I've noticed this with conference speakers and radio pastors that are currently on the air.
Another interesting find is that while some ministries are open about their views, others have more than one statement of faith or a vague statement of faith that leaves much unsaid, with perhaps an expanded statement tucked out of sight of the general public, depending on which audience is targeted; with these 'shy' ministries it may take some digging to get at what they actually believe.
The Jan/Feb 2-16 issue of Israel My Glory , has a number of articles that suggest or clearly state that God chooses whom He predestines for heaven or hell. (Reread Ironside's simple statement if you get confused about what is at stake here.) This seems to be an increase of this type of teaching for this publication, though I'd tuned them out long ago and it may have been showing for awhile. Perhaps it was (most likely) there all along and I was not recognizing it. After all like many others, before the days of internet access, and before Dave Hunt finally brought this subject to our attention, who of us ordinary workaday Christians even knew about John Calvin?
First, the people who will read this email would almost certainly agree that
God is in control ultimately; 'the judge of all the earth (will) do right'
(Genesis 18:25). He can do as He pleases, except what He pleases will always
be right. He does not lie. He says,
"Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and
there is none else."
Clearly this indicates we are capable of looking unto Him, all , and He wants all to be saved , but He will not force Himself (so He tells us to look). We do know that not all will be saved. So what is the difference? The Calvinist does not believe that ultimately we have a choice about our salvation, that it is all up to God's choosing in eternity past. God made you for heaven, like it or not, and that other person, he made for hell, so get used to it. What love is this? Even the most devout Calvinists seem to have struggled with insecurity wondering if they are the elect (according to their understanding of the term) or not. They can't know for sure if God chose them or not. (This tends to result in 'Lordship salvation,' testing your own 'elect'ness by works, persevering...when Scripture teaches that God pre serves us (Psalm 37:23-24, 56:13, John 10:28-29, Jude 24-25); we do not retain our salvation by persevering in works.)
The Calvinist applies new meanings to words (something for which they are well known), so that 'whosoever' doesn't mean what the Bible says it means. When you invent new meanings you can always prove your point.
The editor of IMG in her Jan/Feb 2016 letter points readers to the article by
Mike Stallard in this issue where 'you'll learn about the sovereignty of God.'
Despite the fact that God is Almighty, among all His other attributes, the word
'sovereign is found how often in the King James Bible? Not even one time. Yet
it seems to be approximately THE favorite word of Calvinists.
Elwood McQuaid in his 'The God Factor' article, speaking of salvation (see again Ironside's article above for contrast), states that 'somehow God chooses us...'
Richard Emmons in 'Vessels of Clay' states clearly "Even today, God chooses some Gentiles and Jews to be part of the church, but not others...Only those of the promised line, whom God chose according to His sovereign purposes, have been incorporated into God's family." (Both quotes Jan/Feb IMG)
These statements are in direct contradiction to Scripture. These ideas are wrested from passages taken out of context.
What have these men done with all those invitations and exhortations of the Lord to mankind?
"Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." (John 7:37)
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matthew 23:37) (would, will, a matter of choice)
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:15)
"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." (2 Peter 3:9)
Even when we catch the last glimpse of the church on earth, the Lord calls the Laodicean church to repentance: "Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." (Revelation 3:20) The Lord knocks, we open, or not. The Calvinist will have an explanation...though it may have taken much learning to get there. The plain teaching of Scripture is not apparently enough for many 'bible' teachers today.
There is indeed something we will have to get used to, and that is that Calvinism is now widespread and its teachers are getting bolder. It has other names--Reformed, Sovereign Grace, Biblicist if they are in denial; it crosses denominational lines, is very popular among Baptists, now among Mennonites, etc., and will be more so as is evident from even a little bit of homework. My home area (as is common across North America) is ripe for the picking, due to shallow Bible teaching over many years across the denominations, and now inundated by radio/conference/ and online speakers of this persuasion.
Too many people have been introduced by me (zeal without knowledge) to the work of Friends of Israel . Now I regretfully say that what you use of FOI teaching must be used selectively with caution. Not all you are taught there agrees with Scripture. I am grateful for all I've learned from them (and from some other Calvinists) over the years, and for their standing with Israel. That is not enough, no matter how much personally I've enjoyed contact with these individuals. We need to be biblical on all points. To miss out on such vital teaching as the necessity to choose for Christ, thereby misleading souls to a lost eternity is not a casual thing.
There is much information about this topic, from both sides of the fence, the Biblical, and the heretical. If you need more info, I'll be glad to supply links/resources.
Where in our area might you hear Calvinism being taught, either blatantly or subtly (which is more dangerous as you are not aware of what is being done to your thinking)? John MacArthur, John Neufeld at Back to the Bible Canada , David Hocking, many local churches, the list is very long, but these are very popular speakers. Because so many of us are online, there are many names that we encounter, of popular teachers who may be very good in some areas of their teaching, but who nevertheless have strayed from Scripture in this very critical area of salvation. Therefore to believe everything they say is indeed a risk to your spiritual well being, and to the yet not born-again, quite possibly lethal.
Here is a
very small sampling of well known persons
who teach some form of Calvinism (listed randomly as they come to mind):
(Heads the pack. There are numerous other areas of serious concern to his ministry. You might try looking up his Regeneration Camps and Resolved Conferences where thousands of young people are fed extreme charismatic music, degrading methodology, and the Reform view of election/ predestination. From what is visible online direct from their sites, one wonders how much these gatherings have in common with Biblical Christianity.)
R C Sproul
(Prominent in the movement, ' John Calvin was not alone in his doubts, even R.C. Sproul writes, “A while back I had one of those moments of acute self-awareness…and suddenly the question hit me, “R.C., what if you are not one of the redeemed? What if your destiny is not heaven after all, but hell?” Let me tell you that I was flooded in my body with a chill that went from my head to the bottom of my spine. I was terrified… I began to take stock of my life, and I looked at my performance…” from LINK
J I Packer
John Neufeld ( Back to the Bible Canada )
It is painful to put some of these people on the list as some of them seem so earnest, caring, and despite the fatalism of their beliefs, 'evangelical' though how they live with the contradiction is incomprehensible. The list goes on depressingly, endlessly; if they have believed these distortions that began with Augustine, a dedicated delusional Catholic (from whose teachings the Catholic Church derived infant baptism, purgatory, baptism for forgiveness of sins, persecution of those who rejected Catholicism, etc.) and John Calvin (who never gave any clear indication of having been born again, in fact he had one man burned at the stake--using green wood to make the ordeal last longer--for denouncing salvation via infant baptism, and had others murdered for opposing his teaching), they also seem to fall into other errors such as mysticism.
There are also many young Calvinists (often 'emergent') reaching our youth with their music, their mysticism, and their mission, one example, hip-hop/rapper, LeCrae (who can be seen on YouTube leading thousands of youth in contemplative prayer, along with Beth Moore, John Piper, etc.). Sadly leadership of large numbers of churches has come under the influence to some degree of Calvinism. It seems this is part of the end time delusion.
Examples of some who teach quietly by way of inserting a Calvinist phrase but not pushing it blatantly, though you can hear/see it quite frequently in their teachings if you know for what you are looking, are Friends of Israel, David Hocking (not so quietly), John Neufeld at Back to the Bible Canada , etc. My personal experience is that it can be done so subtly that the listener doubts he is hearing it, or that perhaps he is imagining things! I've gone over a ministry's statement of faith dozens of times to find support for Calvinism there (where things are left unsaid) only to have to dig through their sermons to find the obvious adherence to Calvinism. A common technique of Calvinism seems to be, to keep quiet about it until a wide enough audience has been gained and support is well established. That is just a personal observation however, though others have mentioned it.
Some of these ministries were dear to my heart until I noticed the discrepancies. It was difficult for me to write this, I did not want to do it, having had personal interaction with a number of Calvinists whose teachings in other areas have been helpful. It is also difficult as this warning will be distressing to a number of my friends who still support ministries mentioned here, without realizing there is a problem. I have a friend who was introduced to Calvinism as a new believer. This person, like many others, was delivered from it after many years in the movement; we can be praying that those people involved in Calvinism might see the error and remove themselves from it.
We must pray for discernment. We must also not allow 'intellectuals' to intimidate us away from the simplicity of the gospel, especially now in these last days when accurate Bible teaching is difficult to come by. (Amos 8:11, 2 Thessalonians 2:3,1 Timothy 4:1-16).
Whosoever still means whosoever , and the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3) changes not: "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." (John 3:16)
I will end with a quote from Bible teacher Dave Breese, for many years a speaker with Theodore Epp on Back to the Bible. In the series, Prophecy in Romans , Dave Breese stated, “Unconditional election is not true... One of the most deadening theologies imaginable...in the church today, is that (man) has no choice, that he is a marionette, a puppet. ...Election/predestination is based on foreknowledge. God knows the choice you will make. If you believe the gospel* you are predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” (No, we are not puppets.)
When researching Calvinism, be Berean, holding everything up to the light of Scripture. The Calvinism Debate by David Cloud, free ONLINE , is helpful. (This book is recommended as it is easily understood--which is important, as Calvinists seem fond of big 'intellectual' words: examples, infra/subla/supra-lapsarianism-- bluntly put a futile exercise in speculation on the part of the Calvinist dealing with the guessed at sequence as to what order did God create, elect, etc.) Happily the Bible does not engage in the philosophy of which the Calvinists seem so fond, but makes the Gospel plain for anyone to understand who cares to. Too often, when one hears Calvinists speak, the 'scribes and Pharisees' come to mind.)
See also Dave Hunt's book, " What Love is This, Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God ," which was instrumental in alerting the church to the alarming resurgence of Calvinism. It needs to be widely read.
A few related definitions:
is used synonymously with
; Calvinism is the gospel of Reformed theology. Even Spurgeon is famous for
stating that Calvinism is the gospel—thereby seemingly contradicting himself in
-Monergism- the belief that the Holy Spirit acts independently of the human will in the act of regeneration. (Practically in essence the Calvinist here puts the cart before the horse, as this means that a man must first be saved before he believes. This is backwards from the plain teaching of Scripture.)
within Calvinism, it refers to their doctrine that God in eternity past chose
some for heaven and some for hell with man having no free will. From the
Biblical context however, predestination refers to what is our destiny as
Believers. In Scripture it does not apparently refer to salvation.
Puritans and Presbyterians among others have traditionally taught predestination. It has become popular across denominational lines, especially noticeable to me among Baptists and Mennonites, as those are the denominations to which I pay most attention.
"The Bible uses the term 'elect' in a variety of ways: for Israel, Christ, a
lady, a church, and angels. Never, however, is the word used to indicate that
there is a select group who alone have been predestined to be saved." Dave
What Love is This
, pg 245. Jesus is elect:
"Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief
corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be
(1 Peter 2:6)
Within Calvinism however, it means a select group who alone have been chosen for salvation, while the rest of mankind has been chosen for hell. Calvinism confuses national election (as with Israel) with personal, while many branches of Calvinism confuse the church and Israel. These errors results in teaching that is a dreadful slur on the character of the God of the Bible. In fact, it would seem that in the critical area at least of salvation, we are dealing with a God here who is not to be found in Scripture.
*The true Gospel, what does the Bible say it is?
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you,
which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved,
if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that
Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried,
and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1Corinthians
(Genuinely believing is accompanied by repentance, two sides of the same coin); the order of salvation is : hear the gospel, believe it, receive the Holy Spirit (He indwells all genuine believers). See Acts 16:31 , and Ephesians 1:13 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise..."
As the reasons for the warnings in Romans 1:25 (read verses 1-32 for context) become more obvious daily, it seems needful to make plain that the God of the Bible identifies Himself as the Creator. Let's be sure we have the right God! Job 38:4
John 1:1, John 1:9 " That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." (John 1:12)
John MacArthur , Grace to You: Election. We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, (Reference)
Mike Gendron: links to the above statement from MacArthur. From Proclaiming the Gospel website links to Church Directory for Fellowship of Reformed Evangelicals (FIRE)
Church Directory for Graduates of The Master's Seminary
CLICK HERE to read The Master's Seminary statement of faith.
R C Sproul: as expressed in the five solas of the Reformation and the consensus of the historic Reformed confessions (Reference)
council members include among others:
(from Back to the Bible Canada),
(also Piper can be seen with Beth Moore leading thousands of young people in
'the silence' contemplative prayer),
Ray Ortlund, Al Mohler, Erwin Lutzer, Tim Keller, Alister Begg, Kevin DeYoung,
“In love God commands and implores all people to repent and believe, having set his saving love on those he has chosen and having ordained Christ to be their Redeemer.” (Reference)
Justin Peters: “…election is the gracious act of God by which He chooses to redeem some of mankind for Himself...” (Reference)
“God, from eternity past,
having foreordained all things, joined a certain people
to Christ Jesus, so that He might redeem them from their sin and in so doing
bring glory to Himself.”
(an elder of Phoenix Reformed Baptist), debated Dave Hunt on Calvinism.
Loraine Boettner: “defends the "five points" of Calvinism, placing particular stress on the doctrine of predestination. (Reference)
Richard Bennett: former Catholic priest now identifies as Reform (Reference)
J I Packer: “only the elect are brought to faith,” contributor to Evangelicals and Catholics Together , (Reference) , “He currently serves as the Board of Governors' Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is considered to be one of the most important evangelical theologians of the late 20th century.” (But my question would be, accomplished what? General editor of the ESV and proponent of ecumenism. John Piper called the ESV a dream come true. Hear him say it online but is it? ( The ESV Study Bible--a Dream Come True? )
Paul Washer: “ ELECTION. Election is God's eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life...” (Reference)
David Hocking: In his Doctrine of Salvation series on Blue Letter Bible, in lesson 17, he strongly recommends Luther's Bondage of the Will (where he attempted to prove that man has no free will), which states God has put my salvation out of the way of my will, and has taken it under His own will..” (Reference) Hocking has been frequently heard to say in his sermons on his program and at local conferences, things that suggest he is indeed unbiblically teaching election. He opens this series with the prayer “Thank You, Lord that we have been chosen. Thank You, Lord, for Your wonderful plan of predestination.” Although he states that predestination is based on foreknowledge too many times he seems to contradict himself, so that he leaves confusion. At one conference recently in Manitoba, he was heard to preach, “do you know that God only saves those He intends to save?” In a prayer then he thanked God 'for saving only those He intends to save.' By the way, in lesson 19, Soteriology, (pg 8) Hocking states “Brother Lawrence said in the Middle Ages when he wrote a beautiful book, Practicing the Presence of Christ. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Such a description from a man who claims to be Biblicist, of a Carmelite monk's mysticism only adds to the confusion of Hocking's teaching. There are more explicit sermons online at his website on the topic of predestination.
The above is a very small sample of men who teach election by God without any free will on the part of man. Regarding Hocking, his teaching is confusing enough that he ought not to be surprised if people think him a Calvinist. The statements, websites, ministries, and works can be misleading as to what they actually believe. I am not 'trashing' everything they do. Some Calvinists are excellent expositors on what they do get right. However, these are not people to whom you want to go to learn about salvation. Personally I do not knowingly allow this teaching into my home except for the purpose of documenting the heresy.
John Neufeld: was "asked to write an article on the Reformed movement (sometimes called “New Calvinist”) within Mennonite Brethren circles. ... I identify myself that way. I am a council member of the Gospel Coalition led by D.A. Carson, Timothy Keller, and John Piper—an association known for its roots in the Reformation and its Calvinistic convictions... when God's saving grace is applied to anyone, it comes to them apart from any prior condition. This is called “Unconditional election.” God chooses his own apart from any merit they have in themselves. The common “mainline evangelical” merit of “choosing for Christ” is rejected here, for if even our power to choose has been invaded by sin (the “T” in TULIP), we are unable to choose for God .(Emphasis mine.) Continue reading HERE.
Here are some favorite passages Calvinists like to use to prove their position, and rebuttal to their view: Calvinism's Proof Texts
"Who will have all men to be saved... Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Timothy 2:4, 6)
"For thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?" (Psalm 56:13)
"And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand." (John 10:28-29)
"Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." (Jude 24-25)
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition" (2 Thessalonians 2:3)
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." (1 Timothy 4:1-16)
Greetings, Brother Kalteck.... I was doing a little research and came across your website...again: it appears I left a short comment above back in 2016. Well, as you know, things have changed and are changing on a daily basis. Calvinism was at the center of a debate back then and has only intensified in these closing days of the church age. It's a frustrating topic when we see all the activity taking place in the church arena and the infiltration and confusion that has been the result of this doctrinal dilemma. Let me first say that I can identify with your summations above. You have given us a valid picture of what has been developing in the church in the way of false doctrine. I witness more and more of this compromise from various segments of Christianity and it's troubling. To be a little more specific, the Bible school I attended back in the early 80's (NBBI) sponsors a Men for God Rally each year at this time. I usually attend them to enjoy the preaching and music and fellowship and to get refreshed spiritually. Two years ago, the invited speaker was a Baptist pastor from Florida. He was a good teacher but it wasn't long before I realized that he leaned towards Calvinism making favorable remarks about prominent scholars in the Calvinist camp such as John Piper and Tim Keller. I found it disturbing. And so I didn't attend last years rally. Now this year I had made plans to attend, but on investigating the keynote speaker's references, I decided against it. You are probably familiar with the name and ministry of Crawford Lirritts, pastor of a Bible Church in Roswell, GA. His career has included being on the staff of Campus Crusade for Christ, teaching at Trinity Evangelical School, co-founding with Tony Evans the Oak Cliff Bible church in Dallas, leading along with his wife in a marriage counselling ministry, etc. etc. I watched him address students at DTS. He's a good communicator and teacher. My wife and I watched the series he taught at NBBI this last weekend via streaming video on the internet. He was well received by those in attendance. He shared his testimony of when he came to Christ. Anyway, we appreciated his remarks and Bible exposition. But, "I have one thing against thee", Crawford.... you are a council member of the Gospel Coalition. Now this was not brought out either by the School or in his presentation. He quoted DA Carson at one point but other than that much of what he had to say was in line with our doctrinal convictions.... unless of course he simply avoided the subject to escape any controversy that might arise. Brother, it's like you said, we have been blessed by some of these ministries from time to time (the Gettys put on a concert last fall at the Bible School.... very popular... "In Christ Alone" .... but in league with the Calvinist crowd). I just find it's getting harder and harder to find folks who are willing to investigate these issues and take a stand. And I certainly don't want to aid and abet the devil in creating division in the body of Christ. We did leave a good church because of tolerating Calvinism in the ranks by church leadership ... one of the deacons, a former pastor, who I respect as an able and influential adult Bible teacher, clearly demonstrated that he had embraced Calvinism. The pastor felt we were being too narrow minded. I discuss the issue with a limited number of friends. Even those who might sympathize with me are reluctant to back me up because they are afraid of splitting the church or causing conflict. I know of other churches that are experiencing similar problems because of the impact of Calvinism. One fellow keeps sending me commentaries from Paul Washer's group. The site won't allow me to comment unless I join! No thank you!
Anyway, more could be said, but in the end we need to know what we believe and why we believe it and be certain that it corresponds to the Truth of God's inspired and infallible Word. For me and many others, Calvinism does not offer the gospel truth as inscribed and written in the Holy Scriptures. Pray that I will have a proper attitude. I don't want this just to be another axe to grind. Jesus prayed that we might be one. But the Word also says, "How can two walk together unless they be agreed". Well, we need to agree on the right things and make certain that it's the right interpretation and anchored upon a firm foundation, the Word of the living God!
Thanks again for your investment and time and willingness to share with us in this difficult issue. Let God be true and every man a liar.
Hello again Gerry,
Thanks for coming back. As you say things are not getting better, but then we did not expect them to. The Lord asked in Luke 18:8, "when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"
Calvinism is making massive inroads into schools (see the section in article I'll link to, re schools, The Calvinist Factor) and denominations, so that it is hard to find churches not touched by it (Canada now has its own Gospel Coalition. An interesting aspect of Calvinism I have observed is a tendency to keep their beliefs low key, so that many do not understand what it is they are imbibing until they themselves have come to think that way, without apparently quite knowing why. Have even seen two statements of faith on one particular ministry site, one for seekers, and the other the real deal. Is this related to a fear of losing support if found out? We cannot judge that, but it is a thought.)
Young people who find no comfort or reality in the torment of Calvinism's skewed theology then become emergent or walk away from the faith altogether. This is hardly surprising as some of the most prominent Calvinist leaders who have been honest about it, themselves have no assurance of salvation. Consider R.C. Sproul: "suddenly the question hit me: "R.C., what if you are not one of the redeemed? What if your destiny is not heaven after all, but hell?" Let me tell you that I was flooded in my body with a chill that went from my head to the bottom of my spine. I was terrified." (Quoted in What Love Is This? pg 486, Dave Hunt.)
Romans 8 and Ephesians 1 altogether refer 4 times to predestination, but not in the context of heaven or hell. If one misinterprets these references, and does not understand election, there is every reason to be terrified. However we do not go by someone's private interpretation, but by what God actually says, and that is, that we are called to be conformed to His image, to be blessed.
You might find two articles posted at Lighthouse Trails this week, helpful. This is a bit repetitious but for most of us it is worth repeating, as we are constantly being hammered with Calvinism's misrepresentations of the character of the God before Whom we shall give account. We dare not be silent on so critical an issue. One day Calvinism will join the other was'ms in the ash heap, but until it does we have to stand against it, clearly.
Of course we do not want to cause unnecessary division. When it comes to lost souls, am thinking especially of those whose first contact with 'the gospel' is through Calvinism, we have to take a stand. A poor soul given a Bible with Calvinist notes in the margin, stated, if that is God, I want no part of him...and who could quarrel with that? What sort of god would make men expressly for hell? Thankfully, not the God of the Bible.
If it causes division, so be it; what is wrong is not right and will be sifted. And if need be, names must be named. Paul did. If we are called narrow minded, it is better than to be on the broad way to destruction.
Here are the promised links:
https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=31317 Ironside: "What if I Am Predestinated for Hell?" - Lighthouse Trails Inc.
https://www.lighthousetrailsresearch.com/blog/?p=31393 Christian Colleges and Seminaries in More Trouble Than Ever As Many Plunge Into Emergent Spirituality
Thank you for your kind comments. Yes, Let God be true and every man a liar.
Thank you for the great information. You highlight a number of Calvinist authors/historians, but are there other authors/historians you have found helpful to expand upon this topic. I agree that we need to look first to scripture, but am also curious as to other Christian leaders/authors you have gotten information or perspective from.
Hi John. Apologies for couple days delay, had computer issues.
You'll note that I've referenced a few people.
Dave Breese and Dave Hunt come to mind. In Dave Breese messages it is not uncommon to hear references, little tidbits but hard hitting and definitive, about the errors of Calvinism. (He also wrote on the topic but am not finding online.) Dave Hunt wrote a big book (I highly recommend it), What Love Is This, Calvin's Misrepresentation of God. This book really rekindled the debate and shook up a lot of folks. It's a fascinating and informative book. After hearing speakers for years and buying a little into some of the errors of Calvinism soft peddled, it was an eye opening read. After becoming aware of the issues, next step was to search out what men well known for sound preaching, had to say on the topic, men like Harry Ironside, and Theodore Epp. Their teaching is very helpful on the subject. Bruce Dunn was Presbyterian but came out clearly on the side of free will. David Cloud has also written clearly on the topic, and as you see his materials are referenced to in my article.
A series here http://www.crbible.com/Clearing-Up-Calvinism-s-Confusions-10-223.html has been helpful to me. Please be aware I'm not knowledgeable about all the church teaches. Please be discerning about all the resources I'm mentioning.
There is a book available for free reading at Project Gutenberg that you might like to read if you have not.
It is D L Moody's book Sovereign Grace, Its Source, Its Nature, and Its Effects. Here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/30657/30657-h/30657-h.htm IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m glad you asked the question, because this will make me go back and reread this book. Mine is heavily marked up with 'refutes Calvinism.' Chapter 8 has an illustration of a disobedient child who claims he is not able to obey his mother; when she finally gives an ultimatum, he is entirely able. This is a cookies- on- the- bottom- shelf book easily read and understood.
At the end of that book is a dialogue section. Here is an excerpt: "Mr. M.--Who is it that judges a man to be unworthy of eternal life?
Mr. R.--Himself!! There is a verse in Acts xiii that is worth remembering: "Seeing ye put it [the Word of God] from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles." God does not judge us unworthy. He has given His Son for our salvation. When a man puts away the Word of God from him and refuses to receive Christ into his heart, he judges himself unworthy of salvation.
Mr. M.--I understand, then, that if a man rejects Christ to-night, he passes judgment on himself as unworthy of eternal life?
Mr. R.--He is judging himself unworthy, while God does not so consider him. God says you are welcome to eternal life.
Mr. M.--If anyone here wants to please God to-night, how can he do it?
Mr. R.--God delights in mercy. Come to God and claim His mercy in Christ; and you will delight His heart.
Mr. M.--Suppose a man say he is not "elected?"
Mr. R.--Do you remember the story of the woman of Canaan? Poor soul; she had come a long journey. She asked the Lord to have mercy on her afflicted child. He wanted to try her faith, and He said: "I am not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." That looked as if He Himself told her that she was not one of the elect. But she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" and He helped her there and then. No; there is no election separating between the sinner and Christ.
Mr. M.--Say that again.
Mr. R.--There is no election separating between the sinner and Christ.
Mr. M.--What is there between the sinner and Christ?
Mr. R.--Mercy!! Mercy!!
Mr. M.--That brings me near to Christ.
Mr. R.--So near that we cannot be nearer. But we must claim it..."
There are many voices speaking out against Calvinism, but some are not sound in all parts of their ministry, so caution is called for about what one recommends. Hopefully these notes and names prove helpful to you. Be kind and point out error should you find it in my writing or resources. It is easy to overlook something.
Thanks for writing.
Nearly drove off the road today on my way to work listening to an MP3 study from David Hocking on the doctrine of salvation series, from his resources web site. Felt sick in the gutts and wanted to puke out what i heard him preach on being chosen and predestined.
. I heard him call himself a biblicist in another teaching on the topic of Calvanism. Didn't see it coming from him.
I had until now held him as one of a few trusted teachers . My bad. I remember many years ago The Lord showing me the errors of John McArthur. At a time when he was also a respected so called sound doctrine teacher even among most theologians. Books , large following ....the works. A prompting of the Holy Spirit and some research uncovered his hidden false doctrine and the years since he has only waxed worse.
David Hocking teaches many, many sound doctrines then out of left field throws the sucker punch and butchers the most important doctrine of all, the doctrine of doctrines.....Salvation.
I took his own advice today and turned it against him
Not that it was his advice. It was God's. ' and searched the scriptures daily ,whether those things were so'
A quick google search and landed on your web site.
Will be asigning David Hocking 's teaching to the dust bin although i may finish listening to the rest of the salvation series to understand the full extent of his heresy so that i may warn others.
All that study . All those seminary hours . All that theology and Greek. I cannot easily believe its out of ignorance a man of such learning does this. It is another gospel.
The question has to be is he deceived or is he delibately deceiving.
Is there a Jesuit connection. I wonder.
Hi Daniel in Australia,
Years back I followed closely David Hocking's ministry, when he had Solid Rock radio.
It was during those years that things began noticeably to go off the mark, in his personal life. He disappeared off the scene but only briefly (you can readily find that info online) and resurfaced affiliated with Calvary Chapel. With time I began to listen again, but noticed some odd teaching here and there, and wondered. However, like you say, he has a lot of great teaching... so we give people the benefit of the doubt.
The day I first heard a very clear Calvinist message from him, I had a similar visceral reaction. After a bit of homework it became clear this was no figment of my imagination.
I am not aware of anything re Hocking regarding a Jesuit agenda. The Brother Lawrence comment (see documentation section) is troubling. How can he possibly not know the dangers associated with this man? Why does a Christian teacher who claims to be biblicist praise the work of a mystic? Brother Lawrence's writings would fall under the heading, doctrines of demons. In the last days we are told "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils." (1 Timothy 4:1)
Here is the direct quote found in Blue Letter Bible, Lesson 19 page 7 of a Soteriology course by David Hocking:
"Let us draw near. "If we draw near to God, He will draw near to us" (James 4:8). What does that mean? He's already here. It's got to mean what Brother Lawrence said in the Middle Ages when he wrote a beautiful book, Practicing the Presence of Christ. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you": https://goo.gl/kBrvE6
There are other problems related to Hocking's teaching. Messing up salvation with Calvinism is bad enough. We need to be Berean. A ministry's statement of faith does not nearly always tell the whole story; what is actually being taught does not always align with what the statement says.
Thanks for your note, nice to know someone is actually reading!
Reformed movement??? Calvinist is not a movement its the GOSPEL
What the elect receive is GRACE and the non elect JUSTICE and you have a problem with that?
...''had he heard first, that God chose only a few for Himself, and the rest He made for the pleasure of casting those rest of the hapless beings He created, through no fault of their own, into hell?''. This one really got me.. ''through no fault of their own''. You make God sound as if He ''HAS'' to save sinners. You're wrong. Are they not GUILTY of their own actions? Did God make them sin? Their punishment is well deserved. Calvinist give thanks and praise to God for not leaving them in that condition...John 6:44. Where ever and on whom ever the gospel is proclaimed they are commanded to REPENT. This doesn't mean they will and you know that's true...EVEN IF ITS NOT THEIR FAULT!
Was it my fault or yours, that we were born? Would God take someone He created and assign that person to hell, without giving such a person the right to choose? Is this the God you serve? Then it is not the God of the Bible. Such behavior on the part of the God of the Bible does not fit His character description.
Calvinism teaches that it is God Who chooses, and gives man no choice as to who is going to heaven and who to hell. Yet Scripture repeatedly teaches, 'choose you this day whom you will serve.' Is God mocking us by telling us to choose when we are not capable?
According to Calvinism, everything is predetermined and controlled by God, so that it must mean, that God is also the author of sin, which you do not seem to believe (since you ask, did God make them sin, so you are maybe not a very good Calvinist).
It is true that narrow is the way, that few find it, but it is also true that the Lord purchased salvation at Calvary for whosoever chooses to believe. We must not confuse God's foreknowledge with His will, for He states plainly He is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. If that is true, then why will any be in hell? Certainly it will not be God's fault, for He provided the way. It is our WILLFUL rebellion that will take us to hell, our willful rejection of His sacrificial atonement.
--Examine the lives of the men whose teachings you are following, beginning with Calvin (and Augustine whom he followed closely). Among Calvin's methods of disposing of the opposition, were beheading and burning at the stake, for those who disagreed with his theology. Apparently there is no clear evidence anywhere in Calvin's writings that he was ever born again. Would you not rather just follow the clear Word of God than the warped teaching of misguided fallible man?
--Examine the Scripture passages on which you base your beliefs, the text within its CONTEXT. We cannot just take parts of passages and base doctrine on parts rather than the whole. We are never to change meanings of words to make them say what we want them to say. The Calvinist must rewrite the meaning of 'whosoever will may come' in order for this passage like many others, to suit his chosen (was that an act of the will?) doctrine. While there are many variations of Calvinism, they have in common certain doctrinal streams that run contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture. The various forms Calvinism takes, follow the teaching of men (who by the way --men like R C Sproul, Arthur Pink and even Calvin himself--have demonstrated uncertainty about their own salvation, "knowing" only if they are saved if they can prove so to themselves by good works.) See David Bennett link :
Boettner quotes Warfield "It is idle to seek assurance of election outside of holiness of life." Likewise Charles Hodges declares, "the only evidence of our election...[and] perseverance, is a patient continuance in well-doing." (As I stated earlier, Calvinism is a works-oriented doctrine.)
Thus we see 'Lordship Salvation' among Calvinists attempting to assure themselves they are the elect, but always wondering if they actually are.
--Check carefully to whom a passage refers: does it refer to the church, the Jew, or to the world, the three groups addressed by Scripture? 1Cor 10:32
--Study the marks of a cult. Here is a study help.
The Marks of a Cult - By Dave Breese: (video)
Run your belief system through the dozen points made by Dave Breese, and see how you fare.
--Do a careful study on what the Scripture actually says about the end time apostasy.
"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
Resources: (I suggest you read the book, but at least read these excerpts www.wayoflife.org/database/dave_hunts_powerful_refutation_of_calvinism.html )
Calvinism, None Dare Call It Heresy, by B. Kirkland, a short helpful overview for those who do not wish to do a lot of (much needed) homework.
http://freewill-predestination.com/files/assurance.pdf short essay by David Bennett
Thank you for your interest. Happy studying.
I was just doing some research on Paul Washer who is slated to speak in a local church in my area on Friday. Thanks for your input and the clear resolve to stand upon the Truth of God's infallible Word!
Thanks, Gerry, for your comment.
It is not our intent to malign individuals and their ministries. We are however to earnestly contend for the faith. On seeing your comment I reread Paul Washer's statement on election, and still do not agree with him. When the Lord said, 'whosoever will may come' I am of the understanding that 'He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.' Would the Lord not want any to perish, if He had made it impossible for them to be saved? There are just too many inconsistencies within the various doctrines of Calvinism. It seems 'another gospel.' May the Lord grant us discernment, and all the kindness we need to deal with the tidal wave of errors in which we find ourselves.
Thanks for that - Well done!
and Thanks for your kind comment.
Now, if only there were not a lingering sadness about having been burdened to write regarding teachers whom I've learned from and loved, and still do!
What the Calvinist who was born again before he became 'Calvinized' needs to remember, is to ask himself, what are the odds that he would be born again (assuming he had a choice), had he heard first, that God chose only a few for Himself, and the rest He made for the pleasure of casting those rest of the hapless beings He created, through no fault of their own, into hell?
I personally know at least one individual who closed the Book when reading a Calvinist note in the margin, and asked, 'what sort of a god is that'? With good reason...Happily, that is not the Biblical view of God.