18 Comments

  1. David

    Just a word about the over emphasis on God’s Sovereignty in Calvinist circles. Occasionally I have read that “Calvinist believe God is so Sovereign that He even chooses our sins for us.” I dismissed this as some “anti-Calvinist” just venting in the extreme. Two years ago I attended an all day “counseling seminar” with some of the big names in Reformed circles. (by the way Reformed people do tend to do personal Biblical Counseling well) At one of the plenary sessions it was stated bold faced that God chooses our sins for us! I was shocked!!! The whole group session ended and the men left for the library to meet. In the men’s meeting I sat next to a man from my Baptist church and asked him if he was Reformed, he confirmed he was. So I could not resist, I asked him, “How is it that God is so Sovereign that He chooses our sins for us?” He absolutely refused to talk to me about it. He could have said several things to defuse that candid moment of Reformed doctrine coming out into the open. “no, you misunderstood,” “no, that particular speaker is a bit fringe,” “no, that is not main line Reformed Theology.” I myself do believe the God of the Bible is sovereign, I do not believe the Bible teaches that God chooses my sins for me.

    • My Calvinist pastor says “How can God ‘ordain’ (Calvinists always mean ‘preplan and cause’) our sin but not be responsible for it? How can we still be held accountable it?”

      His answer: “I don’t know, but I have to accept it because the Bible teaches both things. We don’t have to understand it, we just have to accept it. Besides, God’s ways are so far above our understanding. Who are we to question Him!?!” (said with an attitude of “look how humble I am to accept such difficult, confusing teachings without needing to understand them. You should be this humble too.”)

      To me, that is cult-like manipulation. I think if their theology teaches that God causes our sins and unbelief but punishes us for them, that He created most people to go right to hell, and that Jesus only died for a few people … they had better understand why they believe that! Because they will have to answer to God for it in the end.

      What a horrible assault on God’s character and Gospel truth! And it can’t/shouldn’t be explained away with “Oh, we can’t understand it, so we just have to accept it.”

      You’re right that God is sovereign. But it’s the Calvinist definition of it that’s wrong. But they sucker a lot of people into Calvinism with “Is God sovereign or are you?”, forcing you to say God is sovereign, which is true. But sadly, no one thinks to question their definition of sovereign. And many good Christians unwittingly get sucked in, manipulated into…

  2. Chas

    It’s great to see an article on LHT that directly confronts not only Calvinism, but also Lordship “Salvation” specifically with its contemporary poster children John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul.

    I never regarded myself as a Calvinist, but over the years I had tacitly adopted several Calvinist ideas which led me to the same internal conflicts and lack of assurance of salvation that plagued Ms. Nickel. Then, I had to deal with additional errors that gave Lordship “Salvation” it’s legalistic power. One key error with LS is a complete misunderstanding of “repentance” in salvation; that it means “turning from sin” as J-Mac would put it. It does not. It means changing one’s mind about one’s need for salvation. (The article would have been more complete if Ms. Nickel had dealt with that issue.)

    One thing in the article that confused me is the mention of “Free Grace”:

    …my investigation showed this unconventional teaching to be a peculiar blend of modified Calvinism and dispensationalism.

    Uh, WHAT? Free Grace is a doctrinal view that rejects Calvinism and all its “points”. In fact, anyone coming from a Free Grace perspective would agree completely with what Ms. Nickel has asserted about Calvinism and LS. So, I don’t know where that part of the article is coming from. Maybe Ms. Nickel got into some Calvinist’s lame “explanation” of Free Grace that actually misrepresents it.

    Anyway, the rest of the article…

  3. Jeffry

    Another well-timed article and comments about Calvinism in these dark days. Lectures on Romans by H.A. Ironside was a great help to me. Romans chapter 15:4 stresses the importance of Old Testament Scripture. Link it with First Corinthians 10:6,11. “All Scripture is not about me, but all Scripture is for me”.

  4. AP

    I am a Christian 1st, a Calvinist 2nd. Those who have commented on their experiences in a Calvinistic church have been in churches that were in error. To place emphasis on election is all wrong. Our emphasis should always be on our Lord and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ and His work on the cross. Our eyes should be on Him not on whether someone is elect or not. Quite frankly, I couldn’t finish this woman’s testimony, she was so focused on election.

    There will be Calvinists in Heaven and some Calvinists won’t be. If a church preaches Christ, salvation through His work on the cross, His Being fully God, fully man, the 2nd person of the Trinity and His 2nd coming, the Creator of all things, basic Beliefs of the Christian faith, then that is my brother or sister in Christ and we will see each other in Heaven. There is error in EVERY church because we are human and only in Heaven is there perfection. We do need to point out error and I have always enjoyed this website for that reason. If a Calvinistic church believes in Christ’s work, His shed blood alone for salvation, not works ( though true Christians have works), then perhaps you need to be more careful in how you present Calvinism.

    • Dear AP,
      Without “Election,” there would be no Calvinism. It’s as vital to Calvinism as the Mass and the Eucharist are to Catholicism. We believe Ms. Nickel did a very accurate job in describing Calvinism, and we hope and pray that many reading her testimony will be able to understand Calvinism’s dangers and come out of it.

      • AP

        Thanks Lighthouse Trail editors for the reply. First I would also like to add to the list of things surely believed by Christians is the virgin birth of Christ. Without that He would have been fully man and not God and his shed blood would not have saved anyone.

        Election is Biblical, Eph 1:4, 1 Pet 1:2, overemphasizing it is not. That is what I was trying to say in my previous post but I see it didn’t come across that way. I also was trying to say that the Doctrines of Grace when taught correctly are good and not heresy. Satan corrupts everything there is and much error is taught with the doctrine of election but we’re not to sit back because we think we’re one of the elect. We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling as the Apostle Paul said.

        • CW

          Dear AP,
          So how does one know if he or she has been “elected” to be saved, or not?

          Christ Jesus said, “Whosoever will may come.”

          The Lord also said, “For God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

          Yes, the Lord foreknew who would receive His free offer of salvation, and those who would not. But He has made it clear that He has given people free will to receive Him, or not.

          As He says in His Word, God IS Love.

        • Election is biblical. Calvinism’s view of it is not (that God elected certain people to be saved, Jesus died only for them, and no one else can be saved). Jesus died for all, and all can be saved if we put our faith in Him.

          In 1 Peter 1:1-2, the KJB doesn’t call people “elect” but “strangers.” (According to the concordance, it’s those wandering a strange land.) The NIV clarifies “elect” means “exiles,” those scattered in different lands. But the ESV (a Calvinist Bible) calls them “elect exiles,” sounding like they were elected for heaven. But the verse doesn’t say that. It says they are elect according to God’s foreknowledge (of who will believe) for “obedience to Jesus,” by sanctification through the Spirit. Believers are destined for sanctification, to grow in obedience with the Spirit’s help. It’s NOT that certain people are chosen to believe. (I also think it means that generation was chosen to be the first to get saved through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, instead of the Law.)

          Eph. 1:4 says that those “in him” are chosen to be holy/blameless, not “chosen for salvation.” Eph 1:13 says “believing” gets us included “in him.” Those who believe in Jesus are destined to be holy/blameless. Eph 1:5 says we are “predestined to be adopted as sons.” According to Romans 8:23, that means “the redemption of our bodies,” not “elected to salvation.”

          Election is biblical. Calvinism’s definition of it is not, to their detriment.

        • AP, I say this stuff out of genuine care and love, not in harshness or to “scold.” I know firsthand the hopelessness and spiritual “deadness” Calvinism produces in people, how it leaves your soul starving and suffocating the longer you listen to it. I know how Calvinism manipulates people, making them feel they have to accept it to be a humble Christian, how it shames them into thinking they are disagreeing with God if they disagree with it.

          I believe Calvinism is “Satan disguised as an angel of light,” that it uses God’s Word against Him. Question it thoroughly. Do not accept it just because Calvinists call it “the Gospel” and shame those people who disagree. Most Calvinists do not become Calvinists simply by reading the Bible alone. They have to be taught to find Calvinism in the Bible by other Calvinists. This is a huge “red flag.” Any theology that adds other layers to what the Bible plainly says, as Calvinism does (which ends up contradicting the plain, simple teachings of the Bible) should be alarming.

          The Gospel is for everyone, for the simplest, youngest person. But Calvinism is for the highly educated, who go through months of study to learn the “mysteries” of their theology. Calvinists are like the religious elite of Jesus’s day who were highly educated yet missed the Truth when He was standing right in front of them. As Kevin (at Beyond the Fundamentals) says about Calvinism: “It takes a lot of education to be that stupid.”

    • Calvinism wrongly defines “election.” This is why EVERY Calvinist church is in error, no matter how much they emphasize their view of election or downplay it. They also have wrong views of …

      … God’s sovereignty [Sovereignty is about God being the highest authority/power there is, not about how He has to use His authority/power. But Calvinists have decided that God has to ALWAYS use His power ALL THE TIME to control EVERYTHING – every speck of dust, every sin, every thought we have and decision we make – or else He can’t be God. I doubt God will take kindly to being told how He has to use His authority/power in order to be considered God.]

      … predestination [The path a believer takes after putting their faith in Jesus is predestined – one of obedience, bringing God glory, reaching glory in the end, etc., not whether or not someone becomes a believer.]

      … who God loves and how God shows His love and who Jesus died for [Calvi-god only really loves the elect and Calvi-Jesus only died for the elect.]

      … how we get to heaven (In the Bible, salvation is available for all and anyone can believe, but in Calvinism, it’s only for the elect and God has to cause you to believe), etc.

      Calvinism is not just a “deeper understanding” of the Gospel (as Calvinists want you to believe); it is a wrong, unbiblical understanding of the Gospel. It is a different Gospel. Therefore, it will always be in error, regardless of how much of their wrong theology… no matter how much of their wrong theology they reveal or hide.

      • john J

        A great comment, Heather. Should one care to think about “hellvinism,” it is clear who and what the author/fake father of that anti-biblical diversion is.

    • Jeffry

      Dear AP: we believe that faith is a gift of God, and that it is not according to man’s will or by Human power. We believe that not a single soul would ever come to Christ if not drawn/compelled by divine grace so to do and therefore all who are saved have to thank the free and sovereign grace of God for it. Not as part of a certain system of doctrine, but as the revealed truth of God. But, on the other hand, we believe in the solemn truth of man’s moral responsibility, as plainly taught in scripture, though we do not find it amongst what are called “the 5 points of the faith of “Gods elect”. We believe these points as far as they go; But they are very far from containing the faith of Gods elect. A few examples: Where do we find the heavenly calling? The Church as the Body of Christ? Not a syllable about the real position of the Church-it’s calling, standing, hopes and privileges and Israel’s future?Promises to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and David? The whole body of prophetic teachings subjected to a system of spiritualizing. It would be better if we set aside the systems of theology and schools of divinity, and come like a little child to the eternal fountain of Holy Scripture, and there drink in the living teachings of Gods Spirit. The elect should thank God everyday for saving our souls. What Love.

    • Janice McKenzie

      Calvinists are brainwashed. I am very sad that my Reformed friends believe this heresy. Every time I try to talk with a Calvinist, including pastors, they say the Gospel is the most important issue and all other issues are secondary. When I challenge them to let’s sit down with the Word and let’s go word by word, they want nothing of it. What about studying and believing the WHOLE counsel of God? I wonder how many people realize that Luther, at the end of his life, despised Jews and was responsible for many being killed and that Hitler used Luther’s writings to justify antisemitism. I could write for pages about this false teaching because I, too, attended a Reformed church. Many Reformed pastors don’t have the courage to say upfront that they are Calvinists and put it on their church websites. Or, maybe they are just sneaky. This is how they slowly brainwash their congregants. It is never God’s will that any go to hell and God, through Jesus Christ, provided his beautiful GRACE for all who choose to believe.

      • Janice, I agree. Many pastors don’t admit they are Calvinists because they know it will alarm people. And I think because if they called it “Calvinism” then people would be able to research it for themselves. But if they don’t name it (just calling it “biblical doctrine”) then people won’t know it has a name and so they won’t be able to look it up.

        And yes, they are sneaky too. I read of a 7-point (or 5-point, can’t remember) Calvinist pastor who – when he was asked flat-out if he was a Calvinist and told he wouldn’t be hired if he was – played games with the word “Calvinist” to hide the fact that he was one. And he was hired, all because he played word games with their definition of Calvinist. It’s so wrong.

        Also, another “game” they play: Calvinists will agree with you that God’s saving grace is for all who “choose” to believe. But they hide the fact that they believe only the elect can/will choose to believe because Calvi-god gives them – and only them – the desire/ability to choose to believe. So it sounds like they’re saying anyone can choose to believe, but they are really saying “Only the elect can/will choose to believe.”

        It’s sick how much manipulation and word games they play. That alone should make people wonder about who is behind such deception. Because we all know who the father of lies is, and it’s not the God of the Bible.

  5. GJ

    Raised as a Catholic… leaving to fall into some Calvanistic views and replacement theology through the legalistic Worldwide Church of God… leaving to fall into positive minded gurus of new-age occult gurus of Nightingale Conant publishers… leaving into the hyper-grace of Joseph Prince and charismatic faith healers – I’ve been “around the block”.

    Your writing on the deceptions and some of the authors on Lighthouse have helped clear my mind up. This has led me deeper into the Old Testament… the Books of the Prophets. I ‘m getting to know who the God of Israel is… which is dispelling the myths propagated by these movements and the arrogant New Apostolic… “new” way to reach God (or is it… I’m a god)… I have a dream… I have a “peace” plan… given to change… deception.

    Then to see Jesus Christ and the Apostles went back to the same Old Testament… the books of the Prophets… to teach us about the Gospel of the Kingdom of God… to give testimony of the Salvation of our Lord, Savior, and Redeemer… Jesus Christ… and the will of the Father for mankind, that He Will accomplish. Sadly, few will choose… not by God’s choice, but man’s. Ezekiel 18:23-24,30-32

    Proverbs 24 20 For there will be no future for the evil man; The lamp of the wicked will be put out.21 My son, fear the Lord and the king; Do not associate with those who are given to change, 22 For their calamity will rise suddenly,And who knows the ruin that comes from both of…

  6. I am thankful people like her share their stories of Calvinism. I linked to her story on my blog too. For anyone interested, I share my experience with Calvinism at anticalvinistrant.blogspot.com, look for the “We left our church because of Calvinism (Things my Calvinist pastor said)” posts. And thank you, Lighthouse Trails, for spreading the truth about Calvinism and its dangers.

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