Calvinist Comments: A God of Love?
I will be posting some interactions between Calvinists and non-Calvinists from the comment sections of various Soteriology 101 posts. It's interesting and informative to see the actual things that Calvinists themselves say about the Gospel and God, and to see how non-Calvinists respond. (I made minor edits for clarity. And for those who are not aware of my position on this: I am a strong anti-Calvinist. I believe Calvinism distorts the Gospel horribly. We recently left our home church of almost 20 years because of the newish, dogmatic Calvinist pastor who came on board. And I have been researching it deeply and writing against it ever since he started preaching.)
This interaction is from "5 Reasons Why I Stayed Out of Calvinism":
A non-Calvinist, Graceadict, made this comment: "Calvinism creates a god that is NOT a god of love….”
And Calvinist Jtleosala responds:
1. Then, your claim that God loves all humanity is a “decoy love,” after all not all humanity goes to heaven.
2. In Calvinism, God is love because He did not decide to let all humanity come to perish. Instead, He choose to pick for himself a people of His own…
Then Graceadict replies:
Regarding the topic: Is God a God of Love who authentically loves ALL of His Creation and provides for all of their Salvation while not forcing them to accept or reject it? Does He authentically invite ALL to believe? The consistent Calvinist would agree with Pink and say NO. As Calvinist Arthur Pink says: “When we say God is Sovereign in the exercise of His Love, we mean that He loves who he chooses and God does NOT love everybody.”
It seems to me that Jtleosala is in agreement with Pink… and does not try to soft-pedal his position. (I like that about you. I disagree with you but at least you are not pretending that Calvinism's God loves All people, and you clearly hold that position. You are brave to hold that so clearly.)
Jtleosala has written: “You will say.. because they refuse Christ’s offer. But how can they receive the offer if it was not legitimately offered to them? The reprobates go to hell because they have not been picked by God since before the foundation of the world.”
Now Jtleosala, you take issue with the fact that we (non-Calvinists) would say that is not a loving image and is not in harmony with God’s moral nature… You also say "In Calvinism, God is love because He did not decide to let all humanity come to perish.”
But ... In Calvinism, before anyone was created, God decided to create most people for Hell and Damnation. He never intended to love them at anytime in Eternity past, Present or Future.
Here is what defending that looks like. It looks like a lawyer tasked with the job of defending Hitler and making him look loving and kind even while you know the truth about Hitler. The lawyer says “Hitler is very loving and kind, how dare you accuse Hitler of being hateful. He helped his generals and some of his close relatives… SEE, that is proof that Hitler is a very kind and caring man.” The jury hears that and agrees, "Yes, Hitler is the most loving and kind person that ever existed.”
However, you are a Jew and went through the concentration camps. You had family members brutally killed just for being Jews, others raped just for being Jews, tortured, starved to death, others gassed, and still others were objects of experiments simply because they were Jews. You stand to your feet and say "NO! NO! NO! Hitler was not loving and kind and caring!"
The lawyer’s tactic was to ignore the 6 million Jews and just focus on a select few people to prove Hitler was Good and Kind.
The problem I see with Calvinism is that it embraces a “Hitler-like god.” And then to prove that their version is good, they only look at the select few people (the elect) and hold those up as examples of Love ... when in reality their “Hitler-like god” actually treats way more people WAY worse than Hitler ever treated the Jews. Now they are left with the unenviable position of trying to spin their “Hitler-like god” into an image that can be said “He is a God of Genuine Love”. They know their version of God is really Hitler-like. So they have to focus on the few people that Hitler was nice to, and use that to prove “His Essential Nature is Love”.
Just like I would not call Hitler a Loving, Kind and Good man… I have an equally hard time seeing the Calvinist version of God any different. We principally reject Calvinism because it distorts the moral nature of God.
Even you, Jteosala, cannot be sure that the CalvinGod loves you… because this version of God also has a secret Will that does not let you know if you are really loved by Him (really saved). You might actually be one of the reprobates that He gives a temporary faith to but in the end takes it away so that your damnation might be even greater.
Looking again at Jtleosala's comment "1. Then, your claim that God loves all humanity is a “decoy love,” after all not all humanity goes to heaven. 2. In Calvinism, God is love because He did not decide to let all humanity come to perish. Instead, He choose to pick for himself a people of His own…”
My (Heather's) reply:
Two problems here:
1. You assume that God’s love necessarily means He saves you – that He HAS TO save those He loves and therefore He only really loves those He saves. (Whereas the Bible shows that God demonstrates His love by paying for all sins on the cross, making salvation possible for all, so that anyone can choose to come to Him. Calvinism tells God how God has to act in order to be God – instead of allowing God to decide for Himself how to act, as seen in numerous examples in the Bible.)
2. You say that God is love because He didn’t let all humanity perish, that He chose a group of people for Himself. Yeah, that sounds nice and all … except for the fact that what Calvinism really teaches is that God didn’t just pick some people to save but that He created a whole bunch more people to hate, to cause to sin and be unbelievers, to never give a chance to be saved, to punish for the things He caused them to do, and to damn to hell for all of eternity, just because He wanted to.
If that’s what love looks like, I’d hate to see what hate looks like!
If that’s justice, I’d hate to see injustice!
If that’s how a holy and righteous God acts, I’d hate to see how an unholy and unrighteous Satan acts!
In fact, I don’t think Calvi-god is much different than Satan. Hates people, deceives people, wants people in hell, causes people to sin … sounds like Satan to me! (But at least you know what you’re getting with Satan. Not so with the two-faced Calvi-god.)
[Speaking of Hitler: Check out this 4 minute video: Hitler and Calvinism. Brilliant and gutsy. It's something we'd love to show our Calvinist church, secretly projecting it on the screen behind the pastor as he teaches his Calvinist views. That would be awesome!]