33 thoughts on “Misunderstanding Calvinism”

  1. “The right is always right.” Right…
    I haven’t even been to college yet, and haven’t done much studying on Calvinism, but I think I still know quite a bit more than he does on the subject!

  2. Isn’t it ironic that one of the greatest soulwinning trainers of all time, Dr. D. James Kennedy, was a Calvinist and Presbyterian pastor? in 20 years as a Presby, I have yet to meet a single person who espoused the rubbish this man is passing off as truth.

    I can’t laugh at him. What he is saying is slander, pure and simple.

  3. Wow, that is wrong on SO MANY levels! If you’re going to attack a position a) understand what that position actually teaches (Calvinists do believe in evangelism and don’t believe their kids are necessarily elect, though those of us who hold to covenant theology do see that as the way God normally chooses to work – but that’s a whole other issue altogether!), b) don’t conflate the position you’re attacking with another position (Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism are two very different things), c) back up your points with Scripture and with facts, not simply with anecdotal evidence, and d) don’t confuse extrabiblical practices with biblical commands (last I checked, “Thou shalt go soul-winning” was not in the Bible). OK, I think I’ll get off my soapbox now!

    Nathan: I would certainly hope so. 😉

  4. Annelise, don’t forget pioneering missionaries such as William Carey and David Brainerd (and many more, but my mind is blanking out at the moment). I also seriously doubt that many people (fundamentalists included!) think that Spurgeon was anti-evangelism, and he most definitely was a Calvinist!

  5. Amanda, you’re right. And even the few so-called hyper Calvinistic churches I’ve visited have hefty missions budgets. Go figure.

    We were at a relative’s fundy church a few years back and the pastor, ordinarily a pretty sharp guy, was preaching on “whosoever will.” ALL his back up came from songs or commentaries. None of it was Scripture. We were flipping through our Bibles, refuting him under our breath on every point. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sermon in a fundy church on “it is God who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure.” Not even in the KJV.

  6. What is sad is that I was told these same type things growing up. Then God graciously opened my heart and mind to His Word and I saw that I had been lied to my whole life. I feel badly for those sitting under this man’s ministry.
    I attend a Southern Baptist church who holds to the doctrines of Grace, and they are the most missions minded church I have ever been in! The elders are doctrinally sound, and we even have courses on how to evangelize biblically (you’re never chided and told to sweep the floor either) =).

    Anyway.. just thought I’d pipe in. =)

  7. Where is that “whosoever will” verse?

    Perhaps he’s thinking of Revelation 22:17?

    I personally am hardly Reformed in my soteriology (not that you’d know it from looking at my books!) but I also don’t spend a lot of time debating it. It’s so much better to agree that there’s work to be done and we all should be doing it instead of shooting at each other.

    Nothing hurts worse than seeing someone attack his own brothers in such a completely wrong-headed and untrue way. I don’t know if he’s a liar or just ignorant.

    1. “I don’t know if he’s a liar or just ignorant.”

      This is a late addition to this post but I cannot tell you how many times I have “sat under the preaching” and said that to myself. He is either not being truthful or he ust doesn’t know.

  8. “It’s so much better to agree that there’s work to be done and we all should be doing it instead of shooting at each other. . . . Nothing hurts worse than seeing someone attack his own brothers in such a completely wrong-headed and untrue way.”

    Well put. I reject Calvinism wholly but have only done so because of careful thought and study–not that this preacher would know what those are–and refuse to debate it.

  9. A couple years ago when I began questioning Fundyism, I did a paper on Calvinism. I decided to listen to the extremes of both sides and hopefully find a middle ground. I got a book called “Why I’m not a Calvinist” by Ruckman, and listened to John Piper, (a Seven point Calvinist), explain TULIP. Sometime during the middle I was shocked when right after reading in Ruckman’s book the same thing this guy mentioned, no calvinist pastor ever thinking his own son was un elect. This was because I had just heard a video clip of Piper talking about his son Abraham Piper who at the time was not saved. I spent hours yesterday trying to find the clip, but couldn’t. Anyone else know where it is?

    I suppose the pastor we all saw could refer to this article: http://www.billygraham.org/DMag_SpiritualHelp_Article.asp?ArticleID=872
    My hope would be this would cause rejoicing rather than gloating, but who knows. Anyway, if anyone knows where I could find that video I mentioned, please let me know. It was a major turning point for me. Thanks.

  10. got a book called “Why I’m not a Calvinist” by Ruckman, and listened to John Piper, (a Seven point Calvinist), explain TULIP.

    Might I suggest a little book called Wesley for Armchair Theologians
    by William J. Abraham?

    I highly recommend to my Calvinist friends to read this book as it helps them to avoid doing the kind of injustice to Arminians that they detest when done to them.

  11. At the time I knew little about either Ruckman or Piper. I knew even less about Calvinism. Keep in mind the church I got the book “Why I am not a Calvinist” was from my uncle’s church where he and his family were sent as missionaries. I was definately not raised a Calvinist, and it was and to some extent still is a struggle to be a Calvinist.

    Trust me, I didn’t want to be a Calvinist, and I looked hard for any reason not to be. I looked for reasons and men a lot better than Ruckman. Because I understand the struggle, and because pretty much all of my family and friends are not Calvinists if not anti-Calvinists I try to be graceful about my theology. This is also one of the reasons I struggled with much of Fundamentalism. There was no meekness with other theological systems. As a “recovering” Fundamentalist, I often slip into my old Fundy ways and can be harsh, but I am striving to be more like Piper rather than Ruckman, but in the end, the important thing is to struggle to be more like Christ. Part of Fundism is following men and losing sight of Christ, perhaps I still have more recovering to do.

    Anyway, thank you for the book suggestion, I will check it out. I have noticed there are pleanty of Calvinists who can be just as rough as Ruckman. I have no desire to bash non-Calvinists, as I have pleanty of friends and family that fall into that catagory. Part of what attracted me to the Doctrines of Grace was so that perhaps I could be a little more gracious myself.

  12. Painful, but true. The church I grew up in (Fundamentalist). The pastor started going off on Calvinism. Now even today I wouldn’t call myself a Calvinist. I think it is a fine theory, and I think it explains a lot, but I just don’t want to be put in a box when it comes to scripture. I also am not sure about limited atonement.

    Now I believe that if a Calvinist truly believes that the commandment to win souls is void than there is a problem. I typically would have called them a “hyper-calvinist.” One day my pastor was preaching. This was after college and was one of very few sermons I’ve heard of his since college. He started preaching about a particular person who he called a “hyper-Calvinist.” I was ready for it. I was waiting for the juicy details of a man who ignores the great commandment. As he described this person it wasn’t just a Calvinist he was describing. In many ways he could have been describing me, a non-Calvinist, and yet he was ascribing “hyper-Calvinism” to this person when he merely believed in something so simple as predestination. Needless to say I was very uncomfortable in that service.

    Very apt, and thanks for sharing.

  13. Oh and to respond directly to that video. I heard a sermon once by Piper. It amazed me because when I grew up as a Fundy I always thought that it was a given that Children who grew up in Fundy circles would naturally get saved. They have the best chance out of any of us. And particularly preacher’s kids. But then there was this Piper sermon where he said that he prays daily, with a heavy heart, that his children will be of the chosen. That they will accept Christ. It was not a given for him. There was no guarantee. He prayed with a very heavy heart daily that his Children would be saved and grow to love God.

    It is amazing how ignorant people really are.

  14. Good book suggestion Darrell. We who are Calvinistic do well to stay humble and not return slander for slander.
    Though it is fun to turn the tables sometimes. I called one fellow student at my Bible college a “flaming arminian” just to see how she liked it. =P That didn’t really help our discussion at all. =)

    I honestly think the “Whosoever Will” phrase comes from the gospel song rather then from scripture. I bet that pastor wouldn’t know that its loosly from Rev 22. Its one of those phrases that gets stuck in church goers heads so indelibly that they end up thinking its a scriptural quote. Like Butler’s “spare the rod and spoil the child.” Or Fanny Crosby’s “face to face I shall behold him” etc.

  15. I wonder if his pastor was trying to tell him to get some exercise – that’s why he had him sweep the gym.

    About door to door – I don’t personally think that it’s a really effective way to “win souls”. I do have to be careful, though; my father was saved as a direct result of door-to-door visitation. He firmly believes in it, I disagree a little. We’ll just leave it there. 🙂

    1. Replying very late in the game.

      I think his pastor was A: trying to get Grice to get some much needed exercise. B: Give his cleaning lady a tiny bit of a break and C: Trying to keep Grice from hurting the gospel of Chris by yelling at people in the name of God for not being like him.

  16. Ah another “pastor” whose credentials are found in Acts 4:13. The Fundy requirement for pastors, namely they must be readily identifiable as both unlearned and ignorant. Especially if the congregation is less than 100 101-300 will accept undergraduate degrees from any prominent unaccredited Bible University or Bible Institute. Over 300 they want a “Dr” from any of the same.

  17. geez, i can respect those who believe even tho i do not, but you guys break yourselves into WAY to many categories, i mean come on, clavinism, hyper calvinism, baptist, southern baptist, how many ways can you possibly believe the same thing. Yall have more denominations of christianity than generas of rock music. Seriously, im not usualy for black and white separation, but cant you guys just be christian or not christian?

  18. @tigersharksteph: i think your issue is not so much with christians as it is with people. go check out political philosophies, national identifications, non-christian religions, secular charities, & sports fans, and you’ll see that people in general like to hang out with people who think like them, and like to not hang out with people who don’t think like them.

    i’ve divided the human race into two categories: those who think like me, and storming-raging-idiots.

  19. The ‘Doctrines of Grace’ Have radically changed my life. My outlook on living, worship, God, and God’s grace have been completely shaken to the core.

    I would urge all Fellow Former Fundies like to read Spurgeon, Sproul, J.Edwards, Calvin etc.

    Calvinism puts God back on his throne where he belongs and puts us on our knees where we belong.

    Also, to say that Calvinism is not evangelistic is to deny history. Look at the greatest revivals and you will see the “Doctrines of Grace’ being preached from the pulpits.

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