What's The Best Way To Make People Agree With Your Calvinist Views?

By shaming, mocking, and silencing those who disagree, of course!

Allow me to rant a little about a personal heartache of mine...  

Several years ago, our church got a new pastor - a highly-dogmatic, hyper-Calvinistic pastor who puts predestination into everything.  And it's been slowly eating away at my desire to be there anymore.  In fact, I refuse to listen to the sermons now.  Instead, I sit in the hall and listen to Christian music on my earbuds while reading a godly book.  (We would have stopped going altogether a long time ago, but our kids grew up there and want to be part of their kids' groups.  And I believe that we should all go as a family.  I don't want them growing up remembering how they went to church but mom stayed home or went to a different church.  If we go, we all go together.  So I go, but read in the hall.  And we stopped inviting new people to our church years ago because I don't want them to get the wrong idea of who God is and how He operates.  I used to love inviting people to church.  It's sad .. because our church is great in every other way but that one.  Such a shame!)  

One of the first things that caught my attention years ago - the first red flag (besides him admitting from the pulpit that he has no patience, which made me realize I could never go to him for counseling if I had problems) - was the way he once snickered in condescension about those who believed in free-will, as if to say "Can you believe anyone would think that!?!"  It wasn't what he said, but the way he said it.  A mocking, scoffing sound.  It clearly portrayed those who believe in free-will as fools.  

He's also had his adult son get up and preach on it (even preaching predestination in the kids' groups, which makes me angry, but at least it gives us the opportunity to talk to our kids about the errors of Calvinism).  This guy stood up there one day, with his dad in the background, and told the church that "NO ONE SHOULD EVER QUESTION GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY" ... and he stared really hard and creepy-like at the audience as he said this, slowing scanning the whole room from side to side to drive the point home.  

(It sounded to me more like, "No one should ever question what my dad says about God's sovereignty."  And clearly the whole family must be trained in Calvinism - because when a relative of our pastor got up there to be baptized, he gave us a lengthy, little sermon on predestination, on how thankful he was that God elected him to be saved, as if he had just won the "salvation lottery" (my words, not his).  And it made me sad and frustrated ... because the baptism had been such a beautiful time up until then, with everyone sharing their heart-felt testimonies.  It was the first service I sat in on in a long time.  It was so touching to hear everyone's real-life struggles and conversions to Christ.  One old man made me cry with his tender, genuinely-humble story.  It actually made me feel good to be part of that church.  It made me want to be part of that church again after sitting out in the hall for so many months because of all the Calvinistic messages.  And then ... this young man gets up there and uses his time to give a little sermon about predestination, clearly sounding as though he was parroting back all the things he'd been taught.  And it brought that beautiful service to a crashing halt for me.  A great reminder of why I stopped listening to the sermons.  I don't fault the young man, of course.  He seemed like a likeable, eager, spiritual young man.  But he's apparently been so indoctrinated with this view that he wouldn't know any other way.  It's kinda sad.)  

[I won't talk about the other issue I have where this pastor spent months and months trying to raise money to pay off the church's mortgage, basically guilting people into giving more money because "it's what God wants."  The more heavy-handed he got on this, the more uncomfortable and inappropriate it seemed.  My husband and I knew we'd never be able to invite my husband's family to our church because of this.  It would simply confirm in their minds that churches are all about taking your money.  If the leadership simply gave us regular updates of where the mortgage was at and how much more was needed, maybe it wouldn't have been so bad.  But week after week, they had couples from church get up there and talk about how they committed money to the campaign, and how God blessed them for it, and how we should all do it too.  I half-expected letters to be mailed to people's houses saying, "We see you haven't donated to the capital campaign yet!  Would you like to do that now?"  It's not wanting to pay off the mortgage that's the problem; it's when you excessively, consistently pressure people to give more money that's the problem.  I thought it reflected very badly on us as a church.  I always wondered about those who were visiting, what they must have thought of our church.  Of Christians.  But ... like I said ... I won't talk about that.]

And then, during a 9-month-long series on Romans (I believe it was most likely done so that he could talk about predestination for nine months), he would constantly throw in subtle manipulative sentences, which end up ensuring that no one would disagree with him because it would make them look foolish for doing so.  Things like ...

"People in other countries don't have a problem accepting that God is completely in control.  It's only us proud Americans who have trouble with it, because having control is so important to us."  (So let's make anyone who doesn't believe in predestination feel like they have prideful control-issues.  That'll make them fall in line.)

"Humble Christians don't have trouble accepting predestination, that God is completely sovereign.  It's only unhumble Christians who have trouble with it."  (Sure ... use humility against us, making us feel like anyone who disagrees with you is a bad Christian.  And I don't have trouble accepting God's sovereignty; I have trouble accepting your view of His sovereignty.)

"Little children can accept the truth of predestination.  It's only us unhumble, proud adults who have trouble with it because we like the idea of being in control.  And God says we are to be humble like children, so we should accept this teaching in faith, even if we can't really understand it."  (Of course little children accept it ... because that's what trusted adults told them to believe.  Little children also believe in Santa.  And the "humble like a child" passage doesn't mean "accept predestination without questioning it."  It means that we have to turn to God in humility, like a child - that we have to fully rely on Him instead of relying on ourselves.)

"This is what the Bible clearly teaches.  And like all doctrine, even if we don't like it, we have to believe it.  Because it's what the Bible says.  Disagreeing with this is disagreeing with God."  (If it's "so clear," why have great theologians debated it for centuries?) 

"The Bible doesn't have any problems balancing predestination with God still holding us responsible for rejecting Him.  It presents both truths with no tension.  It's only we who have trouble with it and who struggle with it - because we can't really understand it with our finite minds.  But we don't have to understand it; we just have to accept it because it's what God says.  God is so far above us and so mysterious that we can't really understand Him.  And who are we to act like we can?  Who are we to questions His ways?"  (What a great way to shut people up from questioning predestination!  Making them feel like it's wrong to seek to understand it better, to understand God better.  Like it's impossible to understand, and so we should just blindly accept everything we're told.  "Because that's what humble Christians do!"  But you know what?  Of course the Bible doesn't have any trouble or tension with what it teaches.  But it's not the Bible I am questioning anyway; it's the pastor's interpretation of the Bible I am questioning.  And you know what else?  Maybe predestination is so hard to understand because it's not what the Bible really teaches.  Maybe if you weren't trying to shove a square peg in a round hole everything would fit better and it would make sense.)        

"You only have three options when it comes to the truth about predestination: ignore it, get angry about it, or humbly accept it." 
(Really?  Just those three options?  What about "disagree with it because you don't think it's what the Bible really says"?)

These are either things he's basically said or things he was trying to say in so many words.  And while I am quite sure he has the best intentions - to honor God, to uphold His sovereignty, to glorify Him above all, to stand up for what he believes is the Gospel Truth, to lead others to that "truth" - it's also subtly manipulating people into agreeing with him and preventing anyone from disagreeing.  

After all, who's gonna disagree with him when he's already painted those who disagree as "proud, unhumble, resistant Christians who are denying the Bible and not submitting to God"?

It's a subtle and brilliant (and successful) way to shut down any opposition.  

[I've read this kind of stuff in the books of Calvinist authors, too, and it's almost like they must all attend the same class or follow the same textbook on how to bully your audience into submission.  It's almost cult-like with its controlling techniques - the shaming, manipulating, Scripture-twisting, intimidation, and mocking and silencing of those who question it or oppose it.  

One thing to notice is the way Calvinists deflect your tough questions.  If you ask "Why would God send all those people to hell with no choice," they'll say, "The question really is, 'Why does God choose to save anyone when we all deserve hell?"  They'll shift the focus from having to explain what kind of a God would send people to hell even though He predestined them to be there ... to focusing on the love God has for the "elect."  It's much easier to talk about His love for the elect than His damnation of the unelect.  

And if they do answer the question about why God "wants" people in hell, it's always with "Because it brings God glory somehow."  They expect "because it's for God's glory" to stop all further doubting and questions and disagreement.  After all, who wants to sound like they disagree with God getting glory?

And as I pointed out above, they'll deflect contradictions in their theology with "We don't have to understand it, but we do have to accept it.  Because it's what the Bible says.  God cannot be understood by us anyway."  It's as if they are trying to stop you from seeking answers, from making sense of the Bible, from pointing out the contradictions and illogical reasoning in their view of God and the Word.  After all, who do you think you are, tiny human, to think you can really understand God or question Him!?!

But don't fall for it.  Keep digging.  When you really find the Truth, it makes sense, and you'll find reasonable answers instead of being left with a bunch of confusing, unanswerable questions, and you'll see that the Bible tells one consistent story from beginning to end.  

Also watch out for the ways they change the meanings/usage of words in the Bible.  Sometimes they'll even use the original Greek words to make you feel like they know more than you.  After all, if they know the Greek words (and you don't) then surely they must know the proper meaning and usage of the word in that verse, right?  

Our pastor recently (according to my husband because I don't listen anymore) gave a sermon where he said that "world" from John 3:16 means "cosmos," as in the universal realm.  I suspect this is a deliberate attempt to stop people from saying that "'God so loved the world' means that Jesus died for everyone's sin."  And then he can more easily spread his view that "God didn't really die for everyone, only the elect."  

Really!?!  Do you really think God's love for the impersonal cosmos was so great that it caused Him to send Jesus to die?  For what ... the impersonal cosmos!?!  

Yes, the Greek word is "kosmos."  But when you look it up in the concordance, it can mean several different things, according to its usage in the verse - such as the earth or universe, or the earth in contrast to heaven, or "the human race, mankind," or Gentiles in contrast to Jews, or the present condition of people in relation to God, or all temporary possessions as a whole, etc.  

And the concordance says that John 3:16's "world" means mankind, the human race.  

But since that would mean that Jesus died for all of mankind instead of just the elect, I guess my pastor is going to define it as "cosmos" because it doesn't contradict his view as much.  Even though "mankind" makes much more sense.

And since we're on the topic of John 3:16, Calvinists also say "whosoever" ("whosoever believes shall not perish") doesn't mean that anyone can accept Christ.  They say "whosoever" means the "elect," as in "those who believe."  They say the verse means "For God so loved the elect (or "cosmos," as my pastor said), that He sent His one and only Son, that the elect would believe in Him and shall not perish but have eternal life."

Interesting!  Because the concordance says that "whosoever" is made up of two Greek words, which are essentially "all/any/every/whole" and "the/who."  There is nothing about the "elect" or "believe" here.  "Whosoever" simply means exactly what we think it does: "Any who" or "All who" etc.  

o if "whosoever" in John 3:16 is talking about the elect, then "whosoever" (sometimes translated as "anyone" or "everyone") in these verses also has to mean "the elect" because the concordance says they all have the same two Greek root words:

"But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement ..." Matthew 5:22  

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart."  Matthew 5:28

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery ..."  Luke 16:18

"Everyone who falls on that stone [Jesus] will be broken to pieces ..."  Luke 20:18

" ... a time is coming when anyone who kills you will think he is offering a service to God."  John 16:2

"Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father ..." 1 John 2:23

Does it sound like it means "the elect" in these verses?  Then it can't be said that "whosoever" in John 3:16 means "the elect" either.  

"Whosoever" means exactly what we think it does - "anyone/everyone who."

"Oh, but wait," says the Calvinist, "you have to include the 'believes.'  'Whosoever believes' means 'all the believers' - the elect, those predestined to believe."

Well ... that wouldn't work either because "believe" in that verse is not a noun, as in "a believer, a person who believes."  It's a verb, as in "to be persuaded by something and, consequently, to commit to it, to put your faith in it." 

"Whosoever believes" means exactly what the Bible says ... "Anyone who believes shall not perish but have eternal life."  
Why ... WHY! ... must they keep twisting Bible verses and altering the clear, consistent, rational teachings of Scripture!?!  Why must they keep reading into it things that are not there!?!

But, I digress.  So back to the post...] 

And then ... yesterday, I read a post he just put up on the church's blog about predestination.  About how predestination is what the Bible clearly teaches, and how we don't have to like it but we do have to accept it, and how we should read RC Sproul to better understand predestination (one of his theological heroes, a fellow dogmatic Calvinist), and how even though the Bible teaches that God decides who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, we are still fully accountable for our choices to God.  (Really!?!  What choice!?!  If God makes the choice for us then how can he say we have any real choice at all?)

And I just couldn't take it anymore.  I do not think Calvinism is taught in the Bible.  And furthermore, I think Calvinism does great harm to God's Truth, His character, people's faith, our view of His love and justness, the need to evangelize and pray (why bother if it's all been planned and there's nothing we can do about it anyway?), etc.  It make a mess of everything!  

I don't necessarily think the Calvinist intends to do this kind of harm.  I think they think they're truly honoring God by upholding His "complete control over everything," unlike those of us who believe people have a choice.  But I do think Calvinism is wrong.  Because I don't think it's what the Bible teaches.  

And so I added a comment to the post, disagreeing with his view of predestination.  I'm not trying to be divisive or anything.  (In fact, it's not me being divisive ... I'm not the one dogmatically pushing my views about a highly debatable issue on others, presenting my view as "The only way to read the Bible."  I'm simply pointing out the one who is.)  That's why this is an anonymous post, why I don't name him or our church, why I don't talk to others about this issue unless they really want to talk about it, and why it took me years to speak up.  And I don't want to ruin anyone else's view of this pastor if they totally respect him.  

But no one else seems to be talking about it or questioning it, like we are just letting him shove his view deeper and deeper into the church, quietly eating the garbage he is force-feeding us.  

Maybe there are others who disagree but who are afraid to say anything because they've been shamed into silence.  Because they don't want to look like a foolish, unhumble, prideful Christian.  This breaks my heart, to think that people might be quietly struggling with this, that it might be affecting their heart and faith and peace and joy (as I can imagine happening after he gave his sermon about how God causes everything in your life, including any childhood abuse you went through as a child.  WHAT!?!  What the ... !?!).  But they suffer in silence because no one else is speaking out about it.  I wanted to make sure that the "other view" is at least presented somewhere, so that it's out there for people to read, if they need it.  So they can know they aren't the only ones who disagree with him.  So they can find some hope and some answers for this debatable issue.  And so I left a long comment disagreeing with his view on predestination.

And to my surprise and delight, the comment appeared on the blog yesterday.  I thought How nice that we are part of a church that would allow open discussion about this very debatable topic!  That I could put my voice out there, to help someone who might need it.  

And then ... just a few hours later, wouldn't you know it, the comment got deleted.  

That really angered me - to not only have a pastor who preaches dogmatically about this and uses manipulative techniques to shame people into not disagreeing with him, but now to have someone at church actively block opposing views on a very debatable topic.  That's sad.  And scary.    

But you know what?

I saved a copy of my comment before I sent it, because I suspected this would happen.  And here it is, in case I ever need to share it with anyone else at church:      

The thing is ... I don't think the Bible does clearly teach predestination.  In fact, the more I studied it for myself, the more I think it's not predestination.  I think it's clear in Scripture that God has offered salvation to all, but it's up to us to choose to accept it or reject it.  He does not make that decision for us.  I think this is the only way to view it when you look at His character, at biblical examples of how He acts, at the many calls He gives us to believe in Him, etc.  

Examples: 1) In the concordance, "hardens" is retribution - a punishment for having first hardened your own heart even though God has been patient and long-suffering with you.  2) And Romans 9 talks about those "prepared for destruction," which means NOT that God prepared them specifically for destruction but that they prepared themselves for destruction by their character, by how they chose to be.  3) You often say God opened Lydia's eyes, as in "making her believe," but the verse or two before says she was already a "worshipper of God."  It's more likely that God opened her eyes to the need to be baptized, not to turn her into a believer.  Because she already believed in God.  4) And the idea of "total depravity" is based on "there is no one righteous, not even one."  But that doesn't mean we are so depraved that we can't possibly even think about or seek God unless He makes us do it.  It simply means none of us deserves heaven by our own merits.  None of us can work our way there.  5) And the Bible is full of commands to "seek Him."  How can we do that if we can't seek?  The more I study, the less predestination it is.  I say read Tony Evans, not RC Sproul.

This was my comment.  It was very biblically-based.  But it was deleted.  For some reason or other.

So I sent another one:

Interesting ... my comment was posted here earlier, but now it's been deleted.  Is it because I disagreed with you about predestination?  If so, it would be sad - and scary - to know I was part of a church that would silence opposing views on a very debatable topic.  This issue has been debated through the centuries - by even the greatest theologians - and they haven't been able to come to an agreement on it.  I don't think it's right for you to be so dogmatic about this, to the point of silencing opposing views (if that's what you did).  You shouldn't be afraid of different views on this.  If I am clearly wrong, it would only make me look like a fool while highlighting how right you are.

I don't expect this comment to show up either, but I wanted to make sure that he knew that I knew it was deleted.  

But I didn't stop there.  I sent one more, contradicting his teaching that Romans clearly teaches predestination.  He will probably dismiss it out of hand and it probably won't get posted either, so that's why I am including all of this in a post.  So it's here, if ever I need to refer to it.  

My final comment:

Romans 11:32:  "For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all."  We are all in the same boat.  We are all fallen, but He has mercy on us all, offering all of us salvation.  But it's up to us to accept or reject it.

In the concordance, "hardens" (from Romans 9:18) is punishment for first hardening our own hearts.  

"Called" (Romans 1:1, 1:6, 8:28) involves the idea of being invited to accept God's offer of salvation, not that it's an irresistible force that compels us to become a believer.  

"Receive" (Romans 1:5, 5:11, 5:17, 8:15) is not passive, it's deliberately reaching out and grabbing ahold of what it offered to you.  

"Believe" (Romans 3:22, 10:4) is not passive, either, as in "God makes us believe."  It's allowing ourselves to be persuaded by something, and then committing to it.  It's the opposite of being resistant to it, of hardening our hearts against it.  It shows we have the responsibility to accept or reject the truth.  

"Unbelief" (Romans 11:20, 23) is not about God causing us to be resistant to the truth; it's about dis-believing something, being unwilling to believe it.  (And according to Romans 11:23, if we stop persisting in our unbelief, we will be grafted in.  WE persist in unbelief, but we can be grafted in if we are willing to accept the truth.)  

"Ignorance" (Romans 10:3, Eph. 4:18-19) doesn't mean God blinded them, that He never gave them a chance; it's about us deliberately ignoring something, choosing to resist it.  

"Prepared for destruction" (Romans 9:22-23) is not about God preparing us for destruction, but us preparing ourselves for destruction by our character, by how we choose to be.  

The "hardening" of hearts (Eph. 4:18-19, which is really "blindness" in the concordance) doesn't mean God hardened their hearts but that they chose to be callous toward the truth.  It comes from the word which is used of the Israelites who deliberately refused God's Will and His ways.  It's willful, self-chosen blindness.  

Over and over again, the Bible - including Romans - teaches that God offers salvation to all, but it's up to us to accept or reject it.  That God doesn't cause anyone to go to hell, but it's our own stubborn resistance that leads us there.   

The Bible calls us over and over again to seek God (Amos 5:4, Isaiah 55:6, Deut. 4:29, Psalm 9:10, Heb. 11:6, Acts 17:27).  We are responsible to see Him in His creation, and to seek Him.  And there's no excuse for not doing it (Romans 1:20).  

John 12:37-40 tells us that the people would not believe in Him, and because they would not believe, God hardened their hearts.  Not the other way around.

1 Corinthians 4:4 tells us who blinds the minds of unbelievers: Satan.  And 2 Cor. 3:16 tells us who takes the veil away: Jesus Christ, when we turn to Him.  If we perish, it's not because God predestined us for hell.  It's because we refused to love the truth and so be saved (2 Thess 2:10 and 1:8)   

To those in my church who might read this:  

Please know that it breaks me heart to write this, to be pushed to the point of having to write it.  I have been silent for years (growing more and more silent and withdrawn) because I never wanted to taint anyone else's view of our pastor or our church.  I didn't want to rock the boat or cause division.  And for a long time, I wanted to give the pastor the benefit of the doubt.  Surely he couldn't be pushing Calvinism this dogmatically!?!  But yes, he has been, and it's only gotten worse.  When contradicting views on very debatable topics start getting blocked ... it's time to speak up.  

We had planned to quietly slip away if we could have found another good church to attend.  But that wouldn't be fair to you, especially if you want to know what's going on ... if you want to know that there are other biblically-sound ways to understand the Bible ... and if you want to know that you are not alone in questioning his views.  If I (and everyone else who disagrees with him) slipped away quietly and never said anything, eventually you would find yourselves in a hyper-Calvinistic church, shamed into agreeing with him, feeling like he must be right and like you can't speak up because there's no one else who disagrees with him.  And that wouldn't be fair to you.  All it takes for bad theology to take over is for no one to disagree with it!

On a different note:

Question:  Do Calvinists ever stop to ask God if they are correctly understanding the Word?  Do they stop to consider if they might really be wrong?  Or do they simply build their theological framework on their assumptions, on the education they get from a Calvinistic seminary, on the writings of other forceful Calvinists, and on a few verses that - when read a certain way - could sound like predestination (until you dig deeper)?  

My opinion:  
I think there are some strong, dogmatic, aggressive Calvinists who truly believe that "God's glory" is the reason they are a Calvinist, because they are trying to elevate Him as high as they can.  But deep down, it's really about the pride they feel for being such an "ultra-humble" Christian because they accept the "hardest teachings" that man has no power at all and that God is totally sovereign and in-control.  They feel they alone truly glorify God, unlike free-will-believers who, in their assessment, downplay His sovereignty and won't fully submit to Him.  And they feel "theologically superior" because they believe they alone understand the Word, while we who believe in free-will do so simply because we are letting our feelings lead us - our desire for control and our frustration at being forced to submit so fully to God's extreme control.  They believe we resist Calvinism because we are resisting God's control, because we are refusing to humble ourselves before Him.    

Their extreme view of God's sovereignty (I would say it's an erroneous view of God's sovereignty) makes them a better, more humbled, more God-honoring Christian.  In their own assessment.

No wonder they won't listen to any arguments against Calvinism.  No wonder they don't stop to ask themselves or God if they are wrong.

That would make them feel like they too are resisting God and refusing to be "humble."  It would mean they have to admit that, all along, they misread the Bible, that they let their own views, their own pride, taint how they read Scripture.  By the time they reach "strong, educated Calvinist," there's just too much on the line to go back now.  To wonder if they might be wrong.

Trapped by their own pride!
And of course, I am painting with broad brushstrokes here.  Not all Calvinists are like this.  We have some great friends who lean towards Calvinism, and they are the most gracious, gentlest, generous people we know.  Even when this issue has come up in conversation, they are truly kind and humble about their views.  I can handle that!  I like that!

And if our pastor was like that, I would be totally okay.

But when you teach that your view alone is the only way to read the Bible and that those who disagree are wrong and unhumble and not honoring God, and when you stop others from sharing opposing views ... well, now we've got problems.   

I think this desire to be as humble as possible, to be the "most God-honoring Christian," to elevate God as high as they can, is what initially sucks people into Calvinism.  (It did for me, back in the day.)  They want to be honoring to God, and they're told this is the best way to do it - to raise God's sovereignty up so high that people have no control or choice or anything.    

But ...
What if they're wrong?  What if God Himself - even if He has the power to control people and every detail - decided to not always control people and every detail (as seen in many biblical examples)?  What if He decided to allow people to have a choice about Him - to accept Him or reject Him (as seen in many verses)?  Because that's the way He wants things to be?  Because He wants people who want to be with Him, not who are forced to?  

What's if it's actually more honoring and glorifying to Him to have people willingly choose to love Him and obey Him, instead of being forced to?

And yet, the predestination-pushers keep pushing predestination, that "God is sovereign" means "God controls every detail of life and every choice you make," that "we can't choose God unless He makes us choose Him"!  They portray Him as an all-controlling God who doesn't give people a choice - who creates them for heaven or for hell, based on His own whims - and then who holds those who reject Him accountable for rejecting Him, even though He made them reject Him and didn't even send Jesus to die for their sins.  

And they expect us to still be able to trust Him?  To call Him "loving" and "just" and "righteous"?

Do you see why this issue gets me so fired up!?!  It portrays God in a very damaging way, contrary to how He really is.  

I don't like my God being portrayed that way!  I don't like seeing people get hurt and seeing their faith get damaged because they were forced or manipulated into agreeing with a false view of God, salvation, forgiveness, Jesus, faith, mercy, grace, love, etc. 

And this is why I am writing against it!  

And yet I expect that if my pastor read it, he would dismiss it out of hand.  Strong Calvinists tend not to listen to anything against Calvinism because they have pre-decided that those who oppose it are unhumble and wrong, that we are not honoring God, and that we don't understand the Bible.  (I know because I used to be one.  Not a strong one, but a "baby Calvinist," looking down on those who "just didn't get it," those who dared to question God's supreme authority and control.)  

I'm guessing that whoever deleted my comment did so because they think they're "protecting" the church from the "heresy" I am spreading, because they think what I am saying is divisive and satanically-inspired.  (In fact, I half-expect to get pulled in for some church discipline for writing this post.  Or branded with the word "heretic" across my forehead.)

Well, so be it, if that's what they think about me.  I am not writing it for that person, but for those who need it.  I believe that my church deserves to know that a biblically-based view on a very debatable issue is being silenced.  That should be disturbing to us as a church!  

I am not trying to cause problems or division.  I am sharing my experience and research to help others who find themselves in similar situations.  And I am trying to be as true to the Word as I can be, to represent God as accurately as possible.  

If Calvinists want to believe that Jesus died only for some people and that it brings God glory to send the vast majority of people to hell even though He gave them no chance to be saved, then that's their problem.

But if I am one of the few at my church to stand up against Calvinism, I will stand up tall and shout it from the rooftops:  


[To read the letter I wrote to our elders about this issue, click here.]

Additionally, here are some other people's experiences with Calvinism.  (I haven't read through them all the way yet, but I needed to link up with them before I lost them online.  And just because I link to a certain post doesn't mean I necessarily agree with or even understand everything in that post or on that blog.  But there's a lot in here worth considering.): 

"Reflections of a Calvinist 'Unelect'" 

"My Journey Into Calvinism" 

"Calvinism Critiqued by a Former Calvinist" 

"Why I Disagree With All 5 Points Of Calvinism" 

"Is Calvinism Biblical?" 

120 Contradictions from Calvinists

What's Wrong With 5-Point Calvinism?

John Calvin Exposed!  (While this is a little harsh, there's some stuff worth considering and researching more.)

Calvin, Preacher of Legalism

Three Words That Trip Theologians

Errors of Calvinism  (This person doesn't hold back, says exactly what they're thinking.  Love it.  Cracks me up.)

And here's a PDF file of hundreds of pages against Calvinism, which includes "My Journey Into Calvinism."   

For Fun.  Some of my favorite Anti-Calvinism memes.  (There's more at the end of this post: Anti-Calvinism Memes and Links):

That Face You Make ...

... Everything That Happens ...

That Face You Make... Lost Souls

Injustice ...

... Says One Thing ...

I'm Sorry, Sally ...

... Nineveh ...

... Stop Hitting Yourself ...

It's comforting to know I'm not the only one who sees things the way I do, who believes that when Jesus said He died for all, He means He died for all.  Calvinists can be so forceful and vocal and manipulative and condescending that you can begin to feel like there's something wrong with you - like you're a "bad Christian," a "stupid Christian" - for not agreeing with them.  But take heart!  You're not alone.  I'll be bad and stupid with you!  :) 

And keep digging for the Truth of what the Bible says.  When you finally do understand what it really says, it all makes sense.  Unlike predestination.

And finally, here is my own research/opinions on this issue, the posts about it on this blog.  Or you can click on the "predestination" label to find them, or start with this post and follow the links at the bottom through the predestination series.

[But before you read, I would challenge any strong Calvinists to do what I did when I was researching this issue: Ask yourself if you really want to know the truth, even if it means finding out you've been wrong all this time.  Take the time to really consider if you are willing to find out you might be wrong, or if there's any pride in you that would prevent you from letting God open your eyes to the truth.  

If you are not willing to find out you might be wrong - if you are bristling as this idea and already coming up with all sorts of arguments to "prove" you are right - then there's no point in reading anything I write because you are already set in your views and your pride.  But if you are willing to see the truth whatever the cost, then ask God in prayer to open your eyes to His truth, even if it means showing you that you are wrong.

It's amazing how much sense Scripture makes and how consistent God's character is when you get rid of Calvinism and predestination.]

Here are my posts on this issue, in order:

Is Eternity Decided For Us?

"Predestination vs. Free-Will" Overview

Should "Predestination vs. Free-Will" Matter To Christians?

Predestination Manipulation

Does "In Control" Mean "Controlling Everything"?

How Could A Loving God Condemn People To Hell?

Sovereignty And Free-Will Working Together

What Does "God Is Sovereign" Mean?

Does God Cause Childhood Abuse?

Do We Have An Effect On "God's Will"?

How To Know God's Will

Are We Forced To Be Obedient Or Disobedient?

The Elect - Foreknown By God

Predestined For Salvation?  Or For Something Else?

Prepared For Destruction/Hard Hearts - A Look At Romans 9

According To The Concordance ... It's Not Predestination

God Set Pharaoh Up

God Does Not Cause Us To Sin

The Holy Spirit And "Dead People"

Pre-chosen People?  Is God's Call Irresistible?

Some Problems With Predestination (And What I Think The Bible Really Says)

Acts 13:48:  Not As "Predestination" As It Sounds

My Response To A "Predestination" Post I Recently Read

What About Those Who Never Heard?

Does Believing In Predestination Affect Our Prayers?

And these are the four really big posts that I got all of the above posts from:

Predestination Does Not Mean "No Choice"

Controversial "Predestination" Verse

Does Romans Teach Predestination?

Does Ephesians Teach Predestination?


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