What is Calvinism and is it biblical? What are the five points of Calvinism?


Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.

Mini Ann Wood

I have no problem with the scripture that says God foreknew who would be saved. Of course HE knows. The plan of salvation still is based on our acknowledgement of the work of the cross and Jesus's sacrifice for the sins of all men. Let me give an example: I was truly lost. There came a day when I wanted to end my life. God intervened and thru this intervention, I found the bible. What happened? God knew that when I heard the Word of Truth, I would accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior and want to live eternally. God knew before I ever became a human soul that I would accept His Son. HE simply made it possible!

February 23 2014 Report

Q jcryle001 JD Abshire


“Lord I thank Thee I am not like those poor, presumptuous Calvinists. Lord I was born with a glorious free will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their grace that I have, they might all have been saved. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve it, but I do. There are many who will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I was; they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a chance, and were as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it did a great deal, still I turned the point; I made use of what was given me, still others did not, this is the difference of me and them.”

C.H. Spurgeon
Volume one, New Park Street Pulpit
Sermon 52 Free Will - A Slave

February 24 2014 Report

Data Brandon Hughes

JD, that is a good one. I haven't seen that one from Spurgeon before. I imagine the Calvinist prayer would go something like this:

Sovereign God, we are sinners, hopelessly lost and totally depraved. Without a Savior there is no hope for a lost and broken world. You, in your sovereign sovereignty saw it fit to unconditionally elect a few, one of which I may or may not be, for none can know for sure until judgement day.

Since you atoned for the sins of some and not others please let me share the good news that Christ might have died for the people who hear me. Please keep me from the temptation to lie to them by saying for certain their sins are forgiven.

I ask your irresistible grace draw my heart like a tractor beam. Sovereign God, I know the saints persevere, one of which I hope I am. Please let the progressive sanctification I see in my life not be a working of my own but a genuine work of your sovereignty. In your sovereign Name, amen.

February 24 2014 Report

1424444011 Charles Quinn

Who in this world can dictate to God what to do or not, if we could it would make everyone equal with God.
God choose Paul Lydia the disciples.Paul said through the Holy Spirit we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world.

March 29 2014 Report

Mini Ann Wood

I believe God fore knew the heart that would accept the work of the cross if shown the Way, the Truth and the Life in Jesus. We can not claim for an instant that it is anything we do, or think to do. And its an ongoing work. The sins of the flesh are continual as long as we breathe, and we must focus on the Cross until the day we are in His presence.. Our power comes from Calvary's Cross alone and must be humbly and gratefully adhered to at all times.

March 29 2014 Report

Mini Timothy Deaton

People are walking around in such confusion because of this Calvinistic theology. People who love God with all their heart, mind and soul stand in chaos wondering and doubting their salvation. Why? Because Calvinist have turned a theology into an ideology !! A ideology of worship! A worship that sounds a lot like The Jehovah Witnesses. Those destined for heaven(the elite)144,000. So with that said should we pray or not, does it matter?
They try and try to explain this belief of a 5 star Calvinist and I walk away as if I have never accepted Jesus. How's that help someone that's already in a spiritual battle?

June 15 2014 Report

Mini Agnes Stuart

If Calvinism is true, and all the elect are predestined in the way Calvanists interpret predestination, then surely all the elect must without fail be 'conformed to the image of Christ' and totally obedient to Christ in all things because they have no free will to do otherwise. That is what God predestined them to do. That means the church would be made up of perfect Christians and it clearly is not and never has been.

October 07 2014 Report

Q jcryle001 JD Abshire

Predestination simply means to predetermine, to foreordain, appoint before hand. According to Philippians 1:4 the work of the Holy Spirit in a believer is an ongoing process that continues throughout life, not perfected until the Lord returns. "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:" The only point in time any will cease from sin is either upon Christ's return or death.

Election in no wise either hints at or suggests sinless perfection. A casual browse through scripture reveals the many faults of the patriarchs who were all chosen by God for His purposes. Consider how the disciples failed yet it seems the ones who failed the most were used mightily of God.

John 6:70 "Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?"
John 15:16 "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."

I'll be the first to agree that election is a hard doctrine but one that is taught throughout the Bible. If you care to read it, the apostle Paul expounds on the subject in Romans 9. This is about who God is, not us.

October 09 2014 Report

Mini Agnes Stuart

I agree there is nothing in Scripture to suggest sinless perfection; however the Calvinist idea of election is that God has predestined us to election, therefore we have no alternative but to be 'saved'. All I'm saying is, that if this concept of predestination is carried through logically, we can have no alternative but to obey the Lord and be conformed to His image because that´s God's will, and He predestined us to do it. But this is obviously not the case in practice.

October 11 2014 Report

Q jcryle001 JD Abshire

It almost seems as though you resent the fact that God loves you so much that through the Holy Spirit's drawing, quickening and convincing you became saved. Had he left any of us in our natural state, we all would perish!

Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 2:14 "But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned."

All I can say is praise be to God for openeing my eyes, ears and heart, for quickening and giving me the ability to believe the saving gospel message.

I have nothing to brag about personally, only to exhault the one who suffered and died in my place. To him be all the honor, glory and praise.

October 12 2014 Report

Mini Ann Wood

If Calvinism is true and we are predestined to be saved, outside of anything we do, then why did Jesus die on the cross to save men, if they were predestined for salvation?

October 12 2014 Report

Mini Agnes Stuart

JD nothing could be further from the truth. I will be eternally grateful for God's grace in 'drawing, quickening and convincing ' me. All I'm saying is that I believe I still had a choice. I could still have chosen to go my own way, just as the rich young ruler walked away from Jesus and just as I can still choose to disobey the Lord now. The fact I did choose to accept the Lord's gracious offer of salvation does not mean I contributed to it in any way.

October 12 2014 Report

Mini Agnes Stuart

I also understand the bible teaches that if stop trusting in the Lord to keep me safe I will no longer be safe, because the Christian life is a walk of faith from beginning to end. As Paul says in Romans 11: 13 - 22, ' I am talking to you Gentiles ... if the root is holy, so are the branches. If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root, (the Holy Spirit), do not consider yourself to be superior to those other branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.” Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble. For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either. Consider therefore the kindness and sternness of God: sternness to those who fell, but kindness to you, provided that you continue in his kindness. Otherwise, you also will be cut off.

October 12 2014 Report

Q jcryle001 JD Abshire

First, Calvin never systematized or named this doctrine. I understand was done by the Armenian believers, which believe the opposite.

Why did Christ dies on the cross? It was the only sacrifice acceptable to God for payment of man's sin. God demands exact justice, no appeals or plea bargains. If Christ had not suffered and died all would have to pay for their own sin. Substitution was the only way God could pardon sinful mankind and at the same time be just with himself. Christ, sinless and innocent died for the guilty.

No one is superior. We are all dirty, rotten, sinners! Sure some are worse than others but all sin. If you take another look at Romans 11:13-22 I believe you will see Paul is talking to Gentiles corporately as a whole, not individuals. Remember, he dealt with his chosen people, Israel for almost 2,000 years before making salvation available to all nations. As Paul writes, Israel is blinded in part (Romans 11:25) "until" the fullness of the Gentiles is come in. This is simply another attestation to the sovereignty of God, He calls the shots, not us.

Ephesians 1:11 "In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:"

All I can say is that my security is totally, 100% based on His finished work on the cross. I am still a dirty, rotten, sinner yet saved by grace. According to God's Word I can not become un-born and my eternal life does not end.

October 13 2014 Report

Closeup Jennifer Rothnie

Calvanism was systematized into T.U.L.I.P by the Canons of Dordt (1618-1619) in response to the Arminian 'Five Articles of Remonstrance', not 'by' the Arminians.
Just as Arminianism is nicknamed for Jacobus Arminius, so Calvanism is named after John Calvin, who first taught it.

- I think most Christians would agree that Jesus had to die as the only acceptable sacrifice, that God demands exact justice, that we are all sinners, that we are saved by grace through faith, that God is sovereign, and that the plan of salvation (bringing in both Jew and Gentile by the work of Christ) was by the counsel of God's own will.

- Sovereignty is the authority to command, rule, set laws, and punish disobedience; it is not controlling people so they can't disobey or must obey. See further detail at https://ebible.com/questions/3181-is-god-sovereign-or-do-we-have-a-free-will

- You will see in Eph 1:13-14 that the Holy Spirit is the earnest guarantee that God gives when believe (continuously!) - to assure us that God will someday grant us our inheritance. This is God's promise He will not renege on His New Covenant agreement. If we deny Christ and do not *continuously* believe, then we are revoking the contract from our side (Heb 10:23, Luke 8:13, Matt 13:20-21, II Pet 2:20-22, Luke 12:42-26, Rom 11:17-24, John 15:1-8, John 2:23-24, Heb 6:4-8, Luke, etc)

- Scripture does not describe this rejection as becoming "un-born", but rather dieing a second time (Jude 1:12-13, II Pet 2:1-22).

October 13 2014 Report

Mini Agnes Stuart

JD, I don't think Paul was just referring to the gentiles collectively in the passage from Romans quoted above or he would have used 'we' instead of 'I' in verse 19. The Jews were, as you say, God's chosen people. He chose them just as He chose us. They trusted Him when He told them through Moses to sacrifice the Passover lamb so that they would escape death and be freed to go to the Promised land. This is a picture of Christ's sacrifice paving the way for us to escape eternal death and freed from the power of Satan to enter into a new life and eventually reach heaven. However, the Israelites soon stopped trusting God when their faith was tested and only 2 of the adult males alive at that time reached the Promised land. Should we not take that as a lesson for us?

I think the difficulty may lie in that people tend to think of salvation as a package, like a birthday gift all wrapped up and handed over, when in fact it is new relationship with our creator. It is a process of living by faith in His faithfulness, which begins when we accept His offer of mercy and continues till the day we die, or the Lord returns, unless we choose to end this relationship through unbelief.

I agree you cannot be un-born, but everything that's born can die. Eternal life is God's life, it has no beginning and no end because it has nothing to do with time. We can lose it just as Adam lost it.

October 14 2014 Report

Mini Al Mari

On the 5 points of Calvinism, please consider my personal position on each one of them.
1. Total Depravity - The consequence of sin is eternal death. And this extends to all humanity since the sin of Adam, with eternal death as punishment, was imputed to all human beings (Rom 5:12-13). Even a newborn that did not sin yet has death as a consequence of sin. Not anyone's particular sin but all sin "devolved" from that specific sin of Adam in the book of Genesis. Whether or not there were people before Adam's creation (according to anthropologist), is immaterial as imputation still goes back to Adam's sin. Also, this imputation commenced when the Law was given to Moses, even when "sin occurred before the Law"(Rom. 5:13); not unveiled until then so that sin will be amplified and defined (Rom. 5:20). This imputation to one man was done so that the death also of one man, i.e., man-Jesus, will also be imputed to all mankind. There is no other person's death but Jesus' that this consequence of sin can be paid for(Rom. 5:6-21). Indeed, a total depravity. See also, Rom. 3:10, Gen. 6:5, Jer. 17:9.

2. Unconditional Election - Election and predestination are unconditional and planned for all by God from the beginning. His love covers all. He planned this even before anyone of us did anything right or wrong. While that is so, the end-point or outcome of these is still dependent on man's free will and response. Free will defines the right choice of man-Jesus to follow to become the "Son of God" and for Lucifer to become an adversary, Satan.

Romans 8:29-30, 9:11, Eph.1:4-6,11-12, speak of a group of "predestinated, called and justified", from where God provides the "chance" to be "glorified" or saved. There is that "chance" being given that will result in and bear out "firstfruits" at the "first resurrection" to start the Millenium. And, there is a "chance" to be given after the Millenium that will result in "latter fruits". This is not about "second-chances" but a matter of "election". There is a "timetable", for everyone, as in Eccl. 9:11 "for time and chance overtake them all". And these "chances" are referring to the time of offering the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit. With the in-dwelling of the Holy Spirit, the person given that chance still have to choose, whether to follow the will of the Father or not. Even Jesus has shown free-will in the garden of Gethsemane to follow the Holy Spirit, (in-dwelling in him from river Jordan,Matt. 3:16), as in "not my will but yours"(Lu.22:42;Matt. 26:39); so, should we all who are called, follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. From these groups that had "election, predestination, calling" and justification" given "unconditionally" through Christ, will come out the "firstfruits" and "latterfruits" depending on their "oneness" with God.

3. Limited Atonement - The "man-Jesus" (anthropos) died for the remission of all mankind's sin and atoned for all. Atonement is for everyone and is not limited by God himself. However, it is limited by each person, depending upon whether he/she believes in this atoning sacrifice of Jesus. It is also limited to those who are "called" at a particular timetable; those partakers in the first resurrection, then those in the second resurrection. This is the context of Matthew 1:21,John 10:11,17:9, Acts 20:28,

4.Irresistible Grace - this is a gift that is so supreme and sublime that will not be "forced down our throats". It can be resisted. The Father wants "free will" and Jesus as an example in the "garden of Gethsemane" knew this all along and concurred willingly with "his will".

5. Perseverance of the Saints - Yes,but not all will "persevere". In fact, even those written in the "book of life" and have been "predestined", "elected", "called", "justified" can still be removed from that "book" as in Rev. 2:19. We need to endure, to be saved, as in, "And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endures to the end shall be saved."(Matt. 10:22).

October 15 2015 Report

Mini James Kraft

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

So men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Romans 4 Abraham believed god and was accounted righteous by his faith alone Not his works. We choose whether to believe it or not. We can only accept it by faith, without works, so no one can boast.

We are justified before God by our faith. When we believe the gospel we are accounted righteous before God by our faith, not by anything we do or could do. We can only be justified sinners before God by what he did, not by anything else.

If I had to persevere in the faith, then I must have not believed the first time. I believe that the first time I believed I was saved for all eternity when the Holy spirit of God joined with my spirit and I knew I was saved forever no matter what I did. I do try to love God and my neighbor, but I am not even very good at that. But I do that because Jesus saved me and to show my love to Him for what He did for me.in saving me.

If he had not given me His righteousness, and paid for all my sins, I could have not been saved. He is the only one who could have saved a sinner like me. I am still a sinner, but He just keeps saving me. I don't have to repent of any sin, only have to confess my sins to him and he forgives all the them and I have complete fellowship with God. Just like the bible says.

December 13 2016 Report

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