Don’t call me a Calvinist!

I write this humbly, with no intention of offending anyone, only as a personal statement of faith. I am a student – still learning, yet I have formed my convictions. No, I’m not a Calvanist… but you should know that I’m not an Arminian, either!

1. Don’t call me a Calvinist… because I am a Christian. I don’t wish to be labeled primarily after a man, but rather after Christ. If I must, I wish to be labeled by my faith as a Christian, by my authority as a Biblicist, and by my creed/practices as a Baptist. (See 1 Corinthians 3:3-4, 9)

2. Don’t call me a Calvinist… because I believe in both free-will and total depravity. I don’t believe in the depraved inability of human function; I believe that every man is spiritually depraved in their fallen spiritual state as a result of Adam’s sin. Faith is both God’s gift to the sinner and the sinner’s gift to God. Faith is not a work, nor could it every be! (See John 3:36; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9)

3. Don’t call me a Calvinist… because I believe in election, predestination, & foreknowledge. I don’t believe in the arbitrary selection of the divinely favored – yet I do believe in that God’s grace has acted to redeem & restore all men through Jesus. Simply put: God saves who He wills and wills who He knows. The Bible says that we love Him because He first loved us, we chose Him because He first chose us. It is neither all of God nor all of man… it is both or it is neither. (See John 5:40, 12:32; Revelation 22:17)

4. Don’t call me a Calvinist… because I believe that Christ’s atonement was for the whole world. The work of the Cross was universal – for every man, for all time. I don’t believe that man’s lack of acceptance nullifies what Christ did for him, yet I do believe that Christ’s work of redemption and restoration was not limited by anything other than man’s denial of it. (See John 3:17, 4:42; 1 Timothy 2:-5-6; 1 John 2:2)

5. Don’t call me a Calvinist… because I believe that God’s grace can be resisted. I don’t believe that God forces Himself upon anyone, He illustrated that with Adam & Eve. He does not systematically coerce the ones whom He knows will believe – He waits with patience. I believe that individuals do respond with faith when they come to realize the overwhelming flood of God’s grace toward them specifically; but, sadly, it doesn’t always end that way. (See Proverbs 1:24-26; John 5:40; Acts 7:51; Galatians 2:21)

6. Don’t call me a Calvinist… because I believe in eternal security. I don’t believe that the saints persevere, yet I do believe that they are preserved in Christ. I don’t believe believe that any man, for any reason, may lose his salvation because I believe God’s grace sufficient and able to overcome any sin or whim of life. I believe that eternal life is a present possession. (See John 10:27-29; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Peter 1:4-5; 1 John 5:12-13)

7. Don’t call me a Calvinist or an Arminian… because within both bodies of theology are exaggerated, eccentric, excessive, man-made-misinterpretations of God’s grace and man’s sin. I want mine to be a balanced view, one in the middle. Maybe you’ve said, “I’m a two- or three-point Calvinist.” Why not just be a person who believes the Bible without the need for a label or tag. In my humble opinion, more people would agree on this if people of both sides would stop arguing for a moment, define their terms, and listen to what the other side is saying.

What the Bible Says about Calvinism…
A Simple Test to help determine if you’re a Calvinist or Arminian
What the Bible Says about Arminianism

Sources I really liked:

Comparison of Calvinism vs. Arminianism
The Daisy or the Tulip?
Why Curtis Hutson disagrees w/ the Tulip

5 thoughts on “Don’t call me a Calvinist!

  1. Always hated seeing people argue over this. I’ve flip-flopped and modified some on this but am now settled.

    What I thought was clever (but now I think ignorant) was, to say to Calvinists who wanted to argue, “If I’m not a Calvinist it’s because God predestined me to be so, so take it up with Him.”

  2. I fully agree. I dislike it when people even try to say that they are only a “3 point Calvinist” or “semi-Arminian”, etc. Either you’re fully a Calvinist or Arminian, or you’re not. Hopefully you’re a biblical literalist and reject the problems with both views and simply hold to God’s view in Scripture, not a theological system based on a man.

    I did just mention this briefly the other night when I preached on Romans 8:28-29. It seems that Calvinism and Reformed Theology is making a HUGE comeback in Baptist circles and seminaries over the last several years. Some men that I really respect hold to the Calvinistic Theological system. I admire their minds and some of their writings, but find that most of them ignore clear Scriptural teaching against Calvinism. They cry that all we ever run back to is John 3:16, but as you illustrated, the Scriptural reasons for rejecting Reformed Theology are many. And that doesn’t even begin to consider the faulty logic that if Calvinism is true, then God left all of us without a choice, and literally billions of us without a chance.

    One verse you did not mention, and I believe warrants mention because of its clear teaching against the idea of limited atonement, is 2 Peter 2:1. To me, that is one of my go-to verses in any discussion about Calvinism. If Christ died for, and bought, false teachers that are bound for destruction, then limited atonement is a complete and total fabrication and misrepresentation of God’s real prelapsarian decrees and will.

  3. Thank you for posting this. It is pretty surprising how many Baptists have become Calvinists because Calvinism seems to be the intellectual view of the day. Because a number of the most popular and respectable theologians (past and present) hold these Calvinistic views, many Christians think that those views must be right on this matter as well. What some fail to recognize is that it is possible to benefit from a man’s writing and preaching without agreeing with him on every point. In my continual study of this controversial matter I have found that TULIP theology does not fit with the character of God as revealed throughout the Scriptures.

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