Well, It's Final. We Resigned From Our Church Because of Calvinism.

The inevitable has finally happened, the day we hoped would never come: The day we officially resigned from our church because of our pastor's dogmatic Calvinist preaching (May 20, 2019).  (From now on, I will be calling him our "ex-pastor.")

It's been a long road.  He came on board about 6 years ago, and began introducing his Calvinist views here and there.  Just a little bit at a time, never really exposing the ugly parts of Calvinism.  Just subtle points that didn't really alarm us.  

And he's not a mean guy or bad guy or anything.  He seems genuinely nice and like he desperately wants to honor God.  And he's got a good "leader-type" personality: strong, confident, bold, forthright, well-educated, great speaker, enthusiastic.  But he does seem a little bit on the domineering side, in a "this is MY church" and "my ways are best" and "I always know best" way.  But at first, he just seemed bold and enthusiastic.  A st…

Does Believing In Predestination Affect Our Prayers for People's Salvation?

(Part of the "Predestination vs. Free-Will" series)

            So, here's one last question ... Does your belief in whether it's predestination or free-will affect how you pray for people and their salvation?
            Yes, very much so.  
            If you are a Calvinist and you believe that God Himself sovereignly chooses whether someone should go to heaven or hell, how would you pray for that person's salvation?  You'd have to pray something like, "Dear God, please choose this person to be saved.  Make them believe in You.  But it's up to You if they are saved or not.  And if it's not Your Will, then I guess I will have to accept it."

            And you'd be praying this knowing that it doesn't matter if you pray it or not.  Because you can't affect God's "predetermined" plans either way.  But, hooray for you, at least you are going through the motions, like a good Calvinist.  Even though God Himself caused you…

What About Those Who've Never Heard of Jesus?

(Part of the "Predestination vs. Free-Will" series)

In the previous "predestination" posts, I have been making the case that anyone can be saved, that God didn't predetermine who goes to hell and who goes to heaven.

“But,” you might wonder, “how can it be possible for all people to come to Jesus if some people have never even heard of Him, such as those who live in the jungles of a primitive island or those who grew up in another religion and only heard the name of other gods?How can they be saved if the Bible says that only those who call on the name of Jesus will be saved, and yet they have never even heard of Him?You can’t call on a name you never knew about.”

I have always been interested in sorting this question out in my mind – how (and if) salvation can come to those who never heard about Jesus.  When I was a Calvinist in my teens (a tiny, baby Calvinist that never grew up), I used to think "Oh well, that's just the way God determined it, that they…