In your last e-mail newsletter, you showed us the covers of three upcoming books. And I’m concerned about one of them. It’s Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy, which exposes some serious problems with Calvinism.
I am not a Calvinist. Not at all. I’ve seen some very serious problems with that over the years. My concern is for different reasons.
Can you name me even one denomination that is “safe” any more?
The Methodists used to be solid. But these days, there are literally witches in some Methodist pulpits—women pastors who went through witchcraft initiation rituals, and their woman bishop was there with them. And when asked if she was at that ritual, the bishop couldn’t remember because she’s been at so many of them.
I have a friend whose sister is a lesbian witch and a Lutheran pastor.
Washington National Cathedral (a large, prestigious Episcopal church) has been in bed with the Muslims for years now, and lets them meet in their church.
Calvary Chapel used to be sound, but now many Calvary Chapel churches are into the emergent nonsense.
The Mennonites are a little odd, but I love them because of their simple devotion to God. But now there are emergent Mennonites.
Most of the charismatic churches seem to have bought into the Latter Rain Movement or the Prosperity Gospel teachings or other crazy things.
The Baptists used to be solid. But of the two large Baptist churches in my area, one has classes in Catholic mysticism. The other has classes in “Christian” yoga and promotes The Shack and the “Red Letter Christians” (ignore anything in the Bible that isn’t in red letters).
We have churches of various denominations ordaining homosexual pastors and recognizing homosexual “marriage.” And now I heard of one church “celebrating” because their pastor made the transition from one gender to the other one.
There is a large, “successful” Baptist church here in __________ that denies the Atonement (that Jesus died for our sins).
There are so many pastors who have become atheists that they have a support group online. Their slogan is “Moving beyond faith.” Many (if not most) of them are still pastoring their churches in spite of being atheists.
It’s getting seriously crazy out there. And in the face of that, it might be better to avoid going after specific denominations like the Presbyterians.
At this point, I’m attending a Presbyterian church. I am not a Calvinist, and my pastor knows it. But this is a conservative church that believes the Bible and has the guts to preach about sin and things like that. And they do not push Calvinism from the pulpit. It’s in some of the Sunday school classes, but that’s all. I don’t identify myself in terms of denominations. I call myself a Bible-believing Christian.
If you publish that book about the Presbyterians, then that will turn away a lot of your readers who are Presbyterians. And that could be a large proportion of your readers because Presbyterians tend to be well-educated people who care about doctrine..
If you are sure that God wants you to publish that book, then you should do it. But please do some extra praying in order to really be sure about it.
Comments From Lighthouse Trails:
Thank you for your e-mail expressing your concerns. The fact is, we have prayed about this for many years, not about this particular book (Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy) but about the issue of Calvinism. And after several years of study and prayer, we truly have come to believe that God wants us to address this issue. We know there is going to be a price for it. Already one woman who has donated money to Lighthouse Trails for a number of years (which has been a real help to us) called after reading that we are going to be releasing this book on Calvinism and said she would not be able to send any more support if we publish the book. So please know, we don’t do this lightly, and we know we may pay a high price for it. But we have come to believe that the Calvinism gospel is not the Gospel at all because the view of election (which is the foundation of Calvinism) changes God into a “God” whose view of salvation takes on a cruel and non-benevolent nature.
This foundational view that God does not love the whole world or all people (and created most of them wanting to send them to hell) does not describe the God of the Bible. While Calvinists use a number of Scriptures to “prove” Calvinism, there are countless Scriptures that disprove the Calvinist view of election; and if a particular doctrine is refuted by Scripture itself, then there is something wrong with that doctrine. A few of those verses that disprove the Calvinist view of election are: John 3:16-17, 1 John 2:2, 2 Peter 3:9, Revelation 22:17, Romans 8:32, 1 Timothy 2:4, and 1 John 4:14. There are countless more.
People are often drawn to Calvinism because they think it offers an assurance of salvation, but once they fully understand its doctrines, they realize they are always left questioning if they are of the elect. While Calvinism seemingly promises an assurance of salvation, in living it out, it actually does the opposite because the Calvinist never knows for sure if he is one of the elect.
The Calvinist view has grown rapidly, partly because so many seminaries and Christian colleges have become Calvinist and are pumping out pastors, teachers, and authors into the church at a fast rate. We see that some Calvary Chapel churches have become Calvinist, and we have been told that over half of the Southern Baptist seminaries are now Calvinist. Frequently, we hear reports of churches, ministries, schools, or organizations that have turned toward Calvinism. Perhaps this is why God has led Lighthouse Trails down this precarious path to warn against it.
We do not want to hurt anyone. Our primary motivation in doing this is because we have seen so much damage that is happening to those in the Calvinist camp, in particular to the young people. We believe it is causing many young people to turn completely away from the Christian faith because they cannot fathom serving a monster God whose desire is to send most people to eternal damnation (even though they have, according to Calvinism, no free will to reject or choose God). We are also witnessing large numbers of Calvinist/Reformed leaders turning to the contemplative view, and we believe this is happening because Calvinism is not really about a relationship with the Lord – rather it is about having to make sure you are of the “elect.” And since there is no way with Calvinism to know for sure (even R.C. Sproul confessed this as you will read about in Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy), the Calvinist becomes very disillusioned and thus, when contemplative spirituality is introduced to him, he grabs hold of it because it soothes this inner despair and even terror. But what he does not realize is that this newfound contemplative experience is a dangerous substitute for the real life of Christ and will take him into deeper deception than ever before. If we did not issue this warning and remained silent because it is the easier thing to do, it would be like watching people drowning in a sea while we are in a lifeboat and could help them but didn’t.
So while we agree that most denominations are in trouble, we see Calvinism as far more than just a denomination (and the Presbyterians aren’t only one group that adheres to Calvinism) – it is a religion of its own. If indeed, our addressing Calvinism (when most do not dare to address it because they know they will come under severe attack) brings Lighthouse Trails down, we are comforted in knowing that we always stood for the Gospel and were willing to speak “bold as a lion” (Proverbs 28:1) even though we would be greatly harmed by doing so. We hope after you read this book, you will understand a little better why we are doing this.
Calvinism No More by former Calvinist Brenda Nickel
What Love is This? By Dave Hunt
And also this excellent sermon by the late Adrian Rogers