Note: This is a brief overview of why I do not believe this doctrine. I understand that my objections may not be the strongest or greatest objections to Calvinism, but these are just reasons as to why I do not agree or believe this doctrine. As I have studied and read about Calvinism, some sources I used to write this blog-post and that influenced my 3 objections are Norman Geisler’s Sermon “Why I Am Not a 5 Point Calvinist” which you can watch on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/fPpkSiO1Ci4, George L. Bryson’s book The Five Points of Calvinism, and Tim Stratton’s 4-part series “The Petals Drop” which you can read online here: http://freakengministries.com/the-petals-drop-why-calvinism-is-impossible/. I am not here to bash on those who are Calvinists, but I am simply stating my objections towards Calvinism because of the logical fallacies that I see in Calvinism. I have friends who are Calvinists and being Calvinist is not like being in a cult or false religion as some may presume, rather it is a Christian that sees everything with an over-emphasis on God’s Sovereignty. That is all. The same can be said of an Open Theist where they are a Christian that sees everything with an over-emphasis on Free Will. Here is a quick illustration as to where Calvinism stands in the grand spectrum of the issue of God’s Sovereignty vs. Free Will:
(G.S. Side) Calvinism <+++> Molinism <+++> Arminianism <+++> Open Theism (F.W. Side)
One last thing is that when I refer to a Calvinist or Calvinism, I am referring to a 5-Point Calvinist. Not those that claim to be any combination that is short of a 5-Point Calvinist like a 4-Point Calvinist or a 2-Point Calvinist. But the whole point of the 5 points of Calvinism is that they are supposed to work together like a jigsaw puzzle or the Power Rangers. By removing one point you fracture the legitimacy of the other four points and the foundation of Calvinism in general because they were designed by John Calvin to work together, not to work independently of each other (Limited Atonement is usually left out by most 4-Point Calvinists, for instance).
What is Calvinism? Calvinism is a type of Christian doctrine created in the 16th Century by the French Theologian John Calvin to answer how God’s Sovereignty and Humanity’s Free Will coexist together. There are five main parts to Calvinism. According to gotquestions.org’s article entitled “Calvinism vs. Arminianism – which view is correct?”, Calvinism can be summarized by the acronym TULIP and is defined as the following:
- Total Depravity: “Every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin; therefore, human beings are unable to come to God on their own accord.”
- Unconditional Election: “God elects individuals to salvation based entirely on His will, not on anything inherently worthy in the individual.”
- Limited Atonement: “Jesus only died for the elect.”
- Irresistible Grace: “When God calls a person to salvation, that person will inevitably come to salvation.”
- Perseverance of the Saints: “A person who is elected by God will persevere in faith and will not permanently deny Christ or turn away from Him.”
Now I am not going to address each point of Calvinism individually, yet instead will just share 3 logical fallacies I see in Calvinism regarding Christianity, the Bible, and so on. Now without further blah, blah, blah, here are my personal objections to Calvinism:
- It is Unbiblical: Without going full on preacha over this point I will single out the most overused Vacation Bible School and Children’s Ministry memory verse of all time, which is John 3:16. For the sake of my Calvinist homies, I will use the English Standard Version (ESV) translation to prove my point since most Calvinists use either the ESV or the NASB translation. The ESV translation of John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Now the Calvinist will read this verse and say that “the world” is the elect, but by simply reading the verse within the context of the Gospel of John Chapter 3, it is easy to see that Jesus was making the point to Nicodemus that “the world” represents the literal world. This specifically references that Jesus is talking about literally everyone on earth. Not just those who are elect. In general, with the Calvinistic perspective on Scripture, there are massive misinterpretations of certain passages of Scripture like 1 John 2:2, Romans 1:16-17, or 1 Timothy 2:3-6 because they explicitly go against Calvinistic ideology. Put simply, context is key.
- No point in sharing the Gospel: If you think about the Gospel from the Calvinist perspective, Jesus only came to save the elect, only the elect will go to the eternal after party called Heaven, and only the elect will get saved. So then sharing the Gospel becomes useless and pointless because those who are predestined to go to Heaven will go to Heaven and those who are predestined to go to Hell will go to Hell, while at the same time you have no say in the matter. As George L. Bryson put it in his book, The Five Points of Calvinism, “You will be saved or damned for all eternity because you were saved or damned from all eternity.” (Bryson, 121). Now to me this is absolute insanity! How is it that the Gospel, one of the Essentials of Christianity, is completely powerless?! Yet Paul, consistently emphasizes its power throughout his Pauline letters in the Bible. Again, this is something I cannot ignore when it comes to Calvinism.
- God is the author of evil: If God is completely sovereign, then from the Calvinistic perspective God is the author of evil because He brought it into existence. This goes against everything that characterizes God as worthy of worship and completely good! How can a perfect being bring about imperfection? Only through the Calvinistic perspective is this possible because God is the cause of everything that exists including evil, instead of Eve and Lucifer bringing sin into God’s creation by going against God in their own free will. William Lane Craig, a really smart nerd, on the subject of Calvinism once said “according to this view (causal determinism and compatibilism), the way in which God sovereignly controls everything that happens is by causing it to happen, and freedom is re-interpreted to be consistent with being causally determined by factors outside oneself” (http://www.reasonablefaith.org/molinism-vs-calvinism). So in other words, since God is ultimately the first cause of everything, God is therefore from the Calvinistic perspective, the author of evil. Something that is completely contradictory to the Bible and Judeo-Christianity as a whole. There are even Calvinist’s that affirm that God is the author of evil like RC Sproul Jr. who in his book, Almighty All Over, pushes this idea of God being the author of evil several times throughout his book. You can read more of that at this link: http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2008/09/taking-calvinism-too-far-rc-sproul-jr%E2%80%99s-evil-creating-deity/
Now these are just 3 of many objections I have to Calvinism and are just reasons as to why I do not affirm to be one. Other objections I have include sin being excusable or God lying to people in the Bible, but that would take at least 7 forevers to explain every objection I have to Calvinism, so for the sake of time I only chose 3 objections. Hopefully, this helps you with understanding this issue and maybe one day you can decide where you stand on the issue of how God’s Sovereignty and Humanity’s Free Will interact together. My advice for those of you do not understand this issue quite yet is to just believe what the Bible affirms: 1) that God is Sovereign and 2) that everyone has Free Will. This is the safest stance concerning this issue because it is strictly Biblical without the nerdy and heady philosophical concepts involved. Until next time, Jesus bless and Godspeed!