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Denominational Doctrinal Discussions

These studies examine the traditional doctrines held by denominations by comparing those beliefs to the scriptures. My desire is that we walk righteously before God, not according to traditions of men.  Bernie Parsons

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Errors of Calvinism

by Bernie Parsons - April 26, 2007

Calvinism is named for John Calvin1 (or Jean Cauvin, born at Noyon in Picardy, France, 10 July, 1509, and died at Geneva, 27 May, 1564 AD), who drew heavily from the works of Augustine2 (born at Tagaste on 13 November, 354 AD. Tagaste, now Souk-Ahras, about 60 miles from Bona (ancient Hippo-Regius). (See excerpts from Augustine at the end of this study.)


Augustine was influenced by Greek philosophy and eastern mystical religion3, which, in one of its forms that he studied, concluded that all of creation is one organism with one soul. This seems to have influenced his doctrine as a Catholic Bishop, wherein he helped persuade that religious body that man suffers from “original sin”4, or that all humans inherit the sin of Adam at the time of birth. He justifies this doctrine using a single verse of scripture in Romans 5:19: “For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” From this one verse Augustine, and the Catholics, argue that the sin of Adam is passed from generation to generation, and we are all born into a sinful state as newborn babies. In other words, in a similar fashion to the eastern mystics who declared that all of us are part of one single entity, Augustine taught that all humans share in Adam’s sin. The Calvinists often call it “inherited depravity”. The Catholic cure in this false doctrine is infant baptism.


This verse has been completely lifted out of its context to make this fallacious argument. What the Apostle Paul was emphasizing in the Roman letter was that it is the grace of God, and faith in Jesus, that saves us, not the works of the Law of Moses. He was compelled to address the issue because Jews from Jerusalem followed him from one gentile city to another to try to convince new gentile Christians to learn and practice the Law of Moses. (Read Acts 15:1-31; Romans 3:20-31; Romans 4:13-16)


Taken in context, verse 19 in Romans 5 is a continuation of this factual teaching. Verse 12 tells that; “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” We see that sin entered the world by Adam, not into each child at birth as the Catholics and Calvinists teach. Adam was led away by the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. In like manner, we are drawn away from God through our own lusts. (Read 1 John 2:16; Genesis 3:6; James 1:12-16)


Paul continues to elaborate on the distinction between the works of the Law of Moses and the grace of God manifested in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:1 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” In Romans 7:1-6, Paul tells us that the Law of Moses is now dead, and we are free to serve Christ, which thing he reiterates in Romans 8:22.


Romans 7:6 “But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.”


 Romans 8:22 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.”)


In Galatians 2:16-21, Paul addressed this same issue when writing to the church at Galatia. Galatians 2:16 "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”

Galatians 2:19 "For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.” (Read also Galatians chapter 3.)


Paul’s assertion was not that we are born into a state of sin as infants, but that we are not to learn and keep the Law of Moses, which is now fulfilled, having served its purpose, which was to preserve the offspring of Abraham until such time as the Savior of the world should be born. (Galatians 3:14-20.)


While wrong in declaring that we inherit the sin of Adam, Augustine, and later Roman Catholics, rightly taught that the grace of God, as manifested in Jesus, is that which removes the sin of man. Over time, the Roman Catholic church became corrupted through the introduction of so many man-made ideas and philosophies.


In The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543)7, Calvin describes the excesses of the Roman Catholic church of his day, which he and others rejected. In enumerating the corruptions, he mentions the fact that the Catholics had tried to recreate the Jewish priesthood and way of worship; the elaborate clothing of bishops and priests; the fact that the fruit of the vine was not offered to the congregation but was taken by the priest during the Lord’s Supper; that offices of bishop and priests were assigned as favors, and not according to ability; that masses were offered for a fee; that idols and relics of “saints” were being worshipped; that bishops were making all manner of demands on the church members, expecting to be obeyed because of their office; that reconciliation to the Lord could be made, after sinning, by doing certain assigned works; etc. These corruptions led Calvin to overreact in his zeal, as he tried to remove the motions of man from any part of reconciliation with God.


The five points of Calvinist doctrine are derived from a set of statements known as the Canons of Dort, or the Canons of Dordt. This was the result of a Synod meeting in the city of Dordrecht, Netherlands, in 1618-19. This Synod consisted primarily of Calvinists, and was designed to attack the teachings of Arminius. The Canons consist of Calvinist statements of doctrine adopted by the Synod of Dordt, as well as a refutation of points of doctrine set forth by defenders of a then-deceased Arminius.


Calvin made the mistake of many a man who desires to distance himself from abhorrent practices—he went to the extreme in the opposite direction. So appalled was he by the Roman Catholic notion that work could be assigned to atone for sin, that he abused several passages of scripture to combat that false doctrine. Searching for scriptures to attack the Catholic excesses, he lifted a few verses from their intended context and so devised his doctrine of “salvation by grace only”, or “sola gratia”.


Calvinists say that the grace of God takes away sin without any intervention or action on the part of man. They teach that God chooses whom He will save, and whom He will destroy, and that those so chosen have no say in the matter. This is often known as the unscriptural, Calvinist doctrine of “predestination”, or “eternal security”.


Calvin wrote, in Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Chapter 1, that this special election by God was carried out through a mystical operation, a “secret cleansing of the Holy Spirit” 5. He further writes in Chapter 3 that “repentance is a special gift of God”, and, “Those whom God is pleased to rescue from death, he quickens by the Spirit of regeneration; not that repentance is properly the cause of salvation”.  He ignores:


Mark 1:4: “John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”


Thus was born the Calvinistic view of  “predestination”, or “unconditional election”, and uninvited salvation by way of the force of the Holy Spirit sent from God to save the elect only. In other words, if God chooses not to save you as an individual, tough luck! You are hell-bound, and there is not a thing that you can do about it. This is sometimes referred to as “limited atonement”. That it is done without your consent is referred to as “irresistible grace”.


Another cornerstone of Calvinism is the idea that repentance, which results from the call of the Holy Spirit producing faith in the believer, is ongoing during the life of the saved, and ends at the moment of death. During the saved’s lifetime, he or she cannot fall from God’s grace, and will be saved regardless of what they do. Calvinists often refer to this concept as “perseverance of the saints”.


Calvin quoted as proof of the irresistible call of God, John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” He offers this as proof that only those drawn by God receive the Holy Spirit. However, he blithely ignores another quotation of Jesus from that same gospel by John.


John 12:32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”


That which drew was not merely the Holy Spirit, but Jesus Himself, in His death upon the cross. Those so drawn included all of mankind. We are not well served to remove a scripture from its context. Even in context, all the scriptures must be taken together to fully comprehend that which is written for our learning.


Thus, we study further to discover the following regarding the call of God:


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.”


The Lord wants everyone to repent. This opposes Calvin’s doctrine that God has pre-chosen and pre-saved a certain number of individuals, and has damned the rest.


2 Thessalonians 2:10-14 "And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”


In this letter to the Christians at Thessalonica, Paul says that those to be destroyed by God’s wrath “received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.” They will be “damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness”. He went on to point out that the saints had been “chosen…to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”, and that the calling was done by the gospel! This is not what Calvin taught, and it is not what the present Calvinists teach.


Strangely, Calvin is credited with wanting to stay within the bounds of the scripture. Many of his followers who write about the Calvinistic system hasten to proclaim that Calvin’s system is derived purely from scripture, and not from his own thinking, or that of others.6 However, he fabricated new, non-Biblical terminology to fit his new ideas.


From the mind of John Calvin came the five basic cornerstones of Calvinism, designed to be remembered using the acronym TULIP, representing the generally accepted titles of the five major tenets of Calvinism:


Total Inherited Depravity

Unconditional Election

Limited Atonement

Irresistible Grace

Perseverance of the saints.


None of these phrases is scriptural, as they are not to be found in the Bible! Let us examine in the scriptures the truth regarding each of these Calvinistic doctrines.


Total Inherited Depravity


The Bible does not teach Total Inherited Depravity, often called “Original Sin”, and described as the inherited sin of Adam. Calvinism holds that each infant is born with Adam’s sin inherited, and is in a state of total depravity. This is why Roman Catholics, Lutherans, and others, sprinkle water on infants, and call it baptism.


First of all, the Bible does not say that we inherit the sin of Adam. This doctrine is erroneously extracted from Paul’s writings where he explains how death entered the human race through the disobedience of Adam (Romans 5:12, 18). In Romans chapter 5, the apostle Paul plainly lays out the case that death (not sin) came upon all by way of Adam. He goes on to say that all have sinned, not that all have inherited Adam’s sin. In fact, Paul states that death reigned from Adam until Moses, yet he says that sin was in the world during that time, but was not imputed as sin until the law came! Even when the sin was not imputed, death reigned! Death even reigned over those who did not sin after the manner that Adam had sinned!


Romans 5:13-14 “(For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.”


Calvin took this out of context, and claimed that Adam’s sin was passed on to every subsequent human being at the time of birth, yet Paul said no such thing. He said that death came upon all by Adam, and that all have sinned.


Romans 5:12 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”


Romans 3: 23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”


Furthermore, the Lord declared that a man dies because of his own sin, not that of another. Read the entire chapter of Ezekiel 18 to get the full context, but the following excerpt states it clearly:


Ezekiel 18:17: “That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live.

18: As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.

19: Yet say ye, Why?  doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father?  When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live.

20: The soul that sinneth, it shall dieThe son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

21: But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

22: All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

23: Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die?  saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

24: But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live?  All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die.

25: Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal.  Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal?  are not your ways unequal?

26: When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die.

27: Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive.

28: Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die.

29: Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal.  O house of Israel, are not my ways equal?  are not your ways unequal?

30: Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD.  Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

31: Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

32: For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”


Jeremiah 31:29-34 "In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

”Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.”


What causes us to sin? Are we born in sin, as the Roman Catholics and the Calvinists say? Here is what the Bible says about the little children:


Matthew 18: 2-4 "And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”


If children are born with Adam’s sin inherited, then Jesus has told His followers to be converted, and become sinners.


Matthew 19:13-14 "Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”


Again, if the little child is born with Adam’s sin, and is “totally depraved”, then Jesus said that the kingdom of heaven is made of totally depraved sinners.


When do we sin?


James 1:14-15 "But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”


We do not bear Adam’s sin, but we each become sinners when we are drawn away from purity, and from Christ, through our own lusts and disobedience against God.


Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”


Romans 5:12: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”


Thus we see that Calvin’s doctrine of Total Depravity is not scriptural at all.


Unconditional Election


The next “TULIP” point is Unconditional Election, another phrase that you won’t find in the scriptures.


The scriptures do teach that there is an election by grace. However, it speaks in a generalized sense of a remnant, or a small group, of Jews who would accept Jesus as the Messiah. Throughout the ages, God has always had a remnant that obeyed His word.


Romans 11:2: “God hath not cast away his people which he foreknew. Wot ye not what the scripture saith of Elias? how he maketh intercession to God against Israel, saying,

3: Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.

4: But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal.

5: Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.”


Yet, the apostle Peter, in his second letter of record, points out that a believer may fall from this election. Diligence must be paid in order to secure this calling and election. After mentioning things that a Christian must add to his life, he gave warning:


2 Peter 1:9: “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.

10: Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

11: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

12: Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth.”


2 Peter 3:17: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

18: But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”


The apostle Paul also warned against such a fall.


1 Corinthians 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”


Galatians 5:2: “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.

3: For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.

4: Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”


The truth is, as seen above, Paul’s admonitions against works referred to the Law of Moses. Certain Jews from Jerusalem, claiming to be Christians, and to have the force of the apostles and elders behind them, followed Paul from city to city. As he converted Gentiles from paganism to Christianity, these Jews tried to have the males circumcised, and all to keep the Law of Moses. Paul was refuting this argument.


Hebrews 4:9: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.

10: For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.

11: Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”


Hebrews 6:4: “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

5: And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

6: If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.”


The writer of Hebrews plainly states that a loss of faith results in a fall.


Romans 11:6: “For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.

17: And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

18: Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

19: Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.

20: Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:

21: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

22: Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.

23: And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again.

24: For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?”


In the above illustration of grafting, the apostle Paul clearly and plainly described how Jews fell through unbelief, and Gentiles were added through belief. If they later became disbelieving, they would be removed; and, if the Jews began to believe, they would be added again.


Revelation 2:5: “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”


Again, we see that it is possible to fall. All of these scriptures are evidence that election is conditional upon faith, growth in Christian attributes and continuing in the faith. It is possible to fall from grace, and it is possible to be restored upon repentance.


Jeremiah 18:5: “Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying,

6: O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter?  saith the LORD.  Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel.

7: At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it;

8: If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.

9: And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it;

10: If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”


Jeremiah 26:12: “Then spake Jeremiah unto all the princes and to all the people, saying, The LORD sent me to prophesy against this house and against this city all the words that ye have heard.

13: Therefore now amend your ways and your doings, and obey the voice of the LORD your God; and the LORD will repent him of the evil that he hath pronounced against you.


Limited Atonement


The next pillar of Calvinism is that of Limited Atonement, in which the claim is made that Christ died for the elect, or the predestinated, only. In fact, the scriptures teach the direct opposite—that is, that salvation and atonement are available to anyone and everyone.


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.”


Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”


The gospel was to be preached to every human being. He that believes this gospel, and is baptized, shall be saved. He that believes not, shall be damned, or cut off from God. Salvation is clearly for all. Not all will accept it.


John 3:16: “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.

17: For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18: He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19: And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

20: For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21: But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.”


John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.”


Jesus explained that whosoever believeth shall not perish—that is, shall be saved. Those are condemned who will not believe. He further shows this to be a voluntary choice—those who love evil hate the light of the truth of God’s word. They prefer to hide their deeds in darkness by avoiding the teachings of Jesus.


Luke 6:46: “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?

47: Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:

48: He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.

49: But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.”


Revelation 22:17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.


There are other relevant scriptures, but these are enough to suffice.


Irresistible Grace


The next Calvinist pillar is referred to as Irresistible Grace. It is the sola gratia argument, that it is grace alone that saves, and that it is a gift of God. The argument is that for God to be sovereign, man cannot play any part in his salvation. God does it all. If God chooses not to save you, then you are one unlucky person! The Calvinists often use a few key verses to make their point. Unfortunately, they lift them out of context in order to form their doctrine.


Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:


The argument is that man cannot play a role in his own salvation by accepting that gift—else God is not sovereign. This is a silly argument, as a sovereign king is able to put forth any rule, and it stands, and must be followed. If an action is required on the part of the subject of the king in order to follow the royal command, that subject had best be quick about carrying out the instruction, or suffer the consequences! If God declares that we must do something in order to receive salvation, then we had best be about it!


Mark 16:16: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”


If God, speaking through His son, Jesus, tells me to believe the gospel and be baptized, and I do so, then I am following my sovereign’s commands. If, on the other hand, I reject His command, and do not believe that I shall suffer any consequences, I shall be rudely awakened when the punishment is handed down!


Let me give an illustration. Think in terms of the ancient kings and their great power. Let us imagine that one of those kings issues the following directive: “The citizens in each city are to build a level road into and out of the city. If you build this road, I will give every citizen a bonus of money. If you do not build this road, and I come to your city, every citizen will be killed and the city burned to the ground.”


Let me now pose a question: Do you think that the citizens will refuse to build the road on the grounds that the king is sovereign, and that if they build the road, the sovereignty of the king is destroyed by their works? When he comes to their city, will they explain to him that they could not build the road because it would detract from his sovereignty? Ridiculous! Quite the opposite is true! His sovereignty is recognized when the citizens do the work on the road, not when they refuse to do the work that he commanded!


We are saved by the grace of God. It is the grace of God that caused Him to send His son to take away our sins. It is the grace of God that says that if we believe and are baptized, we shall be saved. If we refuse to do the work that God commands, it is then that we refuse to acknowledge His sovereignty!


Many Calvinists are quick to say that active participation in our salvation is a “works doctrine” and that the Bible condemns works. This is not true. They take the scriptures out of context.


Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.”


If you read the entire chapter, you will see that Paul was addressing Gentile Christians. He was telling them that their salvation lay in Jesus Christ, through the grace of God. He was not telling them how to become Christians! They were already Christians! He was telling them that it was the grace of God through Christ that had saved them, rather than their worship of pagan gods, or by keeping the works of the Law of Moses.


Ephesians 1:12: “That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

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,”


Please refer to the scriptures in the previous section on Limited Atonement to see that the grace can be resisted, and that disbelief can be exercised upon hearing the gospel of Christ preached.


Galatians 5:4: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”


Galatians 1:6: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:”


If grace were irresistible, one could not fall from it or be removed from it! As we can see, when the apostle Paul condemned works, he was speaking of the works contained in the Law of Moses. They had been fulfilled, and taken out of the way, by the death of Jesus upon the cross.


If you will read the following in its context, in the entirety, you will see that it is talking about works of the Law of Moses. It is incorrect to categorize baptism, or even belief, which are commanded by a sovereign God, as these condemned works.


Romans 6:14 “For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

15: What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.”


Romans 11:5: “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.

6: And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”


Galatians 2:21: “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”


Colossians 1:5: “For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

6: Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:”


As Jesus instructed, the gospel was preached in all of the world, and those hearers who believed and obeyed the gospel understood the grace of God.


Hebrews 4:2: “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”


1 Peter 4:17: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”


2 Thessalonians 1:7: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

8: In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

10: When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

11: Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

12: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”


2 Timothy 1:9: “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

10: But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”


Romans 5:2: “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”


The grace comes from the fact that God planned, even before He made our world, to offer His son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. That is grace, that is predestination and that is election. Those who would listen to His son, believe in Him, and be baptized into Him, would be saved. Others, who rejected Him, would be damned, or cut off from salvation.


The fact that we are not saved by our own works is a testimony to the great charity of God. Charity is love extended to the undeserving. It cannot be earned, nor merited.


Romans 5:6: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.

7: For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.

8: But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

9: Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.”


The grace of God can be resisted, and it can be received in vain.


2 Corinthians 6:1: “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain.”


One needs to study the entire Bible, and the New Testament books in particular, to truly understand the grace of God. Calvin and his followers have lifted a few verses out of their context and concocted fantastic doctrines that are not scriptural.


A sovereign God has demanded that we believe, be baptized and continue in His works that He has set forth for us to do. To do otherwise is to reject and deny the power of a sovereign God.


Perseverance of the Saints


The final point of Calvinism deals with predestination, which they call the Perseverance of the Saints.  Briefly, they teach that God decided before the world began which individuals that He would save. Therefore, saving them by His grace alone, with nothing for them to do, they could not fall from this grace, and will thereby be eternally saved. Nothing can change that, say the Calvinists.


We have already dealt with the subject in the previous four points of Calvinism, as all five points overlap to a degree. Therefore, the scriptures that apply to one point often apply to several, if not all, of the others.


Let me first set the record straight: the Bible, and the New Testament in particular, teach a form of predestination. I say a form in order to differentiate between what the scriptures teach, and what Calvinism teaches. Let us study the scriptures in their context.


Romans 8:23: “And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

24: For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?

25: But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

26: Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

27: And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.

28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

29: 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.

30: 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.

31: What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

32: He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

33: Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.

34: Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

35: Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?

36: As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.

37: Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

38: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

39: Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


There was a predestination and an election. Yet, even in the verses that surround these words is the realization that those who were predestined and elected could fall—that is, be separated from God!


The predestinated were called; the called were justified; and the justified were glorified.


Does this mean that God pre-chose each individual person who would be saved and lost? The scriptures show otherwise.


Ephesians 1:3: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6: To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7: In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8: Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9: Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11: In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

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,”


Faith is trust. We sometimes forget that, and preachers seldom mention that fact. This brings us back to the following scripture:


Mark 16:15: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16: He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.


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.

3: And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

4: He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

5: But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.”


The gospel of Jesus Christ was to be preached to every human being! Every human being who would listen to the gospel, believe that Jesus was the Messiah (Christ), trust His word as truth and would be baptized into Him would be saved. Those who rejected the gospel call would be damned, or cut off from God.


We know that we are in God when we keep His commandments. A sovereign God gives commandments that must be obeyed. To reject His commandments and refuse to obey them, is to our own hurt.


Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

24: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

25: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

26: To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

27: Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.

28: Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

29: Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:

30: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”


The law mentioned above is referring to the Law of Moses. The circumcision refers to the Jew, and the uncircumcision refers to the Gentile. The “works of the law” means the literal observance of the ordinances of that Law of Moses.  Notice that Paul states that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However, we are justified by the grace of God when we have faith that the blood of Jesus saves us from past sins! Who is justified? We read earlier that the predestinated are called, justified and glorified. Those who believe in the saving blood of Jesus are justified. Therefore, we see that it is the believer who is predestinated to salvation! The predestination refers to the plan set in motion before the world was formed, and which came to fruition in the fullness of times, when Jesus, the Son of God, was sent to die for us, becoming our savior!


Acts 22:16: “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”


Therefore, we know that the doctrine of predestination is not one of individual salvation by predetermination, but rather a group of people who would believe (trust) in Christ, and who would believe and obey the gospel of Christ!


Romans 10:12: “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

15: And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

17: So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

18: But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world.”


The great mystery, and the predestination, had to do with the coming of Jesus Christ to save anyone, either Jew or Gentile, who would believe on Him and obey the gospel.


Romans 11:26: “And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

27: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

28: As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.

29: For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

30: For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

31: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

32: For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”


1 Corinthians 1:23: “But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

24: But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.”


In context, Paul is saying that both Jews and Gentiles were unbelievers. The exception was a small group of Jews who heard the gospel, believed and obeyed it. This small group of Christian Jews, which included the apostles, was the righteous remnant of which Paul speaks. The majority of Jews rejected Jesus. This elect group of believers carried the gospel to the rest of the world, meaning that it was preached to the Gentiles.


John 1:11: “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.”


Acts 13:44: “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.

45: But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

46: Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

47: For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.

48: And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

49: And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.”


Again, let me state what the scriptures teach: the elect was that group of believers in Christ Jesus, who heard the gospel preached, believed it, were baptized and sought the word of the Lord.


Hebrews 4:2: “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

3: For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.”


2 Thessalonians 1:7: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,

8: In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

9: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;

10: When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.

11: Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:

12: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”


The grace of God is only effective in our salvation if we believe in Jesus Christ.


Colossians 1:3: “We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,

4: Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,

5: For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel;

6: Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

7: As ye also learned of Epaphras our dear fellowservant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ;

8: Who also declared unto us your love in the Spirit.

9: For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;

10: That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11: Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

12: Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

13: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

14: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

15: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

16: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

18: And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

19: For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;

20: And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.

21: And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled

22: In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

23: If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

24: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church:

25: Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;

26: Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:

27: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

28: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

29: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”


I could easily copy the whole of the New Testament here as evidence, for the evidence is wide and varied throughout the teachings of Christ and His apostles. One need but read with mind and heart open to understand how predestination, foreknowledge and election fit into the plan of God.


1 Peter 1:2: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”


Romans 9:22: “What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

23: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

24: Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

25: As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

26: And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

27: Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:

28: For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.

29: And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.

30: What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.

31: But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

32: Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

33: As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.”


There is no guarantee that “once saved, always saved”, or what Calvinists call the “preservation of the saints”.


1 Corinthians 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.”

Galatians 5:4: “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”


2 Peter 1:10: “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”


2 Peter 3:17: “Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.”


Jude 1:24: “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,”


Calvinism is Wrong


Calvinism is a terrible doctrine, and all five points of the TULIP doctrine are wrong. The scriptures prove them so. Calvin was a Roman Catholic who became incensed at the use of “indulgences” and the supposed purchasing of the souls of the dead from “purgatory” in order to enrich the coffers of the Catholic church. Although he was correct in this, he began to move further and further away from the truths contained in the Holy Bible, as he sought to condemn Rome on every count.


The terrible end result was Calvinism, which is so prevalent in Protestantism today. Sadly, the huge majority of Calvinists will not reason upon the scriptures. All they do is repeat the TULIP points and rail against baptism and godly works. In fact, one went so far as to repeatedly refer to baptism as “that damnable works doctrine”. I warned them against calling the word of God “damnable”! Have they no fear of God?


A footnote:


On baptism, let me briefly state the following:


John the Baptist baptized in water.

Jesus Christ was baptized in water.

Jesus told Nicodemus that he had to be born again of water and spirit.

Jesus baptized in water (through his disciples).

Jesus commanded His disciples to baptize all believers.

The apostles baptized in water.

The apostle Paul was baptized.

The early Christians were baptized in water.


In more modern times, the Baptist church is a shortened form of the name Anabaptist, which meant “rebaptizer”, because they rejected infant baptism, and were re-baptized as adults. Ironically—and sadly—many Baptists now promote Calvinism and reject the proper role of baptism as set forth by Jesus and His apostles and disciples.


James Arminius  (1560-1609) is the Latin version of the Dutch name Jacobus Harmenszoon, or Jacobus Harmensz, for short (sometimes also presented as Jakob Hermann). Arminius began religiously as a Calvinist, but through much study of the scriptures, modified his views on the subject of predestination.  

Calvinists often cite Arminius as being the mind behind the doctrine of faith, repentance and baptism as necessary for salvation. They are mistakenly attributing the fact that this doctrine, since it does not agree with Calvinism, must necessarily come from Arminius. They cannot accept that one might study the scriptures independently of scholars such as Arminius, and arrive at a doctrine different from Calvinism. 









7The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543), John Calvin   

Some other relevant excerpts and their sources: 

From Augustine: 

"Nine years have now elapsed since Albertus Pighius, the Campanian, a man of evidently phrensied audacity, attempted, at the same time, and in the same book, to establish the free-will of man. and to subvert the secret counsel of God, by which He chooses some to salvation and appoints others to eternal destruction."

2"The faith of such, which worketh by love either faileth not at all, or, if there be any in whom it does partially fail, it is renewed and restored before this life is ended. That iniquity which had interrupted it is done away, and the faith still perseveres unto the end. But those who are not designed of God to persevere--if they fall from the Christian faith, and the end of life finds them in that state thus fallen--such, doubtless, could not have been of this number of God's elect, even while they were, to all appearance, living well and righteously. For such were never separated from the general mass of perdition by the foreknowledge and predestination of God, and therefore were never 'called according to His purpose.' " And, that no one might be disturbed in mind because those sometimes fall away who had been considered the sons of God, he meets such perplexed ones thus: " Let no one think that those ever fall away who are the subjects of predestination, who are the called according to God'spurpose, and who are truly the children of promise. Those who live godly in appearance are, indeed, called by men the children of God; but, because they are destined sometime or other to live ungodly, and to die in that ungodliness, God does not call them His children in His foreknowledge. They who are ordained unto life are understood, by the Scripture, to be given unto Christ. These are predestinated and called, according to God's purpose. Not one of these ever perishes. And on this account no such one, though changed from good to bad for a time, ever ends his life so, because he is for that end ordained of God, and for that end given unto Christ, that he might not perish, but have eternal life."

 A little afterwards the same Augustine saith, "Those who, by the all-foreseeing appointment of God, are foreknown, predestinated, called, justified and glorified, are the children of God, not only before they are regenerated, but before they are born of woman; and such can never perish." He then assigns the reason: “Because (says he) God works all things together for the good of such; and He so makes all things thus to work together for their good, that if some of them go out of the way, and even exceed all bounds, He makes even this to work for their good and profit; for they return to Him more humble and more teachable than before.” 

Calvin's Calvinism 06/02/02

 From John Calvin:

“We condemn the error which enjoins men to have more respect to their own works than to Christ, as a means of rendering God propitious, of meriting his favor, and obtaining the inheritance of eternal life: in short, as a means of becoming righteous in his sight. First, they plume themselves on the merit of works, as if they laid God under obligations to them. Pride such as this, what is it but a fatal intoxication of soul? For instead of Christ, they adore themselves, and dream of possessing life while they are immersed in the profound abyss of death. It may be said that I am exaggerating on this head, but no man can deny the trite doctrine of the schools and churches to be, that it is by works we must merit the favor of God, and by works acquire eternal life; that any hope of salvation unpropped by good works is rash and presumptuous; that we are reconciled to God by the satisfaction of good works, and not by a gratuitous remission of sins; that good works are meritorious of eternal salvation, not because they are freely imputed for righteousness through the merits of Christ, but in terms of law; and that men, as often as they lose the grace of God, are reconciled to him, not by a free pardon, but by what they term works of satisfaction ­ these works being supplemented by the merits of Christ and martyrs, provided only the sinner deserves to be so assisted. It is certain that, before Luther became known to the world, all men were fascinated by these impious dogmas; and even in the present day, there is no part of our doctrine which our opponents impugn with greater earnestness and obstinacy.”  The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543), John Calvin 

“Then, again, there is a profanation common to all these religious rites: that is, that they are made the subjects of a disgraceful traffic, as if they had been instituted for no other purpose than to be subservient to gain. Nor is this traffic conducted secretly or bashfully; it is plied openly, as at the public mart. It is known in each particular district how much a mass sells for. Other rites, too, have their fixed prices. In short, any one who considers must see that churches are just ordinary shops, and that there is no kind of sacred rite which is not there exposed for sale.”  The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543), John Calvin 

“The second exception which we take relates to the remission of sins. Our opponents, not being able to deny that men, during their whole lives, walk haltingly, and oftentimes even fall, are obliged, whether they will or not, to confess that all need pardon, in order to supply their want of righteousness. But then they have imaginary satisfactions, by means of which those who have sinned purchase back the favor of God. In this class, they place first contrition, and next works, which they term works of supererogation, and penances, which God inflicts on sinners. But, as they are still sensible that these compensations fall far short of the just measure required, they call in the aid of a new species of satisfaction from another quarter, namely, from the benefit of the keys. And they say that by the keys the treasury of the church is unlocked, and what is wanting to ourselves [is] supplied out of the merits of Christ and the saints.”  The Necessity of Reforming the Church (1543), John Calvin 2 The Remedies Employed for Correction of the Evils

Love, in Christ,


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