Calvinism is quite simply a distraction to churches or even the Christian walk. I’ve personally spent hours trying to come to an understanding of what it is and how to defend against it. Sadly, in looking at different books, in speaking to even “mighty men” of God, they to themselves struggle to explain it, or rather succinctly for understanding. That being said, I found it then necessary to write a document, to the intent and purposes that I first myself would use it to remember and rekindle the thoughts and avenues I went through to come to grips with a topic that everyone has an opinion on and a different approach.
What the reader must bare in mind, that the topic is not meant for carnal Christians or babes in Christ, if it is, then it is likely that you are seeking head knowledge, instead of “getting God”. Further added, sometimes in trying your best to understand something, you will fail time and time again, and it will appear all to complex, and that’s simply because, a certain maturing by the LORD is required for you to get there. Imagine trying to explain a car engine to a 2 year old, not quite! But as he get’s older, maybe 10 you explain cars and their basic function. As he grows older, you teach him to change a tyre, perhaps do some basic maintenance. As he applies “theory” (faith) and practice, the result is COMPREHENSION. I hope you get the point.
Now let’s get down to understanding the nature of the beast. One thing before I do, Calvinism debated outside of “scripture” is folly – to further elaborate, logic by nature though sound and reliable is sometimes flawed. Say for example, there are 3 kids in a room, and I leave 3 chocolates on a table and walk out, instructing the 3 kids not to eat them. Upon returning I find that the three chocolates have now disappeared, surely logic would dictate that each child in the room was responsible for a missing chocolate. Ah, not true, there could have just been one rebellious child who he himself took all 3 chocolates, refusing to share and ate them all. There are many areas of failed logic, for example, fallacy of division – if a car is blue, and then the engine must be blue. Fallacy of cause and effect – when the rooster crows, the sun rises. Therefore the sun rises because the rooster crows. I make this point to show you, that the only authority is scripture, the only logic (if I can call it that) that is sound, is from the Word of God, and thus our arguments either within ourselves or outside(with others), should be on verses in the bible and not philosophical. A basic assumption, but one all too easily made.
In this part. we will look at Unconditional Election, not following the exact order, but dealing perhaps with the one that’s most prevalent.
2. Unconditional Election
The most important lesson you can learn is that in your King James Bible, a word read is often times not it’s meaning. No, I am not being cryptic, nor am I emphasizing a need for the Greek, but what I am stating, is that often times words to us, take “societal” or “traditional” slants, and this is predominantly the case with the word “Election”. Immediately because of Calvinism, the word “Election” means – those ‘chosen’ by God either by His foreknowledge or by His own “random” desire.
However an assessment of the word through scripture, mentioned 6 times in the New Testament, reveals, a “choosing” by God according to a purpose, and speaks nothing about “salvation”. Not only that but every time it is used, in relation to the church, it is always speaking about a “saved believer”.
Romans 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)
God chose Jacob over Esau to bring forth the birth of Israel as a nation, as God’s elect people, that is, the people to reveal the glory of God and to show forth His purposes, according to His will. It is important to remember three things,
- When the statement is made in scripture, by way of timing, as this can help explain the verse far better and give it context. Paying attention to this can give the “Election” (choosing) context for when it happened, as opposed to always assuming it happened before the foundation of the world.
- That when “Election” is used in relation to Israel, it has nothing to do with salvation, but God choosing to bless Israel, and reveal more of Himself through a group of people.
- If you do go through the six verses (Rom 9:11, 11:5, 11:7, 11:28, 1 Thes 1:4, 2 Peter 1:10), you will find election within an election. Take Rom 11:5, God chose Israel to be His special people (Election 1), but not all believed by faith, and some went straight to hell. However in seeing the hearts of men, God elected (chose) a remnant who by their own “faith” would believe on Him (Election 2). This is so critical to understand, as it shows that “Election” has zero, zilch, nothing to do with “salvation”.
A better explanation sticking to the point of “Election” meaning choosing unto a purpose of God and for God; look at the following example:
Acts 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
There is no reference to salvation here, only the purposes to which Paul was called, to be a minister and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the furtherance of the gospel and more importantly his apostleship.
If you struggle to believe these two words are interchangeable, look up the following references; John 6:70, Luke 6:13 (not the timing as mentioned in point (a) above), John 15:16, Mark 13:20,Luke 10:42, Acts 1:24, John 15:19, Acts 6:5,Acts 13:17.
One more important point to deal with and that is of Ephesians 1:4-6, this is a verse used a pivotal form of defense for Calvinists, yet they refuse to just read the plain historical grammatical King James Bible,
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
Ephesians 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Let me rewrite that with some added emphasis:
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us IN HIM before the foundation of the world, that WE SHOULD be holy and without blame before him in love:
Ephesians 1:5 Having predestinated us unto the ADOPTION of children BY JESUS CHRIST to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
Ephesians 1:6 To the PRAISE of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
Two main themes in these verses, how are people chosen and the purpose of their being “chosen”.
How are people “elected” or chosen then? Simple – by believing IN Christ, by being IN Christ (Ephesians 1:1-3; pay attention to the wording “in Christ”) and thus are they chosen. They are not set apart before the foundation of the world, no rather, sinners who call upon are the name of the Lord by their own free will, are now “predestinated” and “chosen” of God, to be “adopted” into His family, and destined for Glory (glorification). This is God’s elect – and their purpose to PRAISE Him! Again, he is talking to “saved believers” and not the unsaved.
Remember, “foreknowledge” always precedes “election” or “pre-destination”. God knew the paths that man would take by His foreknowledge of them all, and made a way through Jesus Christ that they might have salvation. He made a way, not chose a certain of the populous to be saved; what kind of God would He be then? We are not robots who are saved and sanctified in eternity; nor is God playing a game with those He did not “elect” (in the traditional sense of the word); where they are offered the gospel but can never accept it!!!! Again, what kind of God would He be?
Hope that helps. Bless you.