What a Mess!
Calvinism... Arminianism... Hyper-Calvinism?
By David J. Stewart
What a Mess! In the Calvinism vs. Hyper-Calvinism vs. Arminianism debate, who is correct? Trying to study these different doctrines can be like riding a merry-go-round in circles. It is fair to note that in the diversity of the Body of Christ, there are all sorts of mixtures of Calvinism and Arminianism. There are five point Calvinists and five point Arminians, and at the same time three point Calvinists and two point Arminians. Many believers arrive at some sort of mixture of the two views.
To complicate matters further, not all Calvinists hold the same beliefs. And not all Arminians hold the same beliefs. Some Armenians believe in eternal security, others do not; but James Arminius didn't. Since Arminius was the origin of Arminianism, it seems ridiculous that someone who believes in eternal security would call them self an "Arminian." This whole matter is one big mess!!!
In the words ahead, I want to give you the Word of God, nothing else. We are NOT supposed to allow men's doctrines to steer us away from the Truth of God's Word. A good Bible teacher or preacher will always steer us towards Christ and the Word of God, NOT away from It. The Apostle Paul was a mature man of God. The carnal believers in the church of Corinth were in a similar situation as many of today's believers, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name" -1st Corinthians 1:10-15. I am NOT an Arminian or a Calvinist, I am a born again Christian! Let this be our stand!
Also, let me say that there's NOT a dime's difference in my opinion between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism, they're BOTH from Hell. BOTH Calvinists are Hyper-Calvinists all believe the basic heresies of Calvinism. It is truly tragic that so many people are arguing over religion, while the Lord is ignored. Are we supposed to follow the teachings of ANY man? No, we are commanded to obey God's Word. Romans 3:4 declares, "...let God be true, but every man a liar..." The ongoing battle between Calvinists, Hyper-Calvinists and Arminians is a repeat of the problem which Paul faced with the carnal believers of Corinth. "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you. Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name" -1st Corinthians 1:10-15. I am NOT an Arminian or a Calvinist, I am a born again Christian! Both men taught heresies amongst the truth, just as all lies of the Devil are presented. Please read John Calvin Exposed.
The truth of the matter is that there are problems with all three views: Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism, and Arminianism. Arminius comes closest to Biblical theology, but is woeful wrong to deny the eternal security of the believer. The doctrines of Calvinism are all flawed. Hyper-Calvinism may be extreme, but the non-extreme's of Calvinism are heretical enough. Hyper-Calvinists are nothing less than staunch five-point Calvinists. Spurgeon was a Baptist preacher, but was only a one-point Calvinist. Spurgeon believed that "whosoever will" could be saved, which negates the first three doctrines of Calvinism. Spurgeon believed in eternal security, but he did not believe in Lordship Salvation as Calvin did.
On the "Depravity of Man" and "Unconditional Election"
We are all Hell-deserving sinners (Romans 3:10,23;6:23; Revelation 21:8). Man certainly is totally depraved without God when he is born (Psalm 51:5). However, mankind is NOT born with "original sin" as so many corrupted theologians are teaching today. Yes, mankind is born with a "sin-nature" handed down from the sin of Adam (Romans 5:12), but there is a vast difference between the Biblical teaching on the sin-nature and the demonic teaching of original sin. Catholics and Lutherans teach that infant baptism forgives the baby of "origin sin" that was inherited from Adam. The Catholics for centuries (until Pope Ratzinger changed the doctrine in 2005) taught that unbaptized children could not enter into Heaven. How foolish and unbiblical to teach that an innocent child could not enter Heaven.
The concept of original sin is demonic. We are NOT held accountable for Adam's sin, but we suffer because of his sin. Adam opened a Pandora's box when he chose to sin which caused man to die spiritually (Romans 5:12). God told Adam and Eve that they would die the very day they ate of the forbidden fruit, but they didn't die when they ate the fruit (Genesis 2:17). Why didn't they die? They did die, but it was a spiritual death; not physical. Thus, every human being born into this world since Adam has been born spiritually dead, void of God. When a man is "born again," his dead spirit is made alive by God's Holy Spirit.
It is the damnable heresy of original sin that spawned the heretical practice of "infant baptism" (baptizing babies). Although Catholics are traditionally associated with this woeful heresy, many protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin bought into the same lie of Satan. As a tragic result, Lutherans, Presbyterians and many others are practicing the unbiblical heresy of infant baptism. You can't show me one instance in the Word of God where a child was baptized, or where anyone was sprinkled. Only converts were baptized, and it was always by complete immersion into the water.
Calvin misunderstood the Word of God. The Bible does indeed teach that it is IMPOSSIBLE for mankind to save himself. Mark 10:25-27 reads, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. And they were astonished out of measure, saying among themselves, Who then can be saved? And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible). Yet, the Word of God also proclaims that "whosoever will" (anyone) can get saved, a view that Calvinists and Hyper-Calvinists do NOT hold. Romans 10:13 plainly teaches, "For WHOSOEVER shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." It is certainly Biblical that salvation is absolutely 100% of God.
We read in John 6:44, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day." But for Calvinists and Hyper-Calvinists to teach that God is "selective" in choosing who will or won't be saved is certainly NOT Biblical. Titus 2:11 clearly teaches, "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men." Did you read that...ALL men? Calvin believed that only certain sinners of God's choosing would be saved. Romans 10:13 plainly teaches that "WHOSOEVER" will may come to be saved (and Arminius believed this). John 3:16 proclaims that God loved the WORLD enough to send His only begotten Son to pay for our sins. Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism are wrong to teach that God chooses who will be saved.
John Calvin taught heresy when he taught that God chooses people to be saved. There is NOT one Scripture in the entire Word of God which teaches that God chooses anyone to be saved. The Bible teaches that all believers were predestined to "be conformed to the image of His Son," NOT predestined to salvation ("For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" -Romans 8:29). Calvinism teaches predestination unto salvation. This is unbiblical. God NEVER chooses anyone for salvation, Scriptures such as Acts 17:30 make this abundantly clear ("...but now commandeth all men every where to repent"). Why would God command ALL men to repent if only certain men have been chosen for salvation.
There really is NO debate concerning Arminianism, Calvinism, and Hyper-Calvinism if you simply take the Word of God at face value...they're all messed up! The Bible is so clear on all these matters. There are problems with all three views. Arminianism is wrong to teach that a person can lose salvation. Romans 5:15 declares that eternal life is a "FREE GIFT." A gift CANNOT be taken back if it is freely given. Salvation is God's gift to man, paid for by the blood of Jesus (Romans 6:23; Colossians 1:14). Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism teach "limited atonement" and "selective salvation," which are both Satanic lies. 1st John 2:2 couldn't be any clearer, "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Calvinism is unbiblical heresy!
On "Limited Atonement" and "Irresistible Grace"
The Bible teaches universal atonement. Like it or not, the Word of God is our Final Authority, NOT Spurgeon or any other man. 1st John 2:2 reads, ""And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." 2nd Corinthians 5:15, "And that he died for all..." We read in 1st Timothy 1:15, "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. The Word of God proclaims that Christ came to save sinners, not just certain sinners.
Listen to the plain teaching of 2nd peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." This Scripture clearly reveals that it is possible for ALL men to repent. God is NOT willing for any to perish. If Calvinism is correct, then how can you reconcile God's desire for all men to repent if He only predestinates certain of them to salvation? Calvinism makes no sense at all.
Furthermore, God never forces anyone to be saved. Not one instance in the Word of God is found where God forced anyone to get saved. Again, Titus 2:11 declares that the grace of God that brings salvation appears to ALL humanity. Psalm 19:1-3 clearly teaches that nature itself testifies of the goodness of God. Romans 1:20 teaches that God's eternal power and Godhead are CLEARLY presented in God's creation.
Therefore, all men are without excuse. The Door of salvation is open to all, and that Door is Jesus Christ. Anyone may enter, but God will NOT force a man to be saved. Calvin taught heresy. Jesus clearly exposes the lie of irresistible grace when he said in John 5:40, "And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." Jesus said, "ye WILL NOT"; He didn't say, "ye CANNOT!"
"...God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth." -1st Timothy 2:3-4
On the "Perseverance of the Saints" and "Eternal Security"
In Calvin's commentary on 1st John 3:9, he uses the word "perseverance", clearly stating:
"the hearts of the godly are so effectually governed by the Spirit of God, that through an inflexible disposition they follow his guidance." (John Calvin)
"the power of the Spirit is so effectual, that it necessarily retains us in continual obedience to righteousness." (John Calvin)
This is NOT eternal security. Rather Perseverance of the Saints is a perseverance in a behavior consistent with that expected of a child of God. However, Calvin failed to accept the FACT that believers DO sin, sometimes horribly so. Sometimes believers go into a life of sin and never get right with God. Their fellowship with God is broken, but their relationship is not. David committed adultery and then killed the woman's husband. David was unrepentant for one year. If David would have died in that unrepentant state, he would have gone straight to Heaven, NOT Hell as Calvin taught. Fortunately for David, he did repent.
However, Solomon lived a wicked life of rebellion against God until the end. Calvin's teachings are nonsense. Calvin's teachings are indeed a form of Lordship Salvation. There is much confusion on the last point of Calvinism. Some people believe that Calvin taught unconditional eternal security. Others believe that Calvin taught eternal security conditioned upon the perseverance of the believer. Clearly, from Calvin's own statements, he believed in Lordship Salvation, that a believer cannot simply trust Christ to be saved, but that a life of commitment and perseverance was also necessary as proof of conversion.
These are damnable heresies. Although the Bible does teach that a man becomes a new creature in Christ when he is regenerated at Salvation, we cannot always judge that salvation from the outward appearance. Lot by all appearances was an unsaved heathen, but God called Him a righteous man (2nd peter 2:7). There are many believers who willfully live in sin, but that DOESN'T mean that they aren't saved. The critics who deny this truth are adding works to salvation.
"As shocking as it may seem for many Bible-believing Christians, when all is said and done, there is no practical difference between Romanism, Arminianism, and Calvinism in requiring faithful perseverance to make it to heaven!"
Read Full article | Pastor Tom Stegall
Arminius did NOT believe in eternal security at all. Many believers foolishly call themselves "Arminians." Even if I agreed with most of the points of Arminius (which I do), I would never call myself an "Arminian" because the Bible teaches us not to, as I'll show you from the Bible in the next section. I would never identify myself with any other sinful human being (and all have sinned, Romans 3:23). Although I greatly admire and respect some godly men, the Lord Jesus and His Word are my Final Authority (as it should be everyone's).
EVERY cult is based upon the teachings of some man or woman. The Jehovah Witnesses follow Charles Taze Russell, the Mormons follow Joseph Smith, the Seventh-Day Adventists follow Ellen G. White, the Christian Scientists follow Mary Eddy Baker, the Scientologists follow Herbert Armstrong, the Lutherans follow Martin Luther, the Roman Catholics follow the Pope, and on and on! I follow Jesus Christ (the Living Word) and the Word of God (the Written Word). Let us not make the same mistake as the heathen by basing our doctrines upon the opinions of mere men. Let the Word of God and God's Holy Spirit be our Final Guide.
All 5 points of Calvinism are totally contrary to the plain teachings of the Bible, as is Arminius' heresy on the believer's security in Christ. Let us be diligent to "study" the Word of God as to rightly divide the Word of Truth and NOT be ashamed ("Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," 2nd Timothy 2:15).
The Heart of the Matter
It is woefully tragic that so many professed believers are making the same mistake which the Apostle Paul rebuked the believers at Corinth of making, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ. Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul? I thank God that I baptized none of you, but Crispus and Gaius; Lest any should say that I had baptized in mine own name" -1st Corinthians 1:10-15. I am NOT an Arminian or a Calvinist, I am a born again Christian! Let this be our stand!
John Calvin Exposed! | Arminianism
Introduction to Calvinism | Was Spurgeon a Calvinist?
Calvinism and Baptists | Why I Disagree with All 5 Points of Calvinism
Not Chosen To Salvation (An excellent online book by Pastor Max D. Younce, Th.D.)