i am predestined to not believe in calvinism, part two

Posted: June 23, 2010 in Christianity, Theology
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

I am currently discussing a few of the problems I have with the doctrine of Calvinism. Let me take this chance to say that I love my Calvinist brothers and sisters in Christ. The point of these posts are not to be combative. If I am attacking something, it is the doctrine and not the people that adhere to it. I wanna be really clear on that. I personally see this doctrine as very damaging to the Christian faith because of how it reflects on the character of God (more on that in a second) and this is why I feel justified bringing up these points in a public forum.  I have already discussed my first two points in part one – 1) the predestination of events is illogical and 2) many of the proof texts used to defend Calvinism (particularly the doctrine of election) are taken out of context.  Here are a few other problems I have:

3) Calvinism Ignores the Simplicity of the Gospel. Lets not pretend the doctrine of election is an easy, obvious and intuitive thing. I’d like to hypothesize that no new Christian in the history of Christianity has ever read their Bible and come away with the notion that God picks and chooses the individuals who get saved. That doctrine must be taught. If there are any Calvinists reading this – think back to when you first got saved. Did you believe in Calvinism or was it taught to you after the fact? I’d be willing to bet that you either heard it or read it from someone else – you didn’t discover it on your own through scripture alone. The TULIP acronym is not in the Bible – its a man-made system of interpreting the Bible. Listen folks, the gospel is not rocket science and it doesn’t require a system to explain it. The most basic verses we teach our children in Sunday school about salvation fly in the face of Calvinism. John 3:16,17“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Now, if verse 16 read “For God so loved [the elect] that He gave…that [those Whom He decided] should believe in Him should not perish…” I would adhere to divine election. If verse 17 said “…but that [the elect] through Him [must] be saved” then I’d adopt it as my theological view. But it doesn’t. So I don’t. It’s much easier than we make it.

4) Calvinism characterizes God as a bipolar psychopath. I promise I’m not intentionally trying to stir anyone up here. But I firmly believe that if you follow the doctrine of election to is logical conclusion, you have a mean, hateful god who creates humans for the sole purpose of killing them. See, I don’t have a problem with the idea that God chooses us. It is a beautiful, scriptural picture of His mercy and grace towards us. I just think He corporately chose everyone through the cross, not just some. The problem is, if God does in fact  choose some individuals for salvation, then He –  as a logical consequence of that action – is thereby also condemning everyone He doesn’t choose. You can’t select some of a whole without deselecting the rest of that whole.  So if you believe God is choosing who gets saved then you must also believe God is choosing who does not get saved. And since God created us of His on volition (did any of you ask to be born?), then it follows that He purposefully created some (maybe even most) for the express purpose of taking pleasure in killing them. Sorry, but that’s repulsive. If a human does that we call them a psychopath and put them in prison – yet we esteem it as a characteristic of God? How dare we malign the character of God this way!

To illustrate this point I want to use an analogy: A man owns an apartment building filled with tenants. The owner decides due to the failing structure of the building, he must demolish it. He knows that all of the people inside the building will die when it’s demolished so he sends his son to place a notice on each person’s door and tells them that in the very near future their apartment building will be destroyed. They must move out quickly because they won’t know when it will happen. Once destruction begins, they will die if they haven’t moved. About half of them heed the notice and move out immediately. The owner knew they wouldn’t all move out because some of them had already determined within their heart that the owner wasn’t real. Others didn’t believe that it was the owner’s son who was putting up the notices. Still others would intend to move out but put it off because they were distracted with their own lives and hoped to beat the clock. The time comes for demolition and the apartment building is blown up and the tenants who had not moved out are killed. The tenets who moved out and the owner are all very sad because it was a tragic and pointless loss – the tenets had been warned but didn’t listen. The tenets who heeded the voice of the owner are so grateful and thank him for letting them know about the demolition. He didn’t have to tell them – it’s his building and he could’ve done what he wanted with it. But he is a merciful and loving owner and warned them all because didn’t want any of them to perish.

That was the Arminian/free will view of salvation. Obviously the owner is God, the son is Jesus, the tenets are the human race and apartment building is the world.

Here is the Calvinist view of salvation by election using the same analogy:
A man owns an apartment building full with tenants. The owner decides due to the failing structure of the building, he must demolish it. He knows that all of the people inside the building will die when it’s demolished and although he could warn them all and give them a chance to leave, he knows many of them wouldn’t heed his warning anyway. Instead, he sends his son to randomly choose some tenants and force them to move out against their will. There is no rhyme or reason to who he chooses to tell about the demolition. Don’t question this process. The owner can do whatever he wants. Next, the owner’s son not only ignores the unlucky tenants who weren’t randomly selected to be moved out, but he locks them in their apartment buildings and boards the doors so they can’t escape death even if they wanted to. This ensures their demise. The time comes for demolition and the apartment building is blown up and the tenants that the owner had locked inside are all killed. No one is sad at the loss of life. On the contrary, it is to be commended as the owner has demonstrated his absolute power. The tenants who were chosen to live thank the owner for sparing them. He didn’t have to force them out – it’s his building and he could’ve done what he wanted. But he is a powerful owner and demonstrates this by choosing who lives and who dies.

Yeah its not a perfect analogy. But I ask you, which building owner more closely mirrors the heart of God as revealed in the Bible? Which son in the analogy better describes the cross of Christ and Jesus’ provision and way of escape for you?  To me, its obvious.

I John 2:17 “And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”

  1. Hey man! Great couple posts articulating your difficulty with this theological system. Even myself, being Reformed, still have trouble with some things. You should check out our blog: reformedkid.wordpress.com We are currently writing up an exposition of Romans 9. Something you may be interested in. Maybe it will ease some of your frustration or fuel it, not really sure.

  2. God gives life; God takes life away. He once flooded the entire world killing almost all humans and animals. His ways are not our ways. He is OUR judge. YOU are not HIS judge.

    John Lofton, Editor, TheAmericanView.com
    Communications Director, Institute on the Constitution
    Host, “TheAmericanView” radio show
    Recovering Republican

    • Jamie says:

      John, I agree with all of the above statements you made. I am not judging God. I may be judging the false god Calvinism produces and I have that right since I feel the god of Calvinism is not the God of the Bible. If you’d like to point out an inaccuracy in my post and back that up with scripture, please feel free. Otherwise, lets try not to insinuate things about each other.

  3. Fisher says:

    There’s still a lot of misunderstandings from what I can see here. I don’t know what this “false god Calvinism produces” you are referring to is, but I strongly doubt it’s what we actually believe about God.

    I will eventually write up a response to this post as well (and part 3, once that is up), though it will take a while since I have a lot of things to keep me busy.

    For now though, seeing as you appear to be more open-minded than many other Arminians I’ve come up against in the past, I would like to recommend to you a few books that will help clarify things a little more. I am offering to you three free e-books, and I’m hoping that you are open enough to read through them and understand what the authors’ position really is (regardless of whether or not you agree with it).

    Here they are. My recommendation is to read them in the order that I listed them in:

    Charles Spurgeon – A Defence of Calvinism

    Loraine Boettner – The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination

    Jonathan Edwards – Freedom of the Will

    In addition, I also recommended to you two books on the relationship between Reformed theology and evangelism before. If you have a few bucks to spare, you can get them here:

    J.I. Packer – Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God

    Charles Spurgeon – The Soul Winner

    I’m going to be busy on some stuff pertaining to Islam vs. Christianity, so I don’t know when I’ll get my response to this done. But I hope to hear from you soon.

    • Jamie says:

      I’ll check some of these resources out. Thanks for the links.
      To clarify, what I mean by “the false god Calvinism produces” is that Calvinism seems to set up a situation – whether intended or not – where God is both A and non-A. When you follow predestination to its logical conclusion, you have a god that condemns adultery yet causes it, who hates homosexuality yet created homosexuals, who instructs us not to murder but pre-ordained each and every suicide. He is seen as unfair and contradictory by the masses and thereby misconstrued as a confusing unappealing Deity instead of the loving God He really is. This is not the intent of Calvinism – I know – but I’ve found that for the average Joe Laymen, this is where Calvinism takes them.

  4. […] are the problems with the Christian doctrine of Calvinism. If you haven’t read parts one or two, please read those first. I hope this has encouraged free will advocates that your position is not […]

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