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Why I Am Not a Calvinist
by Michael Edwards 
03/25/14
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There are an abundance of scriptures and reasons that lead me to reject Calvinism. One of my main reasons is because it clearly ignores Jesus nature towards the lost and the fact that he told us when we see him we have seen the Fathers nature too.

Many others have been written very lengthy and excellent articles on why they cannot accept Calvinism and these can be found online elsewhere. I just wanted to list a few of the more unique ones that may not be considered as often.

1) For me this one is very simple and very powerful. Jesus said repent or perish. Repent means “change mind”. Right there Jesus is clearly implying they can change their mind and not perish. If they cannot change their mind, this would be a form of deception, a lie by Jesus. The offer to repent and avoid disaster was regularly made by God in the Bible. The ruthless Assyrians, who ISIS has been compared to come to mind in Nineveh. Jonah hated the Assyrians because of what they had done to the Jews. He did not want to preach there because he knew that if they did change their mind, God would not destroy them as was the case in the end. Without a verse that specifically states man cannot change his mind and believe, Calvinists claim it is because the Bible says no one is seeking God. They forget: 

And I (Jesus), when I am lifted up from the earth, will DRAW (Greek - I drag, draw, pull, persuade) ALL ( Greek - all, the whole, every kind of) people to myself.” John 12:32 

They also forget that man’s fallen nature embodies a very selfish aspect where we want what is best for us. Avoiding destruction is what led the Assyrians and many others to change their mind in scripture. I doubt that Calvinists would claim all of the Assyrians were of the elect. We also see this with the prodigal son in Luke 15. His reason for changing his mind and returning home was selfish in nature, to feed his stomach. Yet we see the fathers loving and welcoming response to his return despite his reason being perfect. Therefore, with so many examples of people changing their minds and turning so God would not destroy them, why can’t anyone?  Once a person honestly weighs the options of heaven or hell, heaven makes sense, especially for a selfish natured person. 

The truth is, satan is the only one doing anything to keep people from changing their mind to belief. God is not divided on this issue.  

who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:4 

2) This one is equally as powerful a reason and often not mentioned. I have a friend who likes to say about the lost “sinner by nature, sinner by choice. For years I never gave it much thought, but now I realize that it is a contradictory statement. Adam had a choice as did Jesus, but we did not. If a person is made a sinner by nature, they are going commit acts of sin as part of their nature. From Adam to when Moses gave the law, man did sin but where there is no law, sin is not counted against man, because sin is transgression of the law. Yet man still died from the curse brought on solely because of Adams disobedience. Rom 5:12-13 This is what Jesus came to save us from and why we need to be born again.

Mankind was born into a fallen world with a fallen nature and had no choice in the matter. It is not mankind’s fault that we were made sinners by Adams disobedience (Rom 5:12-21). God is aware of this important fact and this is why God has the compassion he does for mankind, but not for satan and his entourage who willfully rebelled. 

If we know how to give good things to our children, how much more does our father in heaven? Even with our imperfect standard of morality and our selfish nature, we would never intentionally set out to rescue only a few fellow soldiers who were taken captive by the enemy. God’s desire is that all mankind will come to a saving knowledge of Christ.   

For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. Titus 2:11

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 

For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live! Eze 18:32 

3) Hell was not created for man, but for satan and his fallen angels. (Matt 25:42) Why was it not created for non-elect too if Calvinism is correct? 

4) Jesus paid for the sins of all just as the Bible states, even the false prophets, not just the elect. 

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Peter 2:1 

5) I am an evidence guy being involved in apologetics. I wrote the book Gravity. In my study of the evidence I go back and review what the early church fathers taught about several things. For example many non-believers want to assert that Jesus never claimed to be God, they contend that the church made him into God at the council at Nicaea in AD 325. However when we review the writings of the early church fathers in the first and second century, it is clear that they believed Jesus was God come in the flesh. Calvinists would quickly use this information like I do to defend an attack that claims Jesus is not God.

Yet when we review where the early church fathers stood on man’s free choice to accept or reject Christ, we find that their writings do not support Calvinism. The early church fathers firmly believed and taught that every person had the opportunity to make the free choice. While predestination and election are true, because the Bible tells us they are, the early church fathers did not teach it as Calvinism teaches it. 

Justin Martyr (AD 110-165) 
"But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made." (Justin, First Apology, XLIII) http://www.pfrs.org/calvinism/calvin12.html 

6) The Bible tells us there is only one unforgiveable sin and it is unbelief. So if Calvinists are correct, man was born with a fallen sinful nature that leads to death and had no choice in the matter. Now God who could offer his grace to all and not just the elect, chooses to withhold the one thing they need to be saved. The opportunity to believe. But why then does the Holy Spirit convict the unbeliever of the one sin of unbelief? 

And when he (Holy Spirit) comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment:  concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; (verse 8 is specifically telling us unbelievers will be convicted of the sin of unbelief by the HS) concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; (verse 9 is Jesus telling the disciples the HS convicts believers of their righteousness in Christ) concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (verse 11 is talking about satan.)

If Calvinism is correct, why aren’t the non-elect convicted instead of judgment like satan?

7) As I mentioned, Calvinism ignores the great degree to which God loves the world displayed by Jesus life and death. (John 3:16) There is only one thing that fulfills Gods law and that is love. Several verses including Rom 13:8-10 and Gal 5:14 tell us this truth. This reveals that the spirit, the intent of the author, of all of God’s laws is love. God’s law was given out of love to guard us from each other’s inherited fallen nature, make us aware of our inherited sin nature problem thus leading us to Christ. (Gal 3:23-35) Jesus did not just fulfill the low standard of the letter of the law as some think. It would be ridiculous for Jesus to fulfill just the shadow of the real thing. (Heb 10:1)  As a matter of fact he broke the letter to fulfill the spirit several times on the Sabbath. Jesus came to fulfill the spirit of the letter and did so when he died for his enemies, all sinners. To say that he did not die for all sinners is to say Jesus did not fulfill the law. We are called to love as God loves. This is God’s highest standard and the spirit we are called to walk in. Even to love our enemies as God love his enemies. Randomly choosing some to go to hell as Calvinists insist God does by not electing them instead of allowing all to come who will believe, is not love.

This is God’s real standard. You can see Jesus actions during the crucifixion prophesied in these verses. The spirit of all of God’s written laws is love and this is how it is done.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic,let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers,iwhat more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matt 5: 38-48 

8) 1 Timothy 2:4, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

If God wants all men to be saved and all men are not. Is it logical to conclude that something is blocking this from happening? Is it logical to conclude that it is mans to freely choose that is in the way or that God is preventing it from happening while stating in writing that he wants all to be saved? If God is staitng he desires all to be saved and then only assists the elect, does this make God a liar?

Can man have free will and God be in soverign control at the same time? Personally I think it is not impossible and if God can be in complete control while we still have free will, our God is an amazing God.

This next verses indicates that all can come, not just a specific group predetermined by God (elect) as some say. 

 "It shall come to pass that WHOSOEVER (meaning all people) shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved," Acts 2:21. 

John 1:7, The same came for a witness, of the light, that ALL MEN through him might be saved. 

John 3:16, For God so loved the WORLD that he gave his only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 

Acts 22:15, For you shall be witnesses unto ALL MEN of what you have seen and heard. 

Romans 5:12, Wherefore as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin: and so death passed upon ALL MEN, for that all have sinned.

Romans 5:18, Therefore by the offense of one (Adam) judgment came upon ALL MEN to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one (Christ) the free gift came upon ALL MEN unto justification of life. 

Romans 8:32, He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up FOR US ALL, how shall he not give us all things. 

2 Corinthians 5:14-15, For the love of God constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died FOR ALL, then we are ALL dead. And he that died FOR ALL, which should not live unto themselves. 

2 Corinthians 5:19, God was in Christ reconciling the WORLD unto himself. 

2 Corinthians 9:13, While by experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection into the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto ALL MEN. 

Ephesians 3:9, And to make ALL MEN see what is the fellowship of the mystery from which from the beginning was hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ.  

1 Timothy 2:5-6, For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ who gave himself ransome FOR ALL. 

1 Timothy 4:10, For therefore we labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the savior of ALL MEN, especially those who believe. 

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

Hebrews 2:9, But we Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he by the grace of God should taste death for EVERY MAN.

Hebrews 10:10, By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once FOR ALL.

James 1:5, If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of god, that gives to ALL MEN liberally.

1 John 2:2, And he is the propititiation for our sin: and not only our sins but the sins of the WHOLE WORLD. 

1 John 5:4, For whatsoever or WHOSOEVER is born of God overcomes the world: and this is the victory that overcomes the world OUR FAITH. 

2 Peter 3:9, The Lord is not slack concerning his promises as some men count slackness; but is long suffering toward us, not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL MEN should come to repentance. 

But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for EVERYONE. Heb 2:9 

Struggling with Calvinisim? First off, do not allow a Calvinist or Arminian  to present you with a false dilema (either/or argument). There are other options out there like Molinism which offers a middle ground. The other option is to not make this your concern and simply trust Jesus with child-like faith. Nowhere is scripture does it say you must make this decision to be saved. 

Additional articles you may want to read or video you may want to watch.. 

http://www.heavensfamily.org/ss/calvinism

http://www.auburn.edu/~allenkc/openhse/calvinism.html

Craig (Molinism) vs Helm (Calvinism)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQWl-Ip_hfo



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