Pastor Bill responds:
“Calvinism” is the name attached to the system of doctrine that was taught very ably by the great Protestant Reformer, John Calvin (1509-1564). Frankly, John Calvin would be very upset if his teachings were called “Calvinism”. He simply opened up, by his preaching, teaching, and writings, the doctrines that are taught in the Word of God.
But it’s tragic (and very wrong) that you have been taught that “Calvinism” (I’ll use the term for convenience sake - despite what John Calvin would say!) is “dangerous” and heretical.
What is dangerous or heretical about doctrines that are clearly taught in the Word of God? The reason people become “Calvinists” is because, as they read the Word of God, they see the teachings commonly associated with “Calvinism” so obviously presented in the Scriptures.
• God’s Sovereignty (the doctrine that is the hallmark of Calvinism): For from him, and through him, and to him, are all things. To him be glory forever. Romans 11:36 (See also - among many other passages - Job 42:1,2; Daniel 4:34,35; Ephesians 1:11)
• Total Depravity (Not that human beings are as bad as they could be - thank the Lord for that! - but that every part of what we are is radically affected by sin): Read Romans 3:9-20 for just one biblical MRI of the human condition “in Adam”, i.e. by nature.
• Unconditional Election (We don’t first choose God, He chooses us!). Read Romans 9 and Ephesians 1:3-10 and ask yourselves, honestly, what they say about “election”.
• Limited Atonement (Better “Full Atonement”: The benefits of Christ’s perfect obedience and death are ONLY for the elect, but that work REALLY saves us from our sins) See Matthew 1:21, John 17:2, Acts 20:28, Ephesians 5:25
• Irresistible Grace (God is really able to change the hardest of human hearts!). See Ezekiel 11:19, John 5:21, Ephesians 1:19,20, Colossians 2:13.
• Perseverance of the Saints (Those whom God has chosen, for whom Christ died, and who are saved by the sovereign power of God WILL persevere to the end because they are kept by God). See John 6:37, 10:25-30, Romans 8:28-39, I Peter 1:3-5.
I hope you see that these doctrines commonly associated with “Calvinism” are obviously taught in the Bible. They are clearly not “heretical”.
But why were you told they are “dangerous”? We’ll look at that in the next Haven Heart to Heart.