Calvinism vs Arminianism

Bible knowledge is a tool not a trophy

Bible knowledge is not enough. We need to understand how to study the Scriptures so we understand through solid Bible interpretation.

Table of Contents

The Calvinist vs. Arminianist Controversy

The CALVINIST ARMINIANIST CONTROVERSY is often seen as logical, and conducted with reason. In subjects such as predestination,atonement, justification, assurance of salvation and God’s foreknowledge, emotions and the subconscious play a significant role. Few appear to realize what a powerful effect subtle emotional nuances can have on our reason and logic and how our general worldview, or paradigm, affect our logic.

In the 60s, Thomas Kuhn wrote a book, ‘The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.’ There he explained how we tend to suffer from paradigm blindness, the inability to comprehend ideas outside of our particular paradigm. Progress in science occurs when there is a paradigm shift.

Paradigm blindness is what this controversial debate has suffered from for two millennia. When paradoxes occur, it is a sign that the paradigm needs modification. In this ongoing debate, the paradoxes have been apparent from the start, Yet both sides avoid facing them. An example of one such paradox is the Calvinist concept of ‘assurance of salvation.’

Calvin in ‘Institutes of the Christian Religion’ book IV, chapter 14, illustrates a classic example of how paradigm blindness can influence Bible interpretation. There he explains the parable of the sower and the seeds (Matthew 13:18-23) but neatly slips out of the issue of assured salvation, by only mentioning the first and last seeds, ignoring the second and third seeds which directly relate to the subject of assurance of one’s salvation. This is a fault most theologians fall into; choosing Scripture fitting their preconceived ideas, while ignoring other Scripture. That is the main reason why one should pay attention, not only on what is written, but also on what is left out from theologians’ reasonings. The first question one should ask is from which paradigm do they reason, and the next question to ask is why other relevant Scripture is ignored.

If one steps out of the paradoxes, and looks at where the bible leads us, we see firstly, that most of the original Arminianist and Calvinist beliefs overlap. Secondly we see that where they don’t overlap, they are both firmly based on Scripture while refusing to consider Scripture supporting the other side’s views. The truth must be that both are partly right and both partly wrong.

It is a sad state of affairs, when after 500 Years of debate, we still haven’t learned to listen to the other side. Is it so ingrained in the human psyche, that when the other side is speaking, we are too busy thinking of a counter argument, that we are unable to understand what the opposition is saying? We hear what they are saying, but fail to understand it. Both sides, at the end say, “We really showed them didn’t we?”

When apparent contradictions appear in our reading of Scripture, then we need to reconsider our doctrines. Usually our error is in trying to simplify a complex concept by avoiding Scripture that does not support the interpretation as we would like it top be, or as we have been taught.

In both the Arminianist and Calvinist camps, the original sources, Arminius and Calvin have been superseded by doctrines, guarded in the various denominations, as if each has the whole Truth. Wherever one looks there is this ‘us and them’ attitude perpetuated by theologians studying what other theologians had to say about what earlier theologians had to say, and in the process missing the original message.

The error is a product of complicating the purity of the Gospel. These theologians try and find a ‘one size fits all’ solution. How we come to the Lord, and how our Lord calls us, is very individual. One person may wake up one night and feel God’s presence and understand Agape Love; the next day going to a church for the first time in decades, this person comprehends God’s Grace. Another person might pray for the Lord’s illumination and wait a Year for it, and then struggle for Years to comprehend Salvation; all that time the Lord is patiently leading this person, step by step, to understanding.

Each relationship with God is unique, just as each of us are unique.

Calvinists, appear to have an understanding of Calvin that contradicts statements made by Calvin himself in his works. Or are they reading with selective amnesia? Many staunch Calvinists argue strongly, as if it were an absolute truth, the five petals of the TULIP. Yet, in Calvin’s writing there are numerous contradictions to all those five dogmas.

Calvinism’s Tulips, Daisies and Weeds

The acronym TULIP stands for the five pillars of Calvinism:

T Total depravity of man (man is totally unable to love God)

U Unconditional election (God chooses whom He wishes)

L Limited atonement (Christ died only for the elect)

I Irresistible grace (those God chooses cannot resist the calling)

P Perseverance of the saints (those God chose, God is faithful to keep until the end)

Then there is the Calvinist’s version of the Arminianist view, the DAISY:

D Diminished Depravity (Free Will or Human Ability)

A Abolition of true Grace (election is conditional)

I Impersonal Atonement (Universal Redemption or General Atonement)

S Sovereignty of the sinner (man’s will to turn away from God)

Y Yielding eternal uncertainty (God doesn’t preserve us)

Then there is Yet another Calvinist alternative to DAISY, and that is WEEDS:

W Will of man for free choice

E Election is conditional

E Every man has been redeemed

D Denial cuts off grace

S Some will lose salvation

It seems the Calvinists have been developing their dogmas, more as a defence against Arminianist ideas, than a desire to have a fuller understanding of Scripture. The path many modern Arminianists have taken, by using their doctrines to justify their merging with the secular world, has strengthened this Calvinist tendency.

The Arminianist Five Articles of Remonstrance, were published shortly after Arminius died, by the first generation of Arminianism. There was then full agreement with the T in the Calvinist TULIP. Both sides agreed that without God’s intervention, man is in sin and unable to turn to God. Therefore the ‘D’ in DAISY and the ‘W’ in WEEDS reflect modernist ideas, and not the original Arminianist view.

Calvin believed in general atonement, in spite of what Calvinists, who have studied Calvinism at university may believe. In “A Treatise of the Eternal Predestination of God” Calvin wrote:

“I also confess with my whole heart, according to Paul, that the righteousness of God is freely extended to all through faith.”

Calvin tries to extricate himself by considering that only the elect have received “illumination.” But Paul, in Athens said, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men everywhere to repent.” (acts 17:30)

Assurance of salvation has always been a tricky subject. There are numerous examples of people who have been staunch adherents to the Faith, Sunday school teachers, Bible study leaders, elders, and even pastors, who have turned their backs on God and the Body of Christ. If these people, some of whom had even preached assurance of salvation, can slip away, how can we feel an assurance? They were convinced they were “saved”, yet clearly were not.

Calvin himself exhorts us to “works,” as he wrote in The Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2nd book, Chapter 8:

“We must rest entirely, in order that God may work in us; we must resign our own will, yield up our heart, and abandon all the lusts of the flesh. In short, we must desist from all the acts of our own mind, that God working in us, we may rest in him, as the Apostle also teaches.”

Calvin refers here to Hebrews 3:13, “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

In Calvin’s commentary on Hebrews, referring to Hebrews 12:25, “See that you refuse not him that speaks.” Calvin states, “He (the author of Hebrews) uses the same verb as before, when he said that the people entreated that God should not speak to them; but he means as I think, another thing, even that we ought not to reject the word destined for us”. (my emphasis)

Passages such as this, of which Calvin’s works abound, make a Christian life appear as hard work on our own without God’s assistance, in order to merit God’s favour.

Assurance of Salvation is not an act of “works”, but a relationship. It is through the intuitive experiential insights into God’s awesome being (which can only come from God) that keeps the sinner from sinning. The assurance comes from the relationship. As the relationship of the individual with God deepens, the assurance deepens until the mere thought of breaking that relationship becomes inconceivable. At that point one does not need a pastor to convince one of that assurance.

When one has reached that point the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism, the TULIP and the DAISY, are academic, best left to theologians, while the rest of us enjoy our relationship with our Lord and fellow believers in the Body of Christ.

But to continue in the War of the Petals . . . . . .

If Christians are, by definition, followers of Christ, then they must hold God’s Word above philosophical theology. There are a few basic rules to follow in Bible interpretation. these can never be ignored and sacrificed to doctrine, but doctrine must always agree with God’s Word. This is an extremely difficult task as the number of different denominations attest to.

One should also see the difference between the five fundamentals of the Christian faith, or the five solas of Luther, and the petal war between Arminianists and Calvinists. These latter differences of opinion should be interesting topics for discussion, but not divisive issues.

There is unfortunately an arrogance within theology. The humanistic assumption is that we can understand God in an absolute sense. Both Calvinists and Arminianists exhibit these humanist tendencies. The Bible was not given to theologians, but to all, and the ability to understand God is not restricted to higher learning, but is an intuitive understanding. Higher learning can, in fact, be a serious handicap.

Whether we like it or not, the fact is that God is our Creator, and the Creator of time and space, which puts God outside time and space, but interacting in and with His time and space. We exist physically inside of time and space, and no person has ever been able to imagine existing outside time and space. We cannot dictate to God, but should humbly be led by the Holy Spirit.

The debate has been between two sides, for both of whom there are no shades of grey. It is a matter of right or wrong. Much has happened in our understanding of the universe since Calvin’s and Arminius’s days. Calvin lived before scientific revolutions, like Galileo and Newton, had taken place. Galileo was born the Year Calvin died. Today our understanding of the material universe includes Einstein’s relativity and quantum physics. Calvin did mix humanistic philosophical concepts into his bible interpretations. He was educated in an Arastotilian system, and this had an influence in his theology. After all, Calvin was human.

Maybe we are now ready to take a quantum leap into theology, and be able to grasp that there might be more than either God or man, but that God has made it so that there is an interplay between God and man. Maybe that is what relationships are all about.

The serious division in the Body of Christ, is not in this area, it is between Scriptural Christians and liberal, modernist Christians.

The Tulip “T” – Free Will

If one dissects the flowers petal by petal, one might get a clearer picture of the issues in the controversy. Starting with the T in Tulip and the D in Daisy, and this concerns a vital question: Do we have free will?

The Calvinist says:

T Total depravity of man (man is totally unable to love God)

Psalm 14:1-3 The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works; There is none that does good. Jehovah looked down from heaven upon the children of men, To see if there were any that did understand, That did seek after God. They are all gone aside; They are together become filthy; There is none that does good, no, not one.

Romans 3:10 as it is written, “There is none righteous, no, not one.”

Romans 8:5-8 “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.The Arminianist counters with

The Arminianist counters with:

D Diminished Depravity (Free Will or Human Ability)

In Matthew 4:17 “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Luke 16:31 Abraham said, “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Note on this point: The original Arminianists did not opposed the “total depravity of man.” They did not see man as able on his/her own to turn to God without God first illuminating the person. So the idea of placing ‘free will’ as opposed to the “depravity of man” is a construction by theologians from both camps. The Arminianists diluting the original doctrine towards a modernist stand, and Calvinists taking the challenge.

Jesus said in Matthew 10:32-33, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

The word “Whosoever” implies whosoever.

Throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelations, there is clear straight forward evidence that God gave man a free will. It is not as Calvinists say, making God impotent, but rather an illustration of the Love. Love cannot exist in a state of coercion, but can only be freely given of own free will. God has given us that free will, but it is exercised in response to God’s enlightening us.

Jesus said in the story of the sheep and goats, in Matthew 25:31-46:

“For I was hungry, and You gave me meat: I was thirsty, and You gave me drink: I was a stranger, and You took me in: naked, and You clothed me: I was sick, and You visited me: I was in prison, and You came unto me.

“Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when did we see you hungry, when did we see you a stranger, and took you in? Or naked, and clothed you? Or when did we see you sick, or in prison, and came to you?

“And the King shall answer and say unto them, Truly I say to you, Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these my brethren, you have done it to me.”

There are many altruistic atheists who do good works, but point to cold self-righteous Christians to justify their rejection of the Lord.

To extricate ourselves out of this apparent paradox, we need look no further than to our conscience. The word is from Latin and means to know together with, and by implication, to know together with God. This means the altruistic atheist is able to do good works because he/she has heard from God intuitively through their conscience, but have not taken that message to its logical conclusion.

There are some people in our societies, who are really evil and depraved. There is a term for them, psychopaths. A psychopath is not defined through having some trait, but is defined by a lack of a trait. A psychopath is an individual who is without a conscience.

Arminius and the first generation of Arminianists agreed that man without God is totally depraved, as a psychopath is, and that all our decency and good works, have their source in God.

Irenaeus, the disciple of the apostle John’s disciple, Polycarp, clearly states that God gives the insight (regeneration), but we answer the call with our own free will.

Irenaeus explains in a way which is neither Arminianist, nor Calvinist, but makes sense. Love cannot be forced, but giving it freely is an intrinsic property of love, therefore God does not force it onto us. This in no way diminishes God’s Grace, it enhances Grace.

Irenaeus wrote:

“For there is no coercion with God, but a good will [towards us] is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man, as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves. On the other hand, they who have not obeyed shall, with justice, be not found in possession of the good, and shall receive appropriate punishment: for God did kindly bestow on them what was good; but they themselves did not diligently keep it, nor deem it something precious, but poured contempt upon His super-eminent goodness.”

Irenaeus: Against Heresies, Book 4, Chapter 37, Paragraph 1

If it is only God’s work, and if God does speak to the atheist, Yet not bring the person to the Body of Christ, is God playing games? Calvin has a convoluted answer which will be covered with the next petal.

The TULIP “U” – Salvation

The Calvinist replies to the Arminianist with:

U Unconditional election (God chooses whom He wishes)

Jesus said in John 15:16, “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that You should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever You shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”

Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:3-6:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 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: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

The Arminianist’s answer is:

A Abolition of the Calvinist’s concept of Grace (Christ died only for those God chooses)

Jesus words in John 3:16:

“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.”

Jesus said he came to save the world (John 12:47).

Paul, preaching in Athens said, in Acts 17:30,

“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all men every where to repent.”

Paul wrote in 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.”

Knowledge of God is not limited to a limited number of Calvinists, but is universal in all cultures. When the first missionaries arrived in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, and began preaching the Gospel, the Zulu people said, “Oh, you mean Unkulunkulu.” God, in Zulu is still Unkulunkulu. The difference the Gospel makes, is that we are in a personal relationship with our Creator.

The TULIP “L” – Atonement

The Calvinist comes with:

L Limited atonement (Christ died only for the elect)

Jesus says in John 10:14-15:

“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.”

And especially the prayer before the crucifixion, in John 17:17-21:

“Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth. As your have sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

The Arminianist answers with a verse within the same context to illustrate:

I Impersonal Atonement (Universal Redemption or General Atonement)

The Apostle John in 1 John 2:2 wrote:

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

Paul, writing to the Corinthians, 2Co 5:14-15:

“For the love of Christ constrains us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

Paul wrote to the Romans, Romans 5:6-8:

“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commend his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

And verse 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.”

Maybe Calvin should have a word here. Referring to the Marcionites, who taught that the body, which Christ assumed, was unsubstantial, Calvin quotes Paul:

“As by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin – even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.” (Rom. 5:12, 18).

In “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” in the 2nd book, Chapter 13 Calvin wrote, “Luke goes still farther, showing that the salvation brought by Christ is common to the whole human race, in as much as Christ, the author of salvation, is descended from Adam, the common father of us all.” (my emphasis)

The TULIP “I” – Grace

The Calvinist now bring their own form of grace:

I Irresistible grace (those God chooses cannot resist the calling)

Paul wrote in Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
I Irresistible grace (those God chooses cannot resist the calling)Paul wrote in Romans 8:28-30 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

Jesus said in John 6:37, 39 and 65:

“All that the Father gives me shall come to me; and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out. (39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (65) And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.”

The Arminianist counters with a verse in the same context above to justify the:

S Sovereignty of the sinner (man can by free will turn away from God)

“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which sees the Son, and believes on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”
John 6:40

The current Calvinist argument assumes something the original Arminianist did not. Arminius believed that the free will to choose is a result of God’s illumination, and not a result of man’s absolute sovereignty. Man could not be in a position to choose if he/she did not know God. Knowing God is knowledge and understanding on the intuitive level, and not on the humanistic rational level.

The main concept in man’s own free will, is illustrated in both the Old and New Testaments, is that we have a choice; either our Love of God, or our wants will be the motivating factor in our choices in life.

“Delight Yourself also in the LORD; and he shall give you the desires of your heart.”
Psalm 37:4

“Grant not, O LORD, the desires of the wicked: further not his wicked device; lest they exalt themselves.”
Psalm 140:8

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”
Ephesians 2:3


“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God”
Romans 1:1

The big question is do we have free will, or do we follow our own desires? Which comes first, our desire to do something followed by a decision, or our decision to do something we desire?

Modernist theology has polluted modern Arminianism into the theology that Calvinists accuse them of: preaching our sovereign free will.

Jesus himself shows that a choice through free will is expected:

Jesus explaining the parable of the sower in Luke 8:13 said, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”

Jesus said in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter You in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

Jesus continued in Matthew 7:15-16 saying, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. You shall know them by their fruits

We are to be discerning, in an act of free will, in deciding Yea, or nay.

Jesus in Luke 12:56 said, “You hypocrites, You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that You do not discern this time?”

Does this not imply that Jesus expected us to exercise our free will?

The Old Testament is also a witness. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 1:22-33:

“How long, You simple ones, will You love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?
Turn you at my reproof: behold, I will pour out my spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.
Because I have called, and You refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded;
But You have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproof
I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear comes;
When your fear comes as desolation, and your destruction comes as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish comes upon you.
Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me:
For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD:
They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof.
Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.
For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them.
But whoso listens to me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.

Calvin, should maybe be quoted in this context. In the “Institutes of the Christian Religion,” 2nd book, Chapter 16, Calvin wrote:

“Attention should be paid to what we have elsewhere observed, that the office of Redeemer was assigned him (Christ) in order that he might be our Saviour. Still, however, redemption would be defective if it did not conduct us by an uninterrupted progression to the final goal of safety. Therefore, the moment we turn aside from him (Christ) in the minutest degree, salvation, which resides entirely in him, gradually disappears; so that all who do not rest in him voluntarily deprive themselves of all grace. (my emphasis)

The TULIP “P” – Perseverance of the Saints

Now for these last petals in the war of the flowers, the TULIP vs. the DAISY. The Calvinist’s brings out perseverance:

P Perseverance of the saints (those God chose, God is faithful to keep until the end)

This is probably the most serious petal. There are many, both Calvinists and non Calvinists, who are deluded in thinking they are Christ’s, but have no relationship with Christ, and so are, in fact, not Christ’s. Assurance of salvation comes from a real day-to-day relationship with God.

Jesus said in John 10:27-29, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.”

Peter wrote in 1 Peter 1:3-5, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

These are great verses we can turn to when we feel weak.

The “Y” of the DAISY, from the Calvinists’ misinterpretation of Arminianism, that non-Calvinists are uncertain of their place with God if they do not believe in the Calvinists doctrine of assurance of salvation, is incorrect.

Y Yielding eternal uncertainty (God doesn’t preserve us

If this reflects modern Arminianism, then Arminius was not an Arminianist, because Arminius believed in assurance of salvation.

The Arminianist who agrees with the Calvinist view of Arminianism, must surely be a modernist and therefore, not believing in the fundamentals of the Christian Faith in the first place. An Arminianist who is firm in God’s loving Grace should know with an assurance that he or she is preserved by God, but still able of his or her own free will to turn away from Christ, but will not do so, because they are living in an intimate relationship with Christ and are assuredly His, and know it, with a deep and sure conviction.

Agreeing to the possibility of losing one’s salvation is not remotely near to having uncertainty.

Assurance of salvation is a knowledge from within the person’s own soul and spirit, through an ongoing, intimate relationship with our Lord and Saviour. It is not something one can be assured of from a pulpit. The pastors’ duty is leading the sheep to the water. The sheep must partake of the living water themselves. If a person has doubts and is in a state of uncertainty, then the pastor/priest is doing a great disservice by assuring that person that they have Salvation. They would do better service by leading that person to the Lord.

A person can of their own free will, burn their hand on a hot stove, but no one in their right mind would do such aninsane thing. In the same way, it is possible for one of God’s children, because the sin nature is still intact, to turn away from God, but no child of God would normally contemplate such an insane act. The ability to leave is there, but the desire is to stay with God. No man can pluck us out of Christ’s hand, but we are free to leave of our own free will.

Why would Peter write about falling from steadfastness, if it were not possible to lose one’s salvation?

In 2 Peter 3:13-17, Peter wrote:

“Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that You look for such things, be diligent that You may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. You therefore, beloved, seeing You know these things before, beware lest You also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

Every Christian needs to have such a personal relationship with God that we will never want to fall from our own steadfastness. That is true assurance of salvation.

As Jesus himself said in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not every one that says unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name? and in Your name have cast out devils? and in Your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, You that work iniquity.”

In the Calvinist denominations, there are many deluded people, who have been assured by their pastor/priest that they are eternally saved for certain, when they do not even know Christ, but merely the rituals of a ‘Christian’ lifestyle. Too few Calvinist pastors casts doubt on the flocks’ salvation.

This being the most serious issue in the inane “War of the Petals,” should we not leave the last word to John Calvin himself?

In his commentary on Hebrews, referring to chapter 3 verse 13: “But exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.”

Calvin wrote thus:

“For as by nature we are inclined to evil, we have need of various helps to retain us in the fear of God. Unless our faith be now and then raised up, it will lie prostrate; unless it be warmed, it will be frozen; unless it be roused, it will grow torpid. He would have us then to stimulate one another by mutual exhortations, so that Satan may not creep into our hearts, and by his fallacies draw us away from God. And this is a way of speaking that ought to be especially observed; for we fall not immediately by the first assault into this madness of striving against God; but Satan by degrees accosts us artfully by indirect means, until he holds us ensnared in his delusions. Then indeed being blinded, we break forth into open rebellion.”
(My emphasis)
John Calvin’s Commentaries On St. Paul’s Epistle To The Hebrews – Chapter 3: verse 13.

It appears, Calvin was not a “Calvinist” after all.

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