NOTE: This topic, “Calvinism”, is also presented in a “Bible Study” format. You can access it in the “Categories” column under the title, “Calvinism Bible Study”.
Do the Scriptures teach that God has “predestined” the vast majority of people He has created to go to hell? And, is it true that God will not allow these “lost souls” to have any opportunity to avoid their wretched fate, because He created them without a “free will” or power of choice? As with my article on hell, I ask you to consider all of the evidence before deciding whether or not I’m correct about Calvinism. I will once again be presenting dozens of scriptures in this article, and I ask you to read the entire article before making your decision. I will begin with an illustration.
What would you think of the ruler of a nation who made the arbitrary decree that all people with the AIDS disease must be killed; furthermore, he forced all the nurses, doctors and hospital staff throughout his nation to inject multitudes of predetermined babies with the AIDS virus? How would you view that ruler years later, as he put every child to death who developed AIDS from the injections that he had given them? I am sure that all would agree that he was a cruel and evil man. After all, how could he punish people for something he had caused, and which they could not change or avoid? There would certainly be unanimous agreement, that those who were killed for contracting AIDS were actually victims of a cruel experiment for the sadistic pleasure of an evil monarch.
It would be unthinkable for anyone to come to the defense of the depraved and wicked ruler in the previous illustration. No one would dare to suggest that he was a good, kind and loving leader. Such an assertion would be ridiculous and absurd.
Nevertheless, there is a large segment of the Christian Church that is actually portraying God in a similar manner and making similar assertions. How? It is happening through the teaching of the Calvinistic predestination “TULIP” doctrine.
What is this “TULIP” doctrine? It uses the five letters in the word tulip as an acronym to convey the following teaching:
T - Total Depravity of Man
U – Unconditional Election by God
L – Limited Atonement
I – Irresistible Grace
P – Perseverance
What does it all mean? Calvinism’s “T” in their tulip doctrine teaches that man is totally depraved, which is, in fact, biblically accurate. However, the “U” in their tulip declares that God predestines individuals for heaven or hell through an unconditional election process. In other words, God chooses to create some people who are predestined to go to heaven, and He chooses to create some people who are predestined to go to hell; moreover, the people themselves have no choice in the matter. I will prove that this tenet of Calvinism contradicts the Bible. Once again, I ask you to read through this entire article before you cast your verdict, because you don’t want to be saying that God does not offer salvation to everyone, if there are dozens of scriptures that say He does. Likewise, you don’t want to be saying that God arbitrarily predestines people to heaven or hell, if there are dozens of scriptures that contradict your position. So, please research all of the scriptures that I will be presenting, and allow the weight of biblical evidence to make your decision.
The tulip doctrine’s ”L” teaches that Jesus only provided a limited atonement, because, according to Calvinists, He did not die for everyone, but only for those He had predestined for heaven. And, the “I” in Calvinism’s tulip professes that God has irresistible grace. Therefore, if God chose you for heaven, you are going whether you like it or not. Once again, you have no freedom of choice in the matter, because you are preprogrammed, so to speak. As with the “unconditional election” teaching, both of these tenets of Calvinism are also unbiblical. Finally, the ”P” in the Calvinist tulip says that you must persevere, which is biblically accurate.
So, the “T” and the “P” in their tulip are in accordance with Scripture, but the “U”,”L” and “I” contradict the overwhelming weight of biblical evidence, and also malign God’s character. It may be just a coincidence, but it is interesting that the letters of the three false tenets of Calvinism’s tulip that malign God’s character, ”ULI”, would be pronounced as, you lie. And, by the end of this article, you will know that Calvinism’s “tulip doctrine” is indeed lying about God’s loving and just character.
Calvinism, in effect, turns God into an evil ruler similar to the one in my illustration. The evil ruler said that all with AIDS must die; then he injected chosen ones with the disease, and put them to death as they manifested the disease. Calvinism presents God as choosing to create most people, (I will explain the “most” reference later), with an unavoidable existence filled with hellish desires, interests, inclinations and behavior; then, their God sentences them to the hell fire when they manifest these hellish characteristics and behavior. Why should we be surprised that so many reject God, when He is presented in such a manner?
Some Calvinists try to make their predestination doctrine seem less offensive by restating their position in a more tactful and palatable manner. They point out that all men are evil to begin with because of Adam’s original sin, and are, therefore, destined for hell already. Because of this, they then conclude that God does not actually predestine them for hell, because they are already going on their own. This “milder” and “gentler” form of Calvinism suggests that God simply chooses to intervene on behalf of certain chosen ones; He arbitrarily chooses which ones He will save from their destiny in hell, and then supernaturally intervenes in their lives and opens their hearts to receive the gospel. These chosen ones are then predestined for heaven, while the rest of humanity continues on its path to hell, with no hope or opportunity to be saved from its horrible fate.
Although this may sound slightly better than “hard core” Calvinism, the end result is still the same. God is still picking and choosing favorites. After all, He could choose to intervene on behalf of all people, open all of their hearts to the gospel, and then predestine all to be saved. Therefore, the bottom line is, God is still intentionally choosing to not allow multitudes of people to even have the option to be saved. And, when we consider that God knows “the end from the beginning”, this means that before He ever creates them, He is fully aware that multitudes of these “unchosen ones” will have no hope or opportunity to be saved; He knows in advance that He is creating these people with only one possible destiny, hell!
This “TULIP” predestination doctrine becomes even more offensive when you realize that, according to Jesus Himself, the vast majority of people will be going to hell. He said in Mathew 7:13-14 that only a few would go through the narrow gate leading to life, whereas many would go through the wide gate leading to destruction. Therefore, even with this “milder” modern form of Calvinism, Calvinists’ theology still teaches that God intentionally allows the vast majority of people that He creates, to go to hell, while not allowing them any opportunity to choose to avoid their horrid fate, because He also intentionally created them without a “free will” or power of choice, and because God arbitrarily chose to “not” intervene on their behalf and to “not” open their hearts to receive the gospel. And, according to Calvinism, these multitudes of unchosen ones’ destiny, “hell”, will be a place where they will “eternally” suffer such agony and torment that it causes people to wail and gnash their teeth.
Calvinist theologians tell us that God does this in order to demonstrate His justice, via punishing wickedness, to those “chosen ones” who will be saved. Isn’t that special! The Calvinists’ loving God tortures the vast majority of people, so that a small minority can see His justice. Anyone who tortures large numbers of people, who have no opportunity to avoid the torture, in order to demonstrate something to a small group of people, is not demonstrating justice, but rather injustice.
The Calvinist “TULIP” doctrine presents God as a Divine Ruler with attributes that we would denounce and condemn in any earthly monarch; yet, this doctrine is widely accepted in today’s Christian Church. This is illogical and unreasonable.
Even more important than the lack of logic and common sense, is the fact that the weight of biblical evidence contradicts this doctrine. There are references to predestination in the Bible, but not in the sense in which Calvinism portrays it.
God has predestined or predetermined the method of salvation. There is only one way to be saved and to enter heaven, and that is through faith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that no one could come to the Father, except through Him (John 14:6). The Bible states that there is no other name under heaven (Jesus), given among men, whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12). Jesus is the only way. That is the only method of salvation and entrance into heaven, and has been predestined or predetermined by God Himself. Therefore, all who will accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord, and put their faith in Him, are predestined to receive salvation, eternal life and entrance into heaven.
As you can see, there is a vast difference between this kind of predestination, and the kind presented in the Calvinist “TULIP” doctrine. In the predestination that I’ve just described, God still allows people the freedom of choice. They can choose whether or not they wish to accept God’s “predestined” method of salvation. Therefore, every individual has the free will to determine their eternal destiny, because they are allowed to make their own decision. They choose either to accept Jesus or reject Him; and, in so doing, have chosen heaven or hell. Remember, in Calvinist predestination, God makes the decisions for you before you are born, as to whether or not He will allow you to be one of the “chosen ones” to whom He offers His saving grace. Your eternal destiny has been arbitrarily decided for you by God Himself before you’ve taken your first breath. And, for the vast majority of people, their destiny is to be tormented in hell throughout the trillions of years of eternity, as Calvinists teach. Thankfully, the overwhelming weight of biblical evidence endorses my “method of salvation” version of predestination, which allows people the freedom of choice in this extremely important matter.
Many Calvinists suggest, however, that if people have the ability to “choose” to accept or deny God’s gift of salvation; then, the people themselves would be responsible for, and get the credit for, their own salvation. I must ask Calvinists a question. If someone comes to your door with an unexpected gift that they bought and paid for with their own money, and you choose to accept the gift; who is responsible for that gift and deserves credit for that gift? I’m sure you would agree that the person, who spent his own money to purchase your gift, is responsible for it and deserves the credit for it. You know that you would never take credit for that gift. It is certainly the same principle with Jesus’ gift of salvation. He has also bought and paid for that gift with His own blood, and your decision to accept the gift that He paid for does not make you responsible for it, or deserving of getting the credit for it, anymore than your having accepted the gift from the person at the door did. Jesus is obviously the one who is responsible for, and deserves the credit for, your gift of salvation. Whether or not people accept or reject Jesus’ gift, He is still the one who paid for it and He’s the one who gets the glory for it. If there are any Calvinists who still try to dispute this point, while simultaneously claiming to be honest and consistent; then, each Christmas they must publicly announce that they are responsible for, and are taking the credit for, all of the gifts that have been bought for them. And, if and when they do so, I’m sure that their friends and family members, who paid for the gifts with their own hard-earned money, will straighten them out on this issue.
Calvinists are quick to declare that God’s sovereignty must apply to every sphere of His dealings with mankind, including His grace. Are Calvinists suggesting that God’s sovereignty requires Him to only offer grace to a portion of His created children? Are Calvinists putting God “in a box,” by saying that He cannot offer grace to everyone if His grace is to be sovereign? I must tell my Calvinist friends that God does not need them to tell Him that His sovereignty requires Him to offer “selective grace” to only a chosen few. Our omnipotent and omniscient God is fully capable of offering grace to every person He has created, while still maintaining His sovereignty.
As with eternal torment advocates, TULIP predestination proponents point out that many of the respected church fathers down through the centuries also supported the TULIP doctrine. So what? The respected heroes and church fathers of the Old Testament era committed polygamy, but that did not make polygamy acceptable. Respected church fathers also committed various other sins: Abraham lied, Noah got drunk, David committed adultery and murder; but that does not make any of these sins acceptable either, just because “church fathers” practiced them. There has always been error within the Church, so we must not base our doctrines upon the church fathers, but solely upon the Bible.
Many Calvinists try to convince us that their TULIP predestination doctrine actually demonstrates God’s love in a more profound and perfect manner. They say that His act of choosing certain people to be saved before they were born, and without having deserved or earned their special selection by God, is a revelation of God’s infinite love that would not be seen without Calvinism’s TULIP doctrine. That sounds good if you’re one of those predestined for heaven. However, if you are one of those predestined for hell, you would certainly have a different opinion. Once again, we must remember that, according to Jesus Himself, many more people are going to hell than to heaven. He said the gate to heaven is narrow and only a few go through it, whereas the gate to hell is wide and many go through it. Therefore, according to the Calvinists, God will be demonstrating His love to the vast majority of people He creates by predestining them to an eternal existence of torment, suffering and agony. I’m sure those multitudes will appreciate that kind of love!
Where does this TULIP doctrine come from? Are there any scriptures that imply such a teaching?
In fact, there are several scriptures that Calvinists use to support this doctrine. And, to be fair, I do admit that a few isolated texts could be viewed as supporting this teaching, if it were not for the multitude of scriptures that clearly contradict this doctrine. And, as with the isolated verses used to support the eternal torment dogma, which I debunk in another article titled “Hell” on this website, there are also reasonable explanations for each verse used to promote the Calvinist “TULIP” doctrine. I will now list those texts most often cited by Calvinists, followed by a multitude of scriptures that clearly and unquestionably contradict their tulip dogma.
Calvinists point out that when Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in Antioch, the Bible states that those who were “appointed” or “ordained” to eternal life were the ones who believed (Acts 13:46-48). They also refer to Romans 8:28-30, where Paul declares that those who God foreknew, He “predestined” to be conformed into the image of His Son; then He called those whom He had predestined. Calvinists remind us that Paul said God “chose us” in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame, and also predestined us to be adopted to Himself by or through Jesus Christ; thereby also predestining us to obtain our inheritance (Ephesians 1:3-5,11).
Proponents of Calvinism direct our attention to 1st Thessalonians 1:4-5, where Paul states that he knew of the Thessalonians’ election by God, for he had presented a gospel message to them that was not in word only, but also in power. Calvinists also allude to Paul’s proclamation in 2nd Thessalonians 2:13, in which he declared that God, from the beginning, had chosen the Thessalonians for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. Advocates of Calvinism usually refer to Isaiah 6:9-10 as well, where God tells Isaiah to make the people’s ears heavy, and also to shut their eyes.
Calvinists insist that their doctrine is additionally supported by the following passages that make reference to Jesus having chosen certain people. In Matthew’s gospel account, it is recorded that Jesus twice stated that, while many are called, only few are chosen (Matthew 22:14; Matthew 20:16). Furthermore, the Apostle John documents that Jesus stated that He had chosen His disciples (John 15:16; John 6:70).
Adherents to Calvinist predestination also assert that their doctrine is advanced in chapter six of John’s gospel. They remind us that Jesus said that it is the ones that the Father gives to Him, who will come to Him; moreover, that no one can come to Him unless the Father draws him (John 6:37; John 6:44).
To support their “limited atonement” claim, Calvinists refer to two statements made by Jesus, which are recorded in Mark’s gospel account. They point out that Jesus only shed His blood for many, and that He also only gave His life as a ransom for many (Mark: 14:24; Mark 10:45). Calvinists believe that these references offer proof that Jesus did not shed His blood and offer His life for all.
Before we examine the final major text used by Calvinists, we’ll take a closer look at the ones just mentioned. Upon close examination, and comparison with numerous others scriptures which refute Calvinism, it is apparent that these texts do not necessitate the kind of interpretation employed by the “TULIP” doctrine.
As previously stated, God has predestined the method of salvation, by predetermining that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to come to God and be saved (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). The apostle Paul also declares that God has appointed the method of salvation to be through Jesus Christ (1st Thessalonians 5:9). Therefore, all who will choose to accept Jesus Christ have been predestined to obtain salvation and an inheritance in heaven.
Keeping this in mind, let’s review these supposed Calvinist scriptures that I have listed. The reference in Acts 13:46-48 simply stated that those who believed had been “appointed” or “ordained” to eternal life. And, the text in Romans 8:28-30, merely said that God predestined those He foreknew, to be conformed into the image of Jesus, and then He called them.
These two texts do not need to be interpreted in accordance with the Calvinist “TULIP” doctrine. These scriptures simply reaffirm God’s chosen “method of salvation” form of predestination. God has predetermined that all, who accept and believe in Jesus, will have eternal life. Therefore, in the book of Acts, as people chose to believe, they became part of God’s predetermined or appointed group. In the book of Romans, it said that God predestined and called those He foreknew. God has foreknowledge. He knows the end from the beginning. He knows beforehand who will accept Jesus Christ. Therefore, this text simply says that God predestines those that He knows will accept Jesus, to be changed into His image, and that He also calls these predestined ones that He knew beforehand. Neither of these scriptures actually state that people do not have freedom of choice in the matter, or that God has preprogrammed them for heaven or hell.
The scripture used by Calvinists from Ephesians chapter one also does not necessarily imply what they say it does. It merely states that God chose us “in Christ” before the world began, and predestined us to be adopted as His children through Jesus Christ, and to receive an inheritance. This is actually more in accordance with “method of salvation” predestination, than it is with the “TULIP” doctrine. Before the world began, God chose the method of salvation to be “in Christ”; He predetermined that all who would choose to accept Jesus would become part of His chosen group, and be adopted into God’s family. Therefore, all who are willing to choose Jesus are indeed predestined for adoption, salvation and a heavenly inheritance. Once again, this scripture does not literally say that people have no freedom of choice in this matter, or that God has preprogrammed them for heaven or hell.
The passage in 1st Thessalonians 1:4-5, merely states that Paul knew of the Thessalonians’ election by God. It apparently was obvious from their noble lives that they had experienced salvation, and that they were part of God’s elect group. This passage does not say that they had no freedom of choice in this process, nor does it state that God had preprogrammed them for heaven. In fact, it is clear in this text that their election was directly related to their having believed the powerful gospel that Paul had proclaimed.
The words elect and election have been thoroughly distorted and abused by Calvinists. The apostle Peter plainly states that being considered as part of God’s elect is based upon God’s “foreknowledge” (1st Peter 1:1,2). The elect are those who God, through His omniscient foreknowledge, knows will place their faith in Christ. Once again, this is a prime example of method of salvation predestination. Furthermore, the Greek words, eklektos and ekloge (when spelled in English), which are translated as elect, elect’s and election in the New Testament, are derivatives of the Greek word, eklegomai (when spelled in English), which is translated as chose or chosen. Therefore, the New Testament words: chose, chosen, elect and election, all come from the same Greek root word. In other words, they all convey the same meaning; to be part of the elect or election is the same as being part of the ones whom God chose, the chosen, etc. Why am I pointing this out? I am doing so because there is a New Testament text that uses this Greek root word in such a manner that proves that Calvinists’ usage of these “elect”, “election” and “chosen” terms is unbiblical.
Calvinists tell us that to be part of the chosen or elect in the New Testament means that you have been unconditionally elected by God, and that you cannot and will not be lost. However, the same Greek root word that is repeatedly used for God’s chosen ones, and from which the other Greek words are derived that are translated as God’s elect or election; that same Greek root word, eklegomai, is used in Luke 6:13-16 to describe the twelve whom Jesus chose as His apostles. Why is that significant? One of those twelve chosen ones was Judas Iscariot. And, Judas, who is later referred to as the son of perdition (John 17:12), is certainly not part of the chosen anymore; thus proving that the New Testament words: chose, chosen, elect and election, do not endorse Calvinism’s “unconditional election” doctrine.
The text in 2nd Thessalonians 2:13 simply declares that God, from the beginning, had chosen the Thessalonians for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. As with all of the previous passages, this text does not proclaim that they had no freedom of choice in this operation. This scripture just states the required criteria that God had chosen for their (and our) salvation; that criteria is experiencing sanctification by God’s Spirit, and also believing in the truth, which the Bible defines as being Jesus Himself (John 14:6). This is, in fact, another classic example of method of salvation predestination. God has chosen or predestined that all who will place their faith in Jesus Christ and receive His sanctifying Spirit, will receive salvation.
The verses in Isaiah 6:9-10 do appear to be more challenging and difficult on the surface. They stated that God instructed Isaiah to make the people’s ears heavy, and also to shut their eyes. This does, on the surface, seem to be saying that God had shut their eyes and ears for them, without allowing them the freedom of choice to decide whether or not to have them shut. However, when Jesus quotes this specific passage in Isaiah, He expounds and elaborates on its proper meaning and intent, by clarifying that it was the people themselves who had closed their eyes and ears (Matthew 13:14-15). According to Jesus, they were indeed allowed to exercise their freedom of choice in this matter. Jesus obviously did not believe that Isaiah was espousing a doctrine similar to Calvinism, and neither should we.
The passages in Matthew 22:14 and Matthew 20:16, which recorded Jesus’ statements that many are called, but only few are chosen, actually offer no support for Calvinist predestination when examined closely. In Matthew chapter twenty-two, the call to attend the marriage feast went out to many, but only those few who responded to the invitation and dressed in the appropriate wedding garment, were chosen to participate in the feast (Matthew 22:1-14). Their “chosen status” was based upon their decisions to respond and to wear the appropriate attire. This text actually contradicts Calvinism. The related passage in Matthew chapter twenty has nothing whatsoever to do with election to salvation. The context clearly deals with being called and chosen to work in God’s vineyard in various capacities, and receiving the appropriate rewards for that labor (Matthew 20:1-16). It is an obvious manipulation of Scripture to attempt to use either of these passages to support Calvinism’s claim concerning unconditional election to salvation.
The two texts from John’s gospel, which state that the disciples had been chosen by Jesus, also have nothing whatsoever to do with election to salvation. In John 15:16, Jesus did indeed state that He had chosen His disciples. The fact that Jesus chooses who will serve Him in various capacities or “callings” is universally accepted in Christian doctrine, and has nothing to do with Calvinistic predestination to salvation. In fact, the second passage, in John 6:70, actually proves that this choosing by Jesus is not related to salvation. Why? Because the twelve that Jesus stated that He had chosen included Judas, whom Jesus referred to as a devil. The Bible clearly reveals that Judas is not saved, and yet Jesus stated that He had chosen Judas, because Judas was one of the twelve. Therefore, Jesus’ choosing of His disciples obviously does not refer to salvation. Once again, Calvinists fail in their attempt to biblically justify their doctrine. And, as documented earlier, that same Greek word, used for the choosing of Judas, is the Greek root word from which the other “chose”, “chosen”, “elect” and “election” words are derived throughout the New Testament. So, if it didn’t convey the meaning of Calvinistic unconditional election for Judas, then, to be consistent, it also does not convey that meaning for any of Jesus’ other disciples.
Although the texts in John 6:37 and John 6:44 may appear at first glance to be supportive of Calvinism, upon closer scrutiny they also fail to advance the Calvinist doctrine. In John 6:37, Jesus does say that the ones that come to Him are the ones that the Father “gives” to Him. Who are those ones that the Father “gives” to Him? John 6:39 states that they are the ones that Jesus will raise up at the last day. There is something else that is also true concerning these ones that Jesus will raise up at the last day. John 6:40 reveals that they are also the ones who believe in Jesus. Therefore, you could say that we have a “biblical equation”. We’ve all had a math teacher tell us that if “A” equals “B”, and “C” equals “B”, then “A” also equals “C”. As pertains to our biblical equation, if the ones who believe in Jesus “equal” the ones who He will raise up at the last day, and if the ones who the Father gives to Jesus also “equal” the ones who He will raise up at the last day; then the ones who believe in Jesus also “equal” the ones who the Father gives to Jesus. In other words, the ones who choose to place their faith in Jesus are the ones that the Father gives to Jesus. This is not Calvinistic, unconditional election to salvation, but rather is simply salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. And, it also accords with numerous other scriptures regarding salvation via faith in Jesus.
There is additional biblical proof that the wording used by Jesus in John 6:37 does not imply what Calvinists teach. Calvinism teaches that their “unconditional election” doctrine is supported by Jesus’ statement that, “all who the Father gives to Him” will be raised up at the last day and receive everlasting life. Calvinists say that those whom the Father gave to Jesus are the ones who were predestined to salvation, which, according to the doctrine of Calvinism, means that they cannot and will not be lost. However, in John 17:12, Jesus declares: “Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition.” So, Jesus plainly states that, out of the twelve apostles whom the Father had given Him, there was one who was not able to be kept, which was Judas Iscariot. According to the Scriptures, Judas was given to Jesus by the Father, yet he is called the “son of perdition”, and is certainly a lost soul. Therefore, it is obvious that, when the Scriptures state that people are “given to Jesus”, it does not imply or support an unconditional election, such as is taught within Calvinism. The bottom line is that there is no support for Calvinism found in this text.
The other text mentioned in John chapter six stated that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws him (John 6:44). Does this passage support Calvinism? Does it say that God only draws a few elect ones? No! In fact, in John 12:32, Jesus clearly states that His being lifted up (on the cross), draws all people to Him. Therefore, all are drawn, not just a few elect ones. Consequently, Calvinists again fail in their attempt to support their doctrine.
Finally, the two verses in Mark’s gospel, Mark 14:24 and Mark 10:45, which Calvinists use to justify their “limited atonement” teaching, also fail to offer any true support for their dubious doctrine. Do Jesus’ statements that His blood and life were offered for “many”, automatically also mean that they were not offered for all? Although it is true that “many” may not always equal “all”, it is also true that “all” can and does often equal “many”. If Jesus did die for all of the people in our world, that would certainly be a number that could be accurately referred to as being many. Consequently, His statements about dying for “many”, do not contradict Him having also died for all. Elsewhere in Scripture the words many and all are used synonymously or interchangeably. For example, in Romans 5:19 Paul states that Adam’s disobedience made many to become sinners. Of course, the Bible clearly teaches that all were made sinners as a result of Adam’s disobedience (Romans 5:12; Romans 3:23). Nonetheless, Romans 5:19 chooses to refer to “all sinners” as being “many”. The same usage is obviously intended in these two texts from Mark’s gospel, because otherwise it would contradict numerous other passages that plainly state that Jesus did indeed die for all. These scriptures will be listed later. However, for now, we can confidently say that Calvinism comes up empty once again.
The truth of the matter is, that the Calvinist “TULIP” predestination doctrine stands upon the foundation of only one, true, apparently supportive Bible text. And this text, if interpreted the way Calvinists do, clearly contradicts a multitude of other scriptures. First, we will examine this one individual text. Then, we will debunk the Calvinist interpretation of this text, through the use of numerous other scriptures. The weight of evidence will be overwhelming. It will make you wonder why the Christian Church even tolerates this unjust doctrine to be taught.
The Calvinist “ringer text” I am referring to is found in Romans 9:10-23. The first portion of this passage deals with Esau and Jacob (Romans 9:10-13). It states that God elected the older brother to serve the younger brother before they were born. It points out that neither child had committed good or evil when this election by God occurred. Calvinists frequently refer to these verses about Esau and Jacob as an example of TULIP predestination. However, they have committed a serious and obvious contextual error. Why? Because Jacob’s and Esau’s individual salvation and eternal destiny is not being discussed here. This reference is a direct quotation from Genesis 25:21-23. Proper biblical analysis requires the examination of the text in Genesis that has been quoted, before you can ascertain the correct biblical context in Romans. Genesis 25:23 clearly presents the context. The focus is not upon Esau and Jacob as “individuals”, but rather upon the nations of people that would descend from them. God told Rebecca that she had two nations in her womb and that two peoples would proceed from her body, with one being stronger than the other. After clarifying those points, God then told her that the older would serve the younger. In other words, the nation of the Edomite people, who descended from the older brother, Esau, would serve the nation of the stronger Israelite people who descended from Jacob. Therefore, the proper context in “Romans” concerning the election of Esau and Jacob is not dealing with their personal salvation, but rather with their callings related to the nations that would descend from them. God had elected to call Jacob to be the progenitor of His chosen people of Israel instead of Esau. Why? Because God’s omniscient foreknowledge allowed Him to know in advance who would be the better choice for this important calling. And, according to Scripture, Esau’s descendants did serve Jacob’s descendants because Israel did become the stronger nation. The prophecy in Genesis 25:21-23 was precisely fulfilled through the nations of Israel and Edom. It should also be noted, however, that if this text referred to Esau and Jacob individually, as many Calvinists suggest, then the prophecy would have been unfulfilled and untrue, because there is no biblical reference to Esau ever having been personally in servitude to Jacob during his lifetime. Nevertheless, we know from the context established in “Genesis” that the focus was on their descendant nations, thereby fulfilling this prophecy. It should be obvious to any good Bible student that the first part of this Romans text does not offer any support for the Calvinist TULIP doctrine.
The second portion of this passage, in Romans 9:14-18, states that God “wills” or “chooses” to have mercy on some, and to harden some. The specific example used is of Pharaoh when he refused to listen to Moses regarding his plea to let Israel go.
It is interesting that the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is referred to many times in the Exodus account; several times the Bible says that “God” hardened his heart, and several times it says that “Pharaoh” hardened his own heart. Which is it? One possibility is that they are being used interchangeably.
As an example of this “interchangeable concept”, note the account of Job. The Bible makes it clear that Satan is the one who attacked Job’s property, livestock and family, and finally Job’s own body as well, after receiving permission from God to do so (Job chapter 1 and 2). And yet, in Job 2:3 it says that God Himself had been incited against Job to destroy him. The verse-by-verse account makes it clear that Satan was the one who did it, after God chose to allow it, but God is still given credit for it, as if He had done it Himself. This is one unquestionable example in Scripture where God is given credit for doing things which He simply allowed to happen, or did not prevent from happening. This could be why the Scriptures state that Pharaoh hardened his own heart in one verse, and then say that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart a few verses later; because God was “said to have done” those things which He allowed, or did not prevent from happening. When Pharaoh chose to harden his heart and reject God, he was allowed to do so. God did not force Pharaoh to obey Him. However, because God is omnipotent and could have forced Pharaoh to obey, and yet chose not to do so; God was given credit for having done it. This is one possible explanation to the second part of this Romans text, which would also accord with the text that I cited in Job.
However, although the previous “possible explanation” is biblically plausible, there is another more probable explanation. What is it? In this Romans passage, the Apostle Paul has already established a context that deals with callings in life, not with personal salvation. Therefore, it is probable that he is continuing with the same “callings context” that he began with when discussing Jacob and Esau. Even as Jacob had been chosen or called to be the progenitor of God’s people, Pharaoh had also been called and chosen by God to rule over Egypt at this point in history, as part of God’s sovereign plan. Then, once Pharaoh was on the throne of Egypt, God used him as His own tool to accomplish His purposes for Israel, by hardening his heart at times regarding decisions he would make as to whether or not to release Israel from slavery. The “hardening” referred to in this passage in Romans has nothing whatsoever to do with Pharaoh’s personal salvation. Any good and honest Bible student, who has read the actual biblical account in Exodus, knows that this “hardening” specifically referred to Pharaoh’s decisions concerning Israel, not concerning his personal salvation. When reading through Exodus, it is obvious that Pharaoh had already totally rejected any and all principles of righteousness and holiness, and had made his decision to thoroughly entrench himself in wickedness. We must remember that he and his predecessors had been murdering the Israelite baby boys by drowning them in the Nile River for many decades before Moses had his interactions with Pharaoh. He was already a “lost” and totally wicked man when it came to his spiritual condition. That’s why the Exodus account also mentions on several occasions that Pharaoh also hardened his own heart, thus showing that he continued to personally and continually choose wickedness over righteousness.
The bottom line is, once again, that the Exodus account clearly and undeniably reveals that God’s “hardening” of Pharaoh’s heart was regarding his decisions to continue to enslave Israel, not his personal salvation. This fact is so obvious that it is mind boggling that Calvinist theologians continue to apply this Romans text to personal salvation.
The third portion of this passage in Romans compares God to a “potter” who makes clay vessels (Romans 9:19-23). It states that some vessels are made for “honor”, while some are made for “dishonor”. The vessels made for dishonor are referred to as vessels of wrath prepared for destruction. As always, thoughtful consideration of the biblical context is essential.
Paul, as he often does, is referring back to an Old Testament scripture in Jeremiah 18:1-11, which compares God’s dealings with people to a “potter” making clay vessels. This is important to remember because the previous passage in Jeremiah helps to establish the proper context for Paul’s related reference in Romans chapter nine, because Paul would not be contradicting Jeremiah. What was Jeremiah’s context regarding the comparison of a potter making clay vessels, and God’s dealings with people? Does Jeremiah imply that people are predestined by God to be obedient or disobedient, and that they cannot change because the Divine Potter predestined them? Absolutely not! In fact, Jeremiah teaches us the complete opposite. According to Jeremiah, the “human vessels” have the capability to turn from disobedience to obedience, or from obedience to disobedience; he also states that their decision will cause God to refrain from either punishing them or blessing them. In other words, the future of the vessels depends upon their decisions to obey or disobey. It is not an arbitrary, predetermined choice by God. It is essential to have this proper contextual understanding as a foundation for correctly comprehending Paul’s related reference to the Divine Potter in Romans chapter nine. As previously stated, Paul would not be contradicting Jeremiah. Paul was a Bible scholar and was certainly aware of Jeremiah’s previous usage of this concept. Therefore, we can be sure that Paul’s message is consistent with Jeremiah 18:1-11. Some human vessels are indeed made for honor, while some are made for dishonor. However, as clearly stated in Jeremiah, it is the choices of the human vessels to obey or disobey that determines their destiny and valuation as being honorable or dishonorable. It is true that, because of God’s omniscient foreknowledge, He knows in advance who will be obedient and disobedient, and, therefore, who will be an honorable or dishonorable vessel. However, God’s foreknowledge of His vessels’ choices does not force them to make those choices! He simply knows what they are going to do before they do it. With this proper understanding, which also accords with Jeremiah 18:1-11, we can now correctly comprehend Paul’s statement concerning the potter in Romans chapter nine. As previously stated, because of God’s foreknowledge, even before He creates each and every human vessel, He is already aware of their entire lifetime of choices and of their final destiny. Therefore, at the instant of creation, He knows whether He is creating an “honorable” or “dishonorable” vessel. That is why Paul can state, from God’s omniscient perspective, that He is creating vessels for honor or dishonor. God knows in advance which vessels are going to heaven and which ones are going to hell, but that does not mean that He has preprogrammed them to go to heaven or hell. Nevertheless, because God knows in advance before He creates each vessel, the Bible can correctly state that He is making an “honorable heaven-bound vessel”, or a “dishonorable hell-bound vessel of wrath prepared for destruction”; this can be stated without indicating that God arbitrarily predestined them for their final destination, and without suggesting that the vessels had no freedom of choice pertaining to their destiny. When studied in this proper biblical context with the similar passage in Jeremiah, we simply have another revelation of God’s omniscient foreknowledge. There is no need to interpret this text in Romans as the Calvinists do. Their interpretation maligns the character of God and contradicts numerous other scriptures that plainly teach that we have “free will”; these scriptures will be listed shortly. However, as you can see, the proper biblical contextual understanding requires us to reject the Calvinist interpretation of this passage in Romans. Consequently, even the one supposed “ringer text” used by Calvinists has been debunked.
The Bible does not contradict itself. There is a reasonable and biblical explanation for each one of the Calvinist texts used to support their false TULIP doctrine. However, Calvinists do not have reasonable and biblical explanations for the numerous scriptures that contradict their doctrine, such as the ones that I shall now present.
At this point, I will remind you that Calvinism’s “TULIP” doctrine teaches unconditional election by God. How can Calvinist theologians teach this when it directly contradicts several statements by Jesus, which are recorded throughout the Gospels, where Jesus clearly proclaimed specific conditions for anyone and everyone before they could be chosen or elected as His followers? Jesus frequently and directly states that “anyone” who wants to be accepted and chosen to follow Him must deny himself, take up and bear his cross, and forsake all that he has (Matthew 10:38; Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Luke 14:27; Luke 14:33). These are clear and unquestionable conditions established and spoken by Jesus Christ Himself. Calvinism’s unconditional election doctrine blatantly and indisputably contradicts Jesus’ own words.
Also, as previously mentioned, Calvinists’ unconditional election doctrine means that God predestines everyone, and there is no “free will” or freedom of choice. However, this contradicts many Bible verses, such as the following texts.
The prophets Ezekiel and Joel told the Israelites to repent, turn away from idols, and to return to the Lord (Ezekiel 14:6; Joel 2:13). The prophets Jeremiah, Zechariah and Malachi also told the people to return to God, and that He would take them back and likewise return to them (Jeremiah 3:14; Jeremiah 18:11; Zechariah 1:3,4; Malachi 3:7). They were telling the people to “make choices” to repent and return to God. Why would they do that if they had no freedom of choice?
The prophets Hosea, Nehemiah, Zechariah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah accused the people of refusing to repent, and refusing to obey and heed God’s judgments, words and correction (Hosea 11:5; Nehemiah 9:17; Zechariah 7:11; Ezekiel 5:6; Jeremiah 13:10; Jeremiah 5:23). Why would they chide them for refusing if they had no freedom of choice?
The apostle Paul admonished the people to “turn” from their old ways, and also said that God commands men to repent (Acts 14:14-15; Acts 17:30). Ezekiel, John the Baptist, Jesus and Peter also told the people that they needed to repent (Ezekiel 18:30; Matthew 3:1-2; Matthew 4:17; Acts 2:38). Why would God command people to make choices to turn and repent, if they had no free will to do so?
Both Joshua and the prophet Elijah challenged the Israelites to choose between serving the God of heaven or false idol-gods such as Baal (Joshua 24:15; 1st Kings 18:21). Moses told the people to choose life so that they and their descendants could live (Deuteronomy 30:19). Why would they have told them to make these choices, if it were not possible to do so?
The deacon Stephen accused the religious leaders of his day, and their ancestors, of always “resisting” the Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51). If they were rebuked for resisting the Holy Spirit, they obviously had the power of choice to do so. Also, the Bible instructs all people to resist the devil (James 4:7). Therefore, it is apparent that we all have the freedom of choice to do so! Furthermore, Luke states that the Pharisees and lawyers had rejected “the will of God” for themselves because they had not been baptized by John the Baptist (Luke 7:30). Once again, the Scriptures clearly state that people have the freedom and ability to reject or resist God’s will for them. This directly contradicts Calvinism’s assertion that no one can resist God’s will. Shall we believe Calvinism or the Bible?
In Ezekiel 33:11, God tells the wicked that He doesn’t want them to die, and asks them to “turn” from their evil ways. Why would God ask them to do something they were not able to do?
The prophet Joel stated that multitudes are in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14). And, the book of Acts says that the people on the island of Malta changed their minds (Acts 28:6). If we do not have a “free will” with the power to choose, how did these people change their minds; furthermore, how can multitudes be in the valley of decision if they have no “free will” to choose or decide with?
The Lord Jesus Christ told the Jews of His day that He had wanted to gather them to Him as a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but they “were not willing” (Matthew 23:37). According to Jesus Himself, these people obviously had free will, and chose not to come to Him.
Also, note all of the following texts that unquestionably teach that people have free will. Hosea proclaimed that the people of Ephraim were oppressed because they had willingly walked by human precept (Hosea 5:11). Nehemiah recorded that the people blessed all of the men who had willingly offered to dwell at Jerusalem (Nehemiah 11:2). In Judges 5:9, the Bible states that there were rulers in Israel who offered themselves willingly to the Lord. The Bible records in Exodus 35:29, and in numerous other passages, that the children of Israel brought “free will” offerings to the Lord. The Apostle Paul declared that the Macedonian believers had been freely willing to minister to the needs of the saints (2nd Corinthians 8:3-4). In Hebrews 10:26, the Bible states that if we sin willfully after we’ve received knowledge of the truth, then there no longer remains a sacrifice for our sins. The Apostle Peter proclaimed that scoffers willfully forget that God is the Creator (2nd Peter 3:5). All of these texts, as well as many others that could also be cited, clearly and unequivocally teach that people have a free will with the ability to make their own choices.
There is truly a massive amount of biblical evidence that totally refutes Calvinism’s “unconditional election” doctrine. But, remember, the “TULIP” predestination doctrine also teaches that Jesus only provided a “limited atonement” that was not meant for everyone, but only for those whom He had predestined for heaven. Once again, this contradicts numerous scriptures.
Jesus Christ said that He would draw “all people” to Himself, and “whoever” believed in Him would have eternal life (John 12:32; John 3:16). He stated that He had come to seek and to save the “lost”, period, not just some of the lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10). He invited all to come onto Him for rest, not just a few special ones (Matthew 11:28-30). Also, the Apostle John declared that Jesus offered Himself for the sins of the whole world, and is Savior of the “world” (1st John 2:2; 1st John 4:14).
The Apostle Paul clearly states that God wants “all” to be saved, and that Jesus gave Himself as a ransom for “all” (1st Timothy 2:3-6). Paul again states that Jesus died for “all” in 2nd Corinthians 5:14-15. The apostle Peter agrees by saying that God wants “all” to come to repentance, because He is not willing for “any” to perish (2nd Peter 3:9). Also, in Matthew 18:14, Jesus set a little child before His disciples and stated that it is not God’s will that even one of these little ones should perish. And, Hebrews 2:9 tells us that Jesus tasted death for “everyone”. Finally, the Apostle Paul leaves no doubt when he admonishes Christians not to put a stumbling block in front of a “weak brother” causing him to violate his conscience and to perish or be destroyed; moreover, Paul states that Christ has also died for that weak brother who is caused to perish or be destroyed (1st Corinthians 8:9-11; Romans 14:13-15). These two passages clearly and unequivocally state that Christ has “also died” for people who violate their conscience and are destroyed.
Although, we’ve already presented many indisputable scriptures which prove that Calvinism’s “limited atonement” doctrine contradicts the Bible, we’ll add one final text from the book of Romans, Calvinists’ favorite Bible book. In Romans 5:12-19, Paul explains why and how Jesus’ “one death” can pay the price for the sins of “multitudes” of people, and, in so doing, also demonstrates God’s character trait of equitable fairness and justice. He states that, if sin and death could come upon “all men” because of the disobedience of one man (Adam), then, righteousness and life can also come to “all men” because of the obedience of one Man (Jesus). Paul clearly and unequivocally states, in Romans 5:18, “Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life” (New King James Version). So, according to the author of the book of Romans, the Apostle Paul, Jesus offers justification and life to all, thus rejecting Calvinism’s limited atonement doctrine. And, within this same passage, we also see the “free will” of man portrayed. How? Because, although Paul clearly states that justification and life are available to all men in Romans 5:18, yet, only “many” are made righteous, according to Romans 5:19. Why would only “many” be made righteous, when justification and life are available to “all”? The answer is found in Romans 5:17, where Paul states that, although one man’s (Adam’s) sin had brought death upon us all, life from Jesus Christ will only come upon “those who receive” the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. In other words, it is up to each individual person to decide whether or not they will choose to accept God’s gracious offer of righteousness and life in Jesus Christ. And, as Scripture repeatedly testifies, many people choose to resist and reject God’s gracious offer, which results in only “many” being made righteous (Romans 5:19), although justification and life were offered to all (Romans 5:18). As you can see, this passage contradicts and refutes both of Calvinism’s teachings regarding “free will” and “limited atonement”.
Have any of these verses described a limited atonement, where the benefits and rewards from Jesus’ sacrifice are only for a select few who were chosen beforehand by God? Absolutely not! In fact, you have to intentionally choose to totally ignore all of these scriptures in order to believe in Calvinism’s limited atonement. Why would you want to do that? Why would any sincere Christian, who truly loves Jesus, want to “downsize” the scope and offering of Christ’s precious sacrifice in defiance of so many clear and indisputable texts, in order to cling to the unbiblical teachings of mere men, such as John Calvin and his adherents?
It would seem much wiser to reject Calvinism’s “TULIP” doctrine, rather than a multitude of other scriptures. The Bible clearly teaches that God loves all of us, and that Jesus died for all of us; furthermore, that He doesn’t want any to perish, but rather that all would be saved. Additionally, there are numerous references where God encourages us to choose Him so that we can be saved.
The case against Calvinism is truly overwhelming. However, remember that the tulip doctrine also teaches that God has “irresistible grace”. This contradicts many scriptures as well. For the sake of brevity and avoiding scriptural “overkill”, I will just mention a few. In Matthew 23:37, Jesus stated that He had wanted to gather the people of Jerusalem under His wings, but they were not willing. In other words, they had resisted His “gracious will” for them to be gathered to Him. Obviously His gracious will was not “irresistible”. In Luke 7:30, the Bible states that the Pharisees and lawyers had rejected the will of God for themselves, by not being baptized by John the Baptist. They also had resisted God’s “will” for them. Once again, His will clearly was not “irresistible”. And, in Acts 7:51, the Bible declares that the Jewish leaders in Stephen’s day, and also their fathers, had always resisted the Holy Spirit, the Divine Member in the Godhead who draws us and convicts us to respond to God’s grace. These three texts unquestionably reveal that the gracious will of Jesus, God the Father and the Holy Spirit can be resisted. And, therefore, we need to resist Calvinism’s false doctrine of “irresistible grace”.
Furthermore, if God’s grace was truly irresistible, and if God had unconditionally elected people for salvation, as Calvinists maintain; then, it would be impossible for people to depart from God and be lost, once they had experienced that irresistible grace and unconditional election for salvation. Yet, numerous scriptures clearly state that people can indeed wander away from their salvation and be lost. For a detailed and overwhelming list of scriptures that prove this point beyond the shadow of a doubt, read my article titled “Once Saved Always Saved”, which is also on this website.
However, for our purpose here, I will just list a few of these texts. James 5:19-20 states that it is possible for you to “wander away” from the truth, and that if you do, you need someone to turn you back from your error in order to save your soul from death. We’re told, in 1st Corinthians 8:8-11, that it’s possible for a “brother”, which means a fellow believer, to violate his conscience and perish. The Apostle Paul said that some depart or stray from the faith, and you cannot depart or stray from the faith unless you had been part of the faith in the first place (1st Timothy 4:1; 1st Timothy 6:9-10). Ezekiel 33:18 warns that when a “righteous man” turns to iniquity, he will die. And, in Hebrews 10:26-29, the Bible says that it is possible for someone, who “was sanctified”, to turn away from Jesus and to turn back to a life of sin, thus resulting in that person being devoured by the fire. Galatians 5:2-4 tells us that it is possible to fall from grace and become “estranged”, “alienated” or “separated” from Christ. We know that we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), so if we fall from grace, we would no longer be saved. Furthermore, to be estranged or separated from Christ is certainly to be “lost”, for He is the only Savior. In Romans chapter 11 the Apostle Paul compares God’s Church to an olive tree, and he teaches that, if people don’t “continue in belief”, they will be broken off or separated from God’s “olive tree” (Romans 11:16-22). And, if they have been removed from God’s “olive tree church”, they are certainly in a lost state. 2nd Timothy 2:12 states that we will reign with Jesus Christ “if” we endure, and it also says that Jesus will deny us, if we deny Him. This letter is written to Christians, so it is clearly possible for Christians to “not endure” and to deny Jesus, thus resulting in Him justly denying us. And, anyone who is “denied” by Jesus would certainly be lost. In Revelation 3:5, Jesus says that those in the Church who overcome will not have their names blotted out of the “Book of Life”. Therefore, it obviously is possible to have your name “blotted out” or removed from God’s Book of Life, or else that subject would never have been brought up by Jesus. And, if your name is removed from God’s Book of Life, you surely would no longer be saved.
It is very significant that, according to 1st Corinthians 9:27, even the Apostle Paul knew that it was possible for him to be rejected and to become disqualified, a castaway, or a reprobate (depending on your Bible translation), if he was not spiritually disciplined. And, don’t let any modern “seeker sensitive” preachers deceive you concerning what Paul meant here, by telling you that he was not referring to the loss of his salvation, but only to losing extra rewards in heaven. The Greek word used by Paul is adokimos. He said he disciplined himself lest he should become adokimos. What is “adokimos”? It means rejected, unapproved, disqualified, worthless, a castaway or a reprobate. A reprobate is defined in modern dictionaries as being a wicked, immoral, depraved or corrupt person. Paul said he disciplined himself so he would not become like that. The original Greek word makes it clear that Paul realized that even he could fall into the depraved, immoral, corrupt and wicked condition of a disqualified castaway or reprobate.
Think about it. If the Bible states that this could even happen to the Apostle Paul, couldn’t it also happen to modern Christians? And, do you think that wicked, corrupt, depraved, immoral, disqualified, castaways or reprobates are still “saved” people who will enter heaven? Of course not!
It is also highly significant that the same Greek word, adokimos, which Paul said that he could become if he was not disciplined, was the word he used to describe the list of rejected sinners in the last days that we are to turn away from or avoid (2nd Timothy 3:1-8). He said in verse eight that these people were adokimos (reprobate-KJV, rejected-NIV, disapproved-NKJV) concerning the faith. In other words, they were reprobates who were rejected and worthless. Remember, Paul admitted that he also could become adokimos (a rejected, disapproved reprobate) just as these rejected sinners. Are the adokimos sinners listed in 2nd Timothy 3:1-8 still saved? Of course not! This is a description of people who are lost; Paul said that even he could also become like them if he was not disciplined.
Furthermore, in Romans 1:28, Paul states that the sinners that he lists, which includes fornicators, murderers, idolaters and haters of God, had forsaken God and developed an adokimos (reprobate-KJV, depraved-NIV, debased-NKJV) mind. Their minds, thoughts, attitudes and purposes had become depraved, immoral, corrupt and wicked as those of a reprobate. These adokimos minded sinners in Romans chapter one, were not saved people. They are presented as rebellious, wicked and rejected by God; Paul uses that same word, adokimos, to describe what he could become if he was not spiritually disciplined. Even Paul could become like them. Even Paul could fall into such a state of depravity and wickedness, thereby resulting in him being rejected as a depraved reprobate.
This Greek word, adokimos, is only used eight times in the entire New Testament. Every single time, without exception, it describes people or things that are wicked, depraved, debased, worthless, rejected, disapproved, disqualified, reprobate etc. It never depicts anything good or of saving value. We have already studied three of these adokimos texts. We will now examine the other five passages.
Titus 1:16 refers to a group of people that it describes as having denied Christ, and as being abominable, disobedient and adokimos (reprobate-KJV, disqualified-NKJV, unfit-NIV) for every good work. Remember, the Apostle Paul said that he could also become adokimos (an unfit, disqualified reprobate) like these people mentioned by Titus if he was not disciplined.
Hebrews 6:4-8 describes people who forsake Christ, and compares them to land that drinks in God’s blessings of rain, but then bears only useless thorns and briers. It then declares that land to be adokimos (rejected-KJV&NKJV, worthless-NIV), and whose end is to be burned. Once again, remember that the Apostle Paul stated that he could also become adokimos (rejected and worthless) like that land if he did not discipline himself.
In 2nd Corinthians 13:5-7, Paul uses adokimos three times. In verse five he states that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are adokimos (reprobate-KJV, disqualified-NKJV, failed the test-NIV). He then said in verse six that he trusted that the Corinthians knew that he and his companions were not adokimos. And, in verse seven, he prayed that the Corinthians would avoid evil and live honorably, whether or not they viewed him as being adokimos. Of course, the key verse in this passage is verse five. Paul clearly states that Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are “adokimos”. In other words, to be adokimos is to not have Jesus within you! Once again, remember that Paul declared that he could also become adokimos. In other words, even the Apostle Paul could end up not having Jesus within himself, if he did not maintain spiritual discipline. And, if you do not have Jesus in you, you are certainly “lost”.
These scriptures, and others listed in my “Once Saved Always Saved” article, clearly teach that “brothers”, “righteous people” and “sanctified people” can wander, depart or stray from “the truth” and “the faith”; thereby resulting in them perishing and being devoured by the hell fire. Therefore, these scriptures also provide even more biblical evidence contradicting Calvinism’s “irresistible grace” and “unconditional election” doctrines, because God’s grace cannot be “irresistible” if people can depart or wander away from it and perish in the hell fire. Likewise, they cannot have been unconditionally elected either if they can become “lost”. Although, there are still more biblical texts that could be presented, we are certainly reaching a point of scriptural saturation and overkill. Simply said, Calvinism is contradicted by an overwhelming number of scriptures.
The “TULIP” doctrine contradicts the Bible and maligns God’s character by making Him the author of evil, because the end-result of Calvinism’s theology is that God is the one responsible for people’s evil deeds. This “TULIP” is not a pretty flower. It is also a very dangerous doctrine. Why?
According to this doctrine, everything is decided ahead of time, and we have no “free will” or choice in the matter. God has already predestined who goes to heaven and hell. Therefore, we can’t change anything. Certain people are going to heaven or hell regardless of what we do. Consequently, this teaching discourages evangelism, because our evangelistic efforts are indeed meaningless. Every case is predetermined and we can’t change it.
This teaching requires us to change the name of our message. How can we call it the gospel or “good news”, when it is actually bad news for the majority of people in the world, because it tells them that they have a one-way ticket to hell, and there is nothing they can do about it?
This teaching diminishes the beauty and importance of Christ’s sacrifice, because He is no longer unselfishly dying for sins that we chose to commit, and which He had nothing to do with, but rather, He’s simply dying for the very sins that He Himself is responsible for. Remember, when you trace Calvinism back to the beginning, God would have predestined Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden, and, therefore, would ultimately be responsible for sin itself. And, you will soon see that this is exactly what the founder of Calvinism teaches.
If any of my Calvinist friends think that I am exaggerating or unfairly describing their Calvinist predestination doctrine, I ask them to read and consider the following statements made by the father of Calvinism, John Calvin. I forewarn you that the following statements made by John Calvin are both alarming and repulsive.
“By predestination we mean the eternal decree of God, by which He determined with Himself whatever He wished to happen with regard to every man. All men are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of those ends, we say that he has been predestined to life or death.” (John Calvin, “Institutes of the Christian Religion”, iii, xxi, sec. 5, p. 1030-1031) (Emphasis added)
“…Since the arrangement of all things is in the hand of God, since to Him belongs the disposal of life and death, He arranges all things by His sovereign counsel, in such a way that individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify Him by their destruction.” (John Calvin, “Institutes of the Christian Religion”, iii, xxiii, sec. 6, p. 231) (Emphasis added)
“There is no random power, or agency, or motion in the creatures, who are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what He has knowingly and willingly decreed … the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which He has destined.” (John Calvin, “Institutes of the Christian Religion”, iii, xxiii, secs. 3 & 8, p. 175 & 179) (Emphasis added)
“God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at His own pleasure arranged it”. (John Calvin, “Institutes of the Christian Religion”, iii, xxiii, sec. 7, p. 1063) (Emphasis added)
“The word hardens, when applied to God in Scripture, means not only permission (as some washy moderators would have it), but also the operation of the wrath of God: for all those external things, which lead to the blinding of the reprobate, are the instruments of His wrath; and Satan himself, who works inwardly with great power, is so far His minister, that he acts not, but by His (God’s) command. … Paul teaches us, that the ruin of the wicked is not only foreseen by the Lord, but also ordained by His counsel and His will … not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been created for this very end; that they may perish.” (John Calvin, “Calvin’s New Testament Commentaries”, Romans 9:18) (Emphasis added)
Because John Calvin’s teachings about predestination are often so blunt, abrasive, unjust and downright sadistic, many modern Calvinists go to great lengths to “explain them away”. However, Calvin’s own personal statements speak for themselves.
Calvin specifically stated that we are not all created on equal terms. He plainly declared that some are preordained for eternal life, and others for eternal damnation. John Calvin does not need “contemporary translators” to try to soften his cruel doctrine. Calvin made certain that all could clearly understand the intent and extent of his teaching when he declared that individuals were doomed from the womb; furthermore, that God was glorified by their destruction! I must remind you that the majority of people are going to hell, according to Scripture. Therefore, the inevitable “bottom line” is that John Calvin taught that God is glorified by eternally torturing the majority of people that He creates, in hell. And, remember that Calvin also taught that these eternally tormented multitudes had been arbitrarily doomed from the womb, with no ability or opportunity to avoid their horrid fate! That is true, original and authentic Calvinism straight from the horse’s mouth, before having been “doctored up” by modern Calvinist proponents who attempt to soften the blow of hardcore, genuine Calvinism.
As you read these quotes from John Calvin, I’m sure you noticed that Calvin stated that nothing happens without God having knowingly and willingly decreed its occurrence. I ask you to consider the ramifications of that statement. According to John Calvin, everything that has happened in our world has been decreed to occur in accordance with God’s knowledge and will. God has willed every event that has taken place, according to Calvin. Therefore, God is responsible for the 9-11 terrorist attack on America. God willed for thousands of people to die in that inferno. God also willed every human genocide that has been conducted by men like Hitler, Stalin, and Saddam Hussein. God has also willed every child abduction, molestation, rape and murder. All of the evil men that committed these horrific acts were mere pawns or stooges whom the God of Christianity used and manipulated to accomplish His will. They were mere puppets helplessly and totally controlled and directed in accordance with the specific will of the “Divine Puppeteer”. This is the “bottom line” and end result of true, original Calvinism as taught by John Calvin himself.
Calvinism results in God being ultimately responsible for every evil deed throughout human history. In fact, God is not only responsible, but it actually was His will for sin and evil to exist, according to Calvin. John Calvin stated that God not only foresaw the “fall of man”, but that He actually found pleasure in arranging it! In fact, according to Calvin, even Satan’s despicable actions are commanded by God! Thus, the devil himself is also just a helpless puppet whose detestable deeds have been totally controlled by the “Divine Puppeteer”. True, original Calvinism, as taught by its founder, literally turns God into the devil. The doctrine of Calvinistic predestination is an indictment of our God, and should be an offense to all sincere Christians.
Finally, as previously stated, Calvinism maligns the character of our gracious and loving God by portraying Him as someone who is biased and who practices favoritism, because He arbitrarily chooses favorites to be saved, while allowing everyone else to go to hell. This clearly contradicts numerous Bible texts, and also results in Calvinists portraying their God as being a hypocrite and a liar. Why? The Bible repeatedly states that God is not a “respecter of persons” and does not practice partiality or favoritism (Deuteronomy 10:17; 2nd Chronicles 19:7; Acts 10:34; Romans 2:11; Ephesians 6:9). Scripture also declares that God’s wisdom comes from above and is without partiality (James 3:17). Therefore, if Calvinists’ teaching is correct, that God does favor only “certain individuals” to be saved from hell, then God would have lied in all of the passages where He stated that He does not practice favoritism or partiality. Calvinists are portraying God as being a liar. They also depict Him as being a hypocrite. Why? The Bible instructs us that we (God’s people) must not practice partiality or favoritism; moreover, that it is not good for us to show “respect of persons”, partiality or favoritism; furthermore, that such conduct is sin (1st Timothy 5:21; Proverbs 28:21; James 2:9). Therefore, when Calvinists state that God only saves certain favored individuals from hell, while He simultaneously tells us that we must not practice such favoritism ourselves, because it is not good to do so and it is sinful; then, Calvinists are certainly depicting their God as being a hypocrite! The Calvinist God says, “Do as I say, not as I do”. The God of Christianity is not a liar or a hypocrite! Calvinists must stop this outrageous slandering of Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father. It is time for the Christian Church to rise up and denounce this Calvinist “TULIP” predestination doctrine.
I ask you to ponder the following scenario. The owner of a large youth recreation center, located in a remote and picturesque country area, was widely proclaimed to be a kind, just and loving man by those who knew him. He offered his center to be used by a large group of “troubled teens”, numbering about two hundred. The teens ignored the numerous signs that forbid smoking, and started a fire that quickly engulfed the building and blocked all of the exits. The building was several stories high, and had a door that led to the roof, but due to the height of the building and the concrete parking lot that surrounded it, any attempt to jump from the roof would lead to certain death. As the two hundred teens gathered on the roof to avoid the heat and smoke as long as possible, their only hope was an air rescue by this reportedly kind and loving man. The remote country location made it impossible for the nearest city’s fire department to arrive in time, but this wealthy owner had a fleet of five helicopters that he used for another “scenic tour” business, and he kept these helicopters in a hangar a few blocks from the youth center. The owner and his four sons were all qualified pilots who lived on the property. As soon as the fire alarms sounded, and it was apparent that they would not be able to rescue the teens via the fire exits, the owner and his sons prepared the helicopters to perform an airlift rescue from the roof. Because the helicopters were located just minutes away and were each capable of carrying ten passengers, there was plenty of time to make the four trips to the rooftop necessary to safely rescue all of the two hundred teens. However, after the first trip had been completed, and fifty of the teens were safely on the ground, the owner and his sons parked the helicopters and ceased all rescue operations, leaving the remaining 150 teens to suffer and perish in the fire. When asked why he had only rescued fifty, when he was fully capable of rescuing them all, the owner gave the following reasons. First, he said that the teens that perished had gotten what they deserved for being disobedient to his signs that forbid smoking. Second, he said that, by choosing to save just a small elect group, he would be more profoundly demonstrating his love to the teens whom he had saved, rather than if he had saved everyone. This way the rescued teens would feel even more loved, chosen and special. Third, he said that, by intentionally leaving the 150 teens to perish, it enabled him to also demonstrate his justice to the ones that he had saved. After all, the doomed teens had received their just punishment for their disobedience, and, in the process, the saved teens were allowed to behold the righteous justice of the owner.
Would there be any reasonable and sane person who would agree with this owner’s tactics and his pathetic excuses given for his behavior, and who would still declare him to be a kind, just and loving man? Absolutely not! In fact, most people would proclaim him to be a sadistic, unjust and evil tyrant.
However, the scenario that I’ve just presented is an accurate representation of how Calvinism presents the God of Christianity. Yet, Calvinists expect us to view their god as being kind, just and loving, in spite of His unjust, unloving and sadistic behavior, which, in fact, actually dwarfs the evil conduct of the owner in my illustration. The owner in my story was leaving the teens to die in the smoke and fire, which would only take a period of several minutes. The Calvinist god tortures them relentlessly throughout the trillions of years of eternity. The teens in my illustration had chosen to smoke and endanger themselves, but the Calvinist god causes them to smoke, according to John Calvin. The Calvinist god, in effect, was the one who started the fire, because, as John Calvin taught, everything that happens was decreed by God in accordance with His will. Therefore, if the owner in my story is evil, unjust and sadistic, then the Calvinist god is far more evil, unjust and sadistic. It is completely disingenuous, dishonest and hypocritical to condemn the actions of the owner in my illustration, while simultaneously approving of the actions of the Calvinist god. Hopefully this illustration will have helped to demonstrate and accentuate the injustice and sadistic cruelty that permeates the Calvinist predestination doctrine.
I would like to ask a TULIP Calvinist to look at one of his precious children or grandchildren and ponder their destiny. What if that precious young child is one of those predestined for “eternal torture” in hell (as Calvinism teaches regarding hell)? Keep in mind, there will be many more people going to hell than to heaven, as stated in Matthew 7:13-14. Therefore, there is actually a better chance that your precious little one is predestined for hell than for heaven. Remember, you believe that God has decided their destiny before they were born, and there is nothing that can be done, including your prayers, to change that destiny. If you have a family with five children, there is a good chance that three or four of them are predestined for hell. Can you picture them tormented and tortured throughout eternity, wailing and gnashing their teeth in everlasting pain and agony in hell’s flames, without them having had any opportunity to avoid their horrid fate, because God had intentionally predestined them for this purpose? Can you feel the warm love taught by the TULIP doctrine as you ponder your children’s future in hell? If the TULIP doctrine was correct, most loving parents would not bring any more children into this sinful world, because the majority of them would be predestined to “eternal torture” in hell (as Calvinists teach regarding hell). Any reasonable Christian, who knows Jesus intimately, should be fully aware that He is not the author of the TULIP doctrine. This teaching comes straight from “the pit of hell” and slanders the character of our kind and loving God.
I am concluding this article by sharing a different and more appropriate definition for the Calvinists’ “TULIP” acronym.
T – Teaching that
U – Undermines the character of a
L – Loving God,
I – Indicting Him for the
P- Problems in this sinful world, because He would be guilty of predestining everything, including all of the evil that was ever done by wicked sinners, and even by the devil himself; and, also indicting God for the agonizing “eternal torment”, as Calvinists believe, of billions of people whom He had created and predestined for hell.
After analyzing the evidence, it is obvious to any unbiased reader that this “Calvinistic predestination” teaching is not in harmony with the overwhelming weight of biblical evidence. Those who teach this cruel doctrine are clearly slandering God! When Calvinistic predestination is combined with the eternal-torment dogma, the God of Christianity is presented as being more cruel, unjust and sadistic than the gods of all other religions; moreover, than any earthly tyrant such as Hitler or Stalin. This unbiblical and unjust doctrine should be renounced and denounced as heresy by all sincere Christians. Slandering the character of our gracious Heavenly Father and our glorious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, must not be viewed as acceptable doctrine within the Body of Christ.