The following is a compilation taken from several articles that I down loaded from the web, along with a few comments I inserted. Please do not ask me where I got this material... Most of it was probably derived from articles on the Revival Theology web site??
What about Calvinism?
What about the doctrine of original sin.
Are you aware that these doctrines or portions of them are almost universally accepted in the Church today and yet they have debilitating effects on the strength of the body of Christ?
Are you aware they were not taught at all in the bible or in the early Church?
Are you aware that these doctrines teach that all babies are so wicked at birth that they if they die they are doomed to ever lasting punishment?
There are many Evangelicals and Pentecostals who have been led to believe that belief in these doctrines are not a problem. Yet, these doctrines are not the truth and they portray God in a very evil light. Plus they provide a reason for sin. According to these doctrines God makes us all evil and guilty even before we are born, for things we had no control over. It is my position that the Church needs to shed itself of this terrible superstition and free itself from a terrible influence toward unrighteousness.
The following is a compilation of several articles on these subjects that I have taken from the web and have edited arranged and added to. This is not completely edited.
The 5 Points of Calvinism
The doctrine known as Calvinism is similar to the ancient Greek philosophy called Stoicism. The Stoics believed everything was predetermined by fate. People simply fulfilled their preordained destiny. The Stoics tried to find happiness by living in harmony with their destiny rather than fighting it.
Elements of Stoicism were incorporated into Christianity by the forth century Catholic philosopher, St. Augustin. His literature provided the foundation for Calvinism.
Church historian, Philip Schaff, documents St. Augustin's beliefs in his introduction to the works of St. Augustin.
This statement alone should cause all Christians to question the justice of such a view.
St. Augustin's views were systematized, and carried into Protestantism by John Calvin, a sixteenth century Reformer.
The essence of Calvin's philosophy is that God is sovereign in all things. Before the creation, God sovereignly decided who He would save and who He would not. Man has no choice in the matter at all. Before certain individuals are born, God has already determined not to offer salvation to them, and Christ did not die for those individuals, there is no possibility of them ever being saved. On the other hand, God has predestined others to be saved, for what ever reason. In any case they cannot resist God's overpowering will. Since God sovereignly controls everything, they will be saved no matter what.
Calvinism is identified by five statements that sum up the entire system. They are known as the five points of Calvinism.
All of the five points are logical progressions from the central thesis, that God is sovereign and man is totally passive.
Not all Calvinists hold to all five points. There are many four point Calvinists who reject the most distasteful point, that of "limited atonement." However, their position is both illogical and unscriptural.
The first letter of each point forms the word "TULIP." This is helpful to remembering each point.
1. Total depravity of
We will briefly examine each of the five points in light of Scripture to see if Calvinism resembles the true character of God and the true gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Total Depravity of Man
Most Evangelical Christians would say they believe in the total depravity of man. By this they mean that man is inherently a sinner both by birth and by choice. He cannot in any way save himself or contribute to his own salvation. Without God's supernatural intervention he is hopelessly lost.
(This view is accepted by most Christians as being man's condition according to the Bible.
Question: Is every man born this way or is this depraved condition acquired? And is this what the bible really teaches?)
Calvinism goes even farther then this by claiming that man is totally incapable of responding to the gospel, or unable to choose to accept God's offer of grace.
Ephesians 2:1 is often quoted to support this idea. Here Paul says we were "dead in sins." Then comes the question from the Calvinist; Can a dead man hear? Can a dead man respond? Obviously the answer is no. But this line of reasoning is misleading. Paul was not using death literally. He did not mean we were physically or mentally dead. He explained what he meant by the phrase "dead in sins" in verse twelve.
Being "dead in sins" is the equivalent of being hopelessly lost, being totally incapable of saving ourselves. Paul was not saying we could not respond to God's grace, but that without God's grace, we are helpless and hopeless.
Since Calvinists believe man is incapable of responding to God's offer of salvation, they presume that God "enlightens" those who are elect with a supernatural understanding that is withheld from the non-elect. Without this illumination, or infusion of understanding, which God gives or withholds according to His choice, man cannot respond to God.
A serious problem with this line of thinking is that the Scriptures routinely make general offers of salvation to whomever will respond. These offers include appeals to the reasoning powers of unsaved men, and their ability to choose, and their ability to seek after God.
Mankind is not physically dead. Nor, is the mental capacity to reason dead. His spirit is what is dead. And, his spirit is what is "quickened" [or made alive] by Christ.
Paul does describe some people who are "reprobates" whom God has given over to a "reprobate mind" because of their constant refusal to acknowledge Him, after repeatedly being enlightened.
1 Wherefore = because of this.
The conditions created in the life of individuals through their choice is the cause. The Bible has many such thoughts. God rejects men for cause, not on the basis of some arbitrary whim that He has not told us about. He has told us over and over why He rejects some and chooses others and the instructions and conditions He has set forth always has to do with our love and obedience.
We can see from this passage that there are two states of unsaved mankind. Some have constantly rejected God over a period of time, and consequently God has given up on them, and given them over to a "reprobate mind" which is totally incapable of responding to the gospel. However, the fact that Romans 1 teaches that God at some point turns them over to reprobate minds, indicates that at some point they were NOT REPROBATES, albeit being in a state of "dead in sins." My question to Calvinists is, what is the difference between a non-reprobate who has not believed the Gospel, and a reprobate that God has abandoned?
Now, it is perfectly clear that THE GOSPEL is what enlightens the mind of those "dead in sins" according to verses 16-18. And, it is also perfectly clear from this passage that lost people are enlightened, and still choose to reject the Gospel, choosing rather their sinful lifestyles. At some point, God gives up on them, and turns them over to a reprobate mind. This fact proves that the natural condition of every lost person [who has not become a reprobate] does have some enlightenment. And, it also proves that those who become reprobates, at one time were enlightened. It says they "knew God" and that God has "shown Himself" to them. Yet, they are lost. So, the natural state of being "dead in sins" DOES NOT mean that a person is incapable of responding to God. God has indeed been drawing them, yet those who willfully rebel against God's drawing them, and who make a PERMANENT decision to reject God, will eventually be abandoned by God. This state of mankind is far worse than just the natural state of an unbeliever.
The point to Calvinism's "Total Depravity" claim, [that the natural man is totally without enlightenment, and incapable of responding to God], is to move to the next step, that God only enlightens and draws a few "elect" individuals. But, this premise is flawed at its very foundation, because God draws ALL MEN.
Christ enlightens "EVERY MAN THAT COMETH INTO THE WORLD!" He draws "ALL MEN" unto Himself. So, while I agree that being dead in sins means that one cannot save himself, and without such enlightenment, one cannot choose God. However, it is perfectly clear that God draws and enlightens ALL MEN by the hearing of the Gospel, even those who will become reprobates and go straight to hell.
Thus we see Calvinism's main premise is in error, and consequently the rest of this philosophical system is also in error.
No one can literally save themselves, period.
They are saved by grace through faith. All of which is a gift of God. FAITH IS NOT EARNED, NOR IS IT A WORK, STILL IT IS REQUIRED. IT CAN BE SAID IT IS A GIFT - NEVERTHELESS IT IS INSEPARABLE FROM OUR RESPONSIBILITY. Christ repeatedly accosted people for not having faith.
AGAIN: The Bible teaches us that God rejects people for a cause. In every text that deals with God rejecting the wicked it can be clearly seen that He does so for cause. Most every message of rejection is filled with a message that details why God has done so. The cause is clearly spelled out. It has nothing to do with predestination, but everything to do with willful unbelief and rebellion.
Unbelief is a choice that involves the rejection of knowledge. Unbelief is not an absence of faith, but a rejection of both knowledge and the free choice to believe what is clearly understood. It is the rejection of the evidence of those things which are not seen.
All of this is portrayed in the Bible and stands against the doctrines of Augustin and Calvin.
Questions for advocates of inherited sin
1. Why did Jesus never teach that man was depraved or why did he never blame Adam for everyone's sin's?
2. If every newborn is "utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil", -
3. Why is the Greek word "sarx" (English=flesh, Mistranslated "sinful nature" throughout the NIV) which Calvinists say teaches the inherited depraved sinful nature of man, which word is also used in scripture when speaking of Jesus in -
Why would Jesus not inherit the guilt of sin & depravity from his mother Mary?
5. If Mary was actually "conceived sinless", as the Roman Catholics teach, so that Jesus would not get inherited sin then:
6. What is the difference in "nature" between Adam before his sin, Mary who was "immaculate" and Christians, who have their depravity removed via their salvation, and Jesus Himself?
7. If baptism removes the depraved nature of man, then why does he continue to sin afterward?
8. If Adam became depraved only after he sinned, then why did he sin before he was depraved?
9. Why did Adam sin?
Adam was totally hereditarily righteous, yet he still sinned!
10. If Adam chose to sin while dead to sin, may we not also choose to do right while dead in sin?
11. Where are all of the babies who were killed in the flood and in Sodom and Gomorrah, etc?
Scriptural refutation of Inherited Sin
The mechanism for the transmission of inherited sin is false: Yes, the physical consequences of sin does afflict children for several generations.
However, the spiritual consequences of sin cannot be transmitted from father to son, but only falls on the one who committed the act:
In this last passage, Moses wanted to receive the punishment for someone else's sin. In verse 33, the individual who sinned was to be removed from the book; it says nothing about one whose parents have sinned.
We will be judged, only, on the basis of our own actions:
God judges for cause, not arbitrarily. We can find the reasons or basis of His judgment in the scriptures.
not Adam's .
Sin is committed by individuals breaking God's law: -
(Infants have done nothing)
Where is one Bible verse that says we will be condemned for any sin other than our own?
Unsaved and unregenerate men are capable of doing good and have freewill:
Calvinists teach that if a sinner helps an accident victim, he still sins because he does it for the wrong motive.
Gentiles do by nature the good things of the law: -
Cornelius was devout, feared God, righteous, Acts 10:1-4, 22 yet needed further conversion: 11:14
Man has a freewill and can choose to do good or evil: Josh 24:15 "Choose this day..."
God requires man to act and do something to be saved... infants can't act or do
Why are we told to "work out our own salvation": Phil 2:12
The spoken and written gospel message is God's power for salvation: Rom 1:16; 1 cor 1:18
These words imply that we, individually, were once in God's grace at conception and birth.
The very words used to describe salvation refute inherited sin:
SLAVES TO SIN - UNABLE TO FREE ONESELF?
SLAVES TO SIN - UNABLE TO FREE ONESELF?
Slavery is not something that is absolute. Slaves can free themselves, that is if they are willing to die for their freedom. This is what happens when we are converted. We die to self and are made alive to God again. Having walked away from Him earlier in our life, we are reconciled back to Him.
The Bible describes infants as pure and holy:
1. Jesus used infants as a model for all believers to imitate in character proving they were not "utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil"?
2. Paul also used infants as a model of purity for Christians to follow:
3. Paul states that he was once spiritually alive but then he sinned & died/was killed:
Proving that he too was at one time without sin or free from inherent wickedness.
4. God said that the king of Tyrus was "blameless in your ways from the day you were created, until unrighteousness was found in you." Ezek 28:15
5. "God made men upright but they sought devices" Eccl 7:29 (plural can't refer only to Adam)
Newborns do not know the difference between good and evil
6. God allowed the children to enter Canaan but not the parents: "your little ones who...have no knowledge of good and evil shall enter". Deut 1:34-39
7. Jacob & Esau, "the twins were not yet born, and had done nothing good or bad" Rom 9:11
8. Jesus "Before He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good" Isa 7:15-16
9. Jer 19:2-6 human sacrifices of children to Baal is called the "blood of the innocent"
10. If newborns do not know "good or evil" yet the Bible says , "Your sins have separated you from your God" (Isa 59:1-2). This can only mean that newborns are born free of inherent sin and so are united with God.
The second Spiritual death implies both a first spiritual death and initial spiritual life: The Second death is hell: It is a spiritual separation from God: Rev 20:6,14 Our first death is when we first sin and are separated from God till judgment. Again: For us to be able to die a first death we had to have been spiritually alive at birth.
The science of genetics teaches us that both men and women pass along both good and bad genetics. Some genetic defects or diseases are carried only by women and only their sons are affected. Their sons do not pass them to their children. It would appear that this fact makes it impossible for Jesus to have been prevented from inheriting original sin. He said He was the son of man, so any inherent defect that would be found in every human would naturally have been also found in Him.
The Unavoidable Consequences -
If Inherited Sin Were True
Every newborn is "utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil" ?
B. Jesus inherited the depraved nature and guilt of sin like any other man, otherwise
C. Man has no responsibility to hear and obey the gospel (irresistible grace)
Calvinists teach that man being depraved, cannot comprehend the gospel message. The Holy Spirit must specifically touch an individual, thus allowing them to respond to the gospel. Thus man cannot be saved without the direct and miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit.
If men go to hell, it is because God never extended his Holy Spirit to that individual, thus giving them the ability to accept and comprehend the gospel then: God is therefore responsible for all the unsaved going to hell. For God created certain men who never had any chance or opportunity to be saved! This makes God a respecter of persons
Man cannot be responsible for his sin, if he has no freewill. Our courts of law do not hold those who were forced accountable for their actions and neither does God. There is little difference between "the devil made me do it" and "Adam made me do it" Ultimately, God is responsible for man's sin if that is the way He created us at conception. Like migrating birds that have no choice, we are acting out of nature and instinct.
The bible has nothing to say about man violating God's ultimate sovereignty.
This is because it is an impossibility. Disobedience deserves punishment, but it cannot violate God's ultimate sovereignty. "He will work, who will stop Him?" We move and have our being in Him. He is not far from any of us. The thought that somehow we can violate His ultimate sovereignty is never made a topic by any biblical writer, but it is a continual theme among certain fellowships.
Still God is portrayed as having emotions as if man can effect them. He gets angry and hates and loves and these emotions are varied according to what man does. If this somehow is unacceptable to our way of thinking or contrary to our doctrine I suggest that it is we who must change and leave the Word of God to portray it's original message.
Sin lies at the door, but "you" must overcome it. Underline the "You". Cain obviously had a choice and God was not happy about what he did with it. God's ultimate will is being done, but not His every desire. He is not willing that any should perish, but many do. He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, nevertheless many wicked people die in their sins.
The bible portrays God as giving humans creative ability.
They were delegated limited Sovereignty over their creations. This is an area that further portrays their freedom of choice.
Strong's. # 2810 chishshabown (khish-shaw-bone'); from 2803; a contrivance, i.e. actual (a warlike machine) or mental (a machination): KJV-- engine, invention.
Strong's # 4209 mezimmah (mez-im-maw'); from 2161; a plan, usually evil (machination), sometimes good (sagacity): KJV-- (wicked) device, discretion, intent, witty invention, lewdness, mischievous (device), thought, wickedly.
It is God who gave humans wisdom, and He still does
give it to them. It is from wisdom that comes our creative ability and/or the
ability to choose.
God is not static, He is still creative and He has given us some measure of His own inherent spontaneity. As a result our spontaneity, our creativity, our ability to choose are inherent abilities given to us by God and are associated and identified with our being created in His image.
Based on this logical and scriptural basis we see that God has endowed humans with the ability to create and to do good or evil things with that ability. This removes God from being directly involved with every evil dead or wicked desire. The bible repeatedly portrays God as blaming all wicked humans for their evil deeds and praising others for their good deeds. This makes no sense if He has not only ordained everyone's thoughts, but has also brought every thought or desire into existence.
God has demanded that we
control our desires and thoughts.
Deut 5:21 Neither shalt thou desire
thy neighbour's wife, neither shalt thou covet thy neighbour's house, his field,
or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox, or his ass, or any thing that is
Note: the wicked have a
desire of their own, it is not from God.
From both the time of Adam, and that of his son, God has held us accountable for our choice and for acting on or desires. Again - Underline "ours," not God's.
It is very often said that if our choice has anything to do with our Salvation that this means that in some way we merit it.
This point of view reflects a very stunted portrayal of the invaluableness of salvation, to say the least. What can a man give in exchange for his soul? How do we measure the value of salvation?
We hire someone to do house work for us for $8.00 per hour. Our wealthy neighbor hears about this and out of pride raises the wages of his house keeper to $25.00 per hour. When other people in the community hear about this they all comment that this worker cannot rightfully earn that pay. Many of them said that this worker received a nice gift, not a raise. The $25.00 per hour house keeper believed that if she only washed one dish and did nothing else for eight hours she had earned every penny and was due her full pay check.
Where do these views come from? Are they all correct?
There are many Christians who believe that we do not have to be baptized, for if we did it would mean we were doing something that earned our salvation. So according to many Christians we cannot even choose God, nor should we be taught that we must get baptized for if any of this were essential it would somehow mean that doing so would mean we are meriting our salvation. To them anything that can be construed as being meritorious is contrary to our being save without works. They point to the thief on the cross as an example. They do this because he was not baptized and yet it is evident that he still went to heaven. They would only be convinced that baptism was essential if that thief had torn himself loose from the cross and had himself baptized. In all of this, it seems that their view of the value of salvation is like nothing. They project the thought that if salvation could be earned it would take nothing more then a choice or being baptized. To them any required effort would add up to our earning our salvation, no matter that the energy expended amounted to nothing.
Applying this view to finances - If someone gives us a billion dollars and we write a check this would mean we somehow earned that money. Now according to Calvinism - if we were to send that benefactor a small token of appreciation we, for sure, would be meriting that billion dollars. However, - Our obedience is both the least we can do and the most that we can do and it is essential. To do less is to insult God.