I have been having some great discussions with a Canadian friend that is leading a movement there about the concept of “5 points of Calvinism. For those who don’t know them, I will state them here:
- Unconditional Election
- Limited Atonement
- Irresistible grace
- Preservation of the saints
- Total depravity
While my friend holds these to be true, I hold the first four to be false and I greatly differ on the last one in interpretation.
Calvinism states that we are elected by God to be saved or not to be saved. Only those who God chooses can be saved. I believe that God chooses EVERYONE to be saved when He sent His one and only son to the cross for the sins of the world.
Calvinist believe that the Cross was only for the “elect,” not all of humanity. Only those who are deemed “saved” did Christ die for. However, I believe that Jesus came to die for everyone not just those we believed Christians.
Calvinists believe that the doctrine of irresistible grace asserts that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, “the elect”) and, in God’s timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. If you believe this, you believe no one really makes a decision to follow the Lord and we are just robots and the will of man is pointless. If God has called everyone to salvation as the Bible speaks of then we have nothing to do with salvation and we all are saved. NOT TRUE!
Calvinists believe that perserance of the saints which is basically “once saved once saved.” This is not true based on Matthew 25:1-13 and other passages that clearly show that we can choose to walk away from God if we so choose. There is a reason the New Testament talks more about finishing strong than it does starting strong. Salvation is a journey not just an event. We have continue in “the most holy faith” to overcome in the end of the age!
Calvinists believe that total depravity asserts that, as a consequence of the fall of humanity into sin, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. I reject this in part because I believe God has placed us in where we live and in the generation we live in that we may choose to seek HIM! God has built us with a desire to know Him and understand His ways if we know it or not. I do not believe we are enslaved to sin but we are enslaved to a lack of knowledge and revelation to walk free from sin. We only sin because we don’t know to knowledge to do any better. It is not our nature to sin, it is our nature to love God even before we know Him.
Therefore, I am not a Calvinist and I believe Jacob Arminius was right for being a prophet as a voice in a voiceless generation standing up to the error of his day and saying “enough is enough.” We called Calvin theology on their fluff and call the people of God back out of the religion they were entrapped within because of Calvinism and into a thriving and real walk with the Holy Spirit.
Much of the great revivals we have recieved from including Azusa Street, the Foursquare revival, Latter Rain, Voice of Healing, the Charsmatic renewal, and Toronto/Brownsville/Smithton was all yet to leaders who reject the teaching of Calvinism.