Meeting on Calvinism: Should it not instead be denounced?

John Calvin


A meeting related to Calvinism is supposed to happen today and tomorrow:

Is God’s saving grace free to anyone who accepts Jesus, or did God predestine certain people for heaven and hell before the beginning of the world? That’s a 500-year-old question, but it is creating real divisions in 2013 in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.

Calvinism is named for the 16th Century theologian John Calvin. Among other things, it teaches that Jesus died only for those who have been elected by God for salvation. That idea does not sit well with many non-Calvinist Baptists, who believe Jesus died for the whole world…

a special advisory committee to SBC Executive Committee President Frank Page issued a statement meant to bring the two sides together and chart a way forward.

The statement comes just ahead of the SBC’s annual meeting in Houston on June 11 and 12. Among other things, it seeks to reassure non-Calvinists on the issue of evangelism…

I have dealt with Calvinism before and Five Point Calvinism (which is about 25% worse than Four Point Calvinism) is clearly unbiblical and should be denounced.

Last year Shepherd’s Voice magazine (Spring 2012)had the following in a letter to former WCG/GCG member Norman Edwards:

I am a committed Five Point Calvinist.

The letter writer brought up many points that Norman Edwards took the time to refute. Yet (probably because of space in a print publication) did not discuss that point “in any detail.” But I would like to now.

Interestingly, some have claimed that even John Calvin himself did not believe in what is now known as five-point Calvinism, often abbreviated as TULIP. And while what John Calvin personally believed on all five points is of little interest, what I do wish to do here is to analyze what has been reported as the five-point doctrine known as TULIP.

T for “total depravity”, U for “unconditional election”, L for “limited atonement”, I for “irresistible grace”, and P for “p perseverance of saints”.

I will try to address the first point in this post (all are dealt with in the article ).

T: Total Depravity?

About three years ago, in its Bible Advocate magazine, CG7-Denver’s former president, Calvin Burrell had the following:

The fifteenth century Protestant theologian John Calvin stressed the divine side of this mysterious equation. The acrostic TULIP was later applied to his teachings:

T – Total depravity: All men fell in Adam, leaving them dead in sins and incapable of responding positively to God. (Burrell C. Questions and Answers. Bible Advocate. May-June 2010, p. 7)

(Note that John Calvin was 16th, not 15th, century Protestant theologian.)

The Bible teaches:

29 That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes. (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

So, “total depravity” could be considered to have minimized the above.

Now it is true that the Bible teaches that in Adam all die (1 Corinthians 15:22), but it also teaches that men are capable of responding positively to God’s calling (Acts 2:38-41; John 6:44; Revelation 17:14; Matthew 20:16).

There would be no point in fulfilling the following teachings of Jesus if humans could not respond:

14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:14)

18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Although God must call, humans can respond.

T.U.L.I.P, Five Point Calvinism, is not a biblical position. But it has influenced Protestantism. Yet Protestants, and everyone else, needs to base their beliefs closer to those actually taught in the Bible and not by people such as John Calvin.

Those interested in learning more should consider studying the following articles:

John Calvin, Calvinism, TULIP, and What is Predestination? Who was John Calvin? Did he believe in sola Scriptura or did he hold to unbiblical doctines? TULIP analyzed.
Universal Offer of Salvation: There Are Hundreds of Verses in the Bible Supporting the Doctrine of True Apocatastasis Do you believe what the Bible actually teaches on this? Will all good things be restored? Does God’s plan of salvation take rebellion and spiritual blindness into account?
Sola Scriptura or Prima Luther? What Did Martin Luther Really Believe About the Bible? Though he is known for his public sola Scriptura teaching, did Martin Luther’s writings about the Bible suggest he felt that prima Luther was his ultimate authority? Statements from him changing and/or discounting 18 books of the Bible are included. Do you really want to know the truth?
Hope of Salvation: How the Continuing Church of God differ from most Protestants How the Continuing Church of God differs from mainstream/traditional Protestants, is perhaps the question I am asked most by those without a Church of God background.

Get news like the above sent to you on a daily basis

Your email will not be shared. You may unsubscribe at anytime.