My Problem with Calvinism Is Not Really About Free-Will, But It's About ...
I was thinking last night about how Calvinists think that free-will is the big reason other people don't want to believe in Calvinism, as in "Well, you don't like the idea of not being in control of your own choices, and so that's why you won't accept Calvinism."
They use this to shame anti-Calvinists, such as when my Calvi-pastor at our ex-church would say these things in sermons: "Most Americans have a hard time accepting God's sovereignty [a Calvinist's definition of it!]. They don't like the idea of someone being in authority over them. They like to think they are in control of themselves, self-sufficient, standing on their own two feet. And so they won't humble themselves before Him. They resist the idea of God being in control over them, of His sovereignty, because they like their free-will too much."
But you know what?
It's not about free-will.
My biggest grievance against Calvinism is not about a desire to have free-will, to be "in control" of my life. (And why would a Calvinist pastor preach a sermon warning us about resisting God if he really believes that we have no control over our own choices, that God preplans and controls everything that happens, even whether or not we resist Him? If nothing they preach can affect anything that happens because Calvi-god's already predestined everything that happens, then what a waste Calvinist preaching is! And how meaningless and pointless our lifetimes are!)
Do you want to know the real problem I have with Calvinism?
When you get past all the layers Calvinists use to disguise what they really believe (and there are many), Calvinism teaches that God only truly loves a few people, those He predestined to heaven. That He deliberately created everyone else just so He could hate them and send them to hell for His glory.
It teaches that Jesus's death only paid for the sins of those predestined to heaven. It did not cover anyone else's sins. Therefore, the non-elect have no chance of ever going to heaven because their sins were not covered by Jesus's death. Salvation is not available to them. Most people are eternally, hopelessly lost, destined to burn forever in hell, because God wanted it this way. Because He gets glory for it! (Sick, sick, sick!)
It ultimately makes the Bible untrustworthy because it adds another layer to everything God said, which contradicts what God clearly, plainly said. Such as God tells us in the Bible to seek Him, but Calvinists add "Oh, but only the elect can and will seek Him." God tells us to choose between obedience and disobedience, but Calvinists say "Our choices have already been predestined, and only the elect can and will choose obedience." God tells us that He wants all people to be saved, that He wills that no one perishes, but Calvinists add "Well, just because He wants all people to be saved doesn't mean He made it possible for all people to be saved. And He has two wills - one that wants no one to perish and one that predestines most people to perish for His glory."
It teaches that everything we do has been "ordained" by God, which, in Calvinism, means that everything that ever happens in this world - every choice we make, every thought we have, every sin we commit - has been preplanned and caused by God. And nothing different could have happened because we have no real control over or influence over anything we do. Or as my Calvi-pastor basically said, "Everything that ever happened in your life was ordained by God. It was God's 'Plan A' for your life, even any childhood abuse you went through. It was all ordained by Him for your good, for His glory, and to keep you humble."
But then, to make it sound like they don't believe God is the cause of evil, they say, "Oh, but we are still responsible for our choices, and so God is just and righteous when He punishes us for our sins. We can't understand how it all works together - how God can ordain everything that happens but still hold us accountable for the things He ordained us to do - and so we just have to accept it. Because the Bible clearly teaches both things."
So Calvi-god predestines every sin we commit (for his glory!) and we could never choose anything differently, but then he "justly" punishes us for what he causes us to do. And yet they still call him "loving and good and righteous and gracious and holy."
It teaches that the salvation of the elect is predestined before the beginning of time and that the Holy Spirit enters the elect before they believe or can respond to the Gospel, to cause them (and only them!) to believe in and respond to the Gospel. This ultimately makes the precious, beautiful Word of God superfluous. It has no real power to reach or save anyone - because the elect can only respond to it after they were saved and after they got the Holy Spirit who causes them to believe, and the non-elect can never and will never be able to respond to it because the Holy Spirit will never enter them to cause them to believe, never regenerate them, because Jesus didn't die for them because they were predestined for hell. For God's glory. The Bible is simply unnecessary, a side-note, an afterthought.
My biggest problem with Calvinism isn't that I want my free-will, that I don't want God to be in control over me. It's that Calvinism destroys God's character and Jesus's sacrifice and Gospel Truth!
It uses God's glory and God's Word against Him. It uses a Christian's desire to be humble to manipulate them. It flips the Gospel on its head and adds secret "double layers" to what the Bible says, contradicting what God clearly said in His Word. (If Calvinism is such a godly theology, why the deception? Why the need to hide and cover up what it really believes?) It makes the Bible superfluous. It destroys God's grace and love and trustworthiness and justice and holiness, etc. It minimizes Jesus's sacrifice. It shuts the door of heaven to most people. It absolves people of any responsibility for their choices, sins, belief or unbelief (despite its ineffective attempt to cover it up, saying that even though God ultimately controls every choice we make, we are still somehow responsible for them). It calls sin and evil "good" - because Calvi-god causes all sin and evil for his glory, so that ultimately makes all evil glorifying to God. It makes God the cause of evil (despite their denials of this) but then He turns around and punishes us for something we had no control over.
And then it tries to convince you that you must love and worship a God like this! A monster! A schizophrenic psychopath who gets glory for causing sin and for creating people for hell!
And when God is portrayed this way, many people turn away from Him. Because they would rather have no God than have a God like this. And even for those who are Christians, it eventually destroys many people's faith in Him and trust of Him, giving them no real hope or help or comfort. Because week after week of ingesting biblical truth infused with Calvinist poison - about who God is, how He acts, what He thinks of us, how He treats us, etc. - will eventually suffocate their faith and starve their soul and erode their love of God, slowly, bit by bit ... all while the Calvinist leaders convince them that they are being good, humble Christians who are pleasing God for accepting that "Calvinism is the Gospel."
My biggest problem with Calvinism, simply put, is that it's a satanic-theology from the pit of hell, disguised as biblical truth!
And that's why I hate it so much.
So, Calvinists, don't use "Oh, you just can't accept His sovereignty because you love the idea of having your free-will too much" to manipulate me into accepting your garbage!
A pathetic attempt to shame people into drinking your poisoned Kool-Aid!
For a more in-depth look at this, here is a repost of "Who Are Calvinists REALLY Worshipping?":
Calvinism teaches a different Gospel.
1. The God of the Bible truly loves all people and truly wants all people to be saved (John 3:16, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, Ezekiel 18:32)
Calvi-god does not. He only really loves the elect and only truly wants the elect to be saved. Or as my Calvinist ex-pastor said, "The Bible says God loves people. He loves peoples. But the Bible is clear that He doesn't love all people and that He doesn't love all people equally." (Oh, it makes my job so much easier when they just come out and say what they really think, instead of sugar-coating it!)
But Calvinists will say Calvi-god still "loves" the non-elect, just with a "gives them food and sunshine" kind of love, not a saving love. And he "wants" the non-elect to be saved. It makes him sad they aren't in heaven. But he predestined them to hell anyway for his glory and purposes. Even though it makes him sad. ("Boo hoo! Let me wipe away my big crocodile tears.")
So he does "want" them in heaven. He just wants them in hell far more.
That's some amazing love Calvi-god has, isn't it!?!
Also, I just ran across a Calvinist article today that asks the question, "If God wants everyone saved, why isn't everyone saved?" And he says (paraphrased) that it can't possibly be that people have free-will to choose, because that would mean that man's free-will is stronger than God's Will. And, as he says, nothing can thwart God's Will. God's Will always happens.
And so, since he already tossed out free-will, excluding the very biblical idea that people have free-will simply because God gave it to them because He wanted it to be this way (which is not saying "men are stronger than God" - that's Calvinist manipulation), he says that it must be that God has something else He wants more than saving all people - which is that He wants more glory for Himself by showing off both His mercy (by saving some people) and His justice (by damning others to hell).
And this is why all people aren't saved, so that God can get more glory by showing off His justice when He predestines people to hell. (My Calvinist ex-pastor says the same kind of filthy, stinky, rotten garbage!)
Frickin' hogwash! (I'm sure you're tired of this expression by now, but I can't use the real "F-word," out loud at least, so this will have to do.)
But ironically, his answer still means that God didn't get something He wanted, which still means that God's Will was "thwarted." The Calvinist tossed out "free-will" for this reason, but his answer still lands him in the same predicament, which is that God's Will (for all to be saved) didn't happen. He didn't answer the problem or solve the riddle. He just kicked the can down the road with something akin to "Well, God didn't get what He wanted because there was something He wanted more. His Will didn't get done because He had another Will which thwarted His first one. So He actually did get what He wanted, even though He didn't get what He wanted. And His Will got done, even though His Will didn't get done."
It's nonsense. And it's amazing what a complex web Calvinists will weave, full of rambling philosophizing based on their own assumptions and verses taken out of context, all so that they don't have to say "God really did give men free-will." (And maybe so that they don't have to believe they are actually responsible for their own choices and actions!?!)
[And if they do say we have "free-will," it's fake. Don't believe them. They will say that we make the choices we want to make, according to the desires of our nature. But what they hide is that God determines which nature you get, and you cannot change the nature He gave you. So if He gives you the "sinner/unrepentant" nature, it comes only with the desire to sin and reject Him, which means you can only make the choice to sin and reject Him, all the time, because that's the only desires you have, according to your God-given nature. And they call this "freely making choices you want to make." Once again, frickin' hogwash! (Not sorry!) Oh, the lies they tell! The mind games and word games they play to try to convince themselves that they're not saying what they really are - that God causes sin, evil, and unbelief but punishes us for it. But, I digress ...]
There is no biblical support for the idea that God chose to save a few people so that He could show off His mercy.
But Romans 11:32 tells us that God has bound all men over to disobedience so that He could have mercy on them all.
(And no, Romans 9:18 - "Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden." - isn't saying that God predestined people to heaven or hell. It's about God choosing whom to assign big roles to and whom to give little roles to. And ultimately, it's about God choosing Israel to be the bloodline that brought Jesus into the world. It's NOT a passage about God predestining people for heaven or hell.)
And there is no biblical support for the idea that God shows off His love in different ways, that He showed love to the elect by predestining them to heaven and that He showed love to the non-elect by giving them food and sunshine. This is Calvinist garbage!
In fact, God Himself tells us in Romans 5:8 how He shows His love: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
(Are we all sinners? Or are only the so-called "elect" sinners? Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." God says He shows His love by having Christ die for sinners. Not some sinners. Not preselected sinners. But "sinners." And we are all sinners.)
And there is no biblical support for the idea that God chose to predestine most people to hell so that He could show off His justice.
But God Himself does tell us how He has chosen to show off His justice, and it's not by predestining people to hell. It's by sending Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins.
Romans 3:25-26: "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus."
Where in that verse does it say anything about God showing His justice by predestining people to hell!?!
That's right ... nowhere!
What horrible damage Calvinism does to God's character - His love, mercy, justice, grace, glory, etc.!
God shows His mercy, love, and justice not by predestining some to heaven and most to hell, but by sending Jesus to the cross to pay the penalty for all of our sins, so that we could live ... if we choose to believe in Jesus, to accept His sacrifice on our behalf and make Him our Lord and Savior. And this choice is available to all!
Some people who commented on that article get it. Some pointed it out as Calvinism right away. And I particularly liked these comments (edited for length):
From Mary LaGro: "Well! What a disturbing article which offers little hope for most of mankind! What a horrible price Christ paid on Calvary only to save those the Father wanted saved.... No, He provided the offering in His own son for all! This article will serve one purpose...confuse the heck out of any seeker to the point they might decide they are not chosen, so filthy and lost in their sinful nature as they struggle daily with it even as Christians do, so why bother seeking if they are not chosen? ... You have done nothing with this article but cheapen God's grace and mercy and confused many who are possibly seeking, and it is pure shame on the producers of this forum to print it. You need to go back and have a serious look at what the Bible teaches. This sickens me that you have a position in which you could answer questions for many who are seriously seeking and perhaps on the cusp of breaking through and in one single moment, you gave them over to the evil desires and hopeless feelings that they are aren't worthy, chosen and are forever given up to a hellhound journey in eternity. Wow! What a very scary place you have placed yourself in!"
From Glenn Krobel: "... Hard nosed Calvinism is dangerous because it denies the heart of God, turning him into a dispassionate ruler who takes equal pleasure and glory in the death of the wicked as with the salvation of the saint. Even though it teaches many good truths, ultimately on this point of denying that God empowers and allows volitional free will in salvation, it doesn't square with the bible. And, many of its proponents seem to carry the attitude that if you don’t buy into their system you have an intellectual deficiency. So it’s very hard to correct."
2. The Jesus of the Bible died for all men and all sins, so that all people could be saved (1 John 2:2, John 1:29, Romans 5:18, Hebrews 2:9, Romans 10:13)
Calvi-Jesus did not. Calvi-Jesus only died for the elect because he wouldn't die for those who are predestined to reject him. That would be a waste of his blood, making his sacrifice ineffective, according to Calvinist philosophy.
Hey Calvinists, find me one verse in the Bible that clearly says any of this garbage!
Calvinists trade in what God clearly, plainly said in His Word for their own rambling philosophizing, creating a theology full of contradictions, and complicated, secret "double-meanings" to words, and hidden layers to verses, and verses taken out of context, etc.
Does God not mean what He says or say what He means? Did He intend that we have to go through months and months of studying the teachings of Calvinist theologians in order to understand what He supposedly really meant to say in His Word?
3. The God of the Bible tells us to seek Him in order to find Him, to choose whom we will serve. (Deuteronomy 4:29, Joshua 24:15, Jeremiah 29:13, Acts 17:27, Psalm 14:2, Hebrews 11:6, Isaiah 55:6)
Calvi-god says we can't seek him or choose whom we will serve. Calvinism basically says that man is so dead inside they just lay there like a dead body, unable to do anything, to the point that their brains don't even work, and so they can't think about God, want God, seek God, or choose God unless they were elected and until God regenerates them with the Holy Spirit and causes them to seek/"choose" Him.
Calvi-god says "I'll make you alive first, and only then can you seek me."
But the God of the Bible, in Amos 5:4, tells the people, "Seek me and live."
[And notice in the verse at the top of the post that God seeks those who worship Him in spirit and truth. It doesn't say God causes them to worship Him in spirit and truth, but that He seeks those who are already doing it. This means the people have chosen to do this themselves, and then God seeks them out. But if Calvinism is true that God causes people to worship Him, why would He seek those who are worshipping Him if He hasn't yet caused them to worship Him? But if He already did cause them to worship Him, why would He then need to seek them? It doesn't make sense. Just like Calvinism!]
4. The God of the Bible is a just God, giving us the choice between obedience and disobedience. And He responds to us according to our choice. (John 7:17, Deuteronomy 30:15-20)
Calvi-god controls all we do, causing us to be either obedient or disobedient, based on what he's predetermined for us, but then he punishes us for the disobedience he causes.
And Calvinists think this is okay - that anything Calvi-god does is okay - because he is sovereign and can cause anything he wants to, for his glory, even abuse, sin, unbelief, etc.
5. The God of the Bible is glorified when people obey Him and worship Him.
Calvi-god predestines and controls everything that happens ... for his glory. And so therefore, Calvi-god is glorified by causing sin and causing people to go to hell. Therefore, in Calvinism, evil is essentially good.
Listen to weasely Calvinist James White say that God has to be the cause of child rape or else it's meaningless. So ... he'd rather have meaningful child rape caused by God than have "meaningless" evil happen because God let men make their own bad choices?
That's sick! That's truly sick!
Also see "Do Calvinists Really Believe God Causes Sin? Let Them Speak For Themselves!"
6. In the Bible, you are responsible for your choice to make Jesus your Lord and Savior or not. Salvation comes by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17) and by believing in Jesus (Acts 16:31, Romans 10:9-10, 13), choosing Him as your Lord and Savior.
In Calvinism, you have no part in your decisions. Calvi-god makes your decisions for you and only when he wants it to happen. You can't "choose" Jesus as Lord and Savior because salvation has already been pre-decided for you by Calvi-god, and there's nothing you can do to affect whether you are saved or not. And if you are unelected, you can never believe or understand the Gospel because you can never get the Holy Spirit because Calvi-god didn't pick you and Calvi-Jesus didn't die for you. (So what good is the Gospel really!?! Why is it needed!?! What does it accomplish if it has no effect on whether you are saved or not!?!)
But in Calvinism, the elect get the Holy Spirit before they believe, and only then can they understand/respond to the Gospel. The elect don't get the Holy Spirit because they believe; they get the Holy Spirit in order to believe. So in Calvinism, first you get elected (saved) by Calvi-god, then the elect get the Holy Spirit, then they believe, then they can understand the Gospel. (Talk about flipping Scripture on its head and making the Gospel superfluous and unnecessary!)
And this is just a small bit of the lies Calvinism teaches.
God is supposed to be worshipped in spirit and in truth.
And so this makes me wonder ...
If Calvinism is filled to the brim with lies about who God is, what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and how to be saved, then exactly who is that Calvinists are really worshipping?
I mean, think about it. Really. Who else is slithery enough to trick a bunch of well-meaning, humble, God-loving Christians into spreading a theology that ultimately teaches that God causes all sin and evil but punishes us for it, that He hates most people and wants most people in hell, that Jesus only died for a very few people, that evil is ultimately good and God-glorifying, that God deceives people in His Word by not meaning what He says or saying what He means, that we can't choose to believe in Jesus on our own, etc.?
Who is really being worshipped through these Calvinist lies!?!
(For more on the lies of Calvinism and the truth of Scripture, see "Why Is Calvinism So Dangerous?" and "If Calvinism is true, then God is a liar" and "We Left Our Church Because of Calvinism (Things My Calvinist Pastor Said)" and "When Calvinism's Bad Logic Traps Good Christians" and "Links to other Anti-Calvinism Posts.")