The problem with Calvinism is that regardless of how much you esteem and love the Father - how much you study, live according to, or even defend His word - no matter how righteously you conduct your life and how many times you pray or help the widow and the orphan you have absolutely NO idea whether any of this is going to count at all. You might think you are among the saved elect when, in reality, you are not. In other words, it is entirely possible that you are just as lost as the atheist down the road.
Part I - Introduction to Doctrines of Grace or Calvinism HERE
The Reformed doctrine of Calvinism claims to adhere to a very high view of scripture based solely on Gods word but is this true? So many churches teach Calvinism, so many books and online articles are written about it that, to the average person exposed to this avalanche of skillful presentations, it may seem that this doctrine came straight from the mouths of the apostles and prophets themselves. But ...
Part II - The Canons of Dordt and T.U.L.I.P HERE
TULIP, which eventually became the cornerstone of Reformed theology is an acronym - each letter standing for one of the five fundamental tenets of Calvinism. It is a comprehensible, but accurate representation of Calvin's views. However, in spite of the flood of writings on the subject there is a tremendous variance in beliefs amongst Calvinists.
Total Inability HERE
Total Inability is the foundation and cornerstone of the entire superstructure. If one concedes that this first point is a Biblical fact, then the subsequent four become relatively easy to defend. one should expect that when a major belief system stands or falls on a single point doctrine, there should be unequivocal proof for this doctrine in the Scriptures. But, far from this being the case, the Biblical silence is deafening when it comes to certain points that Calvinism insists are completely by the Book.
Unconditional Election HERE
According to this doctrine, God unconditionally and "sovereignly" elects who will be saved and who will not be saved. This election has nothing to do with anything the sinner does or will do in the future (including how he will respond to the gospel), but is according to some mysterious plan God made before the foundation of the world. People are saved, not on the basis of their own merit or choosing, but solely according to whether God wills it or not. One has to wonder why then Paul tried his best to persuade his audience to believe in the Gospel, often spending days reasoning with them from the Scriptures.
Limited Atonement HERE
Calvinism denies that Christ died for the whole world, claiming that since God unconditionally elects those whom He will save, the atonement is logically limited only to those whom He has elected. They claim the Bible uses the words "world" or " all" in a limited sense. The Greek words used do not support this theory.
Irresistible Grace HERE
Calvinism claims that not only is it out of the individual's hands as to whether he will choose God's grace, but that he or she is unable to resist it - hence the name 'Irresistible' Grace. However, I have to wonder if the implications of the claim that 'God's grace makes a person willing' have been carefully thought through. For example, logic determines that a Christian who wishes to walk away from the faith and does not want to be saved can not do so... He is being forced into something that he no longer desires.
Perseverance of The Saints HERE
emphasizes that truly regenerated believers will persevere, or keep on going in faith throughout their lives since it is God who keeps or preserves the believer. If the believer falls away it is a given that they were never truly saved in the first place. What I don't get is that if people are saved because God chose them to be so since the foundation of the world, there is no sound reason to encourage anyone to stay faithful or warn them to persevere. Those who are genuinely saved cannot do otherwise. Yet Scriptural passages that warn believers to be careful about not wandering from the faith and falling from a secure position are liberally sprinkled throughout both Testaments.
Part III - When the Gospel Becomes a Lie HERE
It is a lie of gargantuan proportions to stand before an audience of any size and preach that God will save them if they will believe and put their trust in Jesus if, as Calvinism believes, God has limited to the offer to only an select few. ANY attempt to persuade an unbeliever to repent and come to faith in Christ conveys the impression that he can choose to do so. This could be totally misleading since the person concerned may or may not be one of those "elected" to salvation.
Part IV - The Sovereignty and Character of God HERE
Sovereignity: Calvinists tend to assume that they are the only ones who understand God's sovereignty They assume that if a man has to ability to reject or ignore the Gospel it shows that God is not sovereign. This is based on a very misguided view of what His sovereignty means. Character: Doesn't the Bible itself tell us that the fruit of a tree is a clear indication of how good or productive the tree is. Isn't a deliberate crime committed by a person plain evidence of the moral character of that individual? So why should it be any different with God? On what basis are we to believe that our God is a just, holy and loving God? Because He said so? Not good enough. And no, this is not blasphemy. If you think about it, the Scriptures consistently make appeal to evidence to support it's truth claims. Which means that we use evidence to judge whether something is true or not.
Part V - Hypocrisy Unlimited? HERE
Take your pick.. either John Calvin was a misguided zealot, or innumerable verses from both the Old and New Testament are not only extremely confusing, but show God to be a very muddled or a very hypocritical being who's intent is vastly different from His words.
Part VI - Conclusion HERE
To quote Judge Booker - Looked at objectively, Calvinism is nothing more than a system of baffling, almost mystical theological complexities and contradictions piled one on top of the other. It is a tradition so revered and so exalted that most Christians are assumed to be not intelligent enough to understand it fully. Therefore, we require an intellectual elite - a Reformed priesthood - to explain it to us as if we were medieval Catholic peasants.
Part VII - Early Christian Theologians and The Sins of Augustine HERE
Early Christian Theologians: Apparently, apart from Augustine, the first 1500 years of church history was filled with ignoramuses who, in spite of their deep devotion to the Word of God, never managed to figure out that predestination was a basic tenet of the Bible. Somehow this foundational and critical doctrine managed to elude the grasp and understanding of men like Justin Martyr, Irenaeus of Gaul, Clement of Alexandria and countless others. And I am certainly not saying that these men had all their ducks in a row. The common factor between them was that they all believed in free will.
Sins of Augustine: What I will never ever understand is how someone who was so deeply and obviously Catholic in his beliefs and in fact, is considered a saint in the Catholic church, has become such as icon in the Protestant Church. His writings were the actual source of most of what is known as Calvinism today - his faulty doctrine swallowed hook, line and sinker by Calvin and, in turn, by us.
Calvinism and The Book of Romans if Paul was affirming the Calvinistic doctrine of Unconditional Election in Romans 9, then he was a complete idiot, because he contradicted his own doctrine repeatedly throughout the book of Romans. Romans 9 is a favorite of Calvinists because when certain verses in this chapter are detached from their context, they seem to support the Calvinistic idea of the unconditional election of certain individuals. However, when these same verses are interpreted within the context of the entire book of Romans, it becomes obvious that the Calvinistic interpretation stands in direct contradiction to the entire letter, not to mention the rest of the Bible.