Accusation 1: A popular misunderstanding of so-called Calvinism is when a critic presents Calvinism as teaching: “God forces us into a relationship”. This is a complaint I hear often.

Answer: “Calvinism” teaches that when God calls a person to salvation, He does so freely and effectively. Not with a forced relationship, but with the effectual grace of a loving Father. God in His tender mercy and pure grace, changes the sinners heart of stone, and gives that person a heart of flesh and the gift of His Holy Spirit (Ezek 36:26, John 3:5). God creates light and life in the heart of a sinner, so that they freely and willing respond to Him. God does not compel us against our wills or violate our unique personalities. Instead, God’s grace frees us from our sin and enables us to see Jesus Christ as He truly is. In response, we freely choose to embrace Him out of thankfulness and love of our hearts. The grace of God effectually sets people free from sin to be the people He intended us to be.

Accusation 2: The second misunderstanding of Calvinism is when a critic presents Calvinism as teaching: “Calvinism teaches that when God’s involved you don’t have a choice”. (This is similar to accusation 1).

Answer: Calvinism does in fact teach that man has a choice and that God calls on all people to make a choice: We can continue in our rebellion and sin, or we can turn to Christ alone for forgiveness and salvation. Reformed theology teaches that all men in their natural lost condition, freely choose to reject God’s free offer. This is the free choice all fallen men make. We cannot separate a man’s will from his nature. And man’s fallen nature is dead and in bondage to sin. This teaching is based on texts of Scripture like (John 6:44, 65, Romans 1-3:18, Eph 2:1-3, 1 Cor. 2:14, 2 Cor. 4:3-4).

Yet, when God graciously calls a sinner (as I discussed in point 1), He is freeing that person from the bondage of sin and enabling them to respond to His grace (John 6:44,65). God chooses and man also chooses. Yet we believe God’s choice is foundational to man’s choice since it was made in eternity past (Eph 1:3-4).

Accusation 3: A third popular misunderstanding and rejection of Calvinism is when a critic responds to a high view of God’s Sovereignty with a statement similar to this; “I cannot accept that man is free and responsible to do what he wants to do, and God is also in complete control of man’s actions”.

Answer: Here, I can agree with the critics statement as presented: “man is free and responsible to do what he wants to do and God is also in complete control of his actions”. I would simply ask that the critic (or anyone else) to not draw a conclusion from this statement that I (or a Calvinist) would not affirm. I would not take all the statement’s possible meanings to be equally true, nor would I draw any conclusions from it beyond any Scriptural truths it may proclaim. With that caveat stated, the story of Joseph being sold into slavery by his brothers and then rising to second in command in the land of Egypt is a perfect example of this mysterious relationship from Scripture. Joseph (speaking to his brothers) says in Gen. 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” This passage explicitly teaches us that Joseph’s brothers evil deeds were done freely by the human agents. The brothers are fully responsible for their actions. At the same time, God sovereignty determined this event for good…and it saved many lives. Please note that this passage does not teach that God simply turned this bad situation around and made something good out of it. But the verse teaches that God was in sovereign control of these events and determining the events as well as the outcome (Gen 45:5-8). Here we see the mystery of God’s sovereign determination along-side human freedom and responsibility. Scripture bulges with these type of examples, and many more could be given. Calvinism attempts to hold the tension of these twin truths without down-playing either one. Both are simply true. There will always be room to grow and adjust our thinking along these lines as God reveals more to us through His word. Our job is to study His word and treasure it’s beauty along with the truths it contains, even when we cannot fully comprehend how it all “works”.

Posted by Truth Matters at 10:11 AM

*This was copied from Truth Matters

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Comments
  1. AMG says:

    I have not ever had those misunderstandings of Calvinism. However, Calvinists always use John 6:44 as proof of Calvinism, and this scripture is a big misunderstanding to them.

    About God drawing those who come to Jesus…The Old Testament believers in God were God’s people. Not all Old Testament Jews were true believers. The people who believed in God, God gave them to Jesus. God’s people who believed in Him, they now had to go through Jesus in faith to continue with God. They are the people who God enabled to come to Jesus during Jesus’ ministry on earth. The Jews who did not believe in God, God hardened them so they were not able to come to Jesus. The people who are drawn to Jesus, they are drawn because they are all ready believers in God the Father. The people who believe in God, they recognize what Jesus says as God’s word, and in this, they are drawn. John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. John 6:44, 45 “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me.
    Did you see that? EVERYONE WHO HAS HEARD THE FATHER AND LEARNED FROM HIM COMES TO ME.
    The people were already God’s, now they would become Jesus’ people. Those who did not believe in God, they were hardened. God did not allow them to come to Jesus. Only a remnant, the lost sheep of Israel would come to Jesus (John 10:6; 15:24). John 17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. See also, John 3:37, 39; 6:65; 10:28; 15:21-24; 16:3; 17:2, 9, 24; Romans 11:4, 5, 7; Hebrews 12:23; 11:39-40.

    Nowhere in the Bible does it say that humans cannot believe in God by themselves after learning of Jesus.

    As for the other scripture Calvinists use, John 6:65 He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled him.” God enables people to come to Jesus through faith; faith is how we get access to Jesus. See Romans 5:1-2 …we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
    Again, nowhere in the Bible does it say that humans cannot believe in God by themselves after learning of Jesus.

  2. AMG says:

    The bible tells us that God hardened Pharaoh. Pharaoh was hardened for a reason. Calvinists like to use the scriptures of people being hardened as proof of Calvinism, but those passages really disprove Calvinism. Many of the Jews were hardened. They were hardened because they did not believe in God.
    Just the fact that some were hardened that alone should show a Calvinist that God did not create people without the ability to believe. Do Calvinists think that God created people unable to believe from the beginning, but that was not good enough so that God had the need to harden them more down the road?

  3. How to defeat Calvinism:

    Like I said earlier, I am firmly rooted in my beliefs. I believe that God knows everything, therefore God knows who is elect and who is not.

    • AMG says:

      I watched your video. Calvinists use a few scriptures that they believe prove their beliefs; however, there is not one scripture that says no human can believe in God on their own after having been taught about Jesus. It is only man’s assumption that no human can believe on their own after being preached the gospel.

      According to your video, Calvinists think non-Calvinists use John 3:16 against many scriptures that prove Calvinism, but that is just not so. Actually, Calvinists use a few scriptures they are confused about, to go against the rest of the whole Bible.
      In this passage, read how many times Jesus says “whoever.”

      John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only begotten Son, that WHOEVER believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. WHOEVER believes in him is not condemned, but WHOEVER does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s only begotten Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But WHOEVER lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.”

      “Whoever” is whoever. This is plain and simple. Calvinists use special exegesis to twist the scriptures. Whomever in the world believes turns into whomever in the world of believers who believe. Do Calvinists think that God leaves out words that help us understand? According to Calvinists, they have to use special exegesis because God left out a whole bunch of words Calvinists believe in!

      How about John 3:36? John 3:36 WHOEVER believes in the Son has eternal life, but WHOEVER rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

      How can they reject Jesus if they are as Calvinists say “incapable” of believing Jesus? Why do you not answer any of my questions?

      Calvinists do not accept the word “whomever.” How do you like the words “all men”?

      Acts 17:31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to ALL MEN by raising him from the dead.”
      So did Jesus give proof to all men, or only all men who believe? How about the words “all men” in these scriptures:

      God wants all men saved. Read how many times scripture says “all men.”

      John 1:6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that ALL MEN through him MIGHT believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 12But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. 13Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

      1 Timothy2:3-6 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants ALL MEN to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for ALL MEN—the testimony given in its proper time.

      Titus 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to ALL MEN.

      According to your video, Calvinists think “all men” in John 12:32 proves “all men” in the other scriptures does not mean “all men.” John 12:32 “But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.” However, at this time, Jesus came only for the lost sheep of Israel. The lost sheep of Israel were the ones who were not hardened for not believing in God. In the other scriptures where “all men” is used, this is precisely to “all men” in the world. The other scriptures that say “all men” are after God had included Gentiles. Jesus being lifted up does draw all men to him, yet the sin is when they reject him.

      1 Timothy 4:10 (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of ALL MEN, and especially of those who believe.

      That scripture right there should stop any one from ever misunderstanding and believing Calvinism ever again. How much plainer language does it have to be? “Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” All men have the chance to obey and believe.

      Please, give me your Calvinist explanation to why Jesus would say a person would die in their sins if they did not believe that he is the one he claims to be. If they were unable to believe, then why would Jesus tell them “if” they do not believe?

      John 8:24 told you that you would die in your sins; if you do not believe that I am [the one I claim to be], you will indeed die in your sins.”

      • Like I said earlier, man cannot seek God, therefore without God’s drawing their is no conviction of sin. All your points are moot because of the fact that mankind is unable to come to God. So “whomever” must first be drawn by God before whomever repents. If you take God’s drawing away then mankind will continue as if God(the true God) never existed.

        Jesus also said that He did not know when He would return. Only the Father knows the date( mark 13:32). The bottom line here is that God the Father knows everything. Jesus said that His Father gives(John 6:36-38). So yes, Jesus accepts all whom the Father leads to Him via conviction sent from God.

        If you take out the drawing of God and replace it with man’s ability to turn to God, then what you are left with is depraved mankind building a man centered religion in hopes to appease a god. Only the power of God’s drawing can truly bring mankind to salvation. Man cannot on his own merits come to God.

        I will not change my mind about this. I trust in God to do the saving. My job as a Christian is to spread the Gospel and depend on God to do the regeneration.

  4. AMG says:

    Hey David,
    Just wondering why you do not answer the question about why God would harden anyone, if they were not able to believe on their own anyway.

  5. AMG says:

    David,

    You believe in a manmade doctrine. Nowhere in the scriptures does it say we cannot believe on our own even after being taught about Jesus.
    The Bible says God draws us. That does not prove Calvinism. How do you ever get that God drawing us proves any of Calvinism? In fact, the Bible says people resist God, and that shows Calvinism is false.
    It is wrong for you to believe since God knows everything that proves Calvinism. How does God knowing everything prove Calvinism to you? Jesus accepting all God sent him is because before Jesus’ ministry on earth, there were Jews who believed in God, BUT THERE WERE ALSO JEWS WHO DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD. THE JEWS WHO DID NOT BELIEVE IN GOD WERE HARDENED AND WERE NOT ALLOWED TO COME TO JESUS; AND THE JEWS WHO DID BELIEVE IN GOD, THEY WERE CALLED THE LOST SHEEP OF ISRAEL, AND THEY WERE WAITING FOR THE MESSIAH, THESE ARE THE PEOPLE WHO GOD HAD DRAWN TO JESUS. THE SCRIPTURES SAY THEY WERE DRAWN BECAUSE THEY RECOGNIZE WHAT JESUS SAID AS GOD’S WORD. Please note that I am not yelling, my all CAPS are to grab your attention to what I am saying to help you retain it, because I have already discussed this more than once.
    Calvinists do not understand who the lost sheep of Israel are. Jesus came only for the lost sheep, they are the ones who had a Father, the Father God, and everyone else without God the Father was dogs, see Matthew 15:26, 27. Jesus said all who are weary and burdened come to me and I will give you rest, the Jews who believed in God had the works of the law to follow, and through Jesus he would give them rest from doing all the requirements of the law. Later, in Acts, God told Peter that Gentiles were now included in salvation.
    Calvinists make God responsible for the sin of the world, and that just is not so. People are responsible for their own sins. The world’s sin is unbelief in Jesus. If God made all people unable to ever believe— ever, then how can it be the world’s sin? Read what Jesus says in John 16:8, 9, this scripture explains to us that the world’s sin is unbelief in Jesus. John 16:8, 9 When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me;

    You said man cannot not seek God; however there are scriptures that tell us that man can and should seek God!
    Acts 17: 27God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.
    1 Chronicles 28:9 If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.
    God rewards those who look for him. See Hebrews 11:6; Lamentations 3:25; Psalm 33:18.

    During slavery in Egypt, the Jewish people asked God, if he had forgotten them. How could they do so, if THEY were not wondering where He had disappeared?

    When Jesus arrived, people shouted: “Son of David, have mercy on me”. They were waiting for the Messiah. A blind man searching for the Son of God, the prophet’s had said would come.

    Calvinists teach that all are totally depraved. God searches us. Why is God searching us for if all are totally depraved anyways?

    Psalm 7:9 O righteous God, who searches minds and hearts, bring to an end the violence of the wicked and make the righteous secure.

    Proverbs 20:27 The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being.

    John 4:23 yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

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