Calvin’s False Doctrine of Predestination
John Calvin was a French protestant reformer. His doctrine on predestination teaches that there are two classes of people in the world. Those who have been predestined by God before the foundation of the earth to eternal damnation and those that have been predestined to eternal life. Calvin taught that there is nothing one can do to be saved because God has already decided who is going to be saved and who is not going to be saved.
John Calvin twisted the meaning of Ephesians 1:4-5. “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.”
His interpretation of these two verses caused him to ask, “Does this passage teach that our salvation is strictly a matter of God’s arbitrary election before the world was made, irrespective of any choice that we might exercise in the matter?” According to John Calvin, this passage teaches exactly that. “The Presbyterian Westminster Confession of Faith stated: “By decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death” (Article III).
Thus, we have the damnable heresy of predestination. This doctrine is at the core of Calvinism and its influence is widely felt throughout much of “christendom.” Calvin’s theology is summed up in the acrostic,”TULIP.” The “T” stands for “Total Depravity”. This doctrine teaches that all men have inherited the sin of Adam and as such, they are fallen to such a degree that they cannot read the Bible and respond in a positive way. So therefore, God has to act directly in order to bring man to His truth. This goes directly against what is written in Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.”
The “U” stands for “Unconditional Election”. A doctrine teaches that there is nothing one of the elect can do to prevent himself from becoming a Christian – he simply has no choice. If one has been predestined to eternal life, there is nothing a person can do to prevent it.
The “L” stands for “Limited Atonement”, which teaches that not all men can be saved. Some have been predestined to for salvation; the rest have not. Yet, the Bible teaches that God’s grace has been made available to all men. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11)
The “I” stands for “Irresistible Grace.” This takes away man’s free moral agency. Man has no choice but to respond to God’s grace. This is false because we know that the Holy Spirit can be resisted as indicated by Stephen’s words to the Jewish council, “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).
The “P” stands for the Perseverance of the Saints, or simply stated “Once saved, always saved .” This teaches that one who is of God’s elect can do nothing that would cause him to fall from grace. Here again, Calvin directly contradicts the Scriptures.
There are at least 55 passages in the New Testament that teach that a Christian can fall from grace. In this brief article, we will observe two of these passages.
Galatians 5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” Galatians was written to the churches of in the region of Galatia (Galatians 1:2). Paul told those in Galatia who were perverting the gospel (by teaching that one had to be circumcised under the Law of Moses in order to be saved – See Acts 15:1) that in trying to keep to parts of the Old Law they had fallen from grace.
James 5:19-20 “Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” The book of James was written to the Christians who were scattered abroad (James 1:1). In these verses, James teaches that a Christian who has “erred from the truth” is a soul that has become a “sinner” and needs to be saved from death. James has to be speaking of Christians here because in order for one to “err from” (out of) the truth, one must have been IN the truth – i.e. a saved Christian. There is perseverance of the saints if a Christian persists in his faith. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.” (Galatians 6:9).
Calvin’s doctrine of predestination does not originate with God. It is not supported in the scriptures. It is false to its core.
The predestination of Ephesians 1:4-5 is not on an individual basis. God at the foundation of the earth set forth a class of people who would be saved. This class of people would be those who met God’s foreordained demand of obedience to His will according to His Son. They would be those who obeyed the Gospel of Christ. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9). “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9)