I don’t know about some of you, but it seems to me that some people (through the religious tradition of reformed theology), attribute better things to themselves, than they attribute to our Gracious God. The sinless, Holy, Just, Loving, Merciful God of the Bible, who came in the flesh and gave Himself in great love for the whole world (1 Jn 2:2). Reformed theology is also identified as Calvinism, or Doctrines of Grace (D.O.G.), also known by the acronym T.U.L.I.P. But the God I know, the God of my life, commands His lovingkindness in the daytime, and His song is over me at night.
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me. The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, And in the night His song shall be with me—A prayer to the God of my life. Psalm 42:7-8
Calvinists teach one is unable to do anything good whatsoever including any ability to believe upon Him. They call this Total Depravity. Instead of the obvious (that no one is good in His sight), a Holy God dealing with sin — (we all have sinned and fallen short of His glory), they make belief an impossibility (total inability to believe – this is why they will define the ‘gift in Eph 2:8-9) as faith, since we must be ‘gifted’ it in order to believe and for that to happen, we must be born again (regenerated) FIRST before belief. (Some believe it is simultaneous, but nevertheless, they believe God makes you believe).
So do you think Jesus would ask us to do something we are unable to do? Would He ask all 12 disciples to have faith if they were unable? Wasn’t He telling them what they SHOULD do? But would all 12 have faith?
And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. Mark 11:22
Can we do any good?
Can we believe? Can we seek? Can we ask?
I believe this Scripture below shows we may indeed do good, and yet nothing of our righteous works can save us (Isaiah 64:6). BUT — if we had no ability to believe, Jesus would have been speaking deceptively when He told people to have faith. I cannot really see this another way, can you? If so, please explain with the Word of God, because His Word tells me Jesus lived a sinless life and is not a man that He should lie.
Would Jesus ask a crowd to do something, (that the majority would have absolutely no ability to do), IF the doctrine itself of total depravity were true? Or the doctrine of unconditional election where the majority are damned to hell by God’s choosing them for hell? I believe the Word denies that system of religion and it maligns His way of truth.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 9:11-13
Last year, we found an older stray kitten raised him for the last 5 months. He was pretty bone thin, and near death, and likely dehydration when we found him. He could barely stand, but managed to puff up with one last threatening menace of hissing, (when my little Schnorkie — part mini-schnauzer, part mini-yorkie) approached him in the cage. After that last stand, he collapsed to his side.
I never wanted a cat, but I helped nurse him back to health, and he turned from a wild little thing into a tame member of the family over time and with love. He was a very intelligent, friendly cat, and his hair was like fur, no shedding (a plus for one who seems to have some allergies to cats).
I tried to avoid being around him, but he liked to join me at my lap top, take a sip (lick with a rough tongue) of my coffee off of the tip of my finger each day. He became fast friends with his previous enemies (the other cat too). I didn’t want to grow attached to him, opting for my kids to take care of him, but still, Tigger sought me out multiple times a day, curling up at my side, watching me in curiosity as I tapped on my keys. He loved to play, chase and roll around with his former enemy, Zacchaeus, (the wee little man he threatened fiercely in the beginning)… One night when I let Zacchaeus out, he ran out with him. I thought he would come back in a few minutes, but he didn’t.
The next morning, in great sorrow, I saw a mangled heap lying out on the lawn. My heart sunk, and my guilt soared. We do not know if a coyote or one of our English Mastiffs got him. How much I wept for that cat that I thought I did not care for (or tried not to). The tremendous sorrow I felt at having let him get past me and not searching for him long enough — for forgetting even, that he was out there. The cat I never wanted and surely didn’t want to love.
A darn cat…
Most can understand the feeling of tenderness, of love I felt for this creature, but they miss (or ignore — or do not believe) that God has tender mercies each day available to ALL men, lovingkindness commanded each day, allowing good things into the life of the wicked and the righteous alike (Matt 5:45). Dying for all, tasting death for every man (Heb 2:9). Creator of all men, giving light to every single man that comes into the world (John 1:9). He has manifest Himself to all, there is no excuse for their unbelief (Rom 1), the Holy Spirit has convicted the world of sin, judgment and righteousness, of sin because they believe not on Him (John 16). God drew ALL men when He lifted Christ up on the cross (Jn 12:32) and desires that ALL will be saved as He was a ransom for ALL, and asks us to pray for ALL men, again, would He ask us to pray for ALL to come to know Him if He was keeping some from believing? He loves the world. He gave His life for the most despicable person ever born.
I don’t mean to have the audacity to compare His great love with my flawed love. But the point is, with the little amount we can understand, somehow, we expect less from the One who created all these wonderful creatures. That somehow He doesn’t love all mankind, the whole world, because He hates wickedness. We attribute more love to a mother with her own child than Calvinists do with God. We understand a mother being angry with her disobedient child, but still loving them, yet we cannot grant God a better, deeper, love than us. Can you imagine a mother or father, expecting a child and even thinking on choosing some for death? How can we turn around and say the perfect, loving God who made each one of us would do less? Although in some cases, hardened hyper-Calivnists are apathetic to their own, please see this shocking example here: “The Total Depravity of some Calvinists”.
These teachers dare to say our loving God can stand to lose one of His own creations made in His own image, created solely to burn them for His glory. Are not all His? Held together by His own breath. Were not all the angels His creation? Did He make them turn against Him? Was His heart not grieved when man’s sin became so great on the earth? Was He not patient? Longsuffering with men? Why — if this is all just something he has orchestrated, with no ability on man’s part to choose anything — right, wrong, or otherwise? I do understand that any Calvinist reading this will think my viewpoint is simplistic, and will claim I do not understand the finer, deeper points of Calvinism. I do understand simple math, and 1 + 1 still = 2. You cannot say God makes people sin, He chooses only a few for heaven and has condemned the rest to hell without making God a sinner. Or at least explain how causing someone to sin is not sinning yourself. Explain how causing someone to be unable to believe is not sin on His part if it was really true. Answering me that God is Sovereign and is able to do what He wants is not a good enough answer because you malign His character.
Our merciful and loving God, from the beginning when the first sin was committed, made a way to save us — every one. They (the Calvinists) say if He doesn’t save a person and He wants to, we make somehow make Him impotent, unable to save. That is kind of ridiculous when you think that God cannot do certain things because of limitations He Himself has placed because of His own Holiness. He cannot lie. So He will not lie. A Calvinist (usually) can understand and experience a man loving a woman and her not returning that love, and yet not attribute impotence to him, but they do to that our loving Father. In doing so, they malign His character, and twist His Word to suit their doctrine of the wisdom of men. They love the excellency of their speech, they heap up teachers, and love to have it so. (Again, not attributing this to every person who names the name of Calvin).
But God SO loved the world…
They do not know His goodness if they assert that my God would knit someone together in the womb completely for the purpose to have someone to destroy for “His glory”. As if we are as plastic G.I. Joe’s, and He has selected a certain few to live, and the rest weren’t worthy to live anyways.
Not my Redeemer, the One who was willingly a ransom for all (1 Tim 2:1-6).
The One whose thoughts are so precious towards me, no one can number them, just as if they are the grains of sand at all the oceans over the world. This One who searches me, knows me, and understands all my thoughts, including the words I will speak before they pass my lips. Who watches me rise in the morning and lay down at night. Who is with me, even when I have made my bed in hell. No, not the same god as my God. (Ps 139).
What do Calvinists think of God? “God wills all things that come to pass…God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning; I am suggesting that God created sin.” R.C. Sproul Jr., Almighty Over All (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1999), 54
If God ‘wills’ ALL things that come to pass, can you imagine the implication? Why do I need to pray for His will to be done if it just a formality? Does R. C. Sproul really think God made him do it when he does something wrong? What happened to the ‘devil made me do it‘? Even though coined by Flip Wilson, it is by Satan and one man Adam that sin was brought into the world. God didn’t will that this would happen.
God came in the flesh, God among us. Jesus, is the only one who is perfect, purely good and just, merciful and loving, our precious Savior. The One who loved the world so much He gave Himself willingly for us, died in our stead, a terrible, painful, humiliating death. No, my compassionate God, is good to ALL.
The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works. Psalm 145:8-9
God from the beginning, desired to dwell among men, to fellowship with us. He is Immanuel, God with us. Knowing we could not reach Him, God in His great love, came for us, and gave His life for us. Willingly…(John 10:17-18) Why? Because our sin separates us from Him forever, and He does not want that. But we have a choice to love Him or reject Him.
Jesus experienced the worst betrayal, denial and abandonment from all His disciples (in one way or another, each one failed Him). He was acquainted with grief, a man of sorrows — rejected, hated, put through pain, suffering, ridicule and mocking, from His own chosen people (Isaiah 53). Condemned, beaten, mocked also by the Roman Gentiles, yet Jesus died for us all. Some just will not believe Isaiah’s report.
I know it’s not even a comparison, my own story, to the way our loving God thinks or feels — but this is the very thing that the doctrine of what is called Calvinism does. It elevates their ability to be more merciful to their own children, than God is with His. I don’t think many in the doctrine have contemplated this, (some sadly have — like the Calvinist I wrote about here).
Could they imagine procreating with their mate and saying in advance, “Let’s kill this one, and the next two after that, and let the fourth one live?” Can they fathom having children, and choosing a majority of their children to die, before they were ever born, based on nothing other than their own ‘mercy’ and ‘pre-selection’ then mis-using this portion of Scripture ‘I will show mercy on the one I will show mercy, Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated’? Can they imagine doing this with their own sweet grandchildren? Could they put an black ‘X’ of death on a majority of them, and say, “the ones with the ‘X’s, I already condemned to death. They have no ability to come to me to get out of that death sentence?”
How would those children EVER know if they were among the destined to live? Even if they believed they were, there is no sure way to be able tell with the Calvinist doctrine of ‘evanescent grace’ (in short: In Evanescent Grace, God fools some into believing they are His while they are alive, only to find out in eternity they were already damned to hell). And the majority of the Calvinists answer that God has a right to do as He wishes with His creation. His Word and I agree on that, just not in the same equation they use.
Is His Atonement limited to a few and not the whole world?
His Word says if I want to give my children good gifts as an evil parent, how much more does He?
He is good to the children of men (Ps 107). He desires no men should perish (2 Pet 3:9). No matter how evil, no matter what the sin, God has paid for the sins of the whole world. He has paid for ALL of our sins, that includes ALL of our sins in the future. He paid for ALL our sins before we were ever even born by ONE SACRIFICE. That is why He asks believers in His Word to pray for ALL men (1 Tim 2:1-6). How hard is it to simply take Him at His Word? Why do men want to corrupt minds from the simplicity that is in Christ? (2 Cor 11:3-4). This is answered later in the passage (2 Cor 11:12-14).
For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Rom 5:6-8
He does not want ANY to perish, so to even vaguely imply that He does, is a lie. This doctrine, which has grown so much since people first really began to systemize the points, taking much from its Roman Catholic Augustinian roots (through men like Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, Knox in the 1500’s, and further refined and changed by men who called themselves after Calvin.), This doctrine blasphemes the way of truth and originates in a Roman Catholic mystical monk, the bishop of Hippo, Augustine, (the father of Calvinism), who addressed the Catholic church as the spiritual City of God.
I am a mere human being, mourning the loss of a cat I never wanted. Sick and grieved inside for losing him. I see all day long people talking about not aborting children (some Calvinists say the aborted children were not the elect), or they rightly speak about not killing or making animals suffer. They can relate to those atrocities. Yet they can see God aborting the children that He knit together into the womb (Ps 139), with no chance of being adopted through belief as one of His children. They can fathom God choosing one of their beloved children or grandchildren, having done nothing, to go straight to hell before they ever were born and answer with a Stepford wive’s mechanical robotic dead answers, “None of us deserve to live”.
Some of these Calvinists (not all) bemoan the abortions, the torture of animals, and yet don’t see that the god of their own making, their own hands, is guilty of having ordained these evils.
But God is longsuffering, I am not. He is perfect, and I am not. He is forgiving and merciful and mankind not so much. Jesus Christ, crowned with glory and honor, has tasted death for every man. He is the propitiation, not just for us, but for the whole world (1 John 2:2). My dear Savior stores my tears in a bottle, He numbers my wanderings and even the hairs on my head, just as He also numbers the stars He created, and calls them out by name.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, we see a picture of Jesus, who heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The same Jesus bids all who are burdened (labor and heavy laden) to COME to Him, and He will give us rest! (Matt 11:28-30)
I do not understand how this professing Christian religion can think of our Lord in this way. THIS is how their doctrine maliciously paints the nature and character of our loving God as one who loves you, loves you not, loves you not, loves you not.
I do understand there is different thinking within Calvinism, and that there are many sects within the reformed tenets. Some are worse than others. Many of the followers really don’t understand the implications or do not want to think on them. Pray that they would just go beyond the men’s writings they follow, and ask God for truth from His Word, vs. thinking of men beyond what is written. There is only thing I know, it is not wisdom from above, God does not show partiality, in fact, He despises it (see the entire chapter of James 2).
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. James 3:17
Christ Jesus was equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, a servant, who humbled Himself unto death. (PP of Phil 2:5-8).
Post Script from my friend at ProclaimHisWord
Holly, in reading this blog post, i could not help to think of something that the late Dave Hunt said in his must read book “What Love Is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God”– he said:
“Why would an infinitely Holy God ruin his own creation by purposely
creating sin? Why invent the elaborate story of “casting fallen angels out
of heaven”? Why cause mankind to sin in order to “forgive” them? How
would that glorify God? Instead, in Calvinism, God becomes like the person
who sets a forest fire so he can “discover” it, put it out, and be a hero.
It also turns God into a fraud who pretends that Satan, though God’s own
intentional creation, was His enemy. How absurd!” Page 162
I wholeheartedly concur with what he wrote.
Also, our Lord said in Matthew 12:11-12a: “And He said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep?”
Our Lord Jesus commended those who would show compassion on one of their animals, by saving it if it fell into a ditch, and then He made clear that man (a person created in God’s image), was better than a sheep. He then healed a man in the Synagogue. This is a strong rebuke of Calvinism, because it shows that God see’s man as more important and precious than animals, and if we (man) will save a helpless animal, how much more will God go out of His way to save someone created in His own image? Compare what our Lord said here, to what Calvin said in his Institutes, that some are born “doomed from the womb”, and what the Westminister Confession says in Chapter 3, VII “The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice”.
Let me be crystal clear: Calvinism was conceived and brought forth from the bowels of hell– it is a doctrine of devils that maligns the Holy and Righteous character of our Loving God, and it must be rejected by every Bible loving, God honoring believer in Jesus Christ, who seeks to do the Father’s will. I will end with this:
“We will agree that even error lives because it serves some vital need. But we shall always find it hard to love the man (Calvin) who darkened the human soul with the most absurd and blasphemous conception of God in all the long and honored history of nonsense.” Will Durant, “The Reformation,” Pt. VI of The Story of Civilization (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957), 90.
(Holly: Caution though with Dave Hunt Mark, there are certainly problematic areas with him, although he had some good points regarding Calvinism.)