Calvinists believe that there is nothing a man can do to affect his salvation. They do not base this vie upon the scriptures, but rather on a premise of John Calvin called Total Depravity or Total Inability. This belief is the “T” or the first tenet of the famous acrostic “TULIP” which is the heart and soul of Calvinism. These letters spell out the theological concepts known as Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and the Perseverance of the Saints). It is surprising that many people have been taught these so called “planks” in the platform of Calvinism without even knowing of the overall theological system it entails. Total Inability is defined by John Calvin from his writings, particularly his Institutes of the Christian Religion and from the creeds that Calvinists have written:
“Because of the bondage of sin by which the will is held bound, it cannot move toward good much less apply itself thereto; for a movement of this sort is the beginning of conversion to God, which in Scripture is ascribed entirely to God’s grace. (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Chapter 2, Section 3, part 5.)”
“Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1646, Chapter 9, Section 3.)”
“Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able by his own strength to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. (1689 Baptist Confession, also known as, the Second London Confession of Faith, Chapter 9, Section 3.)”
If the Calvinist creeds would have stopped at saying we “can not save ourselves,” they would have been on scriptural ground, unfortunately, they erred exceedingly by saying that man has “wholly lost all ability of will,” and cannot “prepare himself thereunto.” Jesus dispelled that notion with his famous saying, “He who has ears to hear let him hear” Luke 8:8. In effect, Calvinists believe that God regenerates your ears, and hears Himself on your behalf. This is Calvinistic predestination and election at its worst. Calvinists deny man’s “free will” to respond to the word of God or to draw near to God. Calvinists do not believe man has a free will to hear the word of God (Acts 2:37) and follow or to reject and stop up his ears, (Acts 7:57). Yet, Acts 2:41 says, “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” Does that sound like Total Inability to you?
The Bible says there are many things that we are to do, or apply ourselves toward, or to prepare ourselves unto… conversion.
- Repent, Mt. 4:17
- Ask, and it shall be given you, Mt. 7:7
- Seek, and ye shall find, Mt. 7:7
- Knock, and it shall be opened to you, Mt. 7:7
- Confess Jesus before men, Mt. 10:32
- He who has ears to hear, let him hear, Mt. 11:15
- That they would seek him, Acts 17:27
- and perhaps reach out (Grope) for him and find him, Acts 17:27
though he is not far from any one of us. Acts 17:27
- He who comes to God… Heb 11:6
- Must believe that He is… Heb. 11:6
- He is a rewarder of those who seek Him. Heb. 11:6
- Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. James 4:8
-Cleanse your hands, you sinners; James 4:8
-Purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8
-Save yourselves from this crooked generation, Acts 2:40
-Obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Thessalonians 1:8
Calvinists cannot “speak as the Bible speaks,” because their creed does not allow them to ascribe any part of the conversion process to the will of man because it would violate the above mentioned Calvinist tenet of TOTAL INABILITY. This they would call a “work.” Yet, this is a false either/or proposition, totally foreign to the Word of God.
How Scriptural is Calvinism? Join us as we are reflecting on the Scriptures as both sides present their arguments.