If Calvinism is True, Then God is a Liar!

Calvinism includes the belief that God has ordained everything (as in He pre-plans and causes everything that happens), that He predestined from the beginning of time whether you will go to heaven or hell, that Jesus only died for the "elect," and that the non-elect were never truly offered salvation because God willed them to go to hell for His purposes and glory.  (For the updated version of this post, click here.)  

But if Calvinism is true ... then God is a liar!

I mean, listen to a few of their teachings in a nutshell, without all the fancy, convoluted Calvinist arguments to defend those ideas ...

The Bible says God does not cause sin or cause people to sin, but Calvinism says God causes everything, even sin.

The Bible calls us all to believe and it places the responsibility to believe on us, but Calvinism says God blinds most people so that they cannot believe and that if we believe it's because God predetermined we would and caused us to.

The Bible says God wants all people to come to Him and wants no one to perish, but Calvinism says God withholds salvation from most men because He wills them to perish, for His glory somehow.

The Bible says God loves the world and so He sent Jesus to die for us so that we might live, but Calvinism says God loves only the elect and that Jesus died only for the elect.

Calvinism - when you simplify it - completely contradicts the Word.  And the only way it can sound somewhat believable is when they add all their fancy, convoluted arguments and the biblical-layers they wrap their beliefs in.  

But, I wonder, does God really need us to clarify His Word with all sorts of complicated, twisted reasonings, as if He didn't really know what He was saying or how to word it?  How is it that men couldn't properly understand God's Word until John Calvin came along in the 1500s?  (I mean, yes, the Catholic church screwed it up, but that's not the Bible's fault.)  Does God fail to say what He means or fail to mean what He says?  Is Calvinism making God's truth clearer?  

Or is it simply trying to smoosh its bad theology into Scripture, where it doesn't fit or belong? 

[A warning to Calvinists:  If you are going to change Jesus's sacrifice for all people into a sacrifice for a "few prechosen people," and if you are going to say that God doesn't love all people the same, and if you are going to tell others that they can't seek God when the Bible tells us over and over again to seek Him, and if you are going to say that God predetermines most people will go to hell for His pleasure and glory ... you had better be absolutely sure that your theological view has rock-solid support from the Bible!  Do not just trust what your Calvi-pastor or some Calvi-theologian tells you, not when this much is at stake!  

Because the Bible clearly and regularly teaches something far different than Calvinism.  And I don't think saying "Oh, but there's a deeper, hidden meaning underneath what the Bible says" is going to be an acceptable excuse for changing what God clearly says in His Word.  And I don't think saying "Oh, but it's what my pastor taught me" is going to work either.  

If you are going to change the clear, consistent Gospel Truth that much, you had better be absolutely sure you are right.  For you will be held accountable for spreading Calvinism to others.  And for those who are just nominal Calvinists, who blindly support Calvinism without really knowing what it teaches, you had better find out.  Because you also will be held accountable for the people you affect when you say, "I'm a Calvinist."  For holding up Calvinism as Gospel Truth.]   

Let me ask this to people who have read the Bible:  If you read the Bible from beginning to end, without any Calvinist theologians telling you what to think or how to read it, would you be more likely to conclude that God loves all people and offers salvation to all, and that we are responsible for our choices and actions and beliefs ... or would you be more likely to conclude that God causes everything that happens, even sin and unbelief, that He really doesn't love all people and that Jesus didn't die for everyone, and that the calls to believe and obey are "phony" because He's already pre-decided where we all go and how we will behave?  

(And for the Calvinists out there, did you become a Calvinist from reading the Bible on your own?  Or did you become a Calvinist only after being taught how to find Calvinism in the Bible by Calvinist theologians?  Only after being told that "Calvinism IS the Gospel" and that "humble Christians accept this" and "humble Christians accept that God is sovereign" and "humble Christians don't talk back to God"?  Just wondering.  See "Predestination Manipulation" for more on this.)

And if you were unsure at all, wouldn't it be erring on the side of caution to assume that if God said He loved all people and Jesus died for all people, He meant all people?  To assume that "you will find Me if you seek Me" means "seek Me and find Me"?  To assume that "whoever calls on the name of Jesus shall be saved" means "whoever does it," not "whoever's programmed to do it"?  To assume that when God tells us to choose between obeying and disobeying, it means that we can choose between obeying and disobeying?  

And if you were unsure at all about choosing between two views of God, which one would be the safer, more reasonable choice (especially since you will have to give an account to God for the way you presented Him and the Gospel to others): 

     1.  The view of God as a loving, righteous, just God who wants all people to believe in Him, who died for all, who made salvation available to all, but who gave us the choice to accept or reject Him, to obey or disobey, and so He can and will justly hold us accountable for our choices.  And a God who, in His sovereignty and wisdom, can work everything into His plans, even our self-chosen sin and rebellion ... or ...
     2.  The view of God as an unreasonable, illogical, unjust monster who causes every little thing that happens, even causing people to sin, but who then holds us accountable for sinning ... who, in the Bible, calls us to "believe" and "seek" and "obey," when He knows that we can't choose to do any of that because He's already decided and preplanned whether we will believe, seek, or obey ... who loves only a few pre-chosen people and sent Jesus to die only for those few people ... who has predestined most people for hell even though He caused them to reject Him ... and who expects us to still consider Him "just, righteous, and loving" in spite of all this.

If it was unclear at all ... if you were going to stand on the Word alone, without all the confusing Calvinistic reinterpretations and arguments ... which is the safer, more reasonable, more Scripture-supported view?    

I think one of the best things a Calvinist can do is, first of all, pray and ask God to show you the Truth, even if it means showing you that you've been wrong all this time (and really mean it, because if you don't mean it, you'll only see what you want to see), and then read the Bible from beginning to end, with fresh eyes, with no Calvinist glasses on, and see how He acts, what He says, and how He interacts with people.  (See "12 Tips on How to Think Critically About Calvinism.")  And as you do this, figure out if it sounds like He micromanages everything, even sin and unbelief ... or if it sounds like He has given us the right and responsibility to make choices and decisions that He justly holds us accountable for.  

For the record, I have been a Christian for over 30 years.  I have been reading the Bible since I was a preteen (I am now in my mid-40s).  I am currently on my 6th or 7th time reading the Bible from beginning to end.  And I know how to study.  I have a Bachelor's Degree and a Master's Degree in Psychology (which is why I like exploring the psychology behind Calvinism so much, the manipulative tactics and hidden layers, listening for what they believe but aren't saying, etc.).  So I know how to study things deeply and carefully.  I don't want anyone to think I am some sort of newbie at reading the Bible.  I have been doing it for many years.  And although I leaned toward Calvinism in my late teens because I was led to believe it was truth and because I wanted to accept the "truth" like a "good Christian," I have been deeply studying it for several years now, due to our Calvinist pastor's dogmatic stance on it.  And the more I study, the more messed-up Calvinism gets.  The more wicked it gets.  And the more I have to speak out against it, to help all those who are unwittingly led into accepting it too, because they've been told it's "truth" and that they have to accept it to be a good, humble Christian.  

(And for the record, the only thing Calvinism and I agree on is that true Christians can't lose their salvation.  But I don't necessarily see it the same way they do.  But, in my view, if you are truly a believer, then the Holy Spirit is in you to stay, even if you go through hard times when you're faith is shaky and when you backslide.  Here is a post I wrote on that.)  

So let's take a look at some of the verses where God has to be considered a liar ... if Calvinism is true.    

(A note for Calvinists: Take off the Calvinist glasses, toss out the complicated Calvinist explanations, and read Scripture plainly, as it was written, to see what it really says.):

1.  2 Peter 3:9"[The Lord] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."  

If Calvi-god (my name for Calvinism's god, who is NOT the God of the Bible!) has already predetermined that most people will go to hell because it brings him glory somehow (Calvi-god does everything solely for his glory, even causing sin and predestining people to hell!), then he indeed wanted people to perish and didn't want everyone to come to repentance.  So then he'd be lying by saying he really does want all to come to repentance and no one to perish.  

Calvi-god to the people:  "Hey everybody, I want you all to come to repentance ..." (tee-hee-hee) "... I don't want anyone to perish."  (snicker, snicker)

And he'd be lying to say he is patient with us, wanting to give everyone the chance to be saved.    

Calvi-god:  "Look how patient I am, waiting for all of you" (tee-hee-hee) "to find salvation in me." (giggle, giggle)  "That's right, I'm giving you plenty of time to come to me."  (Ha-ha-ha, suckers!  You have no choice.  It's already been decided for you!)

There is no need to be patient with us if Calvi-god himself has already decided who will be saved and when/how they will be saved and if no one but the "elect" can be saved.  It's nonsense!  He's not being patient with us then, but with himself.  What silliness!  

And as I already pointed out, Calvinists explain this away by saying that God can want one thing but decree another, as in "He can want all people to be saved but decree that most people will go to hell for His glory and His reasons."

So then, if Calvi-god is only concerned about his glory, if he always does what brings him the most glory possible, and if he has predestined most people to hell for his glory (because that's what would apparently bring him the most glory), are Calvinists then saying that Calvi-god actually desired to do the thing that would bring him less glory, that he "wanted" to save all people even though it would apparently be less glorifying to him?  How can Calvi-god want to do anything that would bring him less glory, if he is all about and only about his glory?  It's messed up!  

If Calvi-god supposedly really "wants" all people to be saved, then he deliberately causes the opposite of what he wants (making him an irrational lunatic) and he's not all about his glory because he actually desires to do things that bring him less glory.  Either that, or he's lying when he says he wants all people to be saved.  

Yes, I agree that God can want something but decree another ... but not as in "God wants all men to be saved but predetermines most will go to hell."  That is illogical and contradictory!  

But I believe it's like this: "God wants all men to be saved, but He has decreed/decided to give us a choice.  Instead of 'forcing' us all to choose Him, as He wants us to, He allows us to reject Him and, consequently, to end up in hell."  This is how God can logically, biblically want one thing but decree another.  And it fits with His character, with His desires, with Scripture, with logic, and with man's responsibility and accountability to the Gospel.

2.  Deuteronomy 4:29"But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul."  And in Amos 5:4, God says "Seek me and live ..."  

But Calvinism says that we can't seek God unless He makes us seek Him.  And we can't find Him unless we were prechosen to find Him.  So either Calvinism is wrong ... or the Bible is wrong/deceptive when it makes it sound like we are responsible to seek and find, that by seeking we find.  (And why command us to seek when we can't seek anyway?  What a waste of paper the Bible is ... if Calvinism is true!  I mean, there's no need for us to read the Gospel if we can't choose to respond to the Gospel.  There's no need to tell us to obey or believe if we can't choose to obey or believe.)

Question:  If God (Calvi-god) is the one who forces the elect to believe, why would Jesus marvel at the faith of the centurion (Matthew 8:10/Luke 7:9)?    

Jesus to the people:  "Oh my goodness, look at the amazing faith this person displayed in Me!  I am astonished to see such great faith!"

Calvi-god whispering to Jesus:  "Uh, Jesus ... remember that we gave him that great faith!  Don't act so surprised, or else people will start to think that the centurion had something to do with his faith!"

Jesus to the people:  "Uh ... April Fools!  Gotchya, didn't I?  Of course I'm not surprised by this!  I made him be this way!"  (Phew!  Thanks, Calvi-father.  I almost slipped up there.)       

And wouldn't pointing out this man's great faith mean that Jesus was somehow "giving credit" to the man, credit that really belonged to Calvi-god if Calvi-god chooses whom to give faith to, for his glory?  Why would Jesus give Calvi-god's credit, Calvi-god's glory, to a man who supposedly had nothing to do with the faith he had?

Additionally, why would Jesus be amazed at the lack of faith of the people in Mark 6:6, if Calvi-god himself is the one who predestined them to be unbelievers?

Jesus to the people: "Wow, I'm shocked at how unbelieving you guys are!"

Calvi-god to Jesus:  "Uh, that's our fault, remember!  Our decision."

Jesus to Calvi-god:  "Uh, yeah, I forgot for a second whom we gave faith to and whom we didn't.  There's just so many people to keep track of.  But I remember now.  Thanks for the help."

Jesus to the people:  "Just to clarify: I am just pretending to be shocked.  It's a dramatic show to emphasize how ... um ... how ... wait, I know, it's sarcasm.  It's like 'Wow, how unbelieving you are' when I really mean 'Duh!  Of course you're unbelieving.  I made you that way!'" 

Now, I'm not saying that anything truly surprises God.  He knows everything.  But I am saying I think it brings God delight to see people who choose to be faithful.  It brings Him grief to see faithlessness.  He has given us a choice, and He has emotions in response to what we choose.

(On a different note: Look again at Amos 5:4: "Seek me and live ..."  Calvinists say that we are "dead people" who can't seek God or want God, unless and until the Holy Spirit regenerates us - only the elected people, that is - and makes the elect alive inside so that they can seek Him.  "Dead people can't seek," they say.  But in this verse, the seeking comes before the living.  So if they are not yet "alive," then they must be "dead."  And so here we have God Himself telling spiritually-dead people to "seek" Him.  Therefore ... spiritually-dead people can seek God.  God expects and commands spiritually-dead people to seek Him.  And that's how they find life in Him.  This contradicts the Calvinist view that "dead" people can't seek and that God has to make you - the elect only, of course - alive before you can seek Him.  God Himself tells dead people to "seek Me and live.")

3.  Romans 5:18 ("... so also the result of one act of righteousness [Jesus' death on the cross] was justification that brings life for all men.") and 1 Timothy 2:6 ("who gave himself as a ransom for all men ...") say Jesus's death was a for all men.  But Calvinism says Jesus's death didn't cover all men, that it only covered the "elect."  They say that God really meant "only the elect" or "all kinds of men" when the Bible clearly and consistently says "all men," over and over again.  

So who is lying?

Titus 2:11"The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men."  Not if Calvinism is true!  If Calvinism is true, the grace of God for salvation appears only to the elect!  And then God would be intentionally misleading people, making it sound like we all have the chance to be saved.  (Or Calvinists might say, "Well, of course it appears to all men, but only the elect can respond to it."  So then, what good is something "appearing" to us if it's totally unavailable to us?  The offer of salvation is just a mirage for most people, for the non-elect.  Oh yeah, what an amazing offer that is, huh!?!)

2 Peter 2:1 says that Jesus's death even bought the false teachers, those who deny Him.  Yet Calvinism says Jesus didn't die for the "unelect," which clearly would include false teachers who deny Him and who introduce destructive heresies.  But 2 Peter 2:1 says that the Lord "bought them," those who "bring destruction on themselves."  Once again, who's lying?  Did Jesus death cover everyone's sins (making salvation truly available to all), or not?  And can we really "bring destruction on ourselves" if Calvi-god is the one who preplans and causes everything that happens?  Why give us the credit for our destruction if Calvi-god does it for his glory?

A Calvinist's 2 Peter 2:1
"But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you.  They will secretly introduce destructive heresies that God planted in their minds and caused them to introduce, even denying the sovereign Lord who didn't buy them with His blood (Umm, how can they deny something that was never offered to them anyway?  Why deny something that was never intended for you?) - bringing swift destruction on themselves, but not really because no one can bring anything on themselves because God is the cause of everything that happens."  

[Did you know that the NIV is one of the only translations to have the word "sovereign" in 2 Peter 2:1.  Almost all the other translations - older ones - just say "Lord" or "Master."  In reality, "sovereign" is simply about the position of authority someone holds, not about how they exercise their authority.  But Calvinists have decided that "sovereign" is about how God has to use His power, how He has to act and be.  They have decided that for God to be God, He has to act in certain ways, according to their beliefs - controlling every particle of dust, causing all sins, deciding who gets saved and who goes to hell.  Because if God didn't do these things then He wouldn't be a "sovereign" God, according to them.  Calvinism: Telling God how God has to act in order to be God.  Call me crazy, but I don't think God is going to be too happy about people telling Him how He has to act in order to be considered God!]  

And how about:

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whosoever believes in him will not perish but have eternal life... Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son... Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil."  (John 3:16-19)  

Big fat lie ... if Calvinism is true!  

Because if Calvinism is true, God only loved the elect and only the elect will have eternal life!  

If Calvinism is true, the verses should read:  "For God so loved the elect that He sent Jesus so that only the elect would have eternal life.  Whoever is elected is not condemned, but the non-elect are condemned and can do nothing about it because God has pre-decided that they will perish.  Light has come into the world for only the elect, but the non-elect love the darkness because God created them to love the darkness and to never see the Light."  

There!  That's better!  Now it fits with Calvinism!

[Calvinists will say that Calvi-god still loves the non-elect.  He just shows his love by giving them food and sunshine for 80 years before condemning them to hell for sins he made them commit.  That's some amazing love, huh!  

But that's not how the God of the Bible says He shows His love.  He says He shows His love by sending Jesus to the cross for sinners (Romans 5:8).  So unless only the "elect" are sinners, then Jesus died for all people.  Because last I checked, we are all sinners.  Why do Calvinists feel they can change God's love when He Himself told us how He shows His love?]

4.  Calvinism says that God blinds the minds of unbelievers, that it's up to Calvi-god who gets an open-mind and who gets a closed-mind when it comes to understanding the Gospel and responding to the offer of salvation.  But 2 Corinthians 4:4 says "The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel ..."  

If Calvi-god really does the blinding, then he's lying when he blames Satan for it.  Or if Satan did the blinding but Calvi-god really controls everything, then he himself caused Satan to blind unbelievers.  Once again, it comes back to Calvi-god.  Yet Calvi-god makes it sound like Satan does it.  I wonder why Calvi-god would give Satan the "credit" for blinding unbelievers if Calvi-god himself is the one who blinds unbelievers for his own glory.  

Kinda shooting yourself in the foot there, Calvi-god, aren't ya!?!  You did something for your glory ... but then you attribute it to Satan!  You're sharing your glory with Satan!?!  

(FYI: God does blind people at times in the Bible, but He does it in response to their self-chosen hard-heartedness.  Basically, if they don't want to believe, He gives them what they want - unbelief.  And He does open minds to understand truth more, but He opens the minds of those who already believe or who want to believe.)

5.  Romans 1:20 says that since we can clearly see God through His creation, we have no excuse for not believing in Him.  But Calvinism says that the unelect are predestined to not believe in Calvi-god, no matter how much creation points to a Creator.  The unelect have no chance to believe in him because Calvi-god blinded them.  That right there would be the ultimate excuse for not believing in God: "But God, You created me to not believe in You!"  Is God lying when He says that we can see Him in His creation and believe, and that we are responsible for our choice to not believe because He is so clearly seen in His creation?

Calvi-god:  "Listen up, people!  You can easily see that I exist when you look at my creation.  And so I will hold you accountable if you don't - if you don't see me and seek me.  You have no excuse for not knowing I was real ... Uh, wait, I mean the elected people can see me when they look at my creation.  Actually, they have to see me because I am forcing them to.  But the non-elected people will never see me because I created them that way.  But I am still going to hold them accountable, even though I made them that way.  But they can't use that as an excuse.  Not at all!  When they stand before me, I'm still gonna ask them, 'Why didn't you believe in me?'  And when they say, 'But God, You made me to not ...', I'm gonna interrupt them and yell, 'NO EXCUSES!  You should have seen me in my creation and then looked for me, even though I made it impossible for you to do so!'  And then, for my own glory and pleasure, I'm gonna damn them to hell for all of eternity for not seeing me in creation, for not seeking me.  You're welcome, people of the world!  Aren't you glad to have such a good, righteous, just, loving, trustworthy god controlling your every move!  I mean, just imagine what kind of monster god you could've gotten!  You dodged a bullet there, didn't you?  Well, I mean, at least the elected people did.  Bummer for the rest of you, though!"  

6.  Matthew 23:37: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers chicks under her wings, but I caused you to be unwilling, so I don't really have anyone to blame for my sadness but myself."  

Umm ... yeah ... that's not what it says.  It says "but you were not willing."  If Calvinism is true, Calvi-god made them unwilling to believe.  Therefore, he's lying by making it sound like they chose to be unwilling, that they chose to resist him.  Or he's simply confused about who really causes people to be unwilling.

7.  Calvinists say God causes people to be unbelievers, to have hard-hearts, to sin.  But ... 

"But they refused to pay attention; stubbornly they turned their backs and stopped up their ears.  They made their hearts as hard as flint and would not listen to the law or to the words that the Lord Almighty had sent by his Spirit through the earlier prophets.  So the Lord Almighty was very angry.  'When I called, they did not listen; so when they called, I would not listen,' says the Lord Almighty."  (Zechariah 7:11-13)  

Wait a second ... What's this I read!?!  They "refused" to pay attention?  They turned their backs and stopped listening?  They made their hearts hard?  Oh boy!  Did John Calvin know about this?  'Cuz he'd be most unhappy to see God contradicting him like this?  

If Calvinism is true, Calvi-god is lying when he assigns blame to the people, and he is punishing them for something he caused!  Hallelujah, what a sadistic, unjust, untrustworthy wonderful, just, righteous god you Calvinists serve!  That he would cause us to sin and then punish us for it!  Hallelujah!  Let's sing of Calvi-god's glory forever!    

And why would Calvi-god get angry for something he caused?  Silly god!  He could have prevented his own anger if he had just forced them to listen.  He didn't have to cause them to not listen.  But, I don't know ... maybe he likes getting angry now and then, and so he creates people who won't listen, just so he can pretend to be angry with them?  And, I wonder ... why would he say that since they wouldn't listen when he called then he won't listen when they call ... when, all along, he's the one who caused them to not listen?  What a silly little charade Calvi-god likes to engage in every now and then, just for his own amusement!

And not only does Calvi-god cause himself to get angry every now and then, but he causes himself to grieve and be filled with pain.  (So not only is Calvi-god a deceptive, schizophrenic, sadistic, unjust, untrustworthy god, but now he's also a masochistic god, delighting in causing himself pain.)

"The Lord saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil all the time.  The Lord was grieved that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was filled with pain."  Genesis 6:5-6

Well, this makes it sound like mankind chose to be evil, and it grieved God to see how wicked mankind had become.  But, thanks to John Calvin, we all know this isn't what Calvi-god meant to say.  Because Calvi-god causes men to be wicked and evil, for his good pleasure and his glory (which is what Calvi-god causes everything for).  Therefore, Calvi-god causes his own grief and pain ... for his good pleasure and his glory.  

(Additionally, Calvin says that Satan's main goal is to extinguish God's glory.  So then, Calvi-god causes Satan to try to extinguish his glory ... for his glory!?!  Do you not see how schizophrenic that is!)  

Clearly, the Calvi-Holy Spirit was confused (or intentionally misleading) when he caused the authors to write this.  But with John Calvin's help, we can clearly understand what Calvi-Holy Spirit meant to say:

"The Lord saw how great He had made men's wickedness and how evil He had made men's hearts to be.  And He was grieved that He made men to be so evil and wicked, and His heart was filled with the pain that He caused Himself."

So!  Much!  Better!    

[None of this makes any sense!  But it is the Calvinist God.  And how do Calvinists respond when we question their nonsense?  They say, "Well, God is sovereign and He can do what He wants (read: what we Calvinists say He has to do in order to fit our idea of God], and so He causes everything, even sin and unbelief, but He is still just in holding us responsible for it.  We don't have to understand it; we just have to accept it."  

Say WHAT!?!  That's nonsense!  It's not even a real answer.  It's nonsense.  (And why should we hold to such nonsense if we can't really understand or defend it!?!)  

And they get you to agree to it by first making it sound like "sovereignty" means "total and complete micromanaging" (when it doesn't mean that) and then by saying, "Well, the Bible teaches God's sovereignty, and we don't have to like it but we have to accept it.  Humble Christians don't question God."  They speak nonsense, and follow it with shaming and manipulation and double-talk to get you to agree to the nonsense.  (Hmm, I wonder ... how do cults operate!?!)  

Did you know that according to the concordance, which uses the KJV, the words "sovereign" and "sovereignty" are not in the KJV Bible anywhere?  From what I can tell, it's used almost 300 times in the NIV, but never in the KJV.  The KJV simply says "Lord."  Interesting!  I wonder why they felt the need to add a word that is barely in older translations.  And then Calvinists define that word differently than what it really is.  

Calvinists like to define "sovereignty" as "God causing or controlling everything that happens."  But the definition of "sovereign" has nothing to do with "causing or controlling everything."  It doesn't imply any particular action.  It's a state of being, a description of the position God is in.  He is above all, the "Master," He possesses supreme power.  BUT ... this doesn't imply the action of always using His power to control everything.  Calvinists have added this idea to the definition of "sovereignty."  (And then this word has been added to many verses in the NIV.)   

Yes, God is sovereign.  He has the power to control everything, but He has chosen to not always use it to control everything.  He has chosen to give people choices, and then He (in His wisdom and sovereignty) works our choices into His plans.  Sometimes He causes things (but never sin or unbelief) and something He just allows things.  This is how He has chosen to exercise His sovereignty.  

But Calvinists have a misunderstanding of sovereignty.  And then instead of just fixing this wrong view of "sovereignty" (and "ordains" and "predestines") so that it agrees with Scripture, they twist Scripture to fit their wrong views.  Ugh!  It's so wrong!

Or ... maybe the Bible is wrong and Calvinists are right?  Maybe the Bible got it all twisted up, and Calvinists fixed it?

Which one do you think it is?  

(Here is what Pastor Tony Evans says about God's sovereignty, about how God sometimes causes things or sometimes just allows things, but how He holds it all in His hands and works it all out for good.  Also see "Connecting With God For A Breakthrough" - a good biblical view of mankind's responsibility and God's actions.)]

Once again, Calvinism says that Calvi-god causes and predetermines everything, even sin and unbelief (causing the non-elect to believe lies instead of the truth).  But James 1:13-15 says God does not tempt anyone to sin, and John 8:44 says that Satan is the father of lies.  

Clearly, if Calvinism is true - that God causes people to sin and to believe lies - then how wrong is it for Calvi-god to claim that he doesn't tempt people to sin and that Satan is the father of lies?  How can Calvi-god preplan people's sin and cause people to sin, yet not tempt them to sin?  I guess maybe Calvinists could say that Calvi-god doesn't tempt them to sin because their choices have already been predetermined; they will inevitably do what Calvi-god pre-ordained they would do, no temptation necessary.  Maybe this is how they see it, that Calvi-god doesn't tempt people because he doesn't need to tempt people to do the things they were predetermined to do and have no choice about.      

I'm just wondering ... Does anyone find it strange that Calvi-god commands people to do things that he created them unable to do (seek him, obey him, believe in him), but he causes them to do things he commands them not to do (sin, reject Jesus, etc.).

Yep, makes perfect sense!   

John Calvin was a theological genius!

[Once again, Calvinists respond to this kind of conundrum with "God causes everything, even sin, but we are still accountable for our sin.  We can't understand it, but we just have to accept it."  It's double-talk and nonsense and manipulation.  Because all along the way, the Bible is clear that God doesn't cause sin, that we choose to sin, and that it's why we can be held accountable for it.  

Question for Calvinists:  Does saying something enough times make it true?

And doesn't saying that we are still somehow accountable and responsible for our sins imply that we did something to deserve to be punished?  That we have an effect on what happens to us?  I thought, according to Calvinism, that we couldn't do anything to affect our lives or the outcome of our lives.  So apparently, the elect do nothing to be saved (not even think about God or believe in Jesus on their own), but the unelect do something to deserve the punishment they get.  Where is Calvi-god's "sovereign control" now, if the non-elect do something to somehow "deserve" their damnation?  It isn't all under Calvi-god's control then, is it?

No wonder it takes a genius like John Calvin to figure this all out.  I guess I'm just not smart enough to understand it all.  Good thing John Calvin came along when he did, or else the Gospel might have always been a confusing mess to us!  

But wait ... now I'm wondering ... what then is the "way out of temptation" that God provides in 1 Cor. 10:13 ... if Calvi-god himself is the one who causes us to sin or not sin?  Why provide a "way out" when he is the one who put us there in the first place?  Why tell us that we can find a way out if he alone determines if and when we get out?  What does "God is faithful and will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear" mean if Calvi-god controls our sin and unbelief?  He's faithful to ... what? ... keep us from sinning if he chooses to keep us from sinning, but cause us to sin if he predetermines that we sin?  And how can we "bear" anything, when Calvi-god himself decides if we bear it or not?  

I know, I know ... it's my tiny brain.  My tiny, limited, human brain simply can't understand such grand ideas, so I'll have to wait till eternity to see clearly.  Till then, I just have to trust in John Calvin ... oops, I mean "God"!

Honestly, the sermon that made me go "I am done listening to this pastor" was the one where our dogmatic Calvinist pastor said that God ordains everything (as in preplans/causes everything) for His glory ... even childhood abuse (included in a list of "God-ordained" tragedies, according to him).  He said whatever happened in your life was God's "Plan A" for your life, for your good, for His glory, for His purposes, to humble you, etc., and that you just have to trust Him.  

It's one thing to say God allowed it - that He allowed someone to make a disastrous choice and do bad things to others (that's a terrible consequence of us having free-will, the ability to do wrong), and that He can heal it and use it for good, if you let Him.  

But it's another thing to say that God Himself causes people to commit horrible, violent sins - sins He commands us not to commit - because "it brings Him glory somehow, it's for your own good, and because He knew what you needed to go through to keep you humble"!  

What!?!  Are you frickin' kidding me!?!  That is horrifying!  That is not a god to be trusted or loved, or to want to be loved by!  One Calvinist said that we should see everything that happens as a sign of God's love, because "God is love."  So therefore all things like cancer and war and abuse are really "signs of God's love, done out of love."  

If that's "love," I'd hate to see hate!  (See "Does God Cause Childhood Abuse?")

But the God of the Bible doesn't cause the sins He commands us not to do.  He allows us to do them and He uses our self-chosen sins for His purposes and glory, promising to work something good out of all the bad things, but He doesn't cause us to sin or be wicked!

What was it that Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good..."  How can man "intend" to do anything, if Calvinism is true?  According to Calvinism, there is only One who is allowed to have any intentions and whose intentions have any effect of the world: Calvi-god!  So maybe Joseph misunderstood how mankind and how God operates.  But, that's understandable ... because John Calvin hadn't come along yet to explain it all. 

This Calvi-pastor of ours also believes God commands spanking, and that spanking should hurt.  I, however, believe the Bible commands discipline, not necessarily spanking.  

Question for the pastor:  "So, pastor, you spank your children and grandchildren.  Why?"  

I would imagine the answer is something about helping train them up in the right path, teaching them to obey.  

"Oh, but wait," I would say, "you believe we have no control over our lives, over the path we take and whether we obey or not.  You believe Calvi-god controls everything that happens.  But then you spank your kids to affect their upbringing.  Are you saying that you have some sort of control over their lives, how they act, who they become?  When Calvi-god alone, according to you, has the power to do anything and is the only operating force in this world?  How can you believe you can affect or influence your kids' lives and behavior when you can't even affect or influence your own beliefs about God?  Hmm?  

And if Calvi-god wanted your children to turn into little monsters, for his glory and purposes, why would you interfere with that?  Why think you can interfere with that?  Shouldn't you let Calvi-god raise your kids, especially since we have no control or influences over anything in life anyway?  And why keep pretending like we do?  What's going to happen is going to happen.  It's already been predetermined since before time began!"    

I would imagine him saying "Well, God needs us to obey Him, to discipline our kids, because that's how He's going to work out His plan in their lives."

"Oh, I see ... so Calvi-god needs us," I'd answer.  "He needs us to accomplish something he couldn't do himself.  Where is the completely, in-control, 'sovereign' Calvi-god now?  If he 'needs' our obedience to accomplish his Will?  And besides, if he expects us to obey his command to discipline our kids (the pastor would say 'spank') doesn't that mean we can disobey?  And if we can choose between obeying and disobeying, doesn't that bring us right back to free-will?  Oh, I know, it must be that Calvi-god caused you - predestined you - to spank your kids, and you have no control over it, right?  (Boy, I wish John Calvin was here to help explain this all to me!)"

I don't think this pastor would be happy that I am speaking out against Calvinism.  But let me ask this:  If he truly believes that Calvi-god causes everything for his purposes and glory, that nothing happens unless he causes it and ordains it, then can he really get upset with me for speaking out against Calvinism?  I didn't choose to do it.  I had no choice.  Calvi-god made me do it!

You know, if Calvinists tell you enough times that you can't understand Scripture clearly and that you just have to accept what they say "in faith," then you will stop looking for answers and stop thinking you should have answers.  They make you feel "unhumble" for digging for reasonable, logical truth, as if you are trying to find out things mere humans are not supposed to know.  If you really study them and their arguments, you'll begin to see that they use almost cult-like techniques to ensnare you and to prevent you from questioning them.  It's actually quite disturbing!]  

9.  Calvinism says that Calvi-Jesus only died for the elect, that the elect are prechosen before they are born, and that the non-elect were never offered saving grace.  But ... Romans 11:32"For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all."  Who's lying?  Is God lying when He says that we are "all" in the same boat?  Oh, I know ... Calvi-god must be talking about two different groups of "all men" in this verse, but he leaves it obscure enough so that only the Calvinists - the super-special chosen ones - can understand it:  "For Calvi-god has bound all non-elected men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on all elected men."  There!  Much better!  See how much more clearly Calvinistic is it when we insert the words Calvi-god must have meant to write but forgot to include!  (Phew!  Thank Calvi-god for men like John Calvin, or we might never have been able to understand what Calvi-god was so clumsily trying to say.) 

  Calvinists say God wanted/planned for/caused Adam and Eve to eat the fruit.  But God commanded them not to eat the fruit.  Did God command them to do the opposite of what He really wanted them to do?  How do you trust a God like that?  So then when Calvi-god says "Keep the marriage bed pure,"  surely he must mean to do the opposite, right?  And if I have an affair, then it was his Will that I have an affair because he causes everything that happens, right?  For his purposes and glory, right?  Thank You, Calvinists, for completely undermining every command God ever gave.  Because clearly Calvi-god might really mean the opposite and cause the opposite of whatever he commands us to do!

  The Bible teaches there’s a spiritual war going on around us.  How could that be if Calvi-god causes everything and if everything works out exactly the way he planned?  To have a war, you need at least two sides that oppose each other, that work against each other.  But if Calvinism is true, there is only one being who operates in this world and that influences this world: Calvi-god!  So is God lying whenever He talks about a spiritual war?  Wouldn't that then be Calvi-god fighting against Calvi-god?  Was the angel in Daniel 10 lying when he said that he was prevented from delivering the answer to Daniel by demonic forces who opposed him?  Is this "fake opposition" - God working against Himself because "Calvi-god controls everything"?  Is this a real spiritual war?  Or is it a farce, a dramatic show orchestrated by an “all-controlling” Calvi-god?  

And what about Romans 12:21"Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" If Calvi-god is the only active force in this world, if he controls and instigates evil for his purposes and glory, isn't this Bible verse telling us to not let Calvi-god (the controller of evil) overcome us but that we should overcome him?  Isn't that a bit contradictory?  And why try to overcome evil if Calvi-god himself is behind that evil and has a purpose for it and if he's trying to get himself glory through it?  Hmm, surely Calvi-god must be confused about who's in charge of evil if would he tell us to overcome evil when he himself is in cause/control of that evil!  Maybe when he told us to overcome evil, he forgot that he was causing that evil for his purposes and glory.  Silly Calvi-god!  So confused sometimes!

Why would God say "Submit yourselves, then, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7), if Calvi-god himself decides who submits to him and who won't be able to "resist" the devil?  If Calvinism is true, shouldn't it read "Submit yourselves to God ... if He makes you submit yourselves to Him.  Resist the devil ... if He's predetermined that you'll resist the devil.  Because you can't do anything on your own.  God has to do it all for you.  And now that I think about it, I don't even really know why I am telling you to submit and resist ... because telling you to do these things can have no effect on whether or not you do them.  Hmm?  I'm confused."

Why would God warn us in 1 Peter 5:8-9 to "Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  So resist him, standing firm in the faith..." if you can't do anything about it?  If you are not in control of any of this?  Peter doesn't sound like a Calvinist to me:  Self-control?  Control of the self?  Resist the devil?  Instead of "You don't have any influence over yourself because God determines everything, even if you resist the devil"?  Stand firm in the faith?  Instead of "God causes you to have faith and will keep you firm in the faith"?

But maybe I'm reading it wrong!

Oh, and what is the fruit of the Spirit?  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and God-control.  Oops, scratch that, it actually says "self-control."  Interesting.  I didn't think self-control was possible, according to Calvinism.  I guess the Bible must be mistaken.      

12.  Calvinists say Calvi-god shows his love to the elect by saving them and to the non-elect by caring for them while they are on earth.  And they say he shows his justice by damning the non-elect to hell.  

But ... the Bible says God shows His love AND His justice by sending Jesus to die on the cross for us.  (Romans 3:25-26, Romans 5:8)  

So who's wrong?  Who's lying?  

Calvi-god:  I showed my love to all men by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for all sins!

Calvinists:  Uh, no, God!  We told you: You show two different kinds of love.  A saving love for the elect, and a "providing food and water" kind of love for the non-elect.

Calvi-god:  Oh, yeah, that's right.  But the Bible's already been written.  Oh well, I guess I'll get John Calvin to fix it in the 1500's.  But at least I demonstrated my justice by sending Jesus to the cross to pay the price required for mankind's sin.

Calvinists (closing their eyes, pressing their fingers to their foreheads, slowly shaking their heads back and forth in exasperation):  Come on, Calvi-god.  We thought you'd catch on by now!  You didn't show your justice by having Jesus pay the price required for everyone's sin.  You show your justice by not covering the sins of the non-elect with Jesus's blood, by not offering them salvation, by forcing the non-elect to be unbelievers, and then by damning them to hell for it!  Why is that so hard to figure out!?!?  And ... let's go over this again ... you show your amazing love by ..."

Calvi-god, thinking for a moment:  "Oh, I know ... by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for all men's sin!"

Calvinists:  "UGH, NO!!!  You show your amazing, wonderous love by sending Jesus to die only for the elect and by giving the non-elect food and sunshine for 80 years or so before damning them to hell for all of eternity for what you made them do!  You know what, I'm tired.  I need to go lie down.  This is exhausting!"   

13.  In 1 Samuel 23:12-13, David asks God if the people of Keilah will hand him over to Saul if he stays there.  God says they will, so David leaves.  How could God have a different outcome in mind if he (as Calvi-god) always preplans everything that happens?  If Calvi-god preplanned that David left and wasn’t handed over, there was no possible alternative ending and, therefore, he was lying by telling David there was.  

"Uh, yeah, David, sure they'll hand you over to Saul if you stay, so you better leave" (giggle, giggle, wink, wink).

In Samuel 13:13-14, Saul had disobeyed the Lord, and Samuel tells him that God would have established Saul’s kingdom if he would have obeyed.  Once again, how could Calvi-god have had any other plan in mind if he preplans everything?  If Calvinism is true, then God would've been lying to imply that Saul had an effect on what happened.  

"Uh, yeah, sure I would have established Saul's kingdom if he had obeyed.  But he didn't obey because I caused him to not obey, so there really was no chance of him obeying or of ever having his kingdom established.  But if it was possible for him to obey - which it wasn't - then I would have established his kingdom.  But I really wouldn't have.  Because I predestined him to not obey and to lose his kingdom.  But yeah, if he would have obeyed, I would have.  But not really!"    

  In Matthew 11:20-24, Jesus says that if His miracles had been done in Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom, they would have repented.  How can that be if Calvi-god predetermines everything, even people’s rejection of him?  If things are predetermined, they would not have repented because they didn't repent.  But Jesus says they would have repented, if the circumstances were different.  Was He lying?  Or did the people really have the choice about how they responded to Jesus?  Did their choices really affect the outcome?

Jesus to the people: "Those people in Sodom would have believed if they saw the miracles I did."

Calvi-god whispering to Jesus: "Uh, no!  Remember they didn't believe because I predetermined they wouldn't believe and I caused them to not believe.  So, no, they wouldn't have believed for any reason because I willed them to be unbelievers."

Jesus:  "Uh, okay, let me clarify that ... They would have believed if they saw the miracles I did ... if Calvi-god wanted them to believe.  But he didn't, so they really wouldn't have believed.  But if he wanted them to, then they would have.  Does that make sense?  No!?!  Well, you don't have to understand it; you just have to accept it!  In about 1500 years, it will all be clearer because a man named John Calvin will be born.  Wait for him to explain it all to you more thoroughly."  

  Why would Calvi-god tell Nineveh that they would be overthrown in 40 days if he never intended to overthrow them anyway, if he preplanned they wouldn't be overthrown?  Either he lied … or the people’s response really did affect the outcome?

Jonah:  "Hey, Nineveh, you will be overthrown in 40 days!  But you really won't.  Because Calvi-god's already predestined that you won't be overthrown.  But even though you won't really be overthrown, repent so that you aren't overthrown, which is what Calvi-god's already planned anyway.  Wait, Calvi-god, I'm confused.  What am I warning the people about?"  

Calvi-god:  "Jonah, you're making a mess of this.  Just tell the people to wait for John Calvin.  He'll make it clearer."

17.  Calvinism says Calvi-god "ordains" everything, meaning that he preplans/causes everything.  But Calvinists misunderstand "ordains."  Yes, many times God does "cause" things to happen (never sin or unbelief).  But other times, God simply "allows" what happens, such as our sin and rebellion and unbelief.  In His sovereignty and wisdom, God knows what will happen and He chooses to allow what will happen because He can work it into His plans.  This is a biblical view of God "ordaining" everything that happens.  But a Calvinist views "ordains" as Calvi-god preplanning/causing everything that happens.  But if that is true, then we need to cut out these verses because Calvi-god is lying:

Hosea 8:4:  “They [Israel] set up kings without my [God’s] consent; they choose princes without my approval.”  (How is that possible, Calvi-god?  You must be lying, because there can never be a leader you didn't pre-choose and preplan and cause to be a leader!)

Acts 14:16:  “In the past, [God] let all nations go their own way.”  (Impossible!  You can never "let people go their own way" because that would imply they can make decisions.  So you must mean, "I let them go the way I caused them to go, and then let them feel like they were really going their own way, like they made decisions on their own.")

Isaiah 30:1:  "Woe to the obstinate children," declares the Lord, "to those who carry out plans that are not mine."  (All plans are your plans, Calvi-Lord.  Everything that happens is because you made it happen.  No one can carry out a plan that you didn't make and cause.  So why are you lying by saying things happened that were not your plans?  John Calvin would be so disappointed in you!  You're totally contradicting him!)  

Jeremiah 19:4-5:  “They have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods … They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offering to Baal – something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.”  (Come on, Calvi-god, admit it ... Not only did you make them forsake you, but you most definitely did plan for them to burn their sons in the fire, because everything that happens is because you planned it and made it happen.  And nothing can happen without you causing it.  You caused them to burn their sons in the fire.  Why ... Why!?! ... do you keep acting like you had nothing to do with that, acting like they chose to do this despicable thing on their own?  Didn't you, in fact, cause it all for your own glory anyway?  So why deny it?  But no worries, Calvi-god ... John Calvin clarified everything so that we could know the real truth!)  

And we also have to get rid of (or twist) every verse that tells people to choose between obeying God or disobeying God and that calls us to seek God and that tells us Jesus died for all and loves all.   Because, according to Calvinism, we can't choose to obey or disobey; Calvi-god determines that for us.  And we can't choose to seek him, unless he makes us do it.  And he doesn't love all and he didn't die for all, only for a few elect.  So there's no need for these irrelevant, nonsensical verses in the Bible. 

So who is lying?  Who is wrong?  Who misunderstands the Gospel and how God operates: God or Calvinists?

Thank Calvi-god for John Calvin!  Without him we might never have noticed all the mistakes Calvi-god made in his Word!  We might never have known what Calvi-god really meant to say!  

Calvinism preaches half-truths, twisted Scripture, "secret meanings to words," and illogical contradictions that they expect you to blindly accept.  Do not listen to it!  If you are not trying to force Scripture into a Calvinist framework, the Bible is quite clear and makes sense and has consistent teachings about God and the Gospel.

Some additional posts:

Why Is It So Hard For Calvinists To Get Free From Calvinism?
I read something once about how very few people end up freeing themselves from the clutches of Calvinism because of the strong hold it has on people.  I think this is partly because ...

1.  We [I am not a Calvinist, so this is a generalized "we"] would have to admit that we were misunderstanding Scripture this whole time, and no one wants to admit they could be wrong.

2.  Calvinism appeals to the prideful intellectuals.  (And prideful intellectuals have the greatest aversion to admitting they could be wrong.)  It makes these intellectuals feel like they alone understand the "deeper, hidden meanings of Scripture," while the simple-minded Christians can't understand it.  And it makes them feel more "humble" for accepting these "difficult teachings," like their idea that people have no control whatsoever.  It's like "Look how humble I am to accept such unpleasant teachings and to submit myself so fully to our all-powerful, totally-controlling God."  (How do you get a prideful intellectual who believes he's being truly, appropriately humble to see that he's wrong?  It's near impossible.  It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle!)

3.  Calvinism also appeals to those who genuinely do want to humble themselves before God, and they are led to believe that Calvinism is the way to do it.  

My heart goes out to these people, the ones that are just trying to live a humble life before God, to honor Him.  They are just doing their best to live the "truth," as they have been told it is by Calvinists.  But, sadly, they don't realize they are being told a twisted version of Scripture ... because the Calvinists have so much smart-sounding babble and mumble-jumble to "validate" their view of Scripture that it starts to sound believable.  

And, surely, anyone who has that much babbling, mumble-jumble knowledge must know what they are talking about, right?  

The faster and more confidently a person talks, the more we tend to think they know what they're talking about.  The more information they throw at us - even if it's nonsense - the smarter they appear and the more we trust what they're saying.  And it all makes our heads spin so much that we simply start to nod our heads in agreement, never noticing their errors and contradictions.  We let them think for us.  

Please, good humble Christians, consider all that I say and what the Bible says, for yourselves, apart from the Calvinistic garbage you're being fed.  Calvinism isn't just another way to read the Bible and understand God.  It's a wrong way to read the Bible and understand God!  (And if you think I'm wrong and Calvinism is right, how about taking my "Defend Your Calvinism Challenge" below!)

4.  Because we don't ask God to help us understand Scripture, we don't give Him permission to correct us and to guide our thinking, we just plow through on our own (or we resist asking Him to correct us because we don't want Him to).

5.  Because Calvinism is so common, and so many "great" theologians teach it that we don't stop to even consider that it can be wrong.  And besides, Calvinist preachers, authors, and theologians are so forceful, educated, confident, and sure of themselves that they must be right, right!?!  I mean, they couldn't possibly be wrong, could they!?!

(You know who else was educated and confident?  The Teachers of the Law, the Pharisees, the religious leaders in Jesus's day, the ones who were so blinded by their own knowledge that they missed the Truth, even when He was standing right in front of them.)

6. Because we always put on our "Calvinist glasses" before we read the Bible, we have trained ourselves to fit Scripture into Calvinism, so we never see a problem with it.  (And if we do see a problem with it, we simply remind ourselves of what Calvinism says, "We won't be able to understand it anyway.  So be a good, humble Christian, and just accept it.  If you question it, you are questioning God's Word itself because this IS what the Bible teaches.")

7.  Because Calvinist theologians have made us believe we can't really understand the Bible without their interpretations (Oh, how many false religions do the same thing!).  Calvinists are always saying, "Oh, yeah, well, John MacArthur says ..." or "Wayne Grudem says ..." or "RC Sproul says ...".  

But you know what I want to know:  "What does the Bible say?"  And what these theologians say is often a spin on what the Bible says.  Does the Bible not speak for itself?  Is God so clumsy in His communication that He needs Calvinist theologians to clarify His message for Him?  

[Calvinists are great at sounding like they are speaking only from the Bible, by using phrases like "What does the Bible say?  We always have to go back to the Bible."  But, as Calvinists, they would have to look right at the Bible that says "For God so loved the world, that whosoever believes ..." and "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved" and "the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men" ... and then change "the world" and "whosoever" and "everyone who" and "all men" to "only the elect."  What the heck!?!  That's not what the text says!  So stop making it sound like you always go right back to what the Bible says!  How misleading!  

They also try to come across as humble when they talk about their beliefs, like they can't really understand how it all works, so they just accept it in faith.  Such as the idea that God ordains evil and sin but that we can still be held accountable for it.  They'll say things like, "How does that work?  How can God ordain evil but we are still accountable for it?  I don't know.  I don't know how it works, but I have to accept it because the Bible teaches both God's sovereignty (by this they mean God controls/causes everything) and man's responsibility."  

But inside, I am jumping up and yelling, "I know how it works!  You don't know how it works because you believe God causes evil and causes people to sin, yet He holds us accountable for the evil and sin He causes.  No wonder you don't know how it works; you can't reconcile those two things.  You are misunderstanding God's sovereignty.  But I know how it works ... because God doesn't cause the people to be evil and to sin.  He just works their self-chosen evilness and sin into His plans.  That's how He can use evil in His plans and yet still hold us accountable for it.  We choose to be evil and to sin; He just lets us be evil and sin, and then, in His wisdom and sovereignty, He incorporates our evil and sin into His plans!"  

Think of an undercover sting by police where they use a criminal, who doesn't know he's being used, to lead them to the Bad Guy Boss.  They didn't make the criminal be a criminal or do bad things; they just used his criminal nature and acts (the person he's willingly chosen to be) to accomplish their purposes.  And in the end, the police can arrest the criminal along with the Boss, because they both chose to be criminals.  It's not that hard to understand when you look at it correctly.  Sadly, though, Calvinists complicate and twist the things that are simple, and misunderstand or brush off the things that are confusing.]

8.  Because it's a difficult, confusing topic, so instead of investing the time and energy to really study it for ourselves, we would rather let the "great theologians" tell us what to think.  Because we trust them.  We trust them so much we don't even think to question them.  

(Did you know there was a psychological experiment years ago where someone drew a perfectly straight line on the board, and they had a bunch of people come in and say if they thought the line was straight or crooked.  The thing was, all of the people, except one, were in on it.  And they all said it was clearly crooked, while the one guy said it was straight.  They debated with him for a long time and gave their reasons for why it was crooked and why he must not be seeing it ... and by the end of the experiment, they had this guy agreeing that the perfectly-straight line was crooked.  Interesting!) ...

9.  Because we want to honor God by submitting to His sovereignty, and Calvinists are all about God's sovereignty.  BUT ... Calvinists misunderstand "sovereignty" and "ordains" and "predestination," etc.  They build their theology around an incorrect, unbiblical understanding of these things.  But we don't know to question it because it sounds biblical enough to convince us that it must be true, despite the red flags that pop up in our minds.  And they convince us that those "red flags" come from our pride and our own feelings and our own desire for control and our desire to understand things we are "not supposed to understand yet," etc.  So we shut up and don't question it anymore.

10.  And they don't just build their theology around misunderstandings of words but also around their own preconceptions and misconceptions of how things must work.  And if you start with a foundation of misconceptions, you are building a house of cards on a foundation of Jell-O.  But they never think to question the foundation of misconceptions.  They just keep trying to make the building on top more secure.

Such as, they start with the idea that "For God to really be in control means He has to control everything.  If you believe He doesn't control everything, that He gives people a choice, then you are saying He is not an all-powerful, sovereign God.  You are reducing Him and elevating humans."  That's a big fat presumption on their part, equating "in control" with "must control and cause everything."  God is much bigger than that and can work all things, even our self-chosen sins, into His plans.  And it's not reducing God at all if God Himself decided to allow mankind the right and responsibility to make choices, to have an effect on things that happen.

"Well," they say, "if you believe we can makes decisions, that God responds to what we do or what we pray, then you're saying we are controlling God."  No!  I am simply saying that God gave us the right to make choices, that He responds to the choices we make.  Because He wanted it to be this way!

"But if we can 'believe' in Jesus or 'accept' Jesus, then that means we are working for our salvation.  So we can't believe in or accept Jesus because we can't work for salvation.  That's why God has to do it all.  If He doesn't do it all, then He's not really in control or fully sovereign."  But equating "accepting/believing in Jesus" with "working for our salvation" is a wrong premise to start with.  That's their own illogical reasoning.  You find me ONE VERSE in the Bible that warns us against "working for our salvation" by accepting, believing in, or agreeing with Jesus.  Here's a tip:  There isn't one.  They are simply starting with their own definition of "working for salvation," including things that are clearly not "good works to earn salvation."  Accepting a free gift that someone made available, that someone else sacrificed for, is not "working to earn it."  It's simply accepting it in humble thankfulness.  It's letting them give it to you, acknowledging their sacrifice and their gift, knowing that you did nothing to earn it, create it, or deserve it.  Calvinist reasoning is pure nonsense!  And yet they build their theological views around that kind of illogical, nonsensical garbage!  And how wicked is it - how very wicked it is - to tell people that they can't accept Jesus's sacrifice on their behalf when the very reason He died was so that they could accept His sacrifice on their behalf!

They also like to say "Well, if God really loved everyone, He would save everyone; but since He didn't save everyone, it must mean He doesn't love everyone the same."  They assume God's saving love necessarily ends in saved people, when what it really does is make salvation possible for all people.  And then they go and redefine God's love and "whosoever" and "all men" to fit with this idea.

They say "God didn't send Jesus to die for everyone and He can't give people a choice to accept or reject Jesus ... because if people could reject Jesus, it would be a waste of Jesus's blood.  And God won't waste Jesus's blood on those who won't believe."  FIND ME ONE VERSE THAT SAYS THIS!!!  You'll be looking forever because THERE ISN'T ONE!  This is purely man-made reasoning.

They say "God has to be the one to cause evil to happen, or else there is no real purpose for it.  There's purpose in the things that happen only if God deliberately causes them."  In Calvinism, God causes all that happens.  Calvinist James White even justifies the existence of child rape (scroll down till you see the picture of James White, or listen to what he says here), by saying that God causes it for a purpose.  And if God doesn't cause it, then it has no purpose.  It's just senseless violence then.

So, let me get this straight ... then you're saying that, for some reason, child rape makes justifiable sense as long as God causes it!?!  What the %&$#!!!  And maybe to Calvinists it does make more sense of evil, but at what expense?  At the expense of Truth and God's character!  They turn God into a monster - into the causer of all evil acts, all horrible sins, the very things He commands us not to do - simply so they can sound like they have a "good reason" for evil.

And yet it is so much easier and more understandable and more biblically-accurate to simply believe that God works sovereignly in two ways: sometimes He causes things that happen (but never sin and rebellion, the things He warns us against), and sometimes He simply allows things to happen, even the bad things we choose to do, but He promises to work it all into good.  This is the biblical way to mesh God's sovereignty with mankind's responsibility, while still representing God's character correctly.)

And aren't Calvinists actually limiting God's abilities when they say He has to be the causer of all bad things for there to be reasons for them or good that comes out of them?  Is God not omniscient enough and wise enough and powerful enough and good enough to take the bad things that people choose to do, and work them into His plans?  To make something good out of the evil we choose to do?  Is He only able to use what He causes?

To say that God has to cause it for it to have a purpose, some value, some use to Him, is using man-made logic to justify it.  Find me the verse that says this!  There isn't one.  Instead I see "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God ..." (Romans 8:28, KJV).  NOT "God causes all evil for good."  God is big enough to allow people to make decisions, and to work those decisions into His plans, to turn them around for good.

They also start with the assumption of "When Adam and Eve fell, it totally destroyed any good in us.  It made us 'totally depraved.'  And being totally depraved means we are so wicked and fallen inside that we can't even want God in our lives or think about God or seek God or understand the Word, unless God makes us do it."  They manipulate your desire to be humble by making you feel like the only way to be truly humble is to admit that humans are "totally depraved."  And that because we are totally depraved, we are totally incapable of wanting or seeking or believing in God, and so God has to do that in us.  God has to choose who to "force" into believing in Him.  Because our depraved nature makes it impossible for us to do it ourselves.  Once again, this is completely from their own imagination, their own reasoning and misconceptions.  You find me ONE VERSE that supports this idea, this conclusion.  Yes, the idea that we are totally fallen is in the Word, as in mankind is now filled with wickedness and as in we are fully separated from God because of our sinful nature.  But NOWHERE does it say that this fallenness has led to a complete inability to think about, desire, or seek God.  Calvinists made this up!  And then they built their whole theology on this false assumption.  In fact, the exact opposite is in the Word - God expects us to seek Him and calls us to seek Him over and over again and He gave us the ability to reason, to think, to desire, to make decisions.  My goodness, how wicked Calvinism is!

(Notice I said "Calvinism" not "Calvinists."  You have to remember to separate the people from the bad theology.  Many Anti-Calvinists hate Calvinism so much that they throw out the people with their views.  They hate them both.  Do not do that!  You can hate the view but love and respect the person.  That person is deeply loved by God, Jesus died for them, and God wants them to come to a proper understanding of the Gospel and salvation.  Help them, don't hate them!)

(And of course, Calvinists will use Romans 3:10-11 to support their idea of "total depravity/inability," saying that "There is no one righteous, not even one.  There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God" means that we are so depraved that we CANNOT seek God or understand.  But the verses don't say that.  It's simply a commentary on general human nature, how selfish and self-centered we are, how much we love our sin, how all humans are fallen, how we have no righteousness of our own to earn our salvation.  This is why God had to make it possible, to pay the price for our sins, and to offer salvation to us.  Because we couldn't do it ourselves.  It's not saying we CAN'T seek God or understand, just that in general we don't, we choose not to.  Besides, this "there is no one righteous" verse would contradict Calvinism's whole idea of God electing some to salvation before the beginning of time.  If someone is elected, they are born elected.  Righteousness was already bestowed on them by God before they were born.  How then can they say that no one is righteous, when supposedly the elect are born with this righteousness already credited to them?  The elect are born in a different condition than the unelect.  So how can they be lumped in with everyone else?)

A lot of Calvinist theology is based on their own ideas of how they think things should work, instead of basing it on the Bible.  So listen carefully for the assumptions, misconceptions, illogical human reasoning, and misunderstood words that they base their theology on.

11.  Because some of us find comfort in the idea that God causes everything.  It makes some people feel comforted and protected, safe from anything God doesn't want to cause.  It's "Everything happens for a reason.  God caused this for a reason."  For some people, it helps them relax during the trials of life.  And they don't want to give up this idea that brings them so much comfort.  

(However, it's a double-edged sword.  This idea that God "causes everything" is horrifying to some people, because it means that God caused all the bad things that happened to them.  It destroys their faith, making them wonder how can they trust a God like that.  And some people might use "God causes everything" to absolve themselves of any responsibilities for the things they caused, the trouble they caused, the consequences they brought on themselves.)

I do not want to ruin people's feeling of security if they find comfort in the idea that God causes everything.  But I do think it's important to have a correct view of how things happen in life.  Sometimes God does cause things to happen (but not sin and unbelief, the things He commands us not to do and warns us against).  But sometimes God just allows things to happen.  (God allowed Satan to do whatever he wanted in Job's life, for God's reasons, but God Himself didn't cause the things that happened.  He just allowed Satan to do what Satan wanted, within the boundaries He put up around Job's life.)  

Everything has to go through Him first, to get His "go ahead."  And yes, sometimes this means allowing "bad things."  But whatever He allows, He does so because He knows how to work it into good, because He can use it.  And this is what we can trust Him for - that He knows everything that happens, that whatever He allows is because He can use it for His glory and His purposes, and that He can help us through anything and can heal anything and can turn anything into good, for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  

God never promised a pain-free life, but He does promise to comfort us in our pain, carry us through our pain, and to use our pain to make something beautiful!

12.  And because Calvinists make you believe that it's unhumble to question Calvinism.  They act like questioning Calvinism is questioning God and the Bible.  "Now just run along and be a good, humble Christian by not questioning what we're teaching.  Only prideful, unhumble Christians question Calvinism.  Calvinism is Scripture.  And if you argue with Calvinism, you'll be arguing with Scripture and with God."  (Oh, how many cults do the same thing!)  Calvinists manipulate us through our fear of dishonoring God, our fear of being too prideful, our desire to be humble, our desire to lift God up as high as we can, etc.  

But Calvinism is not Scripture; Scripture is Scripture.  And I think if people read the Bible alone (with the help of a good concordance), without a Calvinist's commentary or interpretations of Scripture, they would find that Calvinism has very little Scriptural basis, that the Word actually teaches the opposite.    

Calvinism is not Scriptural.  But it sounds close enough to being Scriptural that we don't question it.  We just keep drinking the Kool-Aid they give us, never stopping to question if it's poisoned!

But I'm here to say ... NO!  

No ... no ... no ... no!!!

Just ... NO!!!

Don't drink the Kool-Aid!  

Put it down and run away!

The Bible tells you what you need to know.  And God wasn't confused when He wrote it!

Just ... NO!!! 

(Every time I reread this post, I want to cry about what Calvinism is doing to God's Word and to people's faith!  I want to start punching walls and then just sit down and cry!)

And an excerpt from another post:

If you are so sure about your Calvinism, then how about taking my "Defend Your Calvinism" challenge:  

Read my blog posts on this issue (find them in "Links To My Anti-Calvinism posts"), and then do your best to defend your Calvinism against what I say, to find loopholes in what I say, to try to defeat what I say.  (Defend it in your own head, not to me.  This is between you and God.)  If I am wrong and you are right, you should be able to do this.  And it should only help to strengthen your position.  (How about giving my blog posts to your church and making it a church-wide study?  Challenge the people to seriously study this issue to figure out what the Bible says.)  

BUT ... you can only do it using the Bible and a good concordance.  That's basically the way I did it.  I didn't quote commentaries or theologians or authors or use my own reasoning as a foundation for my beliefs.  I formulated my view, specifically and first-and-foremost, from the Bible and a good concordance.  So no referencing Calvinist authors or theologians to see what they say or how they interpret a verse.  Study this issue using a Bible and concordance only.  

But it has to be more of a "word for word" translation of the Bible, such as RSV, NASB, KJV.  And I would use a couple different ones to cross-reference because each version has its own "issues" - such as where the NIV says "elect" in one verse (sounding Calvinistic), the RSV says "exiles" (sounding like it's talking about the Jewish exiles at that time).  Big difference!  

DO NOT use one of those recent, conversational-style Bibles like The Message or The Living Bible or The New Living Translation.  The way they write, you won't be able to look up words in the concordance.  Those translations were not trying to be true to the original words.  They are simply trying to get across the general thoughts of the Bible verses.  It makes it hard to do a serious study.  Click here for a quick comparison of Bible Translations (this is only one person's review, you can find more online), to see which versions are going for word accuracy and which are just trying to get across the general thoughts of the authors.    

Just found this, still thinking about it - but it shares some concerns about the ESV and the NIV, about how they are Calvinist-leaning.  Apparently, it seems like most Calvinists prefer the ESV.  Must be a reason why.  (I'm still looking for info on if the KJV leans towards Calvinism.)  Also be careful with
the ESV Study Bible, because its general editor, Wayne Grudem, and theological editor, JI Packer, are both huge Calvinists.  And with the MacArthur Study Bible, as in John MacArthur, Calvinist hero to many.  And with the HCSB Study Bible (updated to CSB), a Study Bible meant for those in the "reformed" tradition, a code word for "Calvinist."  

Be careful about where you get your theology from.  

So, what will it be?  The red or blue pill?

I am challenging you, right now, to take the red pill, even if it makes you feel sick to your stomach at first!  Open your eyes to the truth of what Calvinism teaches and what the Bible teaches, and see if you can really reconcile the two!

A few tips on how to read Scripture critically:

... Read each verse you look up IN CONTEXT.  Read the entire section, not just the supposed "Calvinist" verse.  Who is speaking?  Who are they speaking to?  Are they talking to Jews or Gentiles, about Jews or Gentiles, about all believers, about mankind in general, etc.?  What is the message they are trying to get across, for the people they are speaking to, in their time period?  (And only after this should you try to figure out what it means for us today.)

...  Read more of the book (or read the whole book) that the verse is from.  See what else the author says about the issue you are studying.  This gives a fuller picture of what the author is really trying to say.  (In fact, read other books in the Bible by that author.  Or read books by other authors, taking note of the times they refer to what you are researching, to see what the Bible in general says about it.)

... Look up the verses in other translations of the Bible.  Cross-reference other translations to get a better idea of which one is the most accurate.

... Look up words, especially those that supposedly confirm Calvinism, in the concordance, even words you assume you know the meaning to.  [For example, as I said above, one version will say "elect," but another says "exiles."  But when you look up the word that's in the concordance, it's talking about strangers who are wandering in a strange land.  And metaphorically it's about Christians, whose true home is in heaven, being residents on this earth.  In the world, but not of the world.  It says nothing of being "chosen" for salvation.  Another example is 2 Thess. 2:13 which says that we were chosen to be "saved," which could sound very much like predestination.  But when you look up "saved" in the concordance, it's not talking about eternal salvation in the "heaven or hell" sense, but it's basically about God promising to spare believers from the end-times wrath He will pour out on staunch unbelievers.

... In the concordance, find other verses that have the same word meaning (the same number assigned to them) so that you can cross-reference the verse you are considering with others that use the same word.  (When I did this, the "whosoever believes" in John 3:16 couldn't possibly mean "just the elect" or "the believers," as Calvinists like to say.  Because the use of this same word in other verses can't mean "the believers."  See near the bottom of this post.)

... If you have to, I suggest after studying it on your own, look up other people's interpretations of the verse online.  But do not put too much weight on them.  It's just what others think the verse means.  But it might shed some light on a verse, especially when you are stumped.

... Always ask yourself if there is anything about the verse that you are assuming, if you are reading it with some sort of preconceived interpretation (of your own or from someone else, like a Calvinist theologian).  And then reread the verse (and the whole passage) AS IF you are reading it for the first time, as if you have no previous assumption of what it means, as if you were in the audience while the author was preaching it for the first time.  How would you interpret it if you had no previous ideas of what it should mean?

... When reading Calvinist interpretations of verses, look for the things they are assuming.  Always ask yourself, "What verse confirms this?"  
      Such as, Calvinists says that when Adam ate the fruit, mankind became "totally depraved," which, to Calvinists, means that humans can't possibly think about God on their own, want God in their life unless God makes them do it, and that they can't seek God unless He causes them to seek.  Where is this in the Bible?  Where is the verse that says this was a consequence of the Fall?  
      Calvinists also say that if God really loved all people then He would save all people.  But since He doesn't save all people, it must mean He doesn't love them all in the same way.  They say this because they assume that God's true love has to always end in saved people.  Where is the verse that says this?  God's saving love doesn't always end in everyone being saved.  What it did was buy salvation for everyone - it paid for everyone's sin - but it's up to us to accept or reject it.
      They also so that if anyone could reject Jesus then it means His blood was wasted, that it would be a disgrace to Him and His sacrifice.  And so therefore, they conclude, people cannot reject Jesus, which means that Jesus only really died for those who would surely be saved, that Jesus only died for the elect.  Where is this in the Bible?
      Pay careful attention to the assumptions and misconceptions that Calvinists start with, that they build their whole theology on.  This, I believe, is the essence of Calvinism.  It's all built on their own ideas of who God is and how He has to act, in order to be considered the sovereign God they think He is, according to their definition of "sovereign".  (See also "Problems in John Calvin's Institutes ...".)

... Also pay attention to the contradictions in their theology.  See "Some of Calvin's Contradictory Nonsense."  DO NOT allow them to convince you that these contradictions are not real or that they don't matter.  It's these contradictions that turn God into an illogical, untrustworthy monster.  
      Such as they say "God is not the cause of sin, but He controls everything we do and everything that happens is because He planned it to happen that way."  "But," they say, "God is not really the cause of sin.  We are still responsible for our sins because ..." and then they come up with all sorts of confusing, rambling, nonsensical ideas to try to make man the cause of sin while still holding to the idea that God causes everything that happens.  And when you try to dig deeper, they say, "Well, you don't have to understand it because it's a mystery.  So you just have to accept it.  Because it's what the Bible teaches."  
      NO, IT'S NOT!!!  It's what THEY SAY the Bible teaches because they are basing their interpretation of the Bible on their own ideas of how God has to be.  These contradictions can't be brushed away so easily.  And they cannot be meshed into one seamless, reliable, accurate theology.  Do not accept these contradictions and the Calvinist's twisted efforts to weasel out of them.  If something doesn't make sense and doesn't seem to fit with God's character and the rest of the Bible, research it more deeply, until you find a way to read it that does fit, that keeps everything in harmony.
      The Bible makes sense and God's character makes sense and it's all consistent ... when you throw Calvinism out!

... Also, when reading or listening to Calvinist theologians, authors, and pastors, take careful notice of the ways they try to manipulate you into agreeing with them, into not questioning them, into feeling unhumble if you dig too deeply into this issue or if you disagree with it.  See "Predestination Manipulation" for more of this.  Don't let Calvinists bully you into agreeing with them, into making you feel like a "less than" Christian because you disagree with them or want to look into it more.

These are just a few ways to critically research this issue and read the Bible.  If you do this, it will open your eyes in ways you didn't even know they needed to be opened.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  From the contradictory, nonsensical prison of Calvinism.

You do not need Calvinist theologians to tell you what God meant to say in His Word.  Let God tell you what He says, right from His Word!

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