In 2018, Lighthouse Trails published Bob Kirkland’s book Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy. Over the last number of years, the editors at Lighthouse Trails have grown increasingly troubled and dismayed to see how Calvinism has and continues to infiltrate today’s Christian churches, ministries, and colleges. If you do not understand what Calvinism really teaches, it would be a good idea to seek that understanding because sooner or later, it is going to affect your family, and the results could be devastating, especially for the younger members of your family.
Some people incorrectly think that the main premise of Calvinism is believing in eternal security and if you are not Calvinist, then you must not believe in eternal security for the believer (or in salvation solely by the grace of God and not of man’s merit). That is NOT what Calvinism is really all about. In fact, as Kirkland shows in his book, Calvinism does not offer the assurance of salvation at all, and it actually diminishes and cheapens the grace of God.
Some people also think that if you are not Calvinist, then you must be a so-called “Arminianist.” The fact is, there are many Christians (of which we are among them) who are neither Calvinist or Arminian. *See note below.
For the next seven days, Lighthouse Trails is offering Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy at 40% off retail (use code: CLVN). If you cannot afford to buy the book, please e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will send you a complimentary copy. Or you are welcome to print this and other articles about Calvinism from this site for your personal use and to share with friends and family (see print button above).
Below is chapter 3 of Bob Kirkland’s book, Calvinism: None Dare Call It Heresy.
“Calvinism: Changing the Meaning of Words to Promote a Theory”
By Bob Kirkland
The only way Calvinists can support their theory from the Bible is to alter the meaning of Bible words or take them out of context. When a Calvinist teaches “whosoever will,” he means whosoever “God wills.” Calvinist Arthur (A. W.) Pink (1886-1952), who “sparked a renewed interest in the exposition of Calvinism,”1 wrote, “The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only.”2 He said:
[T]he “world” in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people.3
When a Calvinist talks about the “sovereignty” of God, he has his own definition of the word sovereignty (as he does with the word depravity). Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary says that the sovereignty of God is “[H]is absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure.”4
God, in His sovereignty, in His absolute right to do all things according to His own good pleasure, has established some laws for mankind. For example, the Bible says, “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). God, in His sovereignty, has determined that the sinner who does not repent will not gain eternal life.
Considering that the word “sovereignty” is not in the Bible and considering the actual meaning of the word, rather than Calvin’s distorted meaning (which he needed to support his theory), we see God is no less sovereign because He, according to His own good pleasure, gives man a free will making him capable of repenting of his sin and receiving Christ as his Savior.
Again, when A. W. Pink said the “‘world’ in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people,” he continued, saying, “Must we say, for there is no alternative solution.”5 The dictionary says, a solution is, “an answer to a problem.” John 3:16 presents no problem unless you are a Calvinist needing a “solution” to support your theory. The way a Calvinist solves his problem is to simply change the meaning of words in the Bible and in the dictionary to mean what they need to mean to support their position.
Calvinist writers have made many declarations that God has decreed everything that would happen in this world, from Adam’s sin to the doom of billions of people in Hell. The only way they can maintain their theory is to change the words “world” and “whosoever” to “elect.” Since Calvinists can change these words in John 3:16, it must be all right to change these words in John 15:18-19.
USING THE CALVINISTIC “SOLUTION” IN JOHN 15:18-19
John 15:18-19 says:
If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
Using the Calvinist “solution” of changing the word “world” as they did in John 3:16 so that it means elect, John 15:18-19 now must read:
If the elect hate you, who are the elect, ye know that the elect hated me before the elect hated you who are elect. If ye elect were of the elect, the elect would love his own elect: but because ye elect are not of the elect, but I have chosen you elect out of the elect, therefore the elect hateth you elect who are elect.
No doubt, this is a foolish translation of the verse; however, it is no more foolish than the Calvinistic interpretation of John 3:16.
The word “world” is found over 240 times in the Bible. A few times, the Greek word obviously reveals different meanings; however, the word “world” never means Calvin’s so-called elect. Never! The only reason for rejecting the obvious simple-to-understand meaning of the words “whosoever” or “world” in John 3:16 is to support Calvin’s heresy.
ALL MEANS ALL
Joshua 6:3 says, “. . . all ye men of war.”
Psalm 31:23 says, “. . . all ye his saints.”
Psalm 31:24 says, “. . . all ye that hope in the LORD.”
Psalm 32:11 says, “. . . all ye that are upright in heart.”
Psalm 134:1 says, “. . . all ye servants of the LORD.”
Luke 13:27 says, “. . . all ye workers of iniquity.”
Romans 5:12 says, “. . . all have sinned.”
Galatians 3:8 says, “. . . all nations be blessed.”
Revelation 19:5 says, “. . . all ye his servants, and ye that fear him.” (emphasis added in the above verses)
Nobody argues that “all” means “all” in Romans 5:12 when it says, “. . . all have sinned.” The only reason to suggest “all” means something else in Acts 17:30, when God commands “all men every where to repent,” is because Calvinists need to change this to provide a “solution” to support their view.
Listen to the doubletalk of A. W. Pink when he says:
That God commandeth “all men” to repent is but the enforcing of His righteous claims as the moral Governor of the world.6
What Pink is saying here is that God is not sincere when he says “all men every where to repent,” but only saying it to show how righteous and moral He is.
Then Pink uses Acts 5:31 to say:
[T]his Scripture does not declare that it is God’s pleasure to “give repentance” (Acts 5:31) to all men everywhere.7
Let’s see what Acts 5:31 actually says:
Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
In this passage of Scripture, Peter and the apostles declared to the High Priest and Council that God had made Jesus a Prince and Savior bringing repentance and forgiveness of sins to Israel. Their audience was Jewish, and therefore, their speech pertained to the Jews they were addressing; however, they were not saying that the Jews were the only ones to be saved and forgiven.
But Pink uses this verse to support his theory that it is not God’s pleasure to “give repentance” to all men everywhere. In taking Acts 5:31 completely out of context, perhaps Pink did not realize that by trying to use this verse to fit his own theology, he was actually saying that only Jewish people will ever get saved. Hence, all Gentiles will end up in Hell. That would include Pink himself. And because there is ultimately no free will in Calvinism, there is nothing anyone can do about it.
MORE VERSES USING CALVINISM’S “SOLUTION” OF CHANGING OF WORDS
First John 2:2 says, “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world” (emphasis added). “Calvinist Solution”—And he is the propitiation for the sins of the elect: and not for the elect only, but also for the sins of the elect.
Ezra 8:22 says, “The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him.” “Calvinist Solution”—The hand of our God is upon all the elect for good that seek him; even though they have no free will to seek him, but his power and his wrath is against all the non-elect that forsake him, even though they are dead and have no free will to forsake him.
Psalm 10:4 says, “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God.” Psalm 11:6 says, “Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone.” “Calvinist Solution”—The wicked, who are not among God’s elect, through the pride of his countenance, pride that God put in his heart, cannot seek after God; however, even though God has withheld from the wicked non-elect the ability to seek after God, He shall rain snares, fire and brimstone.
Psalm 13:5 says, “But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.” “Calvinist Solution”—But I can’t trust in thy mercy because I am dead and therefore not capable of trusting; my heart can’t rejoice in thy salvation because I can’t trust in thy mercy and besides I do not have any assurance that you included me in your mercy.
CALVINISTS TEACH ALL MEN ARE TOTALLY DEPRAVED
It is true that all people have depraved and sinful natures, and no person merits salvation. However, the word “total” means, “entirely, to the full.” The word “depraved” means “morally corrupt.” To suggest that all people in the world are “totally immoral” is ridiculous. None of the neighbors on the street where I live confess to be saved, but that does not make them totally immoral. We must not forget that God has put a conscience in people so that we know or have a sense of right and wrong. Even an unsaved person can feel remorse and regret when he has done something wrong. If he was totally depraved, he would not have the capability to do that (see Romans 1: 19-20).
The Bible speaks again and again of some people who are more corrupt than others. Ezekiel 16:47 says, “[T]hou wast corrupted more than they in all thy ways.” Judges 2:19 says that they “corrupted themselves more than their fathers.” First Kings 16:25 says, “Omri . . . did worse than all that were before him.” Jeremiah 7:26 says, “[T]hey did worse than their fathers.”
However, we must remember that Calvinists have their own special meaning for words. To a Calvinist total depravity means “total inability.” The common dictionary meaning of inability is, not having the quality or state of being able to do something. Calvinism says that because all mankind is dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1-4), they cannot respond in any way to receive Christ as their Savior.
QUOTES FROM WELL-KNOWN CALVINISTS
A [spiritually] dead man . . . cannot exercise faith in Jesus Christ.8—Gordon H. Clark
The sinner . . . is utterly incapable of willing anything.9—A. W. Pink
A corpse does not cry out for help.10—Arthur Custance
[W]e have no more to do with our spiritual birth than we had with our natural birth.11—A.W. Pink
[E]ven if what he or she does is simply to repent and believe the gospel, God’s grace is seriously, albeit unwittingly, compromised.12—Sam Storms
[T]he sinner is of himself neither capable nor willing to receive that salvation.13—Herman Hoeksema
The Bible stresses the total inability of fallen man to respond positively to the law of God.14—Kenneth Talbot and Gary Crampton
[T]he sinner, of himself, cannot repent and believe.15—A.W. Pink
*LTRP Note: In Dave Hunt’s outstanding book What Love is This?, he shows that the terms Arminianist/Arminianism were essentially created by the Calvinist camp to quickly discredit non-Calvinists by saying they don’t believe in eternal security or in the grace of God for salvation.
- “Arthur Pink,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arthur_Pink.
- A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God (Blacksburg, VA: Wilder Publications, 2008), p. 160.
- Ibid., p. 163.
- M.G. Easton, Illustrated Bible Dictionary (New York, NY: Harper & Brothers, 1893, Scholar Select scanned edition), p. 641.
- A. W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, op. cit., p. 163.
- Ibid., p. 82.
- Gordon H. Clark, Predestination (Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, 1987), p. 102.
- A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, op. cit., p. 113.
- Arthur Custance, The Sovereignty of Grace (P & R Press; First Edition, 1979), p. 18; also at: http://www.custance.org/Library/SOG/Part_I/Chapter2.html#Page5.
- A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, op. cit., p. 57.
- Sam Storms, Chosen for Life: The Case for Divine Election (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, a ministry of Good News Publishers, revised and expanded edition, 2007), p. 77.
- Herman Hoeksema, Whosoever Will (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdman’s Publishing Company, First Edition 1945, reprinted 1973), p. 14.
- Kenneth Talbot and Gary Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism (Lakeland, FL: Whitefield Media Publishing, 3rd Edition, 1990), p. 40.
- A.W. Pink, The Sovereignty of God, op. cit., p. 120.
As a young Christian I was taught Calvinism and (at first being very afraid of “Losing my salvation” if I messed up) found “Once Saved Always Saved” a comfort.
However, after a few years and more knowledge of the Bible, I eventually came to the conclusion that the Bible doesn’t support Calvinism. Neither does it support Armenianism. These are man-made constructs invented to explain one of what the apostle Paul called “Mysteries”.
If God is love then it is impossible to force anyone to love Him. Forced love is not love. Therefore He MUST give us the choice to receive Him…or not. This IS grace, not works.
Dear Calvinists, It is very very dangerous to change even 1 Word in God’s Holy Bible. Sadly many people are doing this right now. The Heavenly Father sent His Holy Son Our Lord Jesus into this world to go to Calvary and shed his blood to take away our SINS. We repent from our sins and ask for forgiveness and trust Him as our Lord and savior. Lord be merciful a sinner. We cannot save ourselves. Salvation from our Lord Jesus Christ takes us to Heaven. Time is running out. Do not put it off.
Cheers, Theresa, for your book recommendations.
Thank you. There is another booklet I would love to see you publish, called The Faith of God’s Elect by John F Parkington. It explains the verses that mention the term election and puts it in the proper context. I think it would turn many a Calvinist around. I appreciate your ministry! Theresa Clay