Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Calvinism

From time to time, I will be posting on one of the biggest dangers I see to the gospel and missions, Calvinism. I will be posting on different aspects of the dangerous TULIP. It’s effects are just beginning to come into many Baptist churches today and are changing people’s thinking. I fear if the current trend is not curved, much damage will be done to world missions.

Major change usually takes time, so this change in thinking will not occur overnight, but over the process of time. Soon, we will hear the voices William Carey heard when he told a group of preachers he wanted to reach the world with gospel. Those Calvinistic voices told him something like this, “Sit down! When God wants to convert the heathen, He will do so Himself without the Help of you or I.” No, we are not seeing this yet in Baptist churches, but it is coming unless something is done. Today’s Calvinist is missions friendly, but over time that will change, just because of the nature of their theology.

The past several years has seen a rise in Calvinism throughout Baptist churches. I believe there are several factors as to why this has taken place. One reason would be a reaction against quick prayerism. Christians began to realize this, “123 pray after me”, was not working. Churches were seeing thousands of “decisions”, but there was no fruit. Pride seemed to become a motivation for our service instead of a love for God as well. Our “method” was simply focused on getting people to pray a prayer. Books were written, classes were taught, which showed us how to get someone to pray a prayer. Much of this information was based upon manipulation and psychology, instead of the convicting work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart. As Christians began realizing this was not right, nor was it working, the doctrine of Calvinism was there to provide answers.


Another reason for the increase in Calvinism was the rise of two prominent Calvinistic preachers within fundamentalism: John Macarthur and John Piper. Both men, through their preaching and writings, began to promote Calvinism. It appealed to an intellectual side of the house, at a time when many were tired of shallowness in some churches.

Calvinism of today began using several different means to get people to convert to their theological position. One of the means used is psychology. Let me give one example. A Calvinist boldly proclaims you are either Calvinist or Arminianist. Well, certainly no good Baptist wants to be identified with Armenianism! The fact is, though, many such as myself, are neither Calvinistic nor Armenianistic in our theology. Instead of following the TULIP, I choose to follow the BIBLE. Just because I may agree with some points of Arminianism or Calvinism in no way makes me an Arminianist or Calvinist. This would be like a person telling me, because I believe in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, I am a Catholic. If I happen to agree with Arminianism or Calvinism in some area, it is because their teaching is following the Bible. The fact is both theological positions (Calvinsim/Arminianism) are not scriptural and contain error.

At the heart of this issue is a needed understanding of how salvation works. In my next post on this topic, I will discuss the “P” of the TULIP. It is here where it becomes clear Calvinist teachings lack an understanding of what Christ actually did for us on the Cross. They fail to realize why one who is truly saved can never lose their salvation.

29 comments:

Kate said...

Be prepared for hostile posts on this topic, Brother. Calvinism is no better than any other works-based religion. I am thankful that I do not have to wonder Who holds my salvation. Rom 8:38-39 is still in the Bible! I'm looking forward to reading more!

Terry McGovern said...

It is ironic how a group claiming they believe salvation is all of God and grace, actually believe in works for their salvation! Now I know they would deny that to their last day, but they can not escape their own teachings. I will deal more with this on the next post.

Kate said...

I'm looking forward to the next one! I think of all the years as a catholic, I had to "be good enough" - and then I heard the sweet free Gospel of Jesus Christ!! Now THAT was good news :-)

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to more on this subject, Terry.

Lance Roberts said...

I guess you haven't studies mission history much, or you would know that Calvinism was responsible for a lot of mission work, in fact William Carey was a Calvinist.

I'm shocked that anyone could associate Calvinism and works salvation, since Arminianism is the salvation by works. Calvinism says that God's grace is sufficient. You might want to do some more studying on the top.

And yes, you are either one or the other. Either God's grace is sufficient so you're a Calvinist, or you need a human decision and you're an Arminian.

Chip said...

Terry,

Just FYI -- William Carey was a subscriber to the Doctrines of Grace (he was a staunch Calvinist). The comments you quoted were from hyper-calvinists.

Kate and Terry,

How, exactly, do you consider Calvinism "no better than any other works-based religion." There is absolutely nothing in the Doctrines of Grace to indicate Calvinists "believe in works for their salvation."

Would you elaborate on that please?

Samantha said...

The problem with most people who claim that Calvinism is dangerous for the "missions" field think that Calvinists go around saying, "Well, I'm not going to witness because God already chose this or that person, so what is the use?" when in reality we work WITH GOD in sharing the gospel. He works in us and allows us to share His truth with man. IF HE SO CHOOSES He can use our sharing of the Gospel to bring about salvation in the individual. But man being saved is a supernatural work. Our eyes cannot be opened to delight in God unless He lifts the veil from our eyes!! It is nothing WE DO that brings anyone to Christ!! All we are required to do is to be faithful in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ. We simply plant the seed....and even in that God's Hand is seen!!! We couldn't spread the Word without Him!

"I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances." -Ezekial 36:27 Notice the tense: "I" NOT "ME"

Seeking His Truth, not man's-

AspiringTheologian said...

Calvinists aren't against missions or evangelism. HyperCalvinists are. I am a Calvinist and I do not believe that man should sit back and "let God do all the work" - such an idea is a misunderstanding of Calvinism.

Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, and other awesome evangelists who led both Revivals and Awakenings were all Calvinists.

God be with you,

The Aspiring Theologian

Terry McGovern said...

First, it appears there are many who have for the first time come to my blog. Welcome! Please take the time to read though previous stories and insights. I hope they will be an encouragement to you.

I will answer the concerns about equating works salvation and Calvinism. No doubt to a Calvinist that is an oxymoron! (I will be addressing the "Perseverance" of the saints in my next blog.) Please wait for me to post the blog and then we can discuss the issue.

We need to discuss the issues/differences one at a time. I do not wish to debate several different issues at one time. This will be less productive and less helpful. Again, my next post will on the "P" of TULIP and perhaps more so on the workings of salvation. After my next blog, we can then discuss the matter. Everyone will have a clear understanding of where I am coming from.

All of us would whole heartily agree as to the importance of the gospel. So for the sake of the Gospel and our Lord Jesus Christ let's examine the truth. We need to let Samantha's statement guide us: "Seeking His Truth, not man's"

Let us therefore trust in the Word of God for our discussion!

Bro McGovern

Side note: Many times it can take me a day or two to respond. Sometimes even longer. I am in a remote location and I do not have telephone service 24/7. I, at times, travel out for preaching and I am unavailable to comment. Please be patient.
Thanks

Joel said...

If you knew the theology and history of which you speak, you could immediately respond to the issues raised. You need to take a long, long time before you respond to study up on the issues you claim to know so much about. Or, just post a link to any number of web sites dedicated to the misrepresentation of Calvinism. Here is one: www.wayoflife.org
Or, for a really shallow view of the subject from a self-proclaimed "intellectual pitbull" (so humble those LBU guys), check out www.erguncanger.com

Terry McGovern said...

Joel,

You have passion about the issue and that can be good. However, please refrain from judgments until you read my arguments. You have no idea how much knowledge I have or do not have on this subject.

Perhaps, if you lived in a remote area, you would have understanding as to the lack of any real infrastructure. I do not know what part of the world you live in, but I doubt it is third world, or you would have easily believed my statement about not being able to respond quickly, due to no phone. There are times where my family and I have no phone or communication without the outside for weeks at a time. We usually do get phone service for four to eight hours a day.

Also there may be times when it takes me awhile to repsond becasue I do need to study an issue further. I am not all knowing. I hope, you as well, will study the the scriptures to see "whether those things were so." (Acts 17:11)

You will also find my posts are not copied and pasted from someone’s website.

The Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel are my life. I do not play games with it. I do not claim to be an intellectual, but I do study diligently for my Savior. My first post was just an introduction. Many of the following posts will be dealing with the dangerous TULIP. Feel free to respond to where you disagree scripturally.

***Not all the post will be on Calvinism. As you can tell the primary purpose of my blog is not about a refutation of Calvinism. I will be blogging stories during this time and other insights. Many of my supporters and family read here regularly. I like to keep them up to date as to what is going here in the field.

I truly hope many of the Calvinists will consistently come and read. I think the debate can be beneficial to us both.

(My next post on this subject will be posted shortly. It is already finshed, but I just posted yesterday and do not wish to post on top of it.

Read the story you might like it! (http://missionary-insights.blogspot.com/ )

Thanks

Kent Brandenburg said...

Hi Brother McGovern.

Lance, if you read Terry, you would have seen that he didn't say that Carey wasn't a Calvinist. Perhaps you should reread to get his point. I often see and hear Calvinists do this same kind of thing, that is, add or take away from what someone says. It is especially bad when we add our own faulty and human logic to God's Word. Second, Terry didn't say a thing about "works salvation." That was Kate in a comment. Third, I think you need to reread Calvin and other reformed if you don't think that the Calvinist himself supports human decision. Where are all the Calvinists to go after Lance on this point?

Chip, what are the doctrines of grace? Have you looked up every time charis is used in its context. I have. It doesn't support the teachings of John Calvin. We would glean the Doctrines of Grace from what Scripture says concerning charis. Do we start with Calvin to get teaching on grace, or do we begin with a study of charis in the Bible? I'm curious on this.

Samantha, how can a believer share the gospel with an unbeliever? "Sharing" implies give and take. What does a dead person have to offer any of us? What do we share with a child of the devil? We have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. And you imply that God saves some people irregardless whether they hear the Gospel or not. Can you explain that? I thought Romans 1:16 said the gospel was the power of God unto salvation, and I thought that Paul said, "how shall they hear without a preacher?" And since when is "I" and "me" a tense? "Tense" has to do with verbs, not nouns or pronouns.

By the way, Alan, as you read this, you of the (sic) to attempt to embarrass Terry. Look at these wonderful Calvinists with their Ezekial (sic) and their tenses of pronouns.

Aspiring, how could men be awesome? I thought only God was awesome.

Joel, I'm waiting to hear your answer to Terry's reason he is not immediately answering. He lives in New Guinea with very little phone service. Is this a Calvinistic doctrine produced by God's grace, that is, unrighteous judgment? If so, it doesn't speak well for Calvinism. Proverbs talks about the person who answers a matter before he hears it. Check out what kind of person that is.

So far, Bro. Terry, we haven't heard much other than ad hominem attack. Is that what Calvinists have to offer in this discussion?

Peter D. Nelson said...

Tell me something Terry why have you decided to "back into" the doctrine of soterology by starting with the "P" of Tulip? If you actual were going to show us Calvinists "It is here where it becomes clear Calvinist teachings lack an understanding of what Christ actually did for us on the Cross." what is wrong with Calvinist soteriology you start at the beginning not the end.

Terry McGovern said...

Bro Kent, thanks for joining the discussion and the comments

I would also like to respond to the issue about William Carrey, Charles Spurgeon, George Whitfield, and Jonathan Edwards.


The Aspiring Theologian named most of these as examples of awesome evangelists.

These men did lead great revivals. I have read with amazement about the revivals Whitfield led. I have tremendous respect for Spurgeon. William Carrey is considered the father of modern missions.

However, I believe these men were the exception, not the rule, within the Calvinistic world. All of us here realize many Calvinist did not agree with Spurgeon. They felt he was betraying Calvinism. Please do not tell me those were the “hyper-Calvinist only.”


Here is the key.
I believe those men were great, evangelistically speaking, in spite of Calvinism not because of it. I believe it was the Holy Spirit directing them. Any believer when yielded to the Spirit of God will be used. Their drive for revival was not fueled by there belief in Calvinism, but the unction from the Sprit of God, to whom they were yielded to. Thus the Lord used them in a mighty way!

Peter,

Good question. I do not look at it as me "backing into" the discussion by starting with the “P.” I will be posting on all points over the next few months. Each point has problems, but the “P” shows a lack of understanding as to what takes place at salvation. You will see what I mean from my next two posts on the subject.

John Boy said...

Hi, My name is John.

I am a Calvinist not by choice.


Cheers,

Johnny Boy

Terry McGovern said...

LOL Johnny

It is also not by your choice that you have come across this blog!

For all,

I have just posted a second time concerning Calvinism. If you simply clicked on a link for this post you might miss my new post. So here is the link for the new post:
http://missionary-insights.blogspot.com/

Chip said...

Kent,

You said that Terry "didn't say a word about 'works salvation.'" I refer you to his very first comment on this thread. He said, "It is ironic how a group claiming they believe salvation is all of God and grace, actually believe in works for their salvation!"

So, yes brother, while Kate is the one who brought it up Terry did comment on the subject and, apparently, agrees with her that Calvinism is a salvation-by-works system.

Now, I'd very much like someone who believes that to be true to show me where, exactly, they get the notion.

Anonymous said...

Terry,
Do yourself a favor and purchase and view the video "Amazing Grace: The History of Calvinism"

Anonymous said...

Terry:

I am someone whom God has delivered out of the false gospel of Arminian pentecostalism. The reason why I hold to the "TULIP" is because each doctrine is soundly and biblically based. Each point is God centered and strips man of all boasting. Your position leaves room for man to boast. I as a calvinist will continue to preach the gospel to all who will listen. My job is to plant the seed. It is God who gives the increase.

Mark Aponte heretichunter@excite.com

Stevetip said...

Hi Brother McGovern.

Lance, if you read Terry, you would have seen that he didn't say that Carey wasn't a Calvinist.

Terry implied that Carey wasn’t a Calvinist by calling voices he heard “Calvinist” and implying that those voices told him something he would not have thought: I understood from reading the text that Terry was stating that Carey was not a Calvinist.

Terry didn't say a thing about "works salvation." That was Kate in a comment.

Terry most certainly DID say that: in the second comment he states that exactly.

Third, I think you need to reread Calvin and other reformed if you don't think that the Calvinist himself supports human decision.

Calvin and the other Reformers DID teach the importance of human decision: but not as the basis of Justification. Justification, the reckoning of Christ’s righteousness to a sinner by imputation, is prior to conversion, taught by Luther, Calvin, Knox, the Westminster divines and the Bible.

Samantha, how can a believer share the gospel with an unbeliever? "Sharing" implies give and take. What does a dead person have to offer any of us? What do we share with a child of the devil? We have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.

Are you saying that we “don’t” share with unbelievers or that we “do”? If you aren’t talking with unregenerate people (regardless if you think they are regenerated by an act of free will or by the sovereign work of God) then you are not sharing the gospel as Christ commanded you. You are only sharing with Christ’s sheep, when you have no way of knowing who is and who is not His sheep. I am not sure what you are trying to say here.

And you imply that God saves some people irregardless whether they hear the Gospel or not. Can you explain that?

Now who is adding words? She said nothing of the kind. She claimed that it was God, not her, that did the converting. The Calvinist, and I firmly believe the Biblical, understanding of evangelism is that we are to proclaim the gospel, the good news of Christ, to those who are perishing. Christ’s sheep know his voice and they heed it and turn from their sins and are saved. They turn because God breathes new life into them. That new life comes at the same time as the proclamation of the Gospel, but it is not the same thing as it. Further, God is not constrained by our understanding of the gospel or our attempts to proclaim it. The best, most convincing apologetic for the faith will produce nothing in those who are not elect, yet the most meager fumblings of a child will produce the fruit that God desired if and only if the hearer is first regenerated by God and God decrees that the time of that sinner’s conversion it at hand.

I thought Romans 1:16 said the gospel was the power of God unto salvation, and I thought that Paul said, "how shall they hear without a preacher?"

That God has decreed the preaching of the word to be the means He uses to convert sinners is not debated by Calvinists. We, however, do not believe that the power lies with the person who preaches, but with God who changes hearts from stone to flesh.

By the way, Alan, as you read this, you of the (sic) to attempt to embarrass Terry. Look at these wonderful Calvinists with their Ezekial (sic) and their tenses of pronouns.

I think you should repent of that statement. You will one day be called to account for the way you treated your sister in Christ. You can disagree, but do so in a spirit of holiness and godliness, not with spite and venom.

Aspiring, how could men be awesome? I thought only God was awesome.

Where does Calvin or any of the Reformers or any of the modern day teachers and preachers of the Reformed faith state what would lead you to make such a statement? Paul was an awesome man. I am to emulate him as he emulates Christ. So, too, are the men Aspiring mentions. They are not perfect, but that was not his position. He states that they were great men, worthy of our attention.

Is this a Calvinistic doctrine produced by God's grace, that is, unrighteous judgment?

Again, check this statement versus what you said earlier about Samantha.

So far, Bro. Terry, we haven't heard much other than ad hominem attack. Is that what Calvinists have to offer in this discussion?

So far we have not heard any kind of attack on Calvinism what-so-ever, ad hominem or otherwise. Except, of course, that Terry has now posted his first installment on Salvation, perhaps we can start to get serious and stop slinging mud.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Steve, Terry is starting in with his doctrinal presentation, so the doctrinal output is coming. I see that you take the time to defend your fellow reformed, but choose not to agree with some of their false judgments. And you have no problem with tenses of pronouns? And her spelling of Ezekiel?

I'll await Bro. Terry's manifestation of "works salvation," and it is true, I never saw his agreement in the comments, so I stand corrected.

I'm not hearing anyone giving in on the other side though. Grace is sufficient. God resists the proud....

Anonymous said...

There is at least one other way in which "someone becomes a Calvinist" as you put it. This is the way which happened to me: I read and studied the Scriptures for 9 years. During that time, especially as I studied the book of Romans, I came to understand the doctrines of grace. And some of the other studies which I did focused upon the sovereignty of God, the meaning and scope of it. As a result I "became a Calvinist." Understand that no one taught me "this is Calvinism", and I didn't even know it had a name other than biblical Christianity.

Anonymous said...

Not sure you should state what you are stating...especially, since of the great missionaries of the faith is John Calvin himself

Samantha said...

Stevetip said "Samantha, how can a believer share the gospel with an unbeliever? "Sharing" implies give and take. What does a dead person have to offer any of us? What do we share with a child of the devil? We have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. And you imply that God saves some people irregardless whether they hear the Gospel or not. Can you explain that? I thought Romans 1:16 said the gospel was the power of God unto salvation, and I thought that Paul said, "how shall they hear without a preacher?" And since when is "I" and "me" a tense? "Tense" has to do with verbs, not nouns or pronouns."


Huh? I'm confused by your argument. I'm not saying that we shouldn't preach the Gospel. I'm saying that we should. And I am a 5 point Calvinist.
I share my faith, not expecting to save individuals but expecting GOD to save them. He uses the preaching of the cross to bring about salvation. It doesn't matter who they are. God didn't say, "Only witness to His elect"

1 Corinthians 1:21
For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.

PS: I'm not an English major. I'm not the smartest person and I would never claim to be. If you desire edifying discussion, it might benefit you to speak more with love. I apologize for my misunderstanding of the word "tense." It must be because I am a Calvinist, huh. Unfortunately, to me, you sound like a clanging cymbal.

In Him, Samantha

Anonymous said...

Terry, here is the link to the second post in this series of articles:

Calvinism Continued

If you click on the date link at the bottom of each post, that is the Permanent Link to that specific post - linking to the main page will only help until you post the next article, then the other one won't be on the top anymore. Just a helpful hint on the WWW (Wonderful World of Webbing).

Terry McGovern said...

Thanks for the help Jerry,

Glad you have joined the discussion

Anonymous said...

You seek me(Jesus) in those scriptures about me, It talks about me and you still search in the scriptures...why we Limit God with our little minds....

I am a CHRISTIAN...neither a calvanist or armeni...Are we talking about Jesus or about our opinions....pure calavanist..pure armenianist..who is pure...Dont get me wrong I am not talking about the word of God who is perfect?

Understand one thing you all, Holyspirit draws his children....to whom? to men, so that they can Listen who? Jesus in you not your theories..Give what Jesus gave you not the theories through your understanding the literal interpretation of words..the letter kills, spirit gives life...Life of the existing one-Jehovah..now all can argue with me that I am a Jehovah witness

If i talk more about tongues- Pentecoastals....

If I talk about only Jesus- evangilicals...

If I talk about prophetic- seer's in the spirit...

If I talk about defending Gospels and mysteries...Apostles...

My question is do we need each other?...Why allow deception of the enemy through scriptures....Listen to Him(Father son and the Holsypirit).

How I long to gather my people to be united like a hen gathering its chickens....Humble yourself to God he is our author...Don't spread theories...Spread Love...teh very Love that you recieved when you accepted Lord Jesus..the first Love..that bridal love ..the friendly love..bondservant love...prisoner Love...

God blesss you all....
In prayer and Love,
Uday

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BenjaminL said...

Brother,

I was in the exact same position you are in now more than a year ago. I was against Calvinism and ready to fight it tooth and nail.

First, I would like you to recognize one thing and that is that William Carey was a definite believer in the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) as was pretty much every other good Baptist in the 1700's including our beloved Charles Spurgeon.

It is beyond the scope of my intentions to explain to you why the 5 points of Calvinism are biblical, but there is a great book that I would suggest you read. It is called "A Journey in Grace" by Richard P. Belcher. It is a theological novel that walks you through the 5 points of Calvinism and does a WONDERFUL job of explaining the position opposing Calvinism too.

The book is so good that I read it all within 24 hours. Please pick up a copy.


In Christ Alone,
Ben