Recently I have been writing about the fallacies in the Calvinist doctrine. I have chosen to give time to this because one of the main commissions of the servants of GOD is to facilitate the uniting of the body of Christ by lifting up Truth. Christ prayed that the Father would set us apart by revealing the truth to us. As we accept the truth, we are united in one mind apart from the false (John17:16-17
). Only the seed of truth is capable of producing the likeness of Christ. My goal is not to pluck out the tares from the wheat but rather to identify the seeds that create tares. The doctrines of “Total Depravity” and “Unconditional Election” are tare producing elements in that they establish beliefs that are not sourced from the truth which inhibits them from producing righteous fruit. The main weapon Satan deploys against the children of GOD is darkness in the form of deception. The goal is to obscure the way back to GOD. The good news is that we live in the age where GOD is fulfilling His promise to expose ALL people to His truth for an equal opportunity to be saved from the oppression of Satan (Joel 2:28-31). Calvinism claims that the opportunity to be saved is only granted to an elect few and their election is a result of GOD’s choosing alone.
“Total Depravity” claims that before we are born again, we have no ability to choose good, yet the Lord throughout history has presented the lost with choices. The bible chronicles GOD presenting choices to the lost via His prophets and sometimes they choose good and sometimes they insisted on wrongdoing. The Assyrians of Nineveh chose to turn from evil at the preaching of Jonah, and they were not even considered GOD’s chosen (Matthew 12:41). GOD frees our mind from darkness by presenting the light of truth and even going a step further to designate the correct choice. This liberation to choose, along with a nudge in the right direction is a wonderful gift of His mercy and grace. It is true that without GOD availing us such opportunities we would have no choice but to remain captives of Satan’s deceptions. However, to say we are totally deprived of an ability to make good decisions before the quickening of the Holy Spirit is false. Even those still captive to Satan and in bondage to sin are capable of good decisions at times. Even demons are recorded in the bible asking GOD for mercy (Matthew 8:31). Before being filled with the Spirit of love we can make good decisions based on fear (Proverbs 16:6). The Spirit of love purifies our motives by renewing our heart and mind.
The problem has never been the ability to choose good, but rather the ability to become good after the likeness of GOD. It is only through becoming good even as our Heavenly Father is good that we are freed from domination by sin (Romans 6:6-11). People find it appealing when they are offered a chance to ditch liability for their actions deserving of penal consequences. In fact, Calvinism gives you the chance to ditch responsibility for all your actions with a free reward. This may seem like a great deal, but what if you live your life making the best choices you can, even confessing you believe in Christ only to find out in the end that you were not pre-selected for salvation. This is also a possibility with the doctrine of Calvinism. According to John Calvin, your will has nothing to do with it. GOD has always referred to Israel as well as the New Testament Church as a bride in marriage covenant, “Total Depravity” takes all of the romance and love relationship out of the reality of our history with GOD. The Lord speaks through the prophet Jeremiah that because He has loved Israel with an everlasting love, He has drawn them with loving kindness. This does not reflect an interaction with a people who have no will.
Calvinists misunderstand the meaning of predestination and have adopted the doctrine of “Unconditional Election.” Unconditional election refers to the belief that GOD has preselected who will enter heaven and who will go to eternal punishment based on His will alone and people are just born to go along for the ride. So, according to Calvinism, there are those chosen for greatness and those condemned to be used as examples of GOD’s wrath. It is not happenstance that this belief would come out of a tradition of imperialist, being embraced by the children of the Roman Empire and western imperialist. If you have ever wondered how someone could call themselves a reformed Christian while condoning slavery, inequality, and colonialism, believing that you are elite through election from GOD might be a hint. It brings to mind the phrase “manifest destiny,” which has been used to describe a supposed rightful and inevitable world domination of America, as a country ordained by GOD to bring civility and justice to the rest of the world. Those who resist America’s reforms are villainized and seen as getting their just dues when they taste the fruit of America’s military industrial complex. Men see a valley of dry bones and decide they are just refuse to be used anyway they choose (Ezekiel 37:1-12). It is a sin of presumption because GOD often chooses the discarded and lowly for His glory.
To understand predestination correctly consider this metaphor. You have a people you have ordained to arrive at a certain destination. You know they need your help, so you clear a path to make a way for them to travel and provide a guide to lead them there. You bid them to get on the path and follow the guide as the way you have preordained for their salvation. A wicked one comes along to subvert your plan by creating diverging paths at strategic points along the journey which lead to literal dead ends. You make people aware of this enemy with his sinister plan and tell people to stay on the path you have made and follow the guide you have provided no matter how narrow or how uncomfortable the path gets. The divergent paths of the enemy always promise a more pleasurable journey that is easier to travel however we have to remember they always lead to a dead end. Calvinism is such a path.
Own your decisions and give your utmost to follow Christ for He is the way, the truth, and the life. The path of salvation is not a journey to be navigated according to man’s reasoning. This journey can only be completed by abandon to GOD on the cross of self-denial, through faith and trust in His love through Christ.