An Argument for or Against Calvinism

There is a real problem with the Calvinist’s position on soteriology: if God and God alone saves the elect and He and He alone is responsible for all who are saved, then why is it that so few in our world are actually saved? It would be difficult to even venture to guess what the percentage of Christians is in the US today much less the percentage of the population of the world might be. If one were to go back even 25 years when satellite television and the internet were just beginning to make a mark in the communications explosion, evangelism opportunities and the proclamation of the gospel message were not as easily available then as they are today. It would appear that the percentage of the world’s population that has heard about Christ and has had an opportunity to respond to the good news of Jesus is at least greater today than it has been at any time in the history of the world. With this in mind, while a very small number of people around the world are Christian, that number must be significantly greater today than in any generation before. So, if God is responsible for every person who will spend eternity in heaven as the Calvinist contends, then why is this number or percentage of the world’s population so pitifully poor?

Here is another question that seriously challenges irresistible grace and limited atonement and unconditional election: if God and God alone saves the elect and He and He alone is responsible for all who are saved, why are our churches are so weak and why are there so few in our churches who are committed to walking with God as He would have them walk? Some have argued that many on the average church roll are not even saved and there is no debating the fact that a vast majority of those on the church rolls (who may be saved) show very little commitment to God or His church. If God and God alone regenerates individuals and those and only those are truly born again, then something is terribly wrong because God does not fail in anything He does. If His grace is efficacious as Calvinists’ contend, God’s sovereignty in salvation is certainly subject to challenge as its effect is obviously suspect in the lives of those He supposedly has efficaciously called to be His people. Because God has made Jesus BOTH SAVIOR AND LORD, He cannot make Jesus one without making Him both, if He is the One who is solely responsible for this conversion process in the first place. Since this is not the case, it has to cast doubt on the exent of God’s involvement in this process as posited by the Calvinist’s position.

If on the other hand, salvation is a choice made by individuals who have been convicted of their sin and are responsible for their own choice, the whole scenario changes. If God in His sovereignty chose to make man sovereign over his choices and responsible for those choices, then the lack of spiritual commitment in the body is explainable as well as the lack of evangelistic fervor in our world. While there is no question about the importance of one’s responsibility to walk with God and be involved in evangelism in the Calvinist platform, the lack of either hardly limits God’s ability to do what He intended to do from the foundation of the world where conversion and salvation are concerned. The fact that neither, conversion nor sanctification is as pronounced as one would expect it to be in the world or even in America, a “God fearing” society, would seem to be an argument against the tents of Calvinism as opposed to an argument in support for it.

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6 thoughts on “An Argument for or Against Calvinism

  1. As a Calvinist myself, I was overjoyed to read you mention that the responsibility to walk with God and be involved in evangelism is important in Calvinism. So few people represent our position well – many thanks indeed!

    In response to the first question, I would answer with Romans 9:15-16, 18 : ” “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion”. So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy….So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.” I would definitely recommend checking out Romans 9 (maybe even the whole book). Basically, God does what He wants. Who are we to challenge His judgements?

    To the second question, I would simply say that if a professing Christian doesn’t have Jesus as Lord over their lives, they are not truly saved in the first place. James 2:17 tells us that faith without works is dead. Jesus tells us in Matthew 7 that “Not everyone who says to Me ‘Lord, Lord’, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Not that we are saved with our works, but the works are the natural and necessary response of a saving faith.

    Hope this helps!

  2. My point is, If God IS solely responsible for all who are saved, it would appear to me more people would actually be saved than are saved. In fact someone made a comment on my other site and it made me think of something I had not thought of and it was this: In Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus makes the following statement; “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” If God is the One who determines who does and does not enter the narrow gate, then this word of warning makes no sense. I believe If the Calvinist position on soteriology were true, the road leading to destruction would be narrow and the way leading to life would be broad!

    The phrase “few who find it.” is hardly a reference to those who do not find it because God has not brought them to it. The emphasis is obviously to those who need to be saved but refuse to look to the giver and sustainer of life to be saved. These are they who trust in self as opposed to the Savior. People do not die without Christ because Christ did not die for them, they die without Christ because they refuse the free pardon of sin that is available to them in Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for them.

    God is not the One who chooses who does and does not enter into life and that is why the broad way is so full. He does give mercy to those who come to Him seeking mercy and forgiveness. He is fully justified in EVERYTHING He does.

    Thanks for stopping by.

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    • Thanks for the response, I’d still recommend checking out Romans. I’ll simply remark that Calvinism also believes that the reason some people aren’t saved is because they willingly reject Christ. However, it is also true that “no one can come to Me [Jesus] unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44).

      • With respect to Romans and especially chapter 9, I have mulled it over and over a number of times. While I do understand HOW many Calvinists think and I understand the statement, “the reason some aren’t saved is because they willingly reject Christ” from a Calvinist mindset; the truth is, those who do reject Christ as the calvinist contends, can only reject Him because God has not given him a new nature that will allow him to do anything else.

        I simply cannot accept this premise. Jesus did not die for the “few that find life” in Matthew 7:14; He died for ALL and all who would come to Him in repentance and saving faith will have their sins forgiven and they will be saved. PERIOD.

        God no doubt draws us to Him through the process of revelation and reconciliation; but regeneration is the result of repentance and saving faith. That is the message of the good news of the gospel to ALL MEN.

        Otherwise, the gospel is only good news to the elect. That my brother is a dog that will not hunt!

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  3. How, can the gospel be “good news” to the reprobate? Jesus brought the good news to His own, but his own received him not (Jn 1:11). See also Romans 11:8; Deut 29:4; Isa 6:9, 29:10; Jer 5:21; Ezek 12:2. As you’re reading these passages, man is willfully rejecting God’s good news and responsible for his rebellious actions towards God. On the other side of the coin, God gives the rebellious over to their sins (Romans 1:28). A great picture is when the Pharaoh’s heart became hard (Ex 7:13, 23), Pharaoh hardened his heart (Ex 8:15, 32) & God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Ex 9:7, 10:20). God secures the Pharaoh’s position as reprobate after repeated rejection of the precepts of God. This willful, rebellious act of man & final work of God is the same today for all mankind.

    I think some of your confusion could be cleared up by thinking in perspectives: one way we see that man is responsible, yet he rejects. The other perspective is that God sees rebellion and then gives them over to their sin. All of which is just, right and true.

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