To be clear, some of the most wonderful and most committed Christians I know, are Calvinists. I have no doubts about who they believe in, or about their salvation. The purpose of this article is to express the concern I have about their theology, and about the dangerous implications of it.
I want to discuss Calvinism in the context of cults. Christians are in agreement that they all have two major things in common:
Their view of God is wrong.
Their view of salvation is wrong.
Among Calvinists, there are many who believe that God’s sovereignty requires Him to have such control, that He is involved in every word and thought and action among every person in the world. That of course, includes all sin and evil. They believe that God so micro-manages this world, that all things that happen are because God determined it to be so.
Whether they explain it in these terms or not, ultimately, Calvinist theology logically attributes all sin and evil to God, because they don’t believe that man has a will that is independent of God. A deterministic theology cannot lead to any other conclusion.
Make no mistake, only an evil person can commit acts of evil. When people attribute the sin and evil of the world to God, does this not, in reality, sound like the work of Satan? Does this not sound blasphemes? A theology that attributes sin and evil to God, is this not the highest form of heresy there is? A theology that presents such a picture of a holy and pure and sinless God, is this view any better than the view of God that the cults have? How is this any different?
We have no problem declaring that cults have an unbiblical view of God. We have no problem declaring that they worship a false god. But when it comes to the view of God that many Calvinists have, we have a “hands off” policy. We just don’t go there. But are we being consistent? Are we seeing this as it really is? Or are we purposely closing our eyes to the implications of their view of God?
I believe we’ve become desensitized. That may be an overused word, but I believe it’s true in this matter. I think I was a Christian for like 35 years before I ever heard of Christians attributing sin and evil to God. That would have been the most shocking thing for me to hear. In fact, when I first made the discovery that this is what many Calvinists believe and teach, I was indeed shocked. I still am. However, I believe that many Calvinists have become comfortable with this view of God and His sovereignty.
Furthermore, even among us who oppose that view, I believe we’ve become so comfortable with what they believe about God, that we hold back accusations of heresy…..because we believe them to be our brothers and sisters in Christ.
The concern I have is this: We have no doubts and no problem with the idea that Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in a false god. We make that declaration easily. But here’s the issue: Both of these religions base their understanding about God on what they read in the Bible – though Mormons also have a couple other books they believe are Divinely inspired.
But the point is, there are cults out there that have formed their viewpoint of God based on their understanding of the Bible. Determinate Calvinists, too, have formed their viewpoint of God based on their understanding of the Bible. Where’s the difference between them and the cults?
If we say that Calvinists just have a wrong understanding about the God of the Bible, but do believe in the true God, why is it that we don’t say the same thing about cults who base their understanding about God on the same Bible? There’s an inconsistency here that troubles me.
When it comes to salvation, there is no doubt that most Calvinists hold to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. However, I know that some Calvinists actually believe that the true gospel message is according to Calvinist theology….as if the way of salvation is equal to the doctrine of election. Regardless of our position on election, salvation is through faith in Christ who died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead. That’s the heart of the gospel message, and I believe that is what Calvinist’s generally preach. But there are the few who tie salvation to belief in the Calvinist version of election. That of course, is false teaching. Salvation and election are two different doctrines, though they are related to one another. But it’s unbiblical to teach that one must believe in the Calvinist version of election in order to be saved. To their credit, I believe most Calvinists would agree.
In conclusion, I’m not saying that all Calvinists believe to the extreme that I’ve discussed here in this article. But I believe these points and concerns and questions are legitimate. I believe the things I’ve discussed here brings the validity of Calvinist theology into serious question.
If I was a Calvinist, I would rethink what I believe. Then I would take a closer look at what Calvinism really teaches, and what the implications really are. Any theology that makes God the cause of all sin and evil – either flatly stated or logically – should be something that alarms everyone who professes Christ. Personally, I would want to get as far away from any theology that even comes close to that point of view. I would not want to stand before God knowing that I went through life attributing sin and evil to Him. The thought of that should strike fear in the hearts of all.
I want to end this the way I started it: To be clear, some of the most wonderful and most committed Christians I know, are Calvinists. I have no doubts about who they believe in, or about their salvation. The purpose of this article is to express the concern I have about their theology, and about the dangerous implications of it.