Calvinism: Abusing God's Sovereignty to Defend Its Heresy

I believe that many - if not most - Calvinists are Calvinists simply because they think it means believing that God is sovereign.  They say "Well, I believe God is sovereign, so I guess I'm a Calvinist then."  (I think this is how many people get trapped in Calvinism.)

And so they think that if you aren't a Calvinist or if you are an anti-Calvinist (as I am!), then you do not believe that God is sovereign, that you are rejecting God's authority and control, that you are elevating yourself above God.

But this is not necessarily true.  Many of us anti-Calvinists are not anti-God's-sovereignty; we are simply against the Calvinist's misunderstanding of sovereignty.

You see, Calvinism defines sovereignty as God must cause and control everything that happens, that nothing can happen that He doesn't actively cause.  And so therefore, there can be no free-will.  People cannot have the ability to make decisions because if there is one decision that God doesn't actively cause and meticulously control then that means there are things He "can't" control, which would make Him a weak God and would make people stronger than Him.  

They erroneously believe that if the Bible shows God controlling one event, it must mean He controls all events, all things that happen.  If He caused one thing for His glory, it must mean everything that happens is caused by Him for His glory.  If all monkeys are animals, then all animals must be monkeys, right!?!  (They single out the passages that show God using His power to cause or control something, yet they conveniently ignore or alter the passages that show when God gives people choices, when they do things He didn't want, when they don't do things He does want, when He restrains Himself and His use of power, etc.)

Their defense of their view of sovereignty comes down to this: If there is one thing He doesn't control, it means there are things He can't control, which means He is not really an all-powerful, in-control, "sovereign" God.  In their view, sovereign has to mean always using His power to control everything.  Or else He isn't a sovereign God.

This incorrect fundamental belief of theirs - their abuse of "sovereignty" - leads to some of the worst heretic teachings.  If God's sovereignty means that He controls and causes everything, then He is the cause of all evil and all sin.  This makes God the ultimate and active cause of rape, abuse, murder, abortion, rebellion, unbelief, etc.  But then Calvi-god turns around and punishes mankind for the sins he causes.  He holds us accountable for the sins he causes us to do and for being the unbelievers he causes the non-elect to be.  

And yet, Calvinists will vehemently defend the idea that Calvi-god is still just and loving and righteous, saying that God can do whatever He wants and that He does it all for His glory.  They shame you into accepting their wretched twisting of God's truth and character by appealing to your desire to be humble, to honor God, to accept His authority in your life.

It's interesting actually.  They first abuse God's sovereignty by changing it to fit their views, which leads to horrible damage done to His character and Truth, but then they use this "sovereignty" to defend their heretical views and to deny the damage it does to His character and His truth.


Freakin' brilliant!  

[I wonder ... If Calvi-god is the cause of all evil, all violence, all lies, etc... if he wants people to not believe in him, to reject him, and to disobey ... if he lies to us in his Word, telling us we can seek him and that we need to choose obedience, when he knows all along we have no control over whether we seek him or obey him ... if he wants people in hell and causes most people to go to hell ... then how is he any different from Satan?]

But the problem is that they define sovereignty wrongly from the very beginning.  Sovereignty, from what I understand, is about the position someone is in.  God is sovereign, meaning that He alone is above all.  He is in the place of ultimate authority.  But "sovereignty" does not imply how the person in control uses his power.  Yet Calvinism defines how sovereignty must be exercised, how God must use His power in order to be a sovereign God.  And according to them, a sovereign God must always be using His power all the time to cause everything that happens ... or else He's not God.

Calvinism tells God how God has to act in order to be God.

This is a fundamental flaw in Calvinism.

And it does incredible damage to God's character, truth, Jesus's sacrifice, people's faith, the way to salvation, etc.

But I believe that the Bible shows a very different picture of how a sovereign God exercises His authority.  And it doesn't take brains to see it.  

[But it does take a lot of deception and verse-twisting and verse-denying and word-gymnastics to deny it, as Calvinists do.  In fact, if Calvinism is true, you have to throw out or ignore or redefine most all of the Bible.  Heck, if Calvinism is true, you don't even need the Bible because, according to them, God predestines who will believe in Him (He saves the elect) before He even created people, and He regenerates their hearts before they ever hear the Word.  The elect can't even understand the Word or seek God through it until Calvi-god gives them the Holy Spirit, saves them, regenerates them.  The Word is simply not needed.  It's superfluous.  And it has no effect on whether we are predestined to be saved or not.  It has no effect on whether we are obedient or not, if God has already predetermined everything we will ever "choose" to do.]  

God, in the Bible, has chosen to not always use His power to control everything.  He has the power, but He has chosen to voluntarily restrain His use of it.  He has chosen to allow mankind to make decisions, to have a real effect on things.  Because He wanted it to be this way.  Because, while being a sovereign, all-powerful God, He is also a relational Being who really does want real relationships with people, who wants to be with people who want to be with Him, who wants to be loved by people who willingly choose to love Him.

And this is just the way He decided He wanted it to be.  And since He gives us the right and responsibility to make real choices (even though He has the power to control everything if He wanted to), this is why we can rightly and justly be held accountable for our choices.  Because they really are our choices.  

[Also, being sovereign means He is truly over all things that happen.  He knows all that happens and will happen.  He chooses what to cause and what to just allow and what to not allow.  And He can and does promise to work everything together for good for those who love Him.  So the fact that He gave us free-will doesn't mean He is powerless or uninvolved.  It's just that He's wise enough and powerful enough to work all things - even the things He doesn't cause, the things He allows us to choose to do - into His plans.  It's Calvi-god who's too small, too weak, unable to handle anything outside of the things he causes.  A god who can't handle any other factors than the things he causes is a very tiny, weak god!]    

Yet Calvinists refuse to consider that they might just be seeing it all wrong.  I think many of them are afraid to question it or look too deeply into it because they're convinced they'll be dishonoring God if they do.  Calvinism has taught them that if they question Calvinism then they are questioning God Himself.  And so Calvinists will tenaciously cling to their idea of how God has to be - even if it does great damage to Him and His Word - before they will consider they might be wrong, because they think they are honoring God by defending His right to do whatever He wants for His glory, even causing sin and unbelief.  

Satan's best schemes involve disguising himself and his lies as godly truth, and then convincing people that they are being good, godly, humble Christians for clinging to this fake "godly truth." 

Anyway, I copied this comment below from a commenter (Graceadict) which I found in a post at Soteriology 101 called "5 Reasons Why I Stayed Out of Calvinism".  This comment zeroed in on how Calvinists use "sovereignty" to excuse some of their worst heresies and distortions of God's character.  (I also posted this comment in "Calvinists, Altar Calls, and Evangelism.")

Graceadict starts by referring to a quote from John Calvin that goes like this: “Hence it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith, is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse.”

(This quote is about Calvin's belief that Calvi-god sometimes tricks unelected people into thinking they are elected, that they are truly saved, so that He has even more reason to damn them to hell.  That Calvi-god makes damned people think they are saved so He is more "just" in sending them to hell.  So I guess sending them to eternal torment in hell for the unbelief He Himself caused in them, through no fault or choice of their own, just isn't enough, huh!?!)

And this is where Graceadict starts commenting (altered slightly for clarification):


This is such a disgraceful distortion of who God is…  Just think of God’s moral attributes of TRUTHFULNESS, HOLINESS, LOVE, MERCY, JUSTICE, KINDNESS, GOODNESS, LONGSUFFERING, SHOWS NO PARTIALITY.  It (Calvinism's god) is nothing like the God of the Bible.

It is even more horrible when we understand that, under the Calvi-god system, God could just as easily ascribed a “genuine faith” to them instead of a “temporary faith” (which propels them towards destruction), that Calvi-god wants to deceive them and others and deeply wants them in hell more than anything and so instead of a genuine faith, HE irresistibly gives them a “temporary faith”.  

In their system no one can have faith apart from God “effectually giving” (forcibly giving) it to them at some point in their lives.  So the fact that God gives a damning faith to them instead of the genuine faith reflects on the nature of their Calvi-god, a morally distorted being who does not align with the Biblical definition of Good, Loving, Merciful, and Holy.

Under the Calvinist paradigm they forget that God is truly a moral being, and a morally GOOD being.  They think their definition of Sovereignty can trump any moral attribute that God has.  So the Calvi-god can author evil, can be unloving, unmerciful, unjust, untruthful, as long as you say: 
“WELL GOD IS SOVEREIGN – HE CAN DO ANYTHING, WE MUST SIMPLY ACCEPT IT AND CALL IT HOLY AND GOOD” even though it contradicts the Scriptures’ own definitions of what is Holy, Good, and Loving.

It is not our own standard of Holy, Good, and Loving that is being contradicted.  It is the very SCRIPTURE’S definitions of these terms that is being contradicted.

They think that the term “SOVEREIGN” means He can be as evil and distorted as they want to make HIM out to be and that the Word “Sovereign” takes care of all of those distortions.

“A Sovereign God can do anything.  Who are you, O man, to question God?”

BTW – We are not questioning God.  We are questioning your profaning His Holy name and then thinking by tacking on “Sovereign” it makes your blasphemy go away.  It does NOT.

Just like Calvinists use the words “Mystery, Paradox, and Tension” to cover over all kinds of Calvinist contradictions to the Bible (which they assert are true) ... SO ALSO when they use the WORD “SOVEREIGN,” it is often a tactic to cover over the fact that they have in many cases constructed their Calvi-god who is demonstrably unloving, unmerciful, unjust, untruthful, unholy, evil.  But they think if they just apply the word Sovereign and say “Sovereign God can do whatever HE wants,” it excuses all the Profaning of God’s Holy name and BLASPHEMY that they have just engaged in.

“Sovereign” is NOT a word that can be employed to cover over the profaning of God’s Holy name that goes on in Calvinism.

Take note how they use the word Sovereign to do just that. It does NOT Glorify God… it is truly profaning His Holy name.

And now here's my comment to Graceadict:

"Graceadict, WOW!  Excellent comment and observation!  All of it!  It totally gets to the heart of what’s wrong with Calvinism.

I particularly loved this: “They think their definition of Sovereignty can trump any moral attribute that God has.  So the Calvi-god can author evil, can be unloving, unmerciful, unjust, untruthful, as long as you say: “WELL GOD IS SOVEREIGN – HE CAN DO ANYTHING, WE MUST SIMPLY ACCEPT IT AND CALL IT HOLY AND GOOD” even though it contradicts the Scriptures’ own definitions of what is Holy, Good, and Loving.”

Amazing!  And such brazen blasphemy against God’s good character!"

And furthermore (not from the comments on Sot101):

If God, in the Bible, is glorified when people choose to worship Him ... but Calvinists decide God is only glorified if He causes all things that happen and makes our decisions for us ... how can they be said to be glorifying God!?!  When they are changing God's character and Jesus's sacrifice and the way to salvation in order to fit their idea of how God has to be in order to be God, in order to be glorified!?!  

Altering God and the Gospel to fit your own view - telling God how He has to be in order to be "sovereign" in the way you think He has to be - is not glorifying to Him!  

I think Calvinism is a brilliant Satanic theology because it's so subtle, because it uses God's Word and His glory against Him, because it manipulates and shames people into believing it by making them feel like it's the "humble" thing to believe.  

It's brilliant!

Most Popular Posts Of The Week:

List of Calvinist Preachers, Authors, Theologians, etc.

How to Tell if a Church, Pastor, or Website is Calvinist (simplified version)

Why Is Calvinism So Dangerous? (updated heavily)

Leaving You with the Links to Anti-Calvinism Posts

Calvinism in the Evangelical Free Church

A Random Verse That Destroys Calvinism (And "Is The ESV a Calvinist Bible?")

We Left Our Church Because of Calvinism (Things My Calvinist Pastor Said)

Why I Hate Calvinism So Much!

How to Tell if a Church, Pastor, or Website is Calvinist (extended version)

Links to Other Anti-Calvinism Posts