Engaging the culture with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Why is Calvinism hated and said to be a distortion of “plain biblical truth”?

I have been told countless times that the doctrines of Grace are not biblical, and that those who hold them are “Scripture twisters” at best and “heretics” at worst. Those who level these charges against persons who hold to these truths, when told of all the men of God in church history who also taught these precious Scriptural doctrines, just seem to somehow glibly ignore it or blame it as the “pop-theology” of the man’s era.

So let me ask you, why are the doctrines of Grace so despised? Are they not scriptural? What follows is not exhaustive by any means, but lets take a look at what Scripture teaches and who affirms or denies each biblical doctrine.

1. The Scripture plainly teaches that God is Sovereign in all things, that nothing happens but according to His purpose and will. He controls all things from the smallest atom to the largest galaxy and all that are contained therein – including man. It is not just that He has the right to control, but He exercises that right.
(Rom 8:28; Eph 1:11; Ps 135:6-7; Mt 5:45; 6:25-30; Ps 47:7-9; Dan 2:20-21; 4:34-35; Ex 3:21; 12:25-36; Ez 7:27; 1 Sam 2:6-7; Gal 1:15-16; 2 Sam 24:1; 1 Chr 21:1; Gen 45:5; 50:20; Rom 9:19, Matt 28:18)

This the Calvinist affirms.
This the Arminian denies.

2. The Scripture plainly teaches that man is fallen completely. That he is born God-hating, bound in sin, doing the pleasures of Satan as they are his own, giving no thought to God and incapable of coming to Christ unless given new life to do so.
(Psalm 51:5, 58:3; Isaiah 53:6, 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9; John 3:3, 8:44; Romans 3:10-12, 5:12; Ephesians 2:2-3; I Corinthians 2:14)

This the Calvinist affirms.
This the Arminian denies.

3. The Scripture plainly teaches that some of these fallen men are chosen by God before the foundation of the world, and this election is not based on anything found or foreseen in themselves, but solely according to the good pleasure and secret counsel of God.

(Deuteronomy 7:6-7; Isaiah 55:11; John 6:44, 15:16; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:28; 9:11-13; II Timothy 1:9; Rev. 17:8)

This the Calvinist affirms
This the Arminian denies.

4. The Scripture plainly teaches that the death of Christ has propitiated the wrath of God for the sins He bore. That He came to save His people from their sins and actually accomplished the work He came to do. His blood purchased them out of the world, satisfying the wrath of God. According to Scripture, Christ died for the church, and his death actually justified those for whom He died.

(Matthew 1:21, 20:28; John 10:14-18, 17:9; Acts 20:28; Romans 5:8-9; Titus 2:14; Revelation 5:9; Is 53:5, 11)

This the Calvinist affirms.
This the Arminian denies.

5. The Scripture plainly teaches that those chosen by God and purchased by Christ are given by God to Christ; that Christ will have the prize for which He died. That His bride for whom He died will be complete and spotless. These elect are irresistibly drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit of God working in them a new heart, tearing down their walls of resistance and granting them repentance and faith.
(Ezekiel 11:19-20; John 6:37; Romans 8:30; Colossians 2:13; James 1:18; Titus 3:5; Is 53:10; Eph 5:25-27)

This the Calvinist affirms.
This the Arminian denies.

6. The Scripture plainly teaches that all those who are given to Christ will be saved. There is no possibility of them being lost. A true child of God, although he will sin, will not continue in it. The believer will persevere in faith, as God will not permit him to do otherwise. The blood bought child holds on to what holds him.
( I Peter 1:5; Isaiah 43:1-3; Jeremiah 32:40; Romans 8:35-39; Ephesians 1:13-14; I Thessalonians 5:23-24; Jude 24-25)
This the Calvinist affirms.
Some Arminians affirm a slightly modified version of this doctrine. (The strand of Arminianism who does hold to some form of eternal security (the one I was raised under), does so in the unbiblical sense of “once saved always saved”. This means that once one has made his decision for Christ, then no matter how he lives he is always saved. The possibility that he may have never been saved to begin with doesn’t enter their equation.)

7. The Scripture plainly teaches that regeneration, or the new birth, is a Sovereign act of God alone in His elect.  That faith and repentance are products of regeneration not the cause of it.

(II Tim. 2:25; Acts 11:18; Eph 2:4, 8-9; II Thess 3:2; John 10:25-26; I John 5:1; John 3:5-8 )

This the Calvinist affirms.
This the Arminian denies.

8. The Scripture plainly teaches that the invitation and command to obey the gospel is to be proclaimed indiscriminately.

(Matt 28:19-20; Romans 1:14; Acts 1:8; Mark 16:15-16)

This the Calvinist affirms.
This the Arminian affirms.

9. Scripture plainly teaches that everyone who comes to Christ will find forgiveness and never be turned away, that every one who desires to come is most certainly welcomed.

(Mark 16:16; Jn 6:37, 40, Matt 11:28)
This the Calvinist affirms.
This the Arminian affirms.

Again, this is no where near an exhaustive list of Scripture upon which each point is founded. I was not intending for it to be such. Rather I hope God uses this to cause you to search the Scripture more; and may you find as George Muller did,

Before this period [when I came to prize the Bible alone as my standard of judgment] I had been much opposed to the doctrines of election, particular redemption (i.e. limited atonement), and final persevering grace. But now I was brought to examine these precious truths by the Word of God. Being made willing to have no glory of my own in the conversion of sinners, but to consider myself merely an instrument; and being made willing to receive what the Scriptures said, I went to the Word, reading the New Testament from the beginning, with a particular reference to these truths.

To my great astonishment I found that the passages which speak decidedly for election and persevering grace, were about four times as many as those which speak apparently against these truths; and even those few, shortly after, when I had examined and understood them, served to confirm me in the above doctrines.

As to the effect which my belief in these doctrines had on me, I am constrained to state for God’s glory, that though I am still exceedingly weak, and by no means so dead to the lusts of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, as I might be, and as I ought to be, yet, by the grace of God, I have walked more closely with Him since that period. My life has not been so variable, and I may say that I have lived much more for God than before .(Autobiography, pp. 33-34)

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3 responses

  1. The fundamental error of the Arminian is an unstated one. Where the scripture says that the natural man is “DEAD in trespasses and sins”, Eph. 2:1, the Arminian believes that man is merely SICK, and therefore capable of participating in his salvation. The Calvinist takes Paul at his word, and thereby understands that man is necessarily passive in his salvation. The problem is that the Arminian refuses to repudiate his representation in Adam, and is thus misled by the temptation to be as God (Gen. 3:5), and by the drive to look to the Covenant of Works for his justification. Of course, the Arminian would never SAY this, but it is the implication of his theology.

    August 25, 2009 at 1:07 pm

  2. Thank you for the blog
    and the posts that help
    me reason out why Calvinism
    is not found in the Bible.

    August 25, 2009 at 6:00 pm

  3. y hung

    well said. Yes, Bible clearly teaches salvation is all of God, man has no part in it as we are all dead in sins. Roman 8 & 9 explains the process of salvation succintly

    February 16, 2012 at 4:04 am

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