Category Archives: Calvinism

The threat of Hell!

Some Arminian preachers claim that you need the threat of Hell to save people. In other words, you scare them to love and believe in God in order to make that ‘correct’ choice! Then, you continue to threaten them to keep them saved!

Is Calvinism fair?

Calvinists on the other hand, believe that God only purposes to save a select bunch – who miraculously seem to live in only certain parts of the world and at certain times in history. Odd that, you would have thought God could have been a bit more even handed – rather than be accused of racism! Indeed, most people have no choice, it doesn’t matter how wicked they are, they will respond because God wills so – according to the Calvinist? Unfortunately, the rest get to be eternally tortured in the flames of Hell. Sounds just like what Jesus would do to me!

In support of Calvinist theology though, the Apostle Paul seems to be a good example of unconditional election and grace as he lies in the dirt face down staring up into the face of the resurrected Jesus (who he didn’t believe in). At that point though, what choice did he have – really?

So, I get Calvinism as far as grace goes. When I was born of physical parents I didn’t  decide to get born. Likewise in the new birth; the decision wasn’t mine. Indeed, no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them. That’s called grace.

God has a quota of saved souls?

What doesn’t make any sense though, is that a god of love and infinite power would decide to cap the quota of saved people at a few million in a few nations of the world. In other words, God is like Donald Trump building walls to keep people out of the kingdom! Therefore, rather than us choosing God – as Arminians believe – God chooses to reject most!

Dare I hope?

What if then, the Gospel (Good News) isn’t about saving people from Hell but saving them from a hellish life NOW! Jesus came to deliver us from this present evil age or (eternity) aeon. He delivers us from sin; he forgives all our sins; he fills us with the Holy Spirit; he heals us; he showers his gifts upon us. He wants relationship with us now! That is what (eternal) or life pertaining the age is!

Therefore, people don’t need a threat of Hell to be reconciled to God; they need to taste his infinite love!

What if, dare I believe it or hope, that Jesus does win in the end; that he is in fact the saviour of all men especially those who believe; that he will draw all men to himself and that the coming age will be one full of righteousness when all shall know the Lord? Scripture specifically says he wants to save all so why is it such a stretch to believe that he might get his way in the end? Or, is the devil too powerful and man so wicked, that no matter what God does, all he can do eventually – is whisk a few fortunate souls away in a rapture!

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Previous related post on the topic of Hell:

The first person to preach Hell?

Love never fails (Part 1)

Gods brilliant plan (Part 2)

How big are God’s plans? (Part 3)

God is a universalist (Part 4)

Jesus is God’s plan (Part 5)

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God is a universalist!

God is a Universalist!

universalistWhat is God’s will regarding salvation? Is it to predestine and save only the elect and damn the rest: as the calvinist doctrine of double-predestination teaches?

This flies in the face of some crystal clear scriptures as to God’s will on the matter. I believe, that if you asked God about his plans he wouldn’t sound much like a Calvinist or Arminian! No, he would probably sound a bit like one of those heretical universalists!

In fact, I would be bold to say that what the early church Father Augustine brought in the church, from his greek platonic philosophical roots, was actually gnostic heresy and the basis on which the Roman Catholic Church and much of protestant theology (especially hyper-calvinism) has been founded.

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Therefore, the above scripture clearly teaches that God is a Universalist: in the sense that he wants all men saved! That’s his fool-proof plan! Even the fool ( the atheist who says there is no God) is not immune to God’s desire!

God’s will is…

Consequently, God desires two specific things:

Firstly, that ALL of us are saved from the best to the worst sinner. He doesn’t want anyone to perish.

Secondly, that we ALL repent. In fact, he commands repentance. In other words, he commands you to change your stinking thinking; your paradigm – the strongholds in your mind; your false belief system or maybe even your treasured theology!

Acts 17:30 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent:”

Therefore, it is quite clear what God wants. Who is going to resist his will? Are you stronger than God! Additionally, If God commands repentance then surely he wouldn’t ask us to do something we cannot do?

By the way, notice it doesn’t say ‘times of sinfulness’ but ‘times of ignorance.’ In simple language, God is saying: “You’ve been ignoring the reality guys. Wake up and believe the truth.”

Why does God delay?

1 Corinthians 13 and 2 Peter 3:9 tell us, that love (God), is long suffering or patient. That’s the reason why God doesn’t just wipe us off the face of the planet: HIS LOVE.  He wishes to save everyone!

So, don’t come up with statements like God is love but love is not God. Love is from God. You can spot it a mile off!

1 John 4:7 “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

His patient love is a bit like the pilot of an airliner refusing to take off on the runway until every last passenger is on board. The gates of the heavenly Jerusalem never shut! Rev 21:25.

Another clear verse that is forthright as to God’s will on the matter of salvation is:

1 Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

So, are we saying along with the Arminians (who at least agree with the goal)  that God wants all men to be saved – that in fact he can’t manage it? In other words, his hands are tied by our free-will so he can’t really be blamed that 98% of the population end up damned frying in their own juices for eternity!

It doesn’t seem very godlike of God to fail so spectacularly! I just don’t believe it!

Or maybe, its really our fault because we just haven’t evangelised and preached enough. That’s probably why Arminians are strongly motivated to preach – God bless them!

Already done!

My firm hope is that God indeed does achieve his stated goal. I’m convinced that God can do it!

In fact, I believe he’s ALREADY DONE it. It was finished by Jesus on the cross.

1 Corinthians 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.”

Did you have a choice to be in Adam? No, of course not. How many people on this planet are in Adam. Everyone! What is the result: death. Likewise, through the cross everyone is included in Christ. What is the result: life. There are now no outsiders; we are all insiders!

Is everyone experiencing this miraculous transformation? No, of course not because faith is how we experience and enjoy it. My part, as an ambassador of this Gospel, is to communicate this message of reconciliation. You are in Christ!

Romans 5:18 “Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”

Look at the next verse:

Romans 5:19 “For as by one man’s disobedience MANY (a large number/ all of us) were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall MANY (a large number/ all of us?) be made righteous.”

Again, like 1 Corinthians 15:22 we have two contrasting sentences. Adam sinned. The result  = all of us made sinners. Jesus obeys. The result = all of us made righteous?

Do you see it? How did we become sinners? Was it through our own disobedience? No. It was through the disobedience of Adam!

Likewise, how did we become righteous? Was it through our faithful obedience? No, it was through the obedience of Jesus! 

To finish

To finish, here is a prophetic promise of God’s ultimate victory:

Psalm 22:7 “All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.”

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Previous related post:

Love never fails (Part 1)

Gods brilliant plan (Part 2)

How big are God’s plans? (Part 3)

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God’s brilliant plan!

God’s brilliant plan (according to calvinists and arminians)

If you are going to do anything major in life: say move house, get married or change career – planning is probably a sensible idea!  As we say in business: “those who fail to plan plan to fail”.  Of course, along with planning, we set goals. Hopefully, we ask the questions: “what are our targets; what are we hoping to achieve; how do we know we achieved it?”

The Calvinist version of God’s plan.

planSo, what about God’s plan of salvation for the world? What is his goal? Is he aiming just to save a few elect and fortunate souls – who have absolutely no choice in the matter – as calvinist theologians believe? Consequently, the unfortunate majority – who also have no choice – are purposed for destruction or eternal torture in hellfire?

Therefore, according to calvinist doctrine, one of the thieves on the cross went to be with Jesus in paradise because that was his destiny, while the other was destined for hell? Therefore, even though both equally committed crimes, irresistible grace found only one because that was his destiny?

Therefore for a Calvinist, God only plans for a small elect group of people to be saved and they have no choice in the matter.

Of course there are scriptures that support this view, so I believe aspects of Calvinism are likely to be true. Here is one :

Acts 13:48 “And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Many Christians throughout history have believed this view of God’s plan. Notably George Whitefield and Jonathon Edwards.

The Arminian version of God’s plan.”

Alternatively though, maybe God doesn’t know or control the outcome and he’s hoping for the best? He’s thinking: “If I get a 10% return on my investment then that makes it worth while!”  Basically, this is what the Arminians believe: the end result is at the whim and free-will response of human beings and their ability to ‘sell’ this salvation message to their fellows. It’s all a bit of a lottery or gamble really!

imagesDoes God really ask for permission before he saves you? If you saw somebody drowning and you went in to rescue them you might even have to do what lifesavers do and knock them unconscious to stop them struggling!

Therefore, for an Arminian God does indeed provide for and plan for the whole human race to be saved but he leaves it up to the free-will choice of individuals. Of course,  this means that if they never hear about the choice that they should make then unfortunately – they go to hell as well! Additionally, this would also mean that salvation is restricted only to the last two thousand years that the gospel has been preached?

1 John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Many Christians throughout history have believed this view of God’s plan. Notably John Wesley and Charles Finney.

Conclusions so far?

In my opinion, both these two theological positions have both positives and negatives but are not water-tight theologically or even logically! Both, don’t quite make sense and are of course contradictory. Of course, both are apparently supported by scripture!

The question is: is the Almighty God really that incapable or powerless to save people? Or, maybe his love only extends to a small percentage of the human race? I mean, look around you – most people are not born again and don’t have any relationship with God – let alone attend a church!

Has the gospel failed therefore? Was Jesus death and resurrection a failure? Definitely not! I believe that the gospel plan is a victorious gospel. Love indeed does win – somehow. It has too! This Almighty God we are talking about! In the next article we will look at this plan of God in more detail.

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Download my FREE PDF book: “Christ in You.”

Previous related post:

Love never fails

 

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