A Brief Examination of Calvinism


1. Introduction:

A. John Calvin wrote his "Institutes of Religion" in 1536

B. Inadequacy of 5 (1/2 pages) to answer John Calvin.

C. Weak & inadequate sermons on Calvinism.

D. The extent of John Calvin's influence.

1. Almost all Protestant religions accept some form of Calvinism.

2. Criswell college teaches all 5 points.

3. Most Baptist's only accept point #5.

E. The Five Points Of Calvinism: (Briefly explain)

1. The unconditional election and reprobation of particular men. (Predestination)

2. A limited atonement (limited either in sufficiency or in application by arbitrary decree.)

3. Total hereditary depravity (in the sense of complete inability to respond affirmatively to God without divine assistance specifically granted by arbitrary particular decree.)

4. Irresistible grace.

5. Inevitable perseverance of the particular elect

a. The pivotal thesis is point #1 which necessitates points 2,3,4, and 5.

2. An Examination Of The First Point Of Calvinism: The Unconditional Election And Reprobation Of Particular Men (Predestination).

A. Definition: "Of the Eternal Election, by which God has predestinated some to salvation and others to destruction. (Title of 3:21)

1. "By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and accordingly as each has been created for one or the other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death." (3:21:5)

B. The basic passage upon which this doctrine is built is Romans 9:6-29

1. This application of Romans 9:6-29 does violence to the central point of the book of Romans "The just shall live by faith" (1:17)

a. The Just Shall Live By Faith (1:16,17)

b. Faith related to mankind, Gentile, Jew (1:18-3:20)

c. Related to Christ (3:21-31)

d. Related to Abraham (4:1-25)

e. Related to Christ as 2nd Adam (5:1-21)

f. Related to all believers (6:1-8:39)

g. Related to the nation of Israel (9:1-11:36)

2. It also does violence to the immediate context of the passage (9:30-11:36)

a. The real reason for the rejection of Israel is their unbelief. (9:30-33)

b. Israel's fall is not final (even for Paul's generation) (10:1-17)

c. Israel's condition is a result of her own rejection of God and His offer of Grace (10:18-21)

d. Despite national Israel's fall God has not cast away His people, there remains an Israel within Israel. (11:1-6)

e. The rest of Israel are not beyond recovery if they repent of their unbelief (11:7-24)

f. God seeks to have mercy on all men and the same offer is available to all men, Gentile and National Israel alike. (11:25-36)

g. Another analysis of Romans 9:30-11:36

1. Paul's concern in 9:6-29 is specifically the circumstance of national Israel, and not the salvation of individual men. His argument is meant only to confirm that the creator is not amenable to examination by His creatures.

2. God's word has not proved ineffective. There is an "Israel" within Israel just as the descendants of Isaac and Jacob were considered "Israel" exclusive of Abraham's other children. (9:6-13)

3. God is sovereign and therefore has the right to do as he pleases with individuals and nations. This right extends to Isaac and Ishmael (7-9); Jacob and Esau (10-13); Moses (15,16); Pharaoh (17); all other individual men (18-24); Israel (collectively) and the Gentiles (25-31). It is not for men to call God into question, He has absolute right. (9:14-31)

4. Israel's present frustration (however) is not a result of God's arbitrary will (even though He has that right) but rather their own unbelief and disobedience. They have only themselves to blame. (9:30:-10:21)

5. Even though Israel, nationally, is not `His people', He has preserved a remnant in Israel of which Paul himself is a part. (11:1-6)

6. Israel (nationally) is hardened because they have sought righteousness by their works instead of faith, thus causing them to stumble over Christ. This was foretold by Isaiah and David (11:7-10)

7. God is able to turn this present hardness into a blessing to the Gentiles for salvation. (11:11,12,15)

8. The salvation of individuals remains a separate question with no direct bearing on the condition of National Israel. (11:13-24)

9. God has not forsaken (arbitrarily decreed the condemnation of) national Israel, they remain beloved to God (11:25-29)

10. God's constant, sincere, purpose is the salvation of (to have mercy on) all men. (11:30-32)

3. Finally, it directly contradicts such passages as 1 Timothy 2:4-6 which are universal in scope

Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

2 Peter 3:9 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.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

John 3:14-17 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 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. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 6:33,51; 12:32 For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

C. The Doctrine of Election [Ephesians 1:3-14]

1. Christ, the elect

a. His election prophesied (Isaiah 42:1-7; 9:1-13; Matthew 12:18)

b. He was fore-ordained (to be elect) before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20)

c. He said He was "Chosen" to be elect (John 10:36)

d. See also John 5:37; 6:27; 12:49; 16:28; Chronicles 17

2. Christ, the foundation of election

a. Christ is instrumental in election

1. *** If we were saved because of a decree by God prior to the creation, Christ's death was needless and only symbolic. (Luke 24:44,46-48; Hebrews 9:26)

2. Sin affects God in that because of it, He (Being holy and just) cannot allow us into heaven. This made the death of Christ on the cross a necessity. (Romans 3:26)

3. Christ's death was essential to salvation. (1 Peter 3:18; 1 Timothy 2:6)

4. Not so God would (to persuade God to) forgive us, but so God could forgive us. Romans 8:32; 3:25,26; 2 Corinthians 5:19-21; 1 Peter 1:20; 1 John 4:9,10; John 3:16,17)

5. Thus, God s decree to "elect" us only became fixed when Christ actually died.

b. Christ is comprehensive in election

1. Election is only "IN Christ" Isaiah 42:1; Luke 9:35; Ephesians 1:4-6

3. Election is Corporate

a. Christ is elect, thus His body, which is joined to Him, is elect because it is joined to Him.

b. Ephesians 1:16 Reconciled to God in one body...

c. All of Ephesians views the body, the church, the elect, etc. as corporate and not particular.

D. A Ransom for All (1 Timothy 2:5,6; Hebrews 2:9)

1. One mediator, the man Christ Jesus

2. Who gave Himself

a. His death was completely voluntary (Matthew 26:52-54)

3. A Ransom

a. The propitiation was TOWARD God, FOR man

b. Paid, not to WHOM but to WHAT...we justly deserved punishment.

4. For all

a. The doctrine of limited atonement

b. John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 2:9

5. Recognition of the will of God for the salvation of all men completely negates John Calvin's system of theology.

E. Predestination and the foreknowledge of God:

1. Predestination (Romans 8:28,29; Ephesians 1:5,11)

2. Foreknowledge (Romans 8:28,29; 11:2; 1 Peter 1:2)

3. In same context with predestination, foreknowledge, calling, justification, and glorification into the image of Christ are found:

a. Romans:

1. Glorification only on suffering. (Vs. 17)

2. Spiritual life only on living after the spirit while killing the flesh. (Vs.11,12)

3. Sonship only when walking after the Spirit. (Vs.14)

b. Ephesians:

1. A warning against those who would try to persuade them that they were unconditionally secure. (5:1-7)

c. 1 Peter:

1. To those who have obtained like precious faith with us. (2 Peter 1:1)

2. Give diligence to make your calling and election sure. (2 Peter 1:10)

F. Predestination and Election are not the same:

1. Election refers to God choosing men for himself

2. Predestination refers to God's pre-determining the destination (or circumstance) of those called the elect.

3. Thus predestination is NEVER TO election or salvation, but always to the circumstance or condition of the elect or the saved.

a. Romans 8:28,29 (Predestined to conformity to the image of Christ)

b. Ephesians 1:5,11 (Predestined to adoption as sons, and an eternal inheritance)

G. Who has God called? Romans 8:28

1. Isaiah 45:21,22 "Look to me and be saved all the ends of the earth. .."

2. Revelation 22:17 "let him who is athirst come and whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."

3. John 7:37,38 "If any man thirst let him come to me and drink..."

4. John 3:16 "For God so loved the World"

5. Matthew 28:18 "Teaching all nations"

6. Mark 16:15,16 "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. .."

7. Acts 17:30 God commanded all men everywhere to repent.

8. Passages that indicate He only called the predestinated few:

a. John 5:21 "The son gives life to whom he will"

1. Speaking to scoffers: (Vs.18) who

2. rejected the testimony of John (32-35)

3. " " " of Jesus' works (36)

4. rejected the scriptures (39)

5. Rejected the testimony of Moses (46ff)

6. John 14:23 "If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my father will love him, and we will come to him and make our abode with him."

7. John 7:17 "If anyone wants to do his will, he will know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God..."

3. Is Grace Irresistible?

A. Galatians 2:21 For I do not frustrate the grace of God {by following the Old Law toward righteousness}

B. 2 Corinthians 6:1 "We...plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain" {by failing to continue in faithfulness and maturing in Christ}

4. What About Total, Hereditary, Depravity?

A. Proof-text: Romans 3:11 "There is none that seeketh after God..."

B. Answer: Hebrews 11:6 "God is the rewarder of...them that seek him."

C. Proof-text: Ezekiel 11:19 "I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh and will give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes."

D. Answer: Ezekiel 18:31 "Make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord God. Wherefore turn yourselves and live..."

E. Proof-text: Jeremiah 24:7 "I will give them a heart to know me."

F. Answer: Jeremiah 4:14 "O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved..."

5. What About "Once Saved Always Saved"?

A. Proof-text: Romans 8:31-39 No-one can separate us from the Love of God...

B. Answer: Romans 8:12,13

6. Conclusion: Why Calvinism is dangerous

A. Calvinistic Predestination (Determinism) makes God the author of Sin (Thus defaming His Character)

1. "He ordains (arbitrarily and unconditionally) that the reprobate (Unsaved) will be sinful and wicked so as to consummate and justify their condemnation."

a. Their answer is "How unsearchable are the ways of God...and past finding out..."

2. It removes urgency, personal responsibility and motivation from the unsaved.

a. There is nothing you can do

b. Except wait on God...

3. `Once saved always saved' removes motivation for Christian growth.

4. Total hereditary depravity (including original sin) deceives many baptized (or sprinkled) as babies into believing they are saved, when in fact their souls are in jeopardy of eternal damnation.