A Rebuttal of an Article on Calvinism's Doctrine of Election and Free Will - Part 1
Updated: May 22
As I started to write this report, I thought about whether I had decided to write it or whether God predetermined my writing it. After the smoke exited and cleared my ears, I started writing again. Are my fingers typing on their own, divorced from my intellect and will? Recently I read the article “The Glorious Doctrine of Election,” authored by local Reformed Calvinist Lauren Dyck which is posted publicly on his website and decided to write about it. No one coerced me and no one prevented me. I typed freely what I wanted on my keyboard. I look forward to the day when I find out what really happened.
I believe God gave me the freedom to choose here. He gave me my will, so I have one and the freedom to use it. I take responsibility for this writing, because it is mine. No one made me do this. No one stopped me from doing it. At the same time, whatever truth I can know on election and free will comes from God in His Word. No truth about free will can contradict another truth. God does not contradict Himself. He cannot lie. Election is glorious indeed when it’s inline with Scripture, but it loses its gloriousness in Calvinism, which requires a certain amount of presuppositions, human logic, dishonouring eisegesis and misuse of Scripture to fit the theology and belief.
Before beginning, it bears importance to briefly disclose the necessity of reproving or correcting error and “earnestly contending for the faith” (Ju 1:3). You might think I’m too negative or hit too hard—naming names and all that—but what does God’s Word say? See Ju 1:3; Rom 16:17-18; Eph 5:11; 2 Tim 3:5-9; 1 Tim 1:18-20 among many. Whenever someone writes to the Christian public or publishes their doctrines and practices to a “world-wide” audience, something allowable by modern technology, he does set forth his views to the scrutiny of others; and then if others think what he says is dangerous, they, like Paul (who always named names and zealously contended), have an obligation to say so.
A brief summation of Calvinism would include the following: the Elect (“the Church”) have been predetermined before creation to soteriological election because they otherwise would be unable to repent and believe, and therefore being regenerated in infancy, they cannot resist saving grace, and will continue on in their good works, since they are the exclusive recipients of the benefit of Christ’s particular atonement.
Calvinism’s Corruption on Man’s Free Will, Man’s Role in Salvation and the Foreknowledge of God.
Lauren constructs the straw man that if man believes he has free will to receive or deny salvation, he is “desperately” wanting “to receive some credit” for salvation, and then equates free will to “our fallenness.” Believing in the free will of man allegedly makes me think of God as being “unfair.” “Unfair” of what? “Unfair” that he either elected me to heaven or to hell? And this mind set is apparently addressed and debunked by Paul in Romans 9-11, by “challenging our human thinking on the “fairness” or “injustice” of God in 9:13-23.”
This is the games that Calvinists play.
Calvinists say that other systems limit God's sovereignty or control. Apparently when those systems assign to man free will, they limit God's sovereignty. Instead of God being in total charge, man is partly in charge. Calvinists would also say this means that in salvation, ostensibly man is getting involved to the degree that man “receive[s] some credit” for salvation. The Calvinistic doctrine of election and free will conflicts Gods Word. Apparently the only free will that man possesses is the will to sin. Thats all he can do, since he is so totally dead, so Totally Depraved. That means he doesn’t will salvation either. He does not want God or righteousness.
Calvinists consider that man’s one and only will to sin is a "natural" choice, the realm in which man does exist. They also call this “second causation.” Man however can choose. If a man chooses to sin, isn’t that also indicative of free will or is someone forcing that will? Man however doesn’t always sin. Man can choose to sin or not to sin, even in his unregenerate natural state. He can choose to be injected with the death shot or not. Is that not free will? Quoting Pink, Lauren says:
“For, as the result of the fall, man has lost all desire and will unto that which is good, and that even the elect themselves have to be made willing.”
We note here the false Calvinist doctrine of Irresistible Grace.
If God predetermines everything, then He also predetermines sin and suffering and Satan’s doings. God must predetermine, determine, or ordain sin, which is in fact what they admit, even openly. In a recent podcast on God’s Will with his pastor Mike Hovland, Mike stated:
“God even takes credit if we want to say it that way, for what Satan did . . . God wills sin and decrees sin. . . . God, in His decretive will, even though He does will evil, He does it for good reasons, . . . Through the wickedness that God has decreed and ordained, He’s going to reveal His glory.”
Wow, what a terrible and evil thing to say, criminalizing the God of all creation! And zero biblical support for it. I wonder if God willed Mike Hovland to say such evil? God does not will sin or evil or decree it. It was not His will for Adam and Eve to sin and cause billions of people to be cast into eternal hell fire forever. Calvinism blasphemes God’s character, and changes Him, transforming Him into another god (2 Cor 11:4). This reason alone should cause everyone that doesn't "resist the truth" and isn't of a "corrupt mind" or "reprobate concerning the faith" (2 Tim 3:8) to flee from this horrible heresy!
Calvinism says God has a purpose for sin according to His will. God knows every sin, so He determines it all. Just because God knows all sin and is sovereign, doesn’t not mean He wills it or decrees it. This heretical philosophy correlates with their philosophy that man’s only free will is sin. Man essentially is a puppet. God does know everything, past, present, and future. Since, to the Calvinist, He knows everything, then He also allegedly predetermines everything. Man cannot do anything that God does not already know. Knowledge equals determination and they do not separate those. Since God knows everything, He also wills everything. If God wills everything, then God determines everything too. He determined sin, He determined Hell, He determined Satan, and He determined to send most people to Hell. He also ordained Satan to fall, and Adam and Eve, thus sending billions of people to hell through the sin that He allegedly ordained. The reason for all that, according to Lauren and Mike, is to “reveal His glory.” It sends a chill down my spine just writing this, their perspective. If man is not to go to Hell, he cannot choose not to go there, because of his dead and totally depraved will. He chooses only to go there, because his will is depraved. If he chooses not to go there, God causes that. He does that through irresistible grace. God chooses who goes to Heaven. God the Spirit regenerates those He chooses to receive the Lord God, so they can receive Him and be saved.
“Foreknowledge means that God planned before, not that God observed before, and in this way, God has predetermined our salvation in His foreknowledge.”
This is untrue, “foreknowledge” does not mean “previous determination,” except for the fulfilment of God’s prophecies. Man sinning and perishing in hell is not prophecy. “Foreknowledge” does not “mean that God planned before.” This would then mean everyone God did not choose to save, they are chosen for Hell. For eternal reprobation. He chose them to Hell before their birth. Knowledge is love. Foreknowledge is knowing ahead of time. Knowing ahead of time is loving ahead of time. Loving is electing to save. God does not love ahead of time those He also chooses not to save.
He chooses them for Hell because he didn’t love them. He hated them. Even though Jn 3:16; 2 Pet 3:9 and many other passages say otherwise (they have to necessarily change the meaning of words, to stick the deranged theology into the Bible). In other words, if Lauren is right, and Calvinism, then God created billions of people simply for the sole purpose of sending them to hell for all eternity. God predetermined eternal reprobation for them. But the other hand, if man chooses, then salvation is of man. Man becomes the operative agent of salvation. If it is not God working, then it is man working. God is not sovereign. Man is.
Both are wrong. Neither theory is substantiated by scripture.
Calvinists say the alternative to predeterminism is that God does not know the future, just all the possibilities of what might happen, or "open theism,” alluded to in this quote from Lauren about God “looking through the tunnel of time to see what decisions we make in order for Him to react to us.” This apparently then “would make us sovereign as we are then the determinate cause of all God’s actions, even before we existed.” We could use the word "robot" or “puppet” to describe the lack of free will. Calvinists say men are not robots but what they describe is men as robots. Hovland in the aforementioned podcast, says: “In God there is no such thing as choice.” Thats robotic talk.
All combined, this is a convoluted, conflicting and unscriptural mess that changes God’s Word and character. Does any of this represent scripture? No, and for a number of reasons. It does not harmonize with Scripture but conflicts and confuses. If it represents Scripture, then then scripture itself conflicts and confuses, and it just doesn't. No truth will contradict other truth. It must harmonize. Passages must agree with each other. The right explanation of every passage fits with the right explanation of all other passages. That does not happen with Calvinism. It complexes scripture and confuses much scripture and doctrine. I concur with whatever the Bible says. I dissent with whatever differs with God's Word. Most of what Lauren writes here differs with God’s Word. I dissent to this egregious doctrine and so should everyone that embraces Gods Word as truth.
Calvinism or even Reformed theology did not start with Gen 1:1 or Gen 50 or Is 10 or Isa 40-48 or with the Apostle Paul or Eph 1:11 or Rom 9. If someone in the day those passages occurred read them, and he could have read Calvin, he would not read Calvin there. Joseph and his brothers would not say that God willed them to do the evil they did, that God determined them to do evil, as Lauren and Mike claimed in the podcast. Calvinism doesn't harmonize Scripture or rightly divide it. Eph 1:11 is popularly fit into Calvinism, as was in the podcast, but then Eph 1:11 doesn't fit into the rest of scripture. To fit Eph 1:11 into all of scripture, which it does, you must abandon Calvinism.
Personal election to salvation (Rom 16:13) is according to foreknowledge (1 Pet 1:2), which is not synonymous with foreordination. God is not arbitrary, choosing only a select few to inherit eternal life and leaving the rest to perish without opportunity to be saved, but rather He elected to salvation all those whom He foreknew would repent and believe the gospel. The blood of Christ is a sufficient payment "for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 Jn 2:2). Jesus "gave himself a ransom for all" (1 Tim 2:6). Man by nature is indeed wicked and spiritually dead in sin, but that doesn’t mean he can’t respond to Gods workings in his life and in repentant saving faith to the preaching of the gospel.
The Bible is plain. If the TULIP is taught by the Bible, that will be obvious. If these are so important, this should be easy. And then you read what they write, looking for that smooth flow of biblical argument, the points fleshing right out from the text. You don't get that, and you won’t. It's not there. Nothing illustrates this better to me than what a Calvinist will foist on you with the meaning of "foreknowledge." What does foreknowledge sound like to you? That's what it means. For the system to work, foreknowledge can't be foreknowledge to a Calvinist, but it must be fore-action and fore-love and fore-determination. So it is. Not because it is, but in order to keep the system afloat. For all the dots to connect, foreknowledge can't mean foreknowledge, but what they say it means instead. So for whatever number of moments or eons you need to, you've got to blank out on the meaning of foreknowledge and replace it with a new definition that defies clarity and meaning and honesty. It's no wonder that during and after the reformation, Calvinists killed people for not accepting what they taught. Coercion was their best hope of persuading anyone. Alright, I'll say it. Foreknowledge simply means to know ahead of time. Knowledge beforehand. I feel like I've just insulted your intelligence, since the word is one of the easiest to define in all the English language. The word literally defines itself.
There is no evidence in the NT or in extrabiblical Koiné that the noun foreknow (prognosis) or the verb to foreknow (proginosko) mean anything other than precognition, foreknowing. Lauren’s contention that the word really signifies predetermine or something of the sort, is arbitrary, and no such meaning appears anywhere in Scripture (nor the principle) or in the Liddell-Scott Greek lexicon, since in that work theology is not driving the meaning assigned to these words. In all the clear instances, the words simply signify precognition, and no text requires a different meaning in the NT (Ac 2:23; 26:5; 1 Pet 1:2, 20; 2 Pet 3:17; Rom 8:29; 11:2), nor in any extraBiblical writings.
If election is not based on man’s free will response to the gospel by repenting and believing, why didn't God simply elect every person to salvation, knowing that God loves all His creation (Jn 3:16), and is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pet 3:9) and "Will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim 2:4) and has "no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live" (Ezk 33:11)? If God controlled the will of man, He would certainly elect all to eternal life. But we know that isn’t the case and its not because of God (Matt 7:13-14; 23:37; Lk 13:23-24; Ac 13:46).
1 Pet 1:2 says "elect according to foreknowledge," because election is according to foreknowledge. It isn't predetermination. God knows ahead of time who is going to believe, and belief is not a work. Foreknowledge doesn't have to be some work or act outside of the mind of God in order for faith to be by grace. 2 Th 2:12-13 is tell-tale here. “That they all might be damned who BELIEVED NOT the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and BELIEF of the truth:” Who are the damned? Those who believe not the truth. In contrast to them, “But . . . God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through . . . belief of the truth." People are damned because they don't believe the truth, not because God didn’t choose or elect them. People are saved because they believe the truth, not because God before the foundation of the world, chose them. God chooses from the beginning THROUGH belief of the truth. He foreknows. I’ve heard Calvinists use this verse and leave out, "and belief of the truth,” and completely avoid v. 12. It's a crusher for their system. Personal election in salvation is based upon God's foreknowledge and not upon predetermination. Does that make salvation synergistic? Yes it does. It's what the Bible teaches.
It must, lest the tremendous number of commands for man to repent and believe or pray, would be nonsensical. They would be a false pretence and a facade for something that had already been predetermined eons ago. But they are not. Salvation is of the Lord (Jon 3), it is a gift of God (Rom 6:23), but God commands man to seek after Him and to repent (Is 55:6-7; Ezk 18; 33; Lk 13:1-5; etc). We are able to repent because of revelation and God’s accord (Rom 2:4), which is why men are without excuse (Rom 1). We know people don't reject God because of Him, but because of them, so most are enabled and illuminated by revelation, but rebel (Matt 7:15, 21-23, 26-27; 2 Pet 2:1-2, 20-21; Ju 1:4; etc). They taste but don’t eat and drink (Heb 6:4).
Since God's Word is alive and powerful (Heb 4:12), when it interacts (Rom 10:17), it does enable us to respond. And when salvation is all done, we know God did it, but we also know that it could be resisted and rejected. Both are taught in the Bible. John 6:44 and 12:32 affirms that the Lord Jesus draws “all men” to Himself, employing the same verb for drawing (helko) as that which is employed to state that nobody can come to Christ without being drawn (Jn 6:44). The Calvinist contention that Jn 12:32 should be altered to affirm that Christ draws not “all men,” but “all the elect,” is purely gratuitous, having no exegetical or syntactical or harmonious basis whatsoever.
Naturally, the true Calvinist will go to Rom 9-11 to prove the Calvinist version of election. But that’s where Calvinism derails again. The choosing of Israel is certainly true in De 7:6 and 14:2, passages he quoted, and indeed “this teaching fills the old testament,” as Lauren wrote, but Rom 9 runs away from Calvinism, contradicts it, even though Calvinists use it to support their error. At the end of Rom 8 (vv 35-39), Paul promises that nothing will separate saved, justified people from the love of God. He anticipated some argument with that point, that if God elected Israel and Israel was not saved, how could anyone be assured of God's election. God didn’t elect Israel to salvation. He chose them as a covenant nation, but that didn’t give them automatic salvation though it gave them a much greater advantage for it (Rom 3:1-3; 9:3-4). God’s national election of Israel did not guarantee personal salvation. They still had to choose, and as we know, they didn’t choose (Rom 9:1-8; Matt 23:37). Read here for an exposition of Romans 9: Romans 9, Election, and Calvinism
Not only does Calvinism conflict and corrupt related to the data of scripture, but it conflicts with itself. It is also incoherent with historic Calvinism. It's as if Calvinism now allows God to determine modernism and pragmatism. With the new Calvinist, God uses modernism and Calvinism for good, justifying the two when it is convenient for the Calvinist without regard of his free will or what Scripture says. For instance, did God predetermine Daniel Wallace looking for manuscripts that oppose God’s Received Text and James White practicing textual criticism (which is evil) and judging textual variants according to humanly designed standards, or his habitual practice of the “art” of bearing false witness? Did God determine contemporary Christian (CCM) rockers or rappers to increase church attendance (like at MacArthur’s church)? Did God predetermine Calvinists to slander and misrepresent and lie about their opponents?
Calvinists mold God's sovereignty to fit man's purposes, which is the evil practice of wresting Scripture, an “error of the wicked” (2 Pet 3:16-17).
Flee from this heresy my friend. Study and rightly divide the Word of God and you shall know the truth.
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” (Col 2:8).
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?” (Gal 4:16).