- Examining Calvinism in light of Scripture, Pt. 1
- Examining Calvinism, Pt. 2 – Election
- Examining Calvinism, Pt. 3 – Sovereignty & Hyper-Calvinism
Romans 9:12-13: “It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.“
Calvinists teach that Romans 9:13 proves that Jacob was predestined by God, to heaven and Esau was predestined by God, to hell even before they were born. But this isn’t true!
This a more complex chapter (needs more biblical historical background for the proper context) & could be a difficult passage for some to understand it well. Unfortunately Calvinists use this chapter 9 to convert people to Calvinism, to convince them of their view on predetermined election, & even use it on the unsaved people or babes in Christ who still don’t understand Bible doctrine properly, causing confusion to many.
John Piper stated that ‘the divine decision to “hate” Esau was made “before they were born or had done anything good or evil”. But you won’t find this in the book of Genesis when their birth is mentioned, God didn’t say ‘Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated‘ before or when Jacob & Esau were born, but at least 1,400 years after their death Malachi 1:2-3. Esau the older never served the younger Jacob ( later called Israel), on the contrary Jacob was afraid of Esau & even gave of his possessions to him (Gen.25 – 33). Did the prophecy fail? (If it referred to individuals, yes; if to nations, no), are there contradictions in God’s Words? of course not! Remember they represent two nations, Israel & Edom, their descendants. Esau is Edom & Jacob is Israel. “Now these are the generations of Esau, who is Edom.” Gen.36:1. Edom did serve & hated Israel.
“And the LORD said unto her ,Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger”. Genesis 25:23
It is very important to take into consideration that God also called the people of Israel ‘Jacob‘, ‘sons of Jacob’ & ‘Jacob’s house’ after Jacob’s death to acknowledge His covenant with them, Jacob’s descendants. “From following the ewes great with young he brought him to feed Jacob his people, and Israel his inheritance” Psalms 78:71, Deut. 32:9, 33:4, Num. 23:7, 24:5, Jerem. 30, Psalms 24:6, 44:4, Psalms 59:13 , 78:21, Isaiah 43:1, Malachi 1:1-4, etc. Jews were familiar with this notion, Jacob is seen in the Jewish tradition as representing the Jewish people. (even so that we believe Jacob was chosen to continue to bring the lineage of the Messiah instead Esau, & to carry the blessing of the promise, still he wasn’t chosen for salvation but for a purpose or service & he represents Israel).
Romans 9 (also chapters 10 & 11) is talking about the elected nation of Israel, not elected for salvation (Deut. 7:7-9), but in context (applying exegesis), for God’s service, to bring the law, the promises, the Scriptures, the Messiah. Please see more: Understanding Romans 9, Jacob I loved Esau I Hated.
God does not predestine or elects people to everlasting life, but for service, & to “be conformed to the image of his Son“ (Rom.8:9).
We all agree there cannot be a contradiction in God. If God elects people for salvation without a reason, because He pleases, after saying in many occasions in His Word that He desires all to be save, doesn’t want any to perish, etc. contradicting Himself in that and many other subjects; Then the character of God would be at stake, he couldn’t be trusted. . . But of course that’s not the God of the bible, but the God Calvinists erroneously portrait. Even some of them say publicly they have a different God, min. 2:37.
- In Scripture Jesus Christ is the Elect one – “Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth” Isaiah 42:1
Isaiah 42:20, Luke 23:35– , (again, not elected unto salvation, He didn’t need eternal life, He is eternal life), and individual persons become elect or chosen, not through an eternal divine decree from God unto salvation, but because of faith in Christ (James 2:5), God has sovereignly chosen the believers, the rich in faith as His special people, His adopted children, He has plans for them, (1 Peter 2:9) but people ENTER the body, the family of believers through faith. See More : Doctrine of Divine Election Reconsidered, What Does it Mean to be Chosen In Him & Divine Election made simple.
We know there are some Christians who believe we are elect because God’s foreknowledge (classical Wesleyan Arminianism), we are fine with that view, if they don’t change the Gospel of Salvation, nor God’s Attributes. We got nothing to boast about or think we are superior because of this kind of election, on the contrary it humbles us. Remember we Christians don’t leave for ourselves any more but for Christ, He leaves in us, our lives belong to Him.(Gal.2:20). We are to stay in Christ.
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. Romans 8:1
- According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love. Eph. 1:4
Salvation is by God’s grace (undeserved favor) through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9), not by works. The Scriptures is clear & consistent in showing that faith precedes and is the condition for spiritual life, the new birth.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Rom.5:1,
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Romans 5:2
But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name. John 20:31;
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ. Gal. 2:16
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise. Eph. 1:13,
But most Calvinists theologians & teachers believe the opposite, that life, the new birth (Regeneration) precedes faith in Christ:
– R.C. Sproul writes: “The Reformed view … teaches that before a person can choose Christ … he must be born again … one does not first believe and then become reborn. A cardinal point of Reformed theology is the maxim: ‘Regeneration precedes faith.’, “The Reformed view of predestination teaches that before a person can choose Christ his heart must be changed. He must be born again.” (Chosen By God, pp.10, 72-73).
– “Man is dead in trespasses and sins (Eph. 2:1). He cannot make himself new, or create new life in himself. He must be born of God. Then, with the new nature of God, he sees Christ for who he really is, and freely receives Christ for all that he is“. (John Piper, ‘Five Points’ pg 35).
– A man is not regenerated because he has first believed in Christ, but he believes in Christ because has been regenerated (A. Pink, The Sovereignty of God).
– … Regeneration logically must initiate faith (MacArthur, Faith Works, 62)
– “You have been raised on this: ‘If you believe in Jesus you will be born-again’; All the early Baptist confessions say: ‘ye must be born-again in order to believe in Jesus.’ That’s the difference!” Paul Washer-video. (also here).
– Calvinist Theologian Allan R. Killen states: “Reformed theologians…place regeneration before faith, pointing out that the Holy Spirit must bring new life before the sinner can by God’s enabling exercise faith and accept Jesus Christ“. “Regeneration,” The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia, vol.2, 1449.
– Loraine Boettner. “A man is not save because he believes in Christ, he believes Christ because he is saved“.
My question would be, why then a man needs to believe (have faith) in Christ, if he is already saved? This completely distorts the gospel of salvation & contradicts the Word of God. -Please see: Calvinism says Faith is a Work, & Acts 13:48
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. Rom.1:16-17
– They also change or add to grace, for them it’s irresistible (cannot be resisted or rejected) but the Bible says: “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye”. Acts 7:51 .
Calvinism also teach that grace is sovereign ( which means God choose to save the elect , the only ones he loves). They also teach there is a different grace ‘common grace’ for the unsaved, but all of this is extra biblical, made up to support their doctrine of election .
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world‘. 1 John 2:2
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve. . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15
And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life‘. John 5:40‘
“Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye”. Acts 7:51
According to the Word of God it is something very serious to preach a different gospel (men’s gospel). “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Galatians 1:6-12
Many Calvinists recognize they teach a gospel that’s different from the rest of Christians: “Those who preach a gospel devoid of the five points commonly called Calvinism are not preaching the Gospel at all, but a false gospel.” Godwell Andrew Chan.
– This clearly implies that to him, only Calvinism teaches the true gospel that brings salvation to a few & the rest of Christianity is teaching a false gospel. I disagree in that, but agree with him that both cannot be true, there is only one gospel, but we find it in the Scriptures, not in man-made doctrines.
What would happen then to millions of Christians who lived during the 1,500 years before Calvinism ? What about the early church? They never taught Calvinism, where they teaching a false or incomplete gospel? Please let us study well our bibles, & compare everything with the Word of God. Also always keep in mind, a Christians that have a true relationship with Jesus, will never point you to a man-made theology or their denomination for salvation (sects do that), instead they will always point you to Jesus Christ & His Word. Acts 1:8, John 14:6. The Holy Spirit will point us to Jesus John 15:26.
The gospel is GOD‘s message of salvation found in the Scriptures. The 5 points of Calvinism is a man-made system reaffirmed by the Synod of Dordt in 1619 as the ‘Doctrine of Salvation’ , it changes God’s message or gospel. If we aren’t clear about that, at least we should be clear in this crucial point, that if Calvinism rejects Unlimited Atonement, (1 John 2:2, John 3:16, Rom.1:16-17, Rom. 10:9, etc.) then it rejects the Gospel of the Scriptures, and is in danger of a curse, according to Galatians 1:9. (video)
Concerning the 5 Points of Calvinism, Loraine Boettner has stated on p. 59 of his book, ‘The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination’, “prove any one of them true and all of the others will follow as logical and necessary parts of the system. Prove any one of them false and the whole system must be abandoned.“
Related Articles: (These are not endorsements, we may have some doctrinal differences with some but we consider the authors of these links brothers in Christ ).