- Is Calvinism Biblical?
- John Calvin and Calvinism
- John Calvin Biography
- The Five Points of Calvinism
- Outrageous Heresies and Statements Made By John Calvin
- The Five Points of Calvinism – An Investigation
- Other Statements Made By John Calvin
- John Calvin's Doctrinal Chaos is the bad Fruit of Man-Made Religion
- John Calvin Denied the Bible
Born July 10, 1509 in Noyon, France, Jean Calvin was raised in a staunch Roman Catholic family. The local bishop employed Calvin's father as an administrator in the town's cathedral. The father, in turn, wanted John to become a priest. Because of close ties with the bishop and his noble family, John's playmates and classmates in Noyon (and later in Paris) were aristocratic and culturally influential in his early life.
At the age of 14, in 1523, Calvin began attending the University of Paris. Here, he was exposed to Protestant thinking for the first time. Eventually the Protestant thinkers at the University won Calvin to their way of thinking, and he became an open Huguenot. However, in 1534 King Francis I began persecuting the Huguenots, and Calvin had to flee Paris. During a short stay in Basel, Switzerland, he completed his famous work Institutes of the Christian Religion, which outlined the Protestant faith and explained why, according to him, Protestant doctrine was not heretical.
In 1536, during an intended overnight stay in Geneva, Switzerland, Calvin met William Farel, another reformer. Farel, although a very strong preacher, lacked eloquence and the ability to argue well. He wanted Calvin to remain in Geneva and assist him in his preaching there.
He had no wish to remain in Geneva. He wanted, instead, to continue his journey to Strasbourg. Calvin served as a "pastor" in Strasbourg, organizing his church along what he took to be "Biblical" principles. However, when Farel lost his temper with Calvin's stubbornness and shouted, "If you refuse to dedicate yourself here with us to this work of God, God will curse you, for you seek yourself rather than Christ!", Calvin supposedly felt that God had called him to Geneva. At that time, Geneva was said to be a very immoral city. Some people did not take kindly to Calvin clamping down on their "liberty" (which was merely the license to do whatever they wanted-immoral or otherwise).
Calvin was threatened many times, banished once for three years, and "insulted" by having stray dogs named "Calvin" after him. However, his hard work for reform in Geneva paid off. In later years, the liberal attitude of Geneva allowed the city to become known as the "Protestant Rome". It became a "safe haven" for persecuted Reformed scholars from Scotland and England during the Catholic rule of Mary I and Mary Stuart.
Calvin is often remembered in conjunction with the trial and execution of the heretic Michael Servetus, who was condemned by both many Reformers and the Roman Catholic Church for committing heresy by denying the Trinity. Servetus was burned at the stake, despite Calvin's recommendation that Servetus ought rather to be beheaded, a form of execution considered in that day to be more honorable.
In Autumn 1558, Calvin became ill with a fever. Since he was afraid that he might die before completing the final revision of the Institutes, he forced himself to work. The final edition was greatly expanded to the extent that Calvin referred to it as a new work. Shortly after he recovered, he strained his voice while preaching, which brought on a violent fit of coughing. He burst a blood-vessel in his lungs, and his health steadily declined. He preached his final sermon in St. Pierre on 6 February 1564. On 25 April, he made his will, in which he left small sums to his family and to the collège. A few days later, the "ministers" of his church came to visit him, and he bade his final farewell, which was recorded in Discours d'adieu aux ministres. He recounted his life in Geneva, sometimes recalling bitterly some of the hardships he had suffered. Calvin died on 27 May 1564 aged 54.
Calvinism influenced many different Reformational groups, particularly the Presbyterians in Scotland, the Congregationalists and Baptists England and the Dutch Reformed Church in Netherlands. The Westminster Confession, the London Baptist Confession and the Belgic Confession are three statements of belief created by these groups and affirm a Calvinistic interpretation of theology.
Calvin's teachings on predestination were later interpreted by a few Calvinists in a way that has come to be called Hyper-Calvinism by some. So-called Hyper-Calvinists hold that because God imparts his grace to only some individuals of his choosing (the "Elect") there is no point in the visible Church preaching the Gospel to the unregenerate. This point of view has been rejected by almost all Reformed churches and groups. They espouse the preaching of the Gospel to the unregenerate as one of the commands given by Christ himself to his Church.
Calvinist theology is often identified in the popular mind as the so-called "five points of Calvinism." The five points of Calvinism, which can be remembered by the English acronym T-U-L-I-P are:
T = Total depravity. As a consequence of the Fall of man, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. According to the view, people are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are unable to choose to follow God and be saved.
U = Unconditional Election. God, before the foundation of the world, arbitrarily chose to save some people and damn others and nothing can be done to change God's sovereign decree.
L = Limited Atonement. Christ died only for the ones God had unconditionally chosen to save. It is "limited" to taking away the sins of the elect, not of all humanity.
I = Irresistible Grace. An unregenerate person cannot voluntarily believe in God but once God determines to save him, that same individual cannot overcome or resist the power of God no matter what he may desire.
P = Perseverance of the Saints. Since man can do nothing but evil on his own, God's unconditional election is required to save him. Consequently, one needs to do nothing to remain saved. If one's salvation depended on himself in any way, the miraculous work of God in saving him would be overthrown.
The five tenets of Calvinism are so tightly and logically knit together that if you accept one, you must accept them all. Conversely, if you deny one, you must deny them all.
The child of God can fall from grace (Galatians 5:4; Hebrews 6:4-6; Acts 8:9-24). The Perseverance of the Saints is not a valid doctrine.
If a child of God can fall from grace, then God's grace must not be irresistible so the doctrine of Irresistible Grace falls.
And if God's grace is not irresistible, then a person must be free to choose whether he will accept that grace or not. So the doctrine of Unconditional Election falls.
And if a person is free to make the good choice to accept God's grace, we cannot say that Christ died only for the elect. We must say, along with the apostle Paul (1 Tim. 2:6), that He died for the sins of all people. So the doctrine of Limited Atonement collapses.
And if a person can make a good choice, he must not be "wholly defiled in the all the faculties of soul and mind." Therefore, the doctrine of Total Depravity falls.
The whole system of Calvinism comes crashing to the ground when one applies the Truth of Scripture to it.
By total inability Calvin meant that a lost sinner cannot come to Jesus Christ and trust Him as Saviour, unless he is foreordained to come to Christ. By total inability he meant that no man has the ability to come to Christ. And unless God overpowers him and gives him that ability, he will never come to Christ
While the Bible teaches the depravity of the human race, it nowhere teaches total inability. The Bible never hints that people are lost because they have no ability to come to Christ. The language of Jesus was, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:40).
Notice, it is not a matter of whether or not you can come to Christ; it is a matter of whether or not you will come to Christ.
Jesus looked over Jerusalem and wept and said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" (Matt. 23:37). Here again notice, He did not say, "How often would I have gathered you together, but you could not." No. He said, "Ye would not!" It was not a matter of whether they could; it was a matter of whether they would.
Revelation 22:17, the last invitation in the Bible, says, "And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely."
If it is true that no person has the ability to come to Christ, then why would Jesus say in John 5:40, "Ye will not come to me." why didn't He simply say, "You cannot come to me."?
The only thing that stands between the sinner and salvation is the sinner's will. God made every man a free moral agent. And God never burglarises the human will.
Some Calvinists use John 6:44 in an effort to prove total inability. Here the Bible says, "No man can come to me except the Father which hath sent me draw him...." But the Bible makes it plain in John 12:32 that Christ will draw all men unto Himself. Here the Bible says, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
All men are drawn to Christ, but not all men will trust Christ as Saviour or believe in Him. Every man will make his own decision to trust Christ or to reject Him. The Bible makes it clear that all men have light. John 1:9 says, "That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Romans 1:19-20 indicates that every sinner has been called through the creation about Him. And Romans 2:11-16 indicates that sinners are called through their conscience, even when they have not heard the Word of God.
So in the final analysis, men go to Hell, not because of their inability to come to Christ, but because they will not come to Christ, "Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life."
The teaching that men, women and children are totally unable to come to Christ and trust Him as Saviour is heresy and not a scriptural doctrine. The language itself is not scriptural.
By unconditional election Calvin meant that some are elected to Heaven, while others are elected to Hell, and that this election is unconditional. It is wholly on God's part and without condition. By unconditional election Calvin meant that God has already decided who will be saved and who will be lost, and the individual has absolutely nothing to do with it. He can only hope that God has elected him for Heaven and not for Hell.
This teaching so obviously disagrees with the oft-repeated invitations in the Bible to sinners to come to Christ and be saved that some readers will think that I have overstated the doctrine. So I will quote John Calvin in his "Institutes," Book III, chapter 23,
"....Not all men are created with similar destiny but eternal life is foreordained for some , and eternal damnation for others. Every man, therefore, being created for one or the other of these ends, we say, he is predestined either to life or to death."
In Book III, chapter 21, he wrote,
"We say, then, that Scripture clearly proves this much, that God by his eternal and immutable counsel determined once for all those whom it was his desire one day to admit to salvation, and those whom, on the other hand, it was his desire to doom to destruction. We maintain that this counsel, as regards the elect, is founded on his free mercy, without any respect to human worth, while those whom he dooms to destruction are excluded from access to life by a just and blameless, but at the same time incomprehensible judgment. In regard to the elect, we regard calling as the evidence of election, and justification as another symbol of its manifestation, until it is fully accomplished by the attainment of glory. But as the Lord seals his elect by calling and justification, so by excluding the reprobate either from the knowledge of his name or the sanctification of his Spirit, he by these marks in a manner discloses the judgment which awaits them."
So Calvinism teaches that it is God's own choice that some people are to be damned forever. He never intended to save them. He foreordained them to go to Hell. And when He offers salvation in the Bible, He does not offer it to those who were foreordained to be damned. It is offered only to those who were foreordained to be saved.
This teaching insists that we need not try to win men to Christ because men cannot be saved unless God has planned for them to be saved. And if God has planned for them to be eternally lost, they will not come to Christ.
There is the Bible doctrine of God's foreknowledge, predestination and election. Most knowledgeable Christians agree that God has His controlling hand on the affairs of men. They agree that according to the Bible, He selects individuals like Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David as instruments to do certain things He has planned. Most Christians agree that God may choose a nation-particularly that He did choose Israel, through which He gave the law, the prophets, and eventually through whom the Saviour Himself would come, and that there is a Bible doctrine that God foreknows all things.
God in His foreknowledge knows indeed who will be saved, and He has predestined to see that they are justified and glorified. He will keep all those who trust Him and see that they are glorified. But the doctrine that God elected some men to Hell or that others will go to Heaven without their own cooperation, that they were born to be damned or born to be saved without them meriting it by God's own choice, are radical heresies not taught anywhere in the Bible.
The truth of the matter is that God does not predestine anyone to Hell or chooses not to save some men, for God wants all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). Man has free choice to choose damnation or salvation, to cooperate with God's grace or reject it. It's heresy to say that God predestine some to damnation or that He will not save some men. God only sends those to Hell who freely choose it themselves. God does not send anyone to Hell (or Heaven) except upon their desire to go (And stay) there. So, God neither saves anyone or damns anyone unless they choose it for themselves. God does not and cannot force anyone to follow Him against their own will. For God is justice, and cannot do any injustice, and it would be an injustice if God deprived man of his own free will.
We can read our Lord himself revealing this truth to His beloved bride, St. Bridget. This 14th century saint received several revelations from our Lord throughout her long life, which has been compiled into several books that can be read here. (These Revelations are approved by the Church.)
"It is in accord with God's justice that entry into heaven must be gained through steadfast faith, rational hope, and fervent love. A person ponders more frequently and adores more lovingly that which the heart loves more and loves with greater fervor. So it is with the gods that are placed in temples - though they are not gods nor creators, since there is but one sole creator, I myself, God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But the owners of temples and people in general love the gods [idols] more than they love me, seeking to achieve worldly success rather than to live with me.
"If I were to destroy the things that people love more than me, and make the people adore me against their will, then I would certainly do them an injustice by taking away their free will and desire from them. Since they have no faith in me, and there is in their hearts something more delightful than me, I reasonably permit them to produce externally what they love and long for in their minds. Because they love creation more than me, the Creator, whom they can know by probable signs and deeds, if only they would make use of their reason, and because they are blind, accursed is their creation and accursed are their idols. They themselves shall stand in shame and be sentenced for their folly, because they refuse to understand how sweet I am, their God, who created and redeemed humankind out of fervent love." (St. Bridget's Revelations, Book 5 or The Book of Questions, Interrogation 8.)
As Christians, of course, we don't believe as the heretic John Calvin, who held a predestination according to which no matter what one does he is either predestined for Heaven or Hell. That is a wicked heresy. Rather, as Christians we believe in the true understanding of predestination, which is expressed by Romans 8, Acts 13.
Romans 8:29-30- "For whom He foreknew, he also predestinated to be made conformable to the image of his Son: that he might be the first-born amongst many brethren. And whom he predestinated, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."
Acts 13:48- "And the Gentiles hearing it, were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were preordained to life everlasting, believed."
This true understanding of predestination simply means that God's foreknowledge from all eternity makes sure that those who are of good will and are sincere will be brought to the Faith and come to know what they must – and that all those who are not brought to the Faith and don't know what they must simply were not among the elect. It is a point of faith, that this foreknowledge of the Almighty no ways interferes with man's liberty, but leaves him still a perfectly free agent, and therefore responsible for his actions.
St. Augustine, Tractate 89, on John 15:22-23: "What, then, does He [Jesus] mean by the words, If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin? [John 15:22] Was it that the Jews were without sin before Christ came to them in the flesh? Who, though he were the greatest fool, would say so?... But when He went on to say, But now they have no excuse for their sin, some may be moved to inquire whether those to whom Christ neither came nor spoke, have an excuse for their sin. For if they have not, why is it said here that these had none, on the very ground that He did come and speak to them? And if they have, have they it to the extent of thereby being barred from punishment, or of receiving it in a milder degree? To these inquiries, with the Lord's help and to the best of my capacity, I reply, that such have an excuse, not for every one of their sins, but for this sin of not believing on Christ, inasmuch as He came not and spoke not to them."
St. Augustine (+428): "… God foreknew that if they had lived and the gospel had been preached to them, they would have heard it without belief."
St. Augustine (+426): "Consequently both those who have not heard the gospel and those who, having heard it, and having been changed for the better, did not receive perseverance… none of these are separated from that lump which is known to be damned, as all are going… into condemnation."
I have in my hand a booklet entitled TULIP written by Vic Lockman. In the booklet Mr. Lockman attempts to prove the five points of Calvinism. Under the point, Unconditional Election, he quotes Ephesians 1:4, but he only quotes the first part of the verse: "He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world." However, that is not the end of the verse. Mr. Lockman, like most Calvinists, stopped in the middle of the verse. The entire verse reads: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love." The verse says nothing about being chosen for Heaven or Hell. It says we are chosen that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.
Under the same point, Unconditional Election, Mr. Lockman quotes John 15:16, "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." Again, Mr. Lockman, like most Calvinists, stops in the middle of the verse. The entire verse reads: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."
The verse says nothing about being chosen for Heaven or Hell. It says we are chosen to go and bring forth fruit, which simply means that every Christian is chosen to sanctify his soul and be a soul winner. The fruit of a Christian is virtues and other Christians. Proverbs 11:30 says, "The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise."
Nowhere does the Bible teach that God wills for some to go to Heaven and wills others to go to Hell. No. The Bible teaches that God would have all men to be saved. Second Peter 3:9 says that He is "not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." First Timothy 2:4 says, "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth."
Those who teach that God would only have some to be saved, while He would have others to be lost are misrepresenting God and the Bible.
Does God really predestinate some people to be saved and predestinate others to go to Hell, so that they have no free choice? Absolutely not! Nobody is predestined to be saved, except as he chooses of his own free will to live according to the natural law and come to Christ and trust Him for salvation. And no one is predestined to go to Hell, except as he chooses of his own free will to commit mortal sin and reject Christ and refuses to trust Him as Saviour. John 3:36 says, "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." And Galatians 5:19-21 says, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."
Nothing could be plainer. The man who goes to Heaven goes because he cooperates with the natural law and God's grace and comes to Jesus Christ and His Church and trusts Him as Saviour. And the man who goes to Hell does so because he commits mortal sin and refuses to come to Jesus Christ and His Church and will not trust Him as Saviour.
By limited atonement, Calvin meant that Christ died only for the elect, for those He planned and ordained to go to Heaven: He did not die for those He planned and ordained to go to Hell. Again I say, such language is not in the Bible, and the doctrine wholly contradicts many, many plain Scriptures.
For instance, the Bible says in I John 2:2, "He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world." The teaching of Calvinism on Limited Atonement contradicts the express statement of Scripture. First Timothy 2:5,6 says, "The man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all...."
The Bible teaches that Jesus is the Saviour of the world. John 4:42 says, "And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." Again I John 4:14, "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." The Scriptures make it plain that Jesus came to save the world. John 3:17 says, "For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved."
No man will ever look at Jesus Christ and say, "You didn't want to be my Saviour." No! No! Jesus wants to be the Saviour of all men. As a matter of fact, I Timothy 4:10 says, "For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe."
The Bible teaches that Christ bore the sins of all people. Isaiah 53:6 says, "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." There are two "alls" in this verse. The first "all" speaks of the universal fact of sin, "All we like sheep have gone astray." And the second "all" speaks of universal atonement, "and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all." The "all" in the first part of Isaiah 53:6 covers. If all went astray, then the iniquities of all were laid on Christ.
Not only did He bear the sins of us all, but the Bible plainly teaches that He died for the whole world. Look at John 2:2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but for the sins of the whole world." If that isn't plain enough, the Bible says His death was for every man; "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man" (Heb. 2:9).
Nothing could be plainer than the fact that Jesus Christ died for every man. First timothy 2:5-6 says, "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all. . . . " Romans 8:32 states, "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
Look at the statements--statement after statement: "that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man"; "Who gave himself a ransom for all"; "delivered him up for us all."
John 3:16 has often been called "the heart of the Bible." It has been called "the Bible in miniature." "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Jesus died for the whole world. He suffered throughout His life for every man who has ever lived or ever will live. And no man will look out of Hell and say, "I wanted to be saved, but Jesus did not die for me."
Some argue that if Jesus died for the whole world, the whole world would be saved. No. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross was sufficient for all, but it is efficient only to those who believe and persevere until the end. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross made it possible for every man everywhere to be saved. But only those who believe that He died to pay their sin debt and who trust Him completely for salvation and who persevere until the end will be saved.
All the people, including the bad Christians and the people who die in unbelief or in cultures which have never been penetrated by the Gospel, go to Hell for sins against the natural law and the other grave sins which they commit – which bad will and failure to cooperate with God's grace is the reason for that they are condemned or that He does not reveal the Gospel to them.
If there were truly Christians of sincere and of good will that stays away from mortal sin and cooperates with God's grace, then they will be saved. Similarly, if there were truly people of sincere and of good will who had not yet attained the faith, then God would send a preacher (even miraculously, if necessary) to bring the Faith and baptism to him.
St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. II, 28, Q. 1, A. 4, ad 4: "If a man, born among barbarian nations, does what he can, God himself will show him what is necessary for salvation, either by inspiration or by sending a teacher to him."
St. Thomas Aquinas, Sent. III, 25, Q. 2, A. 2, solut. 2: "If a man should have no one to instruct him, God will show him, unless he culpably wishes to remain where he is."
St. Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, 14, A. 11, ad 1, Objection: "It is possible that someone may be brought up in the forest, or among wolves; such a man cannot explicitly know anything about the faith. Reply- It is the characteristic of Divine Providence to provide every man with what is necessary for salvation… provided on his part there is no hindrance. In the case of a man who seeks good and shuns evil, by the leading of natural reason, God would either reveal to him through internal inspiration what had to be believed, or would send some preacher of the faith to him…"
The fourth point of Calvinism is irresistible grace. By irresistible grace, John Calvin meant that God simply forces people to be saved. God elected some to be saved, and He let Jesus Christ die for that elect group. And now by irresistible grace, He forces those He elected, and those Jesus Christ died for to be saved. Irresistible grace, in short, is another term for the denial of man's free will.
Calvin represents grace as the irresistible act of God compelling a man to be saved who does not want to be saved, so that a man has no choice in the matter at all, except as God forcibly puts a choice in his mind. Calvinism teaches that man has no part in salvation, and cannot possibly co-operate with God in the matter. In no sense of the word and at no stage of the work does salvation depend upon the will or work of man or wait for the determination of his will.
Does the Bible say anything about irresistible grace? Absolutely not! The Scriptures show that men do resist and reject God and His grace. Proverbs 29:1 states, "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." Notice the word "often" in this verse. If God only gave one opportunity to be saved, then man could not complain. But here the Bible says, "He, that being often reproved..." This means the man was reproved over and over again. Not only was he reproved many times, but he was reproved often. But the Bible says he "hardeneth his neck" and "shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." That certainly doesn't sound like irresistible grace. The Bible teaches that a man can be reproved over and over again, and that he can harden his neck against God, and as a result will be destroyed without remedy.
Again Proverbs 1:24-26 says,
"Because I called, and you refused: I stretched out my hand, and there was none that regarded. You have despised all my counsel, and have neglected my reprehensions. I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared."
Here the Bible plainly says, "Because I called, and you refused: I stretched out my hand, and there was none that regarded. You have despised all my counsel, and have neglected my reprehensions." That doesn't sound like irresistible grace. God calls, and men refuse. Is that irresistible? God stretches out his hand and no man regards it? Is that irresistible grace? No. The Bible makes it plain that some men do reject Christ, that they refuse His call. John 5:40 says, "Ye will not come to me, that ye may have life." That verse plainly teaches that men can and do resist God and refuse to come to Him.
In Acts chapter 7, we find Stephen preaching. He says in verse 51, "Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." To these Jewish leaders, Stephen said, "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost."
So here were people; some of whom had seen Jesus and heard Him preach; others who had heard Peter at Pentecost; others who had heard Stephen and other Spirit-filled men preaching with great power. And what had they done? They were stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears. That is, they were stubborn and rebellious against God. The Bible plainly says, "They resisted the Holy Ghost."
Notice the words of Stephen in verse 51, "Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye." Here the Bible teaches that not only were these Jewish leaders resisting the Holy Ghost, but that their fathers before them had also resisted the Holy Spirit. Stephen says that all the way from Abraham, through the history of the Jewish nation, down to the time of Christ, unconverted Jews had resisted the Holy Spirit.
There is absolutely no such thing as a "can't-help-it-religion." God doesn't just force men to be saved with His so-called irresistible grace.
God offers salvation to all men. Titus 1:11 says, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." But man must make his own choice. He must either receive or reject the Faith in Christ when God is calling him. John 1:12 says. "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."
When Jesus wept over Jerusalem, he said, "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!" Here again the Bible clearly indicates that God would have gathered them together as a hen gathers her chickens, but they would not. That certainly shows that they could reject and resist Christ.
"I would, but ye would not" does not fit the teaching of irresistible grace. So people do resist the Holy Ghost. They do refuse to come to Christ. They do harden their necks. They do refuse when God calls.
That means that those who are not saved could have been saved. Those who have rejected Christ could have accepted Him. God offers salvation to those who will have it, but does not enforce it upon anyone who doesn't want it.
The fifth and final tenet of Calvinism, Perseverance of the Saints, is also referred to as the doctrine of "once saved always saved;" "the impossibility of apostasy;" "the security of the believer;" and "once in grace always in grace."
The "logic" of Calvinism states that since man is totally depraved and can do nothing on his own but evil, unconditional election is required to save him, God must then call him in an irresistible way to salvation. Therefore, since he needs to do nothing to be saved, he needs to do nothing to remain saved and that anything he would do in any way that would affect his salvation would negate the miraculous work of God in saving him.
However, the Bible teaches that the believer is secure in his salvation in the hand of God as long as he remains faithful to the will of God and loyal to Christ (2 Tim. 4:7-8).
The word of God also teaches that a child of God can voluntarily, by his sins, separate himself from God and Christ and be lost. If the child of God becomes unfaithful and does not repent, the "wages of sin," death (Rom. 6:23), await him even though he had once been in fellowship with God.
The majority of Protestants not only believe in faith alone, but also in eternal security, which means that according to them, a true believer cannot lose his salvation. These doctrines contradict both the natural law and reason which says that every man shall be rewarded or punished for his deeds. It also contradicts, word for word, the teaching of James 2 in scripture, which teach that faith without works is dead, and that man is not saved by faith alone. A person who believes in faith alone or eternal security is a heretic, because he rejects a truth he knows to be true from the natural law, that God is a rewarder and a punisher of our actions, and that faith alone does not justify a man only, but our deeds also.
Galatians 5:19-21 "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are fornication, uncleanness, immodesty, luxury, Idolatry, witchcrafts, enmities, contentions, emulations, wraths, quarrels, dissensions, sects, Envies, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. Of the which I foretell you, as I have foretold to you, that they who do such things shall not obtain the kingdom of God."
How clear does it have to get? You can lose your salvation if you do certain things.
The "Perseverance of the Saints" as Calvin taught it, or "faith alone," or "once saved always saved," like the four tenets of Calvinism which precede it, is a false doctrine that must be rejected.
So that you can get Calvin in context, I've provided the full section from Calvin's Institutes of the Christian Religion Book II, Chapter 16, 10 in full. The red inserts are mine.
"But, apart from the Creed, we must seek for a surer exposition of Christ's descent to hell: and the word of God furnishes us with one not only pious and holy, but replete with excellent consolation. Nothing had been done if Christ had only endured corporeal death. In order to interpose between us and God's anger, and satisfy his righteous judgement, it was necessary that he should feel the weight of divine vengeance. Whence also it was necessary that he should engage, as it were, at close quarters with the powers of hell and the horrors of eternal death [So Christ suffered eternal death and the pains the Hell according to Calvin].
"We lately quoted from the Prophet, that the "chastisement of our peace was laid upon him" that he "was bruised for our iniquities" that he "bore our infirmities;" [the authors of Scripture and the Fathers apply these prophecies to the crucifixion--not to any penal condemnation in Hell] expressions which intimate, that, like a sponsor and surety for the guilty, and, as it were, subjected to condemnation, he undertook and paid all the penalties which must have been exacted from them, the only exception being, that the pains of death could not hold him. Hence there is nothing strange in its being said that he descended to hell, seeing he endured the death which is inflicted on the wicked by an angry God. It is frivolous and ridiculous to object that in this way the order is perverted, it being absurd that an event which preceded burial should be placed after it. But after explaining what Christ endured in the sight of man, the Creed appropriately adds the invisible and incomprehensible judgement which he endured before God [so the cross as visible judgment was not enough. Christ suffered invisibly also in Hell...], to teach us that not only was the body of Christ given up as the price of redemption, but that there was a greater and more excellent price – that he bore in his soul the tortures of condemned and ruined man. [So after suffering in the body on the cross, Christ's soul suffered tortures of the condemned in Hell.]"
What do we make of this? Since sinners deserve both physical death and spiritual torment in Hell we should also expect that Christ as our redeemer must also experience both physical Death and Hell. This logic only makes sense--except that it contradicts everything said in the New Testament about Christ's once-for-all sacrifice. The descent into Hell was not punitive in anyway, but rather triumphant as described by the Apostles and illustrated in thousands of church paintings, both East and West.
This descent into Hell as Christ's victory corresponds to the teaching of our first Pope Saint Peter: Christ "proclaimed the Gospel even to the dead" (εἰς τοῦτο γὰρ καὶ νεκροῖς εὐηγγελίσθη, 1 Pet 4:6). Jesus wasn't burning in the flames or was tormented by demons! He was dashing the gates of Hell, proclaiming His victory, and delivering the righteous of the Old Testament! That's the holy Catholic and Apostolic Faith in all its beauty.
Christ died for us, but it wasn't a simple swap. Christ uses the language of participation. We are to be "in Him" and we are to also carry the cross. Christ doesn't take up the cross so that we don't have to take up the cross. He repeatedly calls us to carry the cross. Our lives are to become "cruciform." The New Testament constantly calls us to suffer in the likeness of Christ. Again, it's not a clean exchange. It's not: "Jesus suffers so that we don't have to." Rather we participate in His redemption. This is also the language of Saint Paul:
"For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake." (Phil. 1:29)
"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church." (Col. 1:24)
According to Catholic Christianity, Christian salvation involves the vindication of Christ's unjust death on the cross. God does not "hate" His Son. This is impossible. God does not "turn away" from His Son. Saint Paul speaks of "overcoming death" as the true victory of Christ -- not His being the whipping boy of the Father.
Jesus indeed went to Hell, or rather, the Limbo of the Fathers, but not to pay the price of our sins once again, but to redeem the elect of the Old Testament Law.
1 Peter 3:18-20 "Because Christ also died once for our sins, the just for the unjust: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit. In which also coming he preached to those spirits that were in prison: Which had been some time incredulous, when they waited for the patience of God in the days of Noe, when the ark was a building: wherein a few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water."
Jesus didn't ascend into Heaven until after His Resurrection, as John 20:17 proves. The Apostles' Creed correctly states that Jesus was crucified, died and was buried; He descended into Hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead and then ascended into Heaven. He didn't ascend to Heaven until after His Resurrection, and He descended into Hell on the day of His death. What was this Hell? It was Abraham's bosom, the waiting place of the just of the Old Testament.
As Hadock Bible Commentary puts it:
"[1 Peter Chap. 3] Ver. 19. In which (to wit, soul or spirit) also he came, and preached to those spirits who were in prison. The true and common interpretation of this place seems to be, that the soul of Christ, after the separation from the body and before the resurrection, descended to a place in the interior parts of the earth, called hell in that which we call the apostles' creed, (sometimes called Abraham's bosom, sometimes Limbus Patrum [Limbo of the Fathers], a place where were detained all the souls of the patriarchs, prophets, and just men, as it were in prison) and preached to these spirits in this prison; i.e. brought them this happy news, that he who was their Redeemer was now come to be their deliverer, and that at his glorious ascension they should enter with him into heaven, where none could enter before our Redeemer, who opened as it were heaven's gates. Among these were many who had been formerly at first incredulous in the time of Noe [Noah], who would not take warning from his preparing and building the ark, but it may be reasonably supposed that many of them repented of their sins when they saw the danger approaching, and before they perished by the waters of the deluge, so that they died at least not guilty of eternal damnation; because, though they were sinners, yet they worshipped the true God, for we do not find any proofs of idolatry before the deluge. These then, and all the souls of the just, Christ descended to free from their captivity, from their prison, and to lead them at his ascension triumphant with him into heaven. (Witham)
Prison. See here a proof of a third place, or middle state of souls: for these spirits in prison, to whom Christ went to preach after his death, were not in heaven, nor yet in the hell of the damned; because heaven is no prison, and Christ did not go to preach to the damned. (Challoner)
St. Augustine, in his 99th epistle, confesses that this text is replete with difficulties. This he declares is clear, beyond all doubt, that Jesus Christ descended in soul after his death into the regions below, and concludes with these words: Quis ergo nisi infidelis negaverit fuisse apud inferos Christum? In this prison souls would not be detained unless they were indebted to divine justice, nor would salvation be preached to them unless they were in a state that was capable of receiving salvation."
2 Peter 2:1 "But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there shall be among you lying teachers, who shall bring in sects of perdition, and deny the Lord who bought them: bringing upon themselves swift destruction."
Following Martin Luther's excommunication from the Catholic Church in 1520, which marked the beginning of the Protestant movement, over 20,000 different denominations have been created in about 500 years. In 1980, David A. Barrett's World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford University Press) gave the number of different denominations as 20,780. He projected that there would be 22,190 denominations by 1985.
This would mean that there are approximately 25,000 (or possibly 30,000) different denominations today. Even if, for the sake of argument, one were to take a conservative estimate, and give the number as only 15,000 different denominations, this equates to more than one new sect having been created every two weeks.
When we consider the fact that the original founders of Protestantism didn't even agree with each other on major points of doctrine, such denominational chaos shouldn't be a surprise. Protestantism is man-made religion, in which each person ultimately determines for himself what he thinks the Bible teaches. Martin Luther (the initiator of Protestantism) condemned the doctrinal views of John Calvin and Huldrych Zwingli, two other leading Protestant figures. They all claimed to follow the Bible.
Basically all of these thousands of non-Catholics sects purport to be Christian and claim to follow the Bible, even though they disagree with each other on crucial doctrinal matters, such as: the precise nature of justification; whether human works and sins are a part of salvation; whether men have free will; predestination; whether infants need baptism for salvation; what Communion is; whether it's necessary to confess to the Lord; which books of the New Testament apply to us today; the structure of the Church's hierarchy; the role of bishops and ministers; the Sabbath; the role of women in church; etc. ad nauseam. Most of these groups even claim that the individual "Christian" will be led by the Holy Spirit when privately reading the Bible. The disunity of these sects constitutes an irrefutable proof that their doctrine is not of the Spirit of Truth; and that their principle of operation (i.e., Scripture alone apart from the Church and Tradition) is not the doctrine of the Bible and the Apostles.
Ephesians 4:4-5 "One body and one Spirit; as you are called in one hope of your calling. One Lord, one faith, one baptism."
If you are a Lutheran, your religion was founded by Martin Luther, an ex-monk of the Catholic Church, in approximately 1520.
If you belong to the Church of England, your religion was founded by King Henry VIII (an ex-Catholic) in the year 1534. Henry VIII decided to create his own church when Pope Clement VII would not grant him a divorce with the right to remarry.
If you are a Mennonite, Menno Simons (an ex-Catholic) created your religion in 1536.
If you are a Presbyterian, John Knox (an ex-Catholic) founded your sect in Scotland in the year 1560.
If you are a Congregationalist, your religion began with Robert Brown in Holland in 1582.
If you are a Baptist, John Smyth created your sect in Amsterdam in 1605.
If you are of the Dutch Reformed church, your church began with Michaelis Jones in New York in 1628.
If you are a Quaker, your religion began with George Fox in 1652.
If you are a Protestant Episcopalian, Samuel Seabury created your sect in the American colonies in the 17th century, as an offshoot of the Church of England.
If you are Amish, Jacob Amman created your religion in 1693, as an offshoot of the Mennonites.
If you are a Methodist, your religion was launched by John and Charles Wesley in England in 1744.
If you are a Unitarian, Theophilus Lindley founded your sect in London in 1774.
If you are a Mormon ("Latter Day Saints"), your religion comes from Joseph Smith, who revealed it in Palmyra, N.Y. in 1829.
If you are a Seventh Day Adventist, your religion was created by Ellen White in 1860.
If you worship with the Salvation Army, William Booth started your sect in London in 1865.
If you are of the "Jehovah's Witnesses," your beliefs came from Charles Taze Russell in 1872.
If you are a "Christian Scientist," Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy devised your religion in 1879.
If you belong to one of the religious organizations known as "Church of the Nazarene," "Pentecostal Gospel," "Holiness Church," "Pilgrim Holiness Church," "Assemblies of God," "United Church of Christ," etc., your religion is one of the thousands of new sects founded by men in the last century.
If you are Catholic, you know that your religion was founded in the year 33 by Jesus Christ, the Son of God, true God and true man; and that this one Church, to which people must belong to be saved, will exist until the end of time.
Pope Leo XII, Ubi Primum (# 14), May 5, 1824: "It is impossible for the most true God, who is Truth itself, the best, the wisest Provider, and the Rewarder of good men, to approve all sects who profess false teachings which are often inconsistent with one another and contradictory, and to confer eternal rewards on their members… by divine faith we hold one Lord, one faith, one baptism… This is why we profess that there is no salvation outside the Church."
John Calvin was sadly a
non-Catholic heretic that died outside the Church of Christ. Calvin
is sadly burning in Hell now. It is too late for him now.
If John Calvin did not deny the Bible he would not be a Protestant, because the Bible clearly proves the teachings of the Catholic Church.