WHAT ANTI-CALVINISTS SAY ABOUT CALVINISM
DOES THE BIBLE SUPPORT CALVINISM?
Here I give some
parts freely transcribed from Calvinism Debate by David W. Cloud
You can download free copy here:
Cloud was a Calvinist who came out of it.
To say that God has
foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, is to go beyond what the Bible
teaches. The Bible says He “worketh all things after the counsel of his own
will” (Eph. 1:11), but that is not the same as actually foreordaining
The Bible says that God did will the salvation of all
2:3-6 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to
be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and
one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave
himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the
2 Peter 3:9 The
Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.
Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone
to come to repentance.
And did provide for it
1 John 2:2 He is the
atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins
of the whole world.
but He also gave man
a choice to believe or disbelieve
John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
Acts 13:46-48 46
Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of
God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy
of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord
has commanded us:“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may
bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48 When the Gentiles heard this,
they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed
for eternal life believed.is a pet Calvinist verse:
“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.” The Calvinist says,
“See, here is a plain statement that those who believe are those who are
sovereignly ordained to believe.” The problem is that the word
“sovereignly” is added to
what this verse actually states and Calvinist doctrine is read into the
verse to make it say, “...as many as were sovereignly and arbitrarily
elected believed.” Any possibility that God’s foreknowledge could allow for
the exercise of human will is entirely discounted, but there is nothing in
the verse itself to require such an interpretation.
Also, in verse 46 we
see a diﬀerent story. “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.”
Here we see that salvation
is associated with man’s response to the gospel. According
to the plain teaching of this verse, these Jews did not go to Hell because
they were not part of the elect or because they were sovereignly elected to
reprobation, but simply because they refused to believe. They reprobated
themselves. Paul told them that God wanted to give them everlasting life and
they rejected it.
Again, John 6:37 is
a favorite Calvinist proof text. “All that the Father giveth me shall come
to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” The Calvinist
finds his doctrines of Sovereign Election and Irresistible Grace here. The
problem is that if “irresistible
grace” is taught in this passage, it is for all who believe on Christ
and not merely
for a special few who were sovereignly pre-elected to be saved. This verse
does not say that God has sovereignly prechosen only some for salvation and
that it is those pre-chosen ones that are given to Christ. One must read all
of that into the verse. It simply says that all that the Father gives will
come to Christ. The question is this: “Who is it that the Father gives to
That question is
answered plainly in this passage only three verses later: “And this is the
will of him that sent me,
that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have
everlasting life: and
I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:40).
(Of course the
Calvinist argues that it is only the elect who can “see the Son,” but one
must read that into the verse.)
In verse 40 we see
that the sovereign will of God is that each and every sinner that believes
on Christ will be saved. Here the sovereign will of God is to allow men a
choice in salvation, and a great many other verses agree.
Consider John 6:44
and John 12:32 John 6:44 is another Calvinist proof text. “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.”
The Calvinist finds
sovereign election and irresistible grace here. Yet John 12:32 says, “And
I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”
Here we see that
Jesus draws all men,
The Bible vs. the
That Faith Is a Work Calvinism says that grace means man cannot do anything,
cannot even believe, because otherwise grace would not be grace and the
sinner would have something to boast of. First of all, this is unscriptural,
because the Bible plainly says faith and believing are not works. “For
by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”
(Eph. 2:8-9). It
is not faith that is the gift of God; it is salvation that is the gift.
Salvation is by grace but THROUGH faith.
“the hand that reaches out and accepts the gift of God.” Faith is not a
work. “For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but
not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it
was counted unto him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the
reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth
the ungodly, his
faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:2-5).
Here we see plainly
is the opposite of works.
Therefore to require that a sinner believe the gospel is not to require the
sinner to do some sort of works for salvation.
doctrine that faith is a work is unreasonable. Salvation is likened in
Scripture to receiving a gift. It can also be likened to accepting a pardon
and taking a life preserver. If someone purchases an expensive gift for me
and I accept it, do I have anything to boast of? If I am in prison on death
row for my crimes and the governor mercifully oﬀers me a pardon and I accept
it, have I done anything that I could boast of? If I am drowning in the
ocean and a boat pulls alongside and oﬀers to rescue me and I allow them to
do that, have I thereby had some part in my salvation from drowning? Have I
done something I could boast of? Of course not! When the sinner hears that
Christ loves him and died for him and rose from the dead and oﬀers him
eternal salvation and the sinner joyfully receives that great salvation,
that is not works and the sinner has nothing to boast about.
The chief passage on
the New Birth is John 3. In verses 1-8 Jesus teaches Nicodemus that he must
be born again or he cannot see the kingdom of God. In verse 9, Nicodemus
asks Jesus how this can be. In verses 10-21, Jesus answers this question and
explains how a man is born again, and the answer is that
is born again by believing (Jn.
3:14-16)! This is exactly what the Calvinist says the sinner cannot do.
How can a dead man believe, he reasons? Well, if we are going to take the
“dead man” analogy literally, a
dead man can’t sin either.
When the Bible says
the sinner is dead in trespasses and sins it means that he is separated from
God’s divine life because of sin. To
take this analogy beyond the actual teaching of the Bible and to give it
other meanings, such as to reason that since the sinner is dead in
trespasses and sins he must not be able to believe, is to move from truth to
Ephesians 1:13 also
the order of salvation.
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.”
First the sinner
believes and then he receives the Holy Spirit.
The order of
salvation is made clear in Acts 16:30-31 in the conversion of the Philippian
jailer. “And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
And they said,
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.”
The order of
salvation is also made clear in Ephesians 2:8-9--“For
by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the
gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Faith
is the means whereby we are saved, that is our part; it
is the hand that reaches out to accept God’s Gift.
2 Thessalonians 2:13
mean, when it says we are chosen to salvation “through sanctification of the
Spirit and belief of the truth”? In light of the previous passages, it is
obvious that this verse is not stating the exact order of things. We have
already learned that belief of the truth precedes the new birth.
The Bible vs. the Calvinist doctrine of Irresistible Grace
Genesis 4:6-7--“And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is
thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and
if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his
desire, and thou shalt rule over him.”
God spoke to Cain and
urged him not to act on the jealous anger that was burning in his heart, and
yet Cain resisted God’s will and murdered his brother. God gave Cain a clear
choice. There is not a hint in this passage that would make us conclude that
God had predetermined that Cain be reprobate.
Consider the world
before the flood. Genesis 6:3--“And the LORD said, My spirit shall not
always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an
hundred and twenty years.”
God strove with men before the flood and had Noah preach to them for 120
years while the ark was being built, but they resisted God and rejected his
warning. Consider Israel of old.
Romans 10:21--“But to
Israel he saith,
All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and
We see that God
wanted to save Israel and continually reached out to them, but God’s
salvation was resisted and rejected.
Consider Israel of
Christ’s day. Matthew 23:37--“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!”
John 5:40 “And
ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.”
Here we see that the sovereign will of the Son of God, who desired to save
Israel throughout her history and who often sent His prophets to her, was
Consider the unsaved
of our day. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4--“But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to
them that are lost: In whom the
god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest
the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should
shine unto them.” Here we see that men are blinded because of their own
unbelief and they are
lost because they reject the gospel.
God’s sovereign will to save every sinner (1
Tim. 2:3-4; 2 Pet. 3:9),
but sinners can resist Him.
Consider the unsaved
during the reign of the Antichrist. 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12--“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.” Why will these sinners perish? The reason is stated
plainly, and it is not because they are not among the elect and is not
because they were sovereignly reprobated.
is because they resist the gospel and reject the truth.
The Bible vs. the
Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement
God loves all men (Jn. 3:16).
God has commanded that the gospel be preached to every person (Mark 16:15).
God wants to have mercy upon all men (Rom. 11:32).
God desires to reconcile all men to Himself (2 Cor. 5:19).
The promise of faith by Jesus is for all (Gal. 3:22).
Jesus was a ransom for all men (1 Tim. 2:6).
Jesus tasted death for all men (Heb. 2:9).
Jesus bought even unsaved false teachers (2 Pet. 2:1).
God desires all men to be saved (2 Pet. 3:9).
Jesus provided propitiation for all men (1 Jn. 2:2).
The iniquity of all men was laid on Jesus (Isaiah 53:6).
The Calvinist’s doctrine of limited atonement is contrary to the plain
teaching of Scripture.
Ephesians 5:25, that
Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, but this does not say that
Christ died only for the elect. Evidently church does not mean the gathering
of the believers alone. It means all those who believe. That Christ gave
Himself for the church is not to say that Christ gave Himself ONLY for the
church or any other such Calvinistic twist. The Calvinist quotes John
6:38-39, where Christ said, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent
Me, that of all which He hath given Me I should lose nothing, but should
raise it up again at the last day.” It only mean there are many who will
believe if they hear the word. This is the reason for evangelization. In
fact Calvinism cannot explain why they evangelize at alll. God has elected
them what is your role in it. Can you give salvation or Cause salvation? Why
Bible that deals
with man’s depravity in Adam, such as Gen. 6:4; Psa. 51:5; 58:3; Prov.
22:15; Ecc. 9:3; Isa. 64:6; Jer. 17:9; and Mat. 15:9. Again, the Calvinist
reads his own theology into these passages.
When men chooses to
reject God’s call, God chooses their judgment. Compare 2 Thessalonians
2:10-12-“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.”
These sinners will be
damned, not because they are not sovereignly elected but because of their
personal decision to reject the truth. Words could not be plainer.
Romans 9:22-23 does
not say that God sovereignly fits some sinners to destruction and some to
glory. The phrase “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” allows for a
variant voice; according to the PC Study Bible, it can be both the passive
and middle voice in Greek; middle means to fit oneself. In the middle voice
the subject acts in relation to him/herself.
Consider this note
from Vincent Word Studies: “NOT FITTED BY GOD FOR DESTRUCTION, but in an
adjectival sense, ready, ripe for destruction, the participle denoting a
present state previously formed, BUT GIVING NO HINT OF HOW IT HAD BEEN
FORMED. That the objects of final wrath had themselves a hand in the matter
may be seen from 1 Thess. 2:15-16.”
By allowing the Bible
to speak for itself through the plain meaning of the words and by comparing
Scripture with Scripture we find that the sinner fits himself for
destruction by his rejection of the truth. Even those who have never heard
the gospel, have the light of creation and conscience and are responsible to
respond to the light that they have that they might be given more light
Romans 9:23-24 does
not mean that God calls only a certain pre-chosen elect group to salvation.
“And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of
mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom he hath called,
not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles.”
One has to read
sovereign election into the language of the verses. The Calvinist claims
that verse 24 refers to “eﬀectual calling,” which is a term that describes
the “irresistible calling of the elect,” but this is to add to God’s Word.
God calls through the gospel (2 Thess. 2:14) and the gospel is to be
preached to every creature (Mk. 16:15).
God calls “whosoever will” (Rom.
10:13; Rev. 22:17).
God calls every one that believes on Christ.
“And this is the
will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth
on him, may have everlasting life: and
I will raise him up at the last day” (Jn. 6:40). e. God’s salvation even of
the Jews was not a matter of “sovereign” election but was based on an
“But Israel, which
followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of
righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it
were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; as
it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of oﬀence:
and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Rom. 9:31-33). f. The
promise of salvation proves that salvation is not the result of God’s
“sovereign” choice. “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumbling
stone and rock of oﬀence: and WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH on him shall not be
ashamed. ... But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth,
and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; That if thou
shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with
the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is
made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH on him
shall not be ashamed. 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. For
WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Rom. 9:33;
does not mean that His will is always accomplished in man. “But to Israel he
saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and
gainsaying people” (Rom. 10:21). See also Matthew 23:37: “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!”
Above all Calvinism
forgets that Adam was created as a Son of God as the Eastern Churches affirm
they are created to be transformed in the image the Son.
unconditional election is true, salvation is an arbitrary lottery.
unconditional election is true, God’s creation is an act of cruelty.
unconditional election is true, loving my neighbor is an unfair demand.
unconditional election is true, our natural response will be survivor’s
unconditional election is true, God cannot be trusted.
You are an elect -
chosen for a purpose
To die for your brother.
God is the
author of all evil.
He is sovereign
God made the Devil for that.