Why I Departed from Calvinism?

WIDFC

In this article, I will only cover how I became a Calvinist, what I believed in and how I got out.

Before I get into my testimony, I need to mention two important points:
First, I can’t wait until Jesus returns because He will end this on-going theological debate which has been raging since the early 17th century. Secondly, I am not posting this to say that those who are Calvinists aren’t my brethren in the faith. However, I will say that they were probably saved by the gospel first and believed in Calvinism later. As my contention is that Calvinism cannot be arrived at by rightly dividing the Word of God.

 

How I became a Calvinist

Back in 2008, I watched a YouTube video called “The Shocking Youth Message by Paul Washer”. The message gripped my heart so much that I started to listen to Paul Washer’s messages on a regular basis. The reason why his messages had an impact on me was because no one had ever preached the whole truth to me: I was never told what I deserved as a sinner and that Jesus Christ is the all sufficient Savior. I wasn’t even told that becoming a Christian meant that I was to be a walking martyr for Christ.

As a result of listening to Washer’s teachings, I was slowly introduced to Reformed Theology. It wasn’t my intention to become a Calvinist. I didn’t even understand what a Calvinist was when I was labeled as one. This was only because I believed that God is Sovereign.

The first Christian book that I purchased was “‘Welcome to a Reformed Church: A Guide for Pilgrims’ by Daniel R. Hyde”. It helped me to understand the reformed faith. From thereon most of my orders were bought from Monergismbooks.com, a reformed faith bookstore.

I was encouraged to read a lot of Calvinistic books so that whenever I debated non-Calvinists, I would be prepared in a debate. My bookshelf consisted of 95% Reformed Theology books. It was also essential to own a DVD copy of “Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism (2004)” So I got myself a copy! My audio library was completely Calvinistic with very few exceptions such as Leonard Ravenhill, David Wilkerson, Dave Hunt, Kent Hovind and Bob Jennings.

 

What I believed in

I was known as a staunch Calvinist. I contended for…

+ Total Inability: the teaching that humanity is spiritually dead from birth, as a result of the Fall. His will is not free; it is in bondage with his evil nature. Faith doesn’t contribute to his salvation since faith is a gift from God. [I was persuaded that free will is a myth by reading “The Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther”.]

+ Unconditional Election: Before the foundation of the world, God preselected certain individuals unto salvation by his own sovereign will. He did not foresee who would accept or reject Him through the corridors of time. Man’s will has no bearing on God’s sovereign will.

+ Limited Atonement: Christ bled only for the Elect. Not a drop of blood was spilled in vain on those who are not chosen. Christ’s redeeming work was intended to save only the elect (those for whom the Father had given his Son).

+ Irresistible Grace: The Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He sweetly (and graciously) changes their will to be able to believe the gospel. They cannot resist His grace.

+ Perseverance of the Saints: All whom were chosen by God, purchased by Christ and given faith by the Spirit are saved forever. They will persevere. They will bear fruits unto salvation. They cannot lose their salvation. They are kept not by their own strength but by the triune God alone.

In conclusion, God in salvation will not fail. For whom salvation was intended for, for them it is secure and none can pluck them out from the hands of God.

 

How I got out

After I left the camp of Reformed Theology, I was asked multiple times and on different occasions, “Did Christ die to secure the salvation of only the specific group God the Father has chosen from eternity past?”. My departure from this erroneous teaching had primarily everything to do with the character of God depicted through the lenses of Calvinism. You see, who God is determines what He does and what he does has to do with who he is. You cannot avoid that by only asking one side of the question. If God is love but only chooses to save some, that makes Him inconsistent with His own character. Let me illustrate this point from Scripture:

We see Jesus in Matthew 23:37 saying,
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

In debates, when I post this verse, I am told that this passage deals with Jesus condemning the Jews for rejecting Him. But the fact that “He is frustrated with the Jews, and wants them to come to him but they choose not to” is often downplayed or disregarded by my Calvinist friends. Notice that at the end of that verse it says, “and ye would not!”. So one must ask, if he has a sound mind, why is the immutable God expressing sorrow for a people He knows have been decreed by his sovereign will from eternity past to reject Him? Does God have a split personality disorder? Didn’t Jesus want to gather them all? Does Jesus show that God has two wills: one that desires to save everyone but the other only some?

So God has the power to save everyone but doesn’t do a thing to save them. Then He makes a scene by expressing His desire to be their God, knowing very well they can’t believe unless the Spirit of God gives them faith first so that they could effectually grab hold of the truth! And on top of that, God holds unelected sinners responsible for unbelief, and sends them to hell for eternity!

To strongly believe that the Holy Trinity is Calvinistic, the Holy Spirit should have written Matthew 23:37 in this way,

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how I am only gathering some and I know that others would be unwilling to come to me, just as it was decreed to be from eternity past!”.

 And there you have it, this is mainly the first reason why I departed.

 

In conclusion, I was debating a non-Calvinist at one time when I held firmly to Reformed Theology, I was told: there cannot be two truths! I agree.

 

[Continue to Part II]

 

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14 thoughts on “Why I Departed from Calvinism?”

  1. I highly doubt you were ever a Calvinist. These arguments are superficial, and show a fundamental lack of understanding of even some basic tenets of Calvinism. It’s as if you merely copy and pasted from Wikipedia what a Calvinist ought to believe, and left it at that. And I highly doubt you ever read Luther’s brilliant exposition on the subject. In the end, your argument rests on a faulty definition of Love. You’ve looked at Election and Reprobation, said, “That can’t align with my definition of what love is like, so God can’t do that!” and concluded disastrously that the Doctrines of Grace are false. So pretty much what Dave Hunt (the divisive pseudo-theologian) argues for the whole of his (horrid) book.
    But you don’t understand.
    God is Love. He is the definition of Love. We must define Love by who God is, not what we think Love is or what we think it ought to be.
    In the end, it is the Bible that is the nail in the coffin for your beliefs.
    You said: “So God has the power to save everyone but doesn’t do a thing to save them. Then He makes a scene by expressing His desire to be their God, knowing very well they can’t believe unless the Spirit of God gives them faith first so that they could effectually grab hold of the truth!”
    Apostle Paul: ‘It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.”‘
    You said: “And on top of that, God holds unelected sinners responsible for unbelief, and sends them to hell for eternity!”
    Apostle Paul: ‘One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?’
    Let’s not rationalise about these deep things, sir. We are merely humans – lumps of clay, to use the imagery of the Apostle Paul. We must believe what the Bible says, and go no further.

    On reading this, I am reminded of Welsey’s irrational lash-out at the doctrine of Election: “Whatever the Bible teaches, it can’t be that.”
    Sir, you are badly mistaken.

    I will end off with this. I strongly believe that Arminians are fellow brethren in Christ. They believe a watered down Gospel, ’tis true, but God’s grace is sufficient. There are Arminian theologians that I respect and learn from. Dave Hunt is not one of them, and it does your cause no favour to reference such a divisive fool.

    Be careful, dear brother. I feel through the writing a familiar strain of rebelliousness against God’s great Sovereignty that we have all experienced. If I could have responded in a few words, it would have been, “So basically, you can’t grok God’s sovereignty.” Be wary, brother. The Bible is not ambiguous on this subject. There cannot be two truths, it is true. But you are on the wrong side of the Bible on this topic. I am praying for you. I am sorry if this message sounds arrogant or condescending. Forgive me if this is the case, brother.

    With love,
    A fellow brother in the Lord.

  2. If calvinism is true, we sin according to God’s will and he doesn’t want us to come out of our “blind” and wicked state of mind. It’s interesting that calvinists often tell you that they will pray for you – as though this could change the outcome of anything? If God has predestined people to be elect/non-elect from the beginning of this world, there is nothing that you can say or do which can change it.

    Do we have a calvinistic sinful nature according to God’s will or against his will?

    http://bjorkbloggen.com/2013/06/10/i-will-have-mercy-on-who-i-will-have-mercy-but-god-still-has-conditions-rom-915/

  3. Calvinists say that Christians look at election and say that “that cant be Gods love…”. Well, first of all Christians could easily turn this around and say that calvinists look at the Gospel and say that”What the Bible says about God wanting all to repent, cant be Gods love”. The argument is invalid and the appeal to emotion label could be put on both sides. However, as this is probably not what either side really do, in the end it is a strawman and should be left out of the debate. The real reason why people are Christians and not calvinist, is The Bible; what it says and what we get to learn about God. We read tons of verses showing us that God wants all to be saved and verses that shows that people actually activelt rejected Him, as well as showing that election in the Bible is about bringing forward the Saviour, not about damning people unconditionally to hell. And we get to know God, through Jesus…

  4. THEN…

    In all truthfulness and reality that verse shows clearly that Jesus (God) had no idea whether those Jews in Jerusalem would eventually let themselves be fathered by Christ and that is why he kept insisting that they came; unfortunately they didn’t. If Jesus (God) had known before hand that b they would never come to him, then why b insist on it.

    So, leaving aside the sovereignty and issue of the Calvinists, people need to understand that God had no idea what was going to happen and because he didn’t know he keeps insisting and calling them. Because it would be silly to insist on something that you know will never take place.

    That’s still the same today, God is trying very hard and doing all he can to save everyone the world but b he really doesn’t know of they will respond. Some do but some doesn’t.

    Won’t you agree with THAT, because that’s EXACTLY what I hear YOU are saying.

    • God lives outside of time yet He is taking care of the universe. To KNOW and to DECIDE/CHOOSE are two completely different things: God knows who will be saved but He doesn’t choose their fate. If God didn’t had any idea what was going to happen then He couldn’t prophesy things to come — Yet He brought to past many prophecies to the teeth concerning Jesus Christ first coming. And more are yet to be be fulfilled.

      • So, you say God learns from observation? God (use prophets to) predict what would happen because he had established that such things would happen. In other words, He didn’t look ahead (or at the world) to learn, then predict what would take place.

        On the other hand, if God knew from eternity that something would take place no matter what, (like if a person will never repent and believe) then, how is giving a chance to anyone whom He knows well b proceed otherwise be a chance that would change anything?

        If God knew from all eternity that X person would never repent and be saved, why did He create such person to begin with? How is that fair to X person, who will go condemn to hell anyway? Free will? What freedom is that which cannot be changed? And if God can change it, why doesn’t He?

        Just asking…

  5. You wrote: predict what would happen because he had established that such things would happen.

    Alright, so abortion, rape, murder and rebellion, must be ascribed to God alone?

    You wrote: If God knew from all eternity that X person would never repent and be saved, why did He create such person to begin with?

    If God would “remove” people who would disobey him prior to “creating” them, then there wouldn’t be any free will left. And since all who can sin have chosen to sin – God wouldn’t be able to create a single one of us.

    It’s absolutely possible that God knows our free will decisions ahead of time.

    It’s a huge difference between knowing ahead of time and determining ahead of time.

    • Hello…

      ~~~~~~
      Alright, so abortion, rape, murder and rebellion, must be ascribed to God alone?
      ~~~~~~

      All those are sins indeed. So was the killing of Jesus, the worst sin of all. No, it wasn’t God alone but God appointed although Satan was behind of out all. Right?

      ~~~~~~~~
      If God would “remove” people who would disobey him prior to “creating” them, then there wouldn’t be any free will left. And since all who can sin have chosen to sin – God wouldn’t be able to create a single one of us.
      ~~~~~~~

      But, I never said those who would sin or disobey, which our course would leave no one created since all men sin. I said those who never repent and believe to be saved which, some do but done don’t.

      Blessings.

  6. You wrote:All those are sins indeed. So was the killing of Jesus, the worst sin of all. No, it wasn’t God alone but God appointed although Satan was behind of out all. Right?

    A common calvinistic answer, but I always respond that Jesus gave his own life and no one was forced to betray or kill him. There were plenty of people who stood in line to kill Jesus so no one needed to get an extra touch of “desire” (by God) to have him killed. Judas is in hell and not in heaven. Right? I’m glad you agree that those things that I listed are indeed sins, and if God doesn’t even tempt people he wouldn’t make people sin would he? (Do check my Blog in order to study the common calvinistic answer to that question, including the case of Joseph’s brothers.) God wouldn’t predestine people to “sin” and then send them to hell due to the crime of “sinning” – which he had forced them to do. Could they have done otherwise? Are people in hell for having performed the sins that God had always wanted them to do? Do people sin according to God’s will?

    You wrote: I said those who never repent and believe to be saved which, some do but done don’t.

    God could have created each one of us as programmed robots who always obeyed the will of God, but he chose to create us with free will and responsible for our own actions.

    • Actually, my answer is the typical biblical (Christian) answer. The killing of Jesus and everything about it was done according to God’s plan. At least that’s what my bible say.

      So, yes… Satan was behind it (I guess they needed someone to put some “extra desire”. So much for “free” will). YET, in so doing, and acting very sinfully by the power (force) of Satan, they accomplished the predetermined plan of God.

      GBY

  7. You wrote:The killing of Jesus and everything about it was done according to God’s plan. At least that’s what my bible say.

    No, the Bible doesn’t say that the plan contained the idea that God would force a person to betray Jesus, and others to crucify him. If he did, those people should have received medals and be sent straight to heaven due to obeying God to 100%. Instead we learn that it would have been better if Judas wouldn’t have been born – due to what was awaiting him after death. Or are you saying that people end up i hell despite obeying God?

    You wrote: So, yes… Satan was behind it (I guess they needed someone to put some “extra desire”. So much for “free” will).

    Did God force Satan to cause people to sin? Or are you saying he just forced him to tempt people (despite that the Bible says that God doesn’t tempt anyone – either directly or indirectly) with the hope that people would fall for Satan’s temptations and sin? Does your God want people to sin? Was Judas sin according to God’s will or against his will?

    The death of Jesus was certainly planned, but God didn’t have to cause anyone to help him out. People had this in their heart on their own accord.

    GBU

    • Where exactly did I state that God forced anyone to do evil?

      God controls all the circumstances by allowing or disallowing the actions, thoughts and ideas of men and Satan with his demons in order to fulfill his plan. He just lets sinful men and Satan, under whose power they operate, to act only in accordance to His established purposes.

      By so doing, be ensures the desired outcome without having to actively ‘force’ anyone to sin. And since they sin willingly against God’s revealed will, deserve the just penalty for their actions.

      GBY

  8. You wrote:Where exactly did I state that God forced anyone to do evil?

    Here for instance:

    “God controls all the circumstances by allowing or disallowing the actions, thoughts and ideas of men and Satan with his demons in order to fulfill his plan. He just lets sinful men and Satan, under whose power they operate, to act only in accordance to His established purposes.”

    You continue to contradict yourself:

    “By so doing, be ensures the desired outcome without having to actively ‘force’ anyone to sin. And since they sin willingly against God’s revealed will, deserve the just penalty for their actions.”

    So which one is it? Does God PLAN the sins and ENSURES the desired outcome according to his established PURPOSE OR do people sin against his will (all his multiple wills)? You can’t have it both ways.

    It’s a huge difference between allowing things to occur (against his will) and forcing/predestining/ensuring/causing/orchestrating things to occur. If people act ONLY in ACCORDANCE with God’s PURPOSES in a way that God ENSURES, then God alone must be blamed for all sin. Did we have a choice to act otherwise?

    Or are we in agreement about that each sin always happens against God’s will and that God would much rather have seen that we did not sin? I hope you can answer this question without suggesting that God has multiple wills, and that these multiple wills have conflicting views.:)

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