Man is No Longer Accountable
Tension in Scripture?
Essential to Understand
The Emperor Has No Clothes
God Foreknows Who Will Be Saved
What Did God Predestine?
God Predestined a Qualification of True Believers
The Likeness of Jesus
The Qualification Predestined by God
Jesus’ Teachings & Commands Are the Will of God
Give Up Everything You Have
Peter Teaches the Same Qualification
Paul in Ephesians
Esau and Jacob
Calvinism Seems to Denigrate God’s Salvation
Calvinism’s Predestination Seems to Attack God’s Sovereignty
Wrong Assumption About God’s Sovereignty
God Is Not Willing That Any Be Lost
God Had a Different Plan
A Personal Note
The Reason for My Passion
A Difficult Decision
Non-Uniformity Among Calvinists
About John Calvin
The Murder of Servetus
The Father of Calvinism
What Was His Spiritual Condition?
What Does Scripture Say?
Some Christian churches teach that before the creation of the world God predestined those who will be saved and those who will be damned. Those who follow such teachings emphasize the sovereignty of God, believing God sovereignly determined who would be saved long before any individual had an opportunity to accept or reject God’s salvation through Jesus Christ. They also emphasize grace — God’s unmerited favor — because by their view man does nothing, and can do nothing, to gain salvation.
A natural extension of that view is Calvinism’s efficacious or “irresistible grace” which is defined as that grace that reaches down from God and saves you, irrespective of your desire or intent; it is both irresistible and permanent.2 This arises, of course, from the belief that before the creation of the world God predestined who would be saved. If one is predestined by God to be saved he will be, no matter what his wishes are, no matter how he lives, no matter what. By their view, God exercises his sovereignty and saves those whom he chooses to save and damns those whom he chooses to damn.
But is this what Scripture says? Or is this a creation of men who misinterpreted Scripture? Their motives could have been pure or they could have been tainted by man’s continuing desire not to be accountable. After all, if predestination is true, how can God hold anyone accountable? By their view, the reason a person is saved is not by anything he has done, but rather is dependent solely upon whether a sovereign God predestined him to be saved. Make no mistake, these people claim that those predestined to be saved are irresistibly moved upon by the Holy Spirit and are brought to repentance and faith, and thus made heirs of eternal life.3 But they claim such actions are totally that of God, that man has done nothing and is incapable of doing anything to receive or accept salvation.4
Many of Christ’s commands become irrelevant if one is predestined to be saved or to be damned. His command to make disciples of all nations is apparently a nice idea, but it makes no sense to try to make disciples of those who are predestined to be damned. Nor is it really important to evangelize those predestined to be saved because the sovereign God will make sure they are saved through “irresistible grace.”
Faith, purity, righteousness, holiness and obedience all become nice concepts under predestination but are irrelevant as to salvation.5 One will not be saved by anything if the Sovereign God has not predestined him to be saved. Nothing any person can do or wants to do, pro or con, will affect whether he is saved; ultimately, it is all dependent on God’s election, God’s predestination of those who will be saved.
I’ve often heard that there is tension in Scripture. Much tension exists between the doctrine of predestination and other teachings of Scripture. An example is the tension between the doctrine of predestination and the requirement for perseverance. Jesus said those who persevere to the end will be saved. Scripture exhorts the believer to persevere and not fall away from the faith.6 How can one who is predestined by God to eternal life fall away from the faith? Obviously impossible; necessarily tension. There is likewise tension between the doctrine of predestination and holiness, righteousness and obedience. There is tension between predestination of the limited few to salvation and Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for all.7 Why would Scripture emphasize that Jesus gave himself for all if only a certain predestined group of persons were to be saved? He would have died only for them, not for those God predestined to be damned without hope of redemption. There is extreme tension between the predestined few who are to be saved and the Scripture which states, “The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”8
Claiming that there are tensions in Scripture implies that the Holy Spirit is not capable of writing Scripture without tension or that God’s principles, requirements, commands, grace, justice, and love cannot coexist without tension.
I believe such teaching slanders God. I believe Almighty God caused Scripture to be written free of tension — when properly understood. When tension seems to exist, men’s understanding has failed and it is again time to ask God to reveal the truth of his word. When God answers that prayer, Scripture is found to be free of tension.
So you will find in our discussion. You will see how beautifully God’s Scripture is bound together, how the truths intertwine beautifully to create the awesome fabric of the Gospel.
The concept of predestination must be dealt with if we are to fully discuss the hypothesis that obedience is a necessary and natural response of a saving faith. If man is not accountable, then he need not be obedient — obedience is irrelevant. According to the doctrine of predestination, if God has predestined him to be saved, he will be saved without regard to how he lives. On the other hand, no matter how obedient he may be, no matter how much he wants to be saved, he will be damned if God predestined him to be damned. The Calvinists answer that by claiming that if left to themselves men would continue in their state of rebellion and refuse all offers of salvation.9
We’re all familiar with the old story of the emperor who was told he was being fitted with beautiful clothes while in fact he was naked. It was only when a boy shouted, “Look, the emperor is naked,” that the emperor learned the truth.
I may have had a parallel experience with respect to the doctrine of Predestination. When a youngster, I was taught the doctrine in my Presbyterian church. Even though a child of only 11 or 12 years of age, I readily exclaimed, “Then it doesn’t make any difference how one lives. One will either be saved or damned, according to the will of God determined before the foundations of the earth.”10
Most Calvinists would not agree. They are in the midst of the forest and cannot distinguish the forest from the trees. They have subscribed to a system of theological thought known as the Reformed Faith or Calvinism, which includes within it “this lofty doctrine of Predestination.”11
This is not to say that Calvinists do not subscribe to obedience, holiness, righteousness, the cross of Christ, and the atonement and redemption through Christ Jesus and other fundamental doctrines of the faith. However, they have lost the ability to “cut to the chase,” of looking at the bottom line of what the doctrine of “unconditional election” does to the other doctrines — it makes them irrelevant.
To be perfectly fair, let me use the language of the writer rather than my own: “The Reformed Faith has held to the existence of an eternal, divine decree which, antecedently to any difference or desert in men themselves, separates the human race into two portions and ordains one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting death.”12
Calvin said, “We shall never be clearly convinced as we ought to be that our salvation flows from the fountain of God’s free mercy, till we are acquainted with this eternal election, which illustrates the grace of God by this comparison, that He adopts not all promiscuously to the hope of salvation but gives to some what he refuses to others. Ignorance of this principle evidently detracts from the divine glory, and diminishes real humility.”13
A good place to begin this examination is a verse which speaks of both foreknowledge and predestination — Romans 8:29:
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.14
What did God foreknow? Romans 8:29 says, “For those God foreknew . . .” The author is speaking of people whom God foreknew. What do we know about those people? Verses 28 and 29 list various attributes:
- they love God,
- they are called according to his purpose,
- they will be conformed to the likeness of Jesus, and
- they are Christ’s brothers.
God foreknew those who would be saved. Note, it does not say he predestined who would be saved; he foreknew who would be saved.
God made an enormous point in verse 29 that seems to be overlooked by many in modern evangelical Christendom. God predestined that all those who would be saved (those he foreknew) would be conformed to the likeness of his Son.
This is not stated as a good idea, or as simply a goal of the believer. It is something God has predestined, something that must happen. We know it must happen because God has predestined it.
Because God has predestined it, we can logically reverse the order and see this truth from a different viewpoint: one must be conformed to the likeness of Jesus if one is to be saved.17
Many may argue with this conclusion, stating that the passage refers to being conformed to the likeness of Jesus in heaven, not here on earth. But there are many passages that confirm that it is here on earth we must be conformed to the likeness of Jesus. The Apostle John stated: “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”18 John’s statement has the same force we found in Romans 8:29 — must! Isn’t that straightforward? It should not be misunderstood by anyone.
There is more. Jesus told his disciples, “Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ.”19 ” A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.”20
Paul said the same to the other churches. He commended the Thessalonians, “You became imitators of us and of the Lord.”21 Paul told the Colossians God qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints.”22 He exhorted the Corinthians, “Aim for perfection“23 and “we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”24
What is the likeness of Jesus to which we must be conformed? That becomes a crucial question as it is something which every true believer must be.
The likeness of which God speaks surely cannot be perfection, though Paul says we must aim for perfection. Jesus alone was perfect. John says if we claim to be without sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.25
What likeness of Jesus is it which can be in common for all true believers? What must be in common between the person who has a valid deathbed conversion and the old saint who has lived for the Lord for many years? It surely is not the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit. Those on their deathbed may not have the opportunity to exercise the gifts.
What could all true believers have in common with Jesus that God would say they are conformed to Jesus’ likeness?
The characteristic of Jesus that is paramount, and one which true believers can and must emulate, is his commitment to obey the will of God.26 Those who would be his brothers — those who would be conformed into his likeness — must also be committed to obey the will of God. God is saying that all those he foreknows — those who will be saved — will commit to obey his will, just as his Son was/is committed to obey his will. It is through our persevering commitment to obey the will of God that we become conformed to the likeness of God’s son.
Could this be true? Are there other scriptures to verify this interpretation?
One of the many is found in Matthew 7:21 where Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” There Jesus limited the Kingdom of God to a certain group, just as God did in saying that those who would be saved will be conformed to the likeness of his son. It is the same limitation.
Is obedience stressed elsewhere in Scripture?27 It is perhaps the most important requirement stated by God of those who would be saved. Some examples: Jesus said, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love”28 and “You are my friends if you do what I command.”29 “Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me.”30 “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching.”31
The Holy Spirit was promised for those who obey. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever — the Spirit of truth”32 and “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”33 Peter said the same, “the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”34
Now let’s tie this together with a command familiar to all of us. “The first and greatest command,” Jesus said, “is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”35 Now let’s remember that Jesus is God.36 Considering those facts, what have the prior scriptures taught us? That true believers, those who receive the Holy Spirit and are indwelt with the Father and the Son will obey Jesus’ commands and teaching. The author of Hebrews said, “He (Jesus) became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”37
Have you noticed that there are two different standards being set forth. One is to do the will of God: we are Christ’s brothers and sisters if we do the will of God; only those who do the will of God will enter the Kingdom of God.38 On the other hand, Jesus says that if we love him [Jesus] we will obey his commands.39 How do we reconcile these standards which are worded quite differently.
They can only be totally reconciled if what Jesus teaches and commands is the will of God, of his Father in heaven. Is that true? What does Scripture say?
Recorded in the Gospel of John are numerous instances where Jesus told the origin of what he did and said: “My teaching is not my own — it comes from him who sent me;40 he who sent me is reliable, and what I have heard from him I tell the world;41 I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me;42 I am telling you what I have seen in the Father’s presence;43 — the truth that I heard from God;44 I did not speak on my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say;45 these words are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me;46 I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.”47
It is completely natural — and expected based on the foregoing — that Jesus’ command to his followers regarding new disciples would be: “teach them to obey everything I have commanded you.”48 It is through the new disciples’ commitment to obey Christ’s commandments that they are conformed to the likeness of Jesus49 and do the will of God.50 All of Jesus’ teachings and commands are the will of God.51
Paul summed it up for the Corinthians: “Keeping God’s commands is what counts.”52
We know from Scripture that Jesus gave up everything, even his life, in obedience to the will of God. The night before he was crucified he prayed to the Father that this cup would be taken from him, “But not my will, but yours be done.”53 It was God’s will that Jesus die for us, to provide atonement for our sins. Jesus was obedient to God’s will.
Did Jesus have to die? Yes, if our sins are to be forgiven.
Could he have refused? Yes. As he was being arrested, Jesus told his disciples not to offer further opposition. He explained, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”54
The same requirement — giving up everything we have — is demanded of us. Jesus taught, “Any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.”55 Each of us has the same opportunity to obey or disobey. We can choose not to give up everything we have. But then we cannot be Jesus’ disciple. We have forfeited salvation.
When Peter began his epistle, he directed it to those
“who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.”56
What was the purpose Peter recites? It was for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood. Remember, obedience to the teachings and commands of Jesus equals obedience to the will of God.57 Again we come full circle: Only those who are committed to do the will of God58 — those who are conformed to the likeness of Jesus59 — and only those who have been chosen according to God’s foreknowledge for obedience to Jesus60 will be saved. No tension, just beauty!
Did Peter say we were chosen (to be saved) by the predestination of God? Not at all. It was according to the foreknowledge of God, that foreknowledge by which God would know in advance those who would choose to follow Jesus as their Lord, who would be conformed to the likeness of Jesus through their commitment to be obedient to the will of God — the teachings and commands of Jesus.
Based on that fundamental understanding, let us examine passages dear to the hearts of those who claim God predestined those who would be saved:
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ . . .” (Ephesians 1:4-5).
In interpreting this passage we must remember another rule of interpretation. Let Scripture interpret Scripture. By doing so, we are letting the Holy Spirit tell us what he means.
The Ephesians passage speaks of believers as chosen by God. What has Peter taught us about being chosen? Believers are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
In Ephesians 1:5, we see why we were chosen — to be holy and blameless in his sight. When we are conformed to the likeness of Jesus we are surely holy and blameless in God’s sight. Peter told us we were chosen for obedience to Jesus Christ. Those who are obedient to Jesus Christ are holy in God’s sight. But we are not blameless until our sins are forgiven. Peter explained how we become blameless; he said true believers are sprinkled by his blood. The meanings are the same; the verses are giving the same message albeit using different words.
This is a verse that speaks of being chosen before the creation of the world. When misinterpreted, the emphasis of the passage is misdirected. Adherents of the doctrine of predestination focus on “he chose us in him before the creation of the world.” But that is not what the passage states. It states a qualification of those God chose (foreknew) — “to be holy and blameless in his sight.” Even before the creation of the world, God determined that those he foreknew would be saved (chosen) would be holy and blameless in his sight.61
In Ephesians 1:5, we see believers are predestined to be adopted as God’s sons through Jesus Christ. In Romans 8:29 Paul taught we were predestined to be conformed to the likeness of God’s Son, that he might be the firstborn of many brothers. Again, these meanings are the same. An adopted son of God is a brother of Jesus, the only begotten Son of God. The believers adopted as God’s sons are the many brothers of whom Jesus is the firstborn. Nowhere is there predestination of who will be saved. Rather, God predestined the qualification of those who will be adopted as God’s sons — they will be holy and blameless in his sight, conformed to the likeness of God’s Son.
Is this also true of Ephesians 1:11-12? Indeed it is.
“In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory” (Ephesians 1:11-12).
We remember that Peter taught us we were chosen by God’s foreknowledge. The remainder of the sentence is one of Paul’s elaborate sentences containing many parenthetical phrases. To paraphrase in a simple fashion: The chosen — those God foreknew would be saved — were predestined according to God’s plan to be for the praise of his glory.”
How could we be for the praise of God’s glory? Certainly the best way would be if we were conformed to the likeness of his Son — as Paul said at Romans 8:29. Again we have the marvelous consistency of Scripture. Those who God foreknew would be saved he predestined to be conformed to the likeness of God’s son,62 for the praise of his glory63 and to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ.64 No tension, just harmony.
“Before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad — in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls — she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated'” (Romans 9:11-13).
Here we introduce a new word — election. How does election relate to predestination and foreknowledge?
First, let’s notice the emphasis that the election is not by works. It has to do with God’s choice (a word used in some translations), not based on human merit — men’s deeds, achievements, or on anything they did (all words and phrases used in various translations). Thus, as we begin, it is clear this is at God’s level, not man’s. Because God declared this before the children were born, it is something he determined before they were born. Thus the translations are unanimous in their interpretations that the children did nothing intentionally and could have done nothing intentionally (after their birth) to influence God’s choice or election. This sounds suspiciously like predestination.
Now let’s examine God’s purpose in election. Can this be explained by what we’ve already learned, i.e., that through God’s foreknowledge he foreknew those who would be saved before the foundations of the earth and that God predestined a qualification for all those who would be saved?
The story of Esau and Jacob in the Old Testament is not extensive. We know that Esau offended God by giving up his birthright — an honor specifically bestowed by God on the firstborn — for a bowl of porridge simply because he was hungry after he’d been hunting.
Before the twins were born, did God see the man who would give away his birthright for porridge and say, “I hated Esau”? We can gain more insight by looking at the text in Malachi where God said, “I have hated Esau and turned his mountains into a wasteland and left his inheritance to the desert jackals.”65 God continued, “They may build, but I will demolish. They will be called The Wicked Land, a people always under the wrath of the Lord.”66 The punishment described by God is for his enemies. It now becomes more apparent that God foreknew Esau would do more than give away his birthright; he would become wicked and father a wicked people. The writer to the Hebrews called Esau godless.67 Thus, through his foreknowledge, God could say, “I have hated Esau.”.
Did God look ahead through foreknowledge and see his relationship with Jacob and say, “I loved Jacob”? We are told of Jacob’s deception in gaining the birthright, of his deceptive nature with his uncle Leben, but also of his encounter with God, wrestling with God, the vision of the ladder into heaven, God changing his name to Israel, being the father of the nation of Israel and part of the bloodline of the coming Christ. God could see through his foreknowledge a man who was deceptive in his early manhood but who came to serve him and was faithful to him in his later years. Through his foreknowledge God could say, “I loved Jacob.”
The word “choose” is similar to the word “elect.” In fact, the two words are used together, “To God’s elect, . . . who have been chosen . . .”,70 proving that the words are virtually synonymous as used by the epistle writer.
We saw the language “For he chose us in him . . .”71 and “In him we were also chosen . . .”72 What did Scripture say was the purpose of being chosen? “To be holy and blameless in his sight73 . . . and to be for the praise of his glory.”74 Scripture taught us, through Peter, that believers “have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”75
In Romans 8:28, it states that those who love God were called according to his purpose. God’s purpose is “that Jesus might be the firstborn among many brothers”76 and that these brothers would be conformed to the likeness of Jesus and be holy and blameless in his sight, for the praise of his glory.
When we use Scripture to explain Scripture, confusion and tension disappear. When we use the arguments and reasoning of men to explain Scripture, confusion and tension abound.
Starting at 2 Peter 1:5, Peter states, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness, …” He recites knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love and other virtues to add to our faith. But it is at verse 10 that we gain understanding of the word election:
“Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”77
Do you notice that Peter is putting the responsibility for making their election sure on the readers of his epistle? If the Calvinist meaning of predestination were intended for election, then the reader of Peter’s epistle would have no responsibility. Through God’s “irresistible grace” the reader, if he were predestined to be saved, would be saved. If he were not so predestined, he would be damned, irrespective of any effort or desire on his part. But Peter commanded, “make every effort . . .”78
Peter continues and makes the point that God does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.79 First, Peter’s statement is misleading if God determined in advance who would be saved and who would not. Second, he is assuring the reader that God wants him to make every effort and to make his calling and election sure; God wants everyone to come to repentance!
Peter says, “You know what God requires and you can do it.” John assures us, “God’s commands are not burdensome.”80
We can be certain that election does not mean Calvin’s predestination, but rather is related to the foreknowledge of God as it bears on those who are saved and to the requirements that God has set up for his elect when it speaks of the special qualifications of those who are saved.
As one of their spokesman has stated, “Prove any one of them false and the whole system must be abandoned.”81
Let’s do that. Let us prove false the first point — Total Inability. We’ve already shown the doctrine of predestination false.
The Westminster Confession states the doctrine of Total Inability as follows:
“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 good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”
The statement quoted above can be accepted by most who do not look at it carefully. Because much is not defined, it is impossible to know what the doctrine really is intended to say by looking at it by itself. We must look to the writings about it by those who are Calvinists.
A careful reading, however, does disclose certain points which are without proof from Scripture. Consider “being altogether averse from good,” and “wholly lost all ability of will.” These are extreme statements. Where in Scripture is the proof?
In explanation, Lorraine Boettner writes, “This doctrine of Total Inability . . . means that since the fall man rests under the curse of sin, that he is actuated by wrong principles, and that he is wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation.”82
Just as the statement of the doctrine itself, the explanation is overstated without proof, though much of the statement most Christians would agree with. But consider “wholly unable to love God.”
God describes in Scripture various people who seem to be included in order to confound false assertions. Cornelius (of Acts 10) comes instantly to my mind when confronted with the statements and doctrines concerning Total Inability. An entire chapter of Scripture was devoted to this man and his story. Do you wonder why?
First, let’s look again at the over-stated assertions of Total Inability: “wholly unable to love God or to do anything meriting salvation,” being altogether averse from good,” and “wholly lost all ability of will.”
Hopefully all will agree that as the story opens in chapter 10, verse 1, Cornelius is not a saved man. From the context following, it is clear he does not have a saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and he has not been justified. Based on the doctrine of Total Inability he is unable to love God or do anything meriting salvation, being altogether averse from good.
Would God agree with that? Apparently not. God-inspired scripture describes Cornelius as God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. God sent an angel to Cornelius who said, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”83
Cornelius must not have known about the doctrine of Total Inability or he surely would not have done as he did. He showed love for God contrary to the doctrine of Total Inability. He gave generously and prayed to God regularly. Is this “altogether averse from good”? Did Cornelius do anything to merit salvation? Yes and no. He could not earn salvation by what he did; he could not be justified before God by what he did. But he did please God. God responded by saying that his efforts to please God have come up as a memorial offering before him.
What did God do for this man who sought to please him? God told Cornelius to send for Peter so that Peter could tell him, his family, and his friends about God’s provision for salvation, atonement, redemption, and the gift of eternal life. God responded to Cornelius’ love and attention with God’s provision for salvation.
Lorraine Boettner expanded on the Calvinist position: “It is in this sense that man since the fall ‘is utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly included to all evil.’ He possesses a fixed bias of the will against God, and instinctively and willingly turns to evil. . . . The inability under which he labors is not an inability to exercise volitions, but an inability to be willing to exercise holy volitions. . . How can he come to God when he hates him?”84
Did Cornelius hate God? Was he utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly included to all evil? Did he possess a fixed bias of the will against God, and instinctively and willingly turn to evil? Of course not. None of what happened with Cornelius is possible under Calvinism’s doctrine of Total Inability. Cornelius could not have done as he did. Nevertheless, according to Calvinism, he was totally unable to be willing to exercise holy volitions.
Totally contrary to the doctrine above-stated, it was Cornelius’ willingness to exercise holy volitions that appears to have so pleased God that he arranged for Peter to tell him about God’s provision for salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.
In my study of Calvinism, I have come to realize that the doctrines of Calvinism state what first at first blush appear to be truths of Scripture. But these “truths” are over-stated beyond what Scripture has said,85 and from the over-statements false conclusions are drawn.
Of course not! God is Almighty. He has all power and all authority in heaven and on earth, which at this time has been given to his Son — the Lord Jesus Christ.86 God can do as he wishes. God was under no compulsion to provide a means of salvation. He did it for his own purposes, some of which at this time may be inscrutable to mankind. Purposes we do know, as stated above, he did it so Jesus could be the firstborn of many brothers, that we could be for the praise of his glory, and that we would be holy and blameless in his sight.
Those who adhere to Calvinism’s theory of predestination seem to limit both God and man. They seem to imply that sinful man will not willingly choose God over Satan and a sinful life style. They seem to believe that man must be compelled to believe (by Calvinism’s theory of irresistible grace) or he will not. Is God and purity and righteousness and holiness so unattractive? Are joy and peace and love not those qualities most sought by almost all people, sinners or redeemed? Are not those qualities when seen in God’s children what makes life-style evangelism so effective?
Calvinists also seem to believe that God must take away man’s free will in order that man will follow him instead of the evil one. God must predestine — require, even force — man to follow him in order to get man to do so. Doesn’t this desperately tarnish the cross of Jesus Christ? Can’t man recognize his sinfulness, God’s gracious provision for redemption, and in gratitude accept Jesus Christ as his Lord, thus receiving God’s salvation as the Father draws him to Jesus? Jesus said no one can come to him unless God (the Father) draws him,87 but nowhere does it suggest God compels anyone to come.
Calvinism’s theory of predestination itself seems to deny God’s sovereignty. Is God incapable of doing what he wants? Does he box himself into a corner by doing something he later regrets but cannot undo? You ask, “What are you speaking about?” I am referring to the following scripture:
The Lord is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.88
Based on that statement by Peter, either Peter was in error or God lacks sufficient sovereignty to do as he wishes OR Calvinism’s theory is a theory of man and does not represent God’s intent at all.
It appears to this writer that Calvinism makes a wrong basic assumption. It seems to assume that if God is sovereign he will exercise his sovereignty by sovereignly determining who will be saved and who will be damned, even before any person has done anything good or bad.
They lose sight of the fact that God may exercise his sovereignty in any manner he chooses. He may do it — and indeed has done it — exactly as he said in Scripture; he desires all to come to repentance. Jesus died once for all.89 God exhorts men to be continue to be faithful — to persevere — because they can fall away from the faith and be damned, not because God has damned them but because of their own lack of perseverance in the faith.90
But here Calvinism departs radically, claiming that God doesn’t really mean what he says in Scripture about punishment for apostasy (as no saved person can be an apostate according to them), that it is only to inspire fears and that “these fears may be the very means which God has designed to keep him from falling.”91 Isn’t it a wonder the Calvinists do not hear with their ears and see with their eyes the conflict they have created. The “elect” cannot fall (according to Calvinism) so how could these fears keep them from falling?92
Note the unsolvable tension between “not wanting anyone to perish but everyone to come to repentance” and “God has determined before the foundations of the earth who will be saved and who will not.” Something is wrong. Someone is wrong and it is not God.
This tension, if Calvinism’s view is correct, implies that though God doesn’t want anyone to perish he is incapable of doing anything about it, perhaps because of his prior decision to damn some and save others. Or he is not sufficiently sovereign to command that all come to repentance through his irresistible will. Hopefully you will agree that neither of those statements can be true. The Almighty God is capable of doing anything he wishes consistent with his character.
Could Peter’s statement be wrong? Is there other corroboration? Paul told Timothy how Christians were to live and then said, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”93 If God has predestined some to be damned, why does he want all men to be saved? Couldn’t he simply predestine all men to be saved? Is he not sufficiently sovereign to carry out his own desires?
Speaking of his own people, Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”94 Was Jesus mourning because they were not willing or because the Father had predestined them to be damned? Jesus said they were not willing. Who should we believe?
Consider what Jesus said (after giving the parable about the hundred sheep of which one was lost), “In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”95 The tension mounts. Now the Calvinist must explain away Jesus’ statement. Why didn’t God, who is sovereign, predestine that each of these little ones should be saved? Even though God was not willing that any of these little ones should be lost, was he incapable of saving them, and thus not as sovereign as he would have us believe? Of course not!
Incorrect assumptions lead to horrible conclusions.
Knowing that God is sovereign, that he is Almighty, that he can do all things without limitation except violate his own character, we know that any such interpretation must be wrong. Calvinism’s doctrine of predestination is at odds — causes tension — with other plain statements in Scripture.
God’s sovereignty permits him to choose any plan of salvation he wishes. God’s sovereignty is totally preserved and harmony is maintained in Scripture when we realize it is not, and never was, God’s plan to force people into his Kingdom. God’s plan, according to Scripture, is that all can come, that Jesus died once for all. Jesus said, “For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.”96 And “whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”97 John said, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.”98
God simply predestined a requirement — set a standard — for those who would come, that they be conformed to the likeness of his Son. No one is left out. All have the opportunity of salvation, i.e., they are not foreclosed the possibility of salvation by a prior decree of God (as Calvinism’s doctrine of Predestination would have us believe). All tension is gone. The beautiful fabric of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preserved intact.
I have a passion that people correctly understand what God predestined, that he did not foreclose the opportunity of salvation to anyone.
Having grown up in the Presbyterian Church and the Reformed Church, I was surrounded by Reformed doctrine which included the doctrine of Predestination. As I struggled with this doctrine, I saw that three things seemed true according to Calvinism: (1) The only thing that mattered concerning salvation was that one be predestined by God to salvation. (2) That the God which Scripture claimed was just seemed manifestly unjust. (3) Personal conduct did not matter. The purported Christian could do anything he wished; it could not affect his salvation.
This planted seeds of doubt in me early in my teens which ultimately bore fruit in apostasy. I came to believe that nothing about the Bible was true. Though I’d been raised to be a pastor or missionary I could not continue in a belief system I had come to believe was untrue.
As a result of the doctrine of Predestination, I lost over 25 years of my life in service to my Lord and my God. Not realizing that Calvinism was only a “system” of interpretation of Scripture and not the truth of Scripture, I abandoned the faith and became an agnostic/atheist. My children did not have a godly father, my wives did not have a godly husband, and I spread unrest instead of peace. My life was filled with tension and anger. Had I died during that period I would have spent eternity in hell.
Who knows how many children and adults have left the faith, as I did, after being confronted with the doctrine of Predestination and making like conclusions? How many tens of thousands or millions will be lost because they came to believe that living in and for the Lord Jesus Christ was unnecessary because they either would be saved or would be damned by a decision made by God before the foundations of the world?
The decision to write and to continue to write this chapter was very difficult. Some of my best friends in the faith belong to churches which endorse or follow Reformed/Calvinistic doctrines. These very men are often stalwarts of the faith, men I seek to emulate in the faith. It hurts me to expose a doctrine which purports to be part of their system of interpretation of Scripture. I hate the thought of losing such relationships over something I feel compelled to write.
It has consoled me that I am neither attacking these men personally, nor for the fact that their lives model Calvinism. Just the opposite. They live as though they don’t believe this doctrine. Their lives are upright, holy and righteous. They have a deep concern for the lost and are highly evangelical in their thinking and in their ministries. It appears they are in the Calvinist camp because that’s how they were taught; it was the teaching of their seminary, and then of their denomination.
I have found few who subscribe in the same way to the various doctrines of Calvinism. As an example, consider the Calvinist doctrine of “evanescent grace.” This is a doctrine that apparently was created to account for people who left the faith, but who by all appearances had been devout believers. Such people abandoned their beliefs, perhaps because of disappointment and bitterness over the loss of a loved one, some other personal tragedy, or a change of circumstance that caused them to drift away.
Lorraine Boettner99 explained evanescent grace as that grace which God temporarily gave to some people which allowed them to believe they were saved but which God later withdrew, damning them. These people were not among those predestined to salvation. Evanescent grace is not irresistible grace.
When I have asked my friends in the Reformed doctrine about evanescent grace most replied, “That is hyper-Calvinism. I don’t believe in that.”
The more I talked with Calvinists, the less agreement I’ve found. Each seems to have carved out his own understanding of that “lofty system.” It was not unusual to hear, “I don’t agree with that,” referring to a tenet of Calvinism.
Is Calvinism true? If it is, why not subscribe to all of it, each and every word? If it is not all true, why subscribe to any of it? Wouldn’t it be easier and much safer to simply study the Word of God and accept it wholly and without reservation? Isn’t the system of Calvinism similar to the Roman Catholic Church during the dark ages when it claimed its priests alone could interpret the Bible for the laity?
One Sunday afternoon I was expressing to a friend the question in my mind about continuing to write on this subject. I recounted my habit of submitting my writings to trustworthy friends to make sure that I was on the right track with my writings, but that I had been attacked more viciously on this subject than anything else I’d written. One Calvinist writer (who didn’t know me but was given the paper by my friend) dismissed my paper as written in arrogant ignorance. Another Calvinist wrote that he was horrified by what I’d written.
My friend — she has a deliverance ministry — immediately began to tell me of an experience she’d had. She prefaced it by saying that she had been concerned about a friend — we’ll call him Peter. She felt there was a heaviness over him. In speaking about Peter to a Christian friend, he also had observed a heaviness over Peter.
My friend was awakened in the middle of the night. She felt a great heaviness and was aware of a great, black thing. She asked the Lord what the black thing represented. The Lord answered that it was the spirit of Calvinism over Peter. The Lord told her to pray against this spirit and break its power over him. She prayed until the heaviness left.
There is something that few seem to know about Calvin’s life though it is mentioned in many books. On October 27, 1553 John Calvin, the founder of Calvinism, had Michael Servetus, the Spanish physician, burned at the stake just outside of Geneva for his doctrinal heresies!100
Calvin apparently regarded Servetus as a heretic. “To rescue Servetus from his heresies, Calvin replied with the latest edition of his Institutes of the Christian Religion, which Servetus promptly returned with insulting marginal comments.”101
Seven years prior to Servetus’ arrest Calvin wrote his friend Farel, on February 13, 1546, and went on record as saying: “If he (Servetus) comes (to Geneva), I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight.”102 Evidently Calvin’s authority in Geneva, Switzerland had ultimate “weight.” This is why some referred to Geneva as the “Rome of Protestantism”103 and to Calvin as the “Protestant ‘Pope’ of Geneva.”104
Servetus was seized the day after he arrived in Geneva and burned in 1553 with the apparent tacit approval of Calvin.105 During Servetus’ trial, Calvin wrote: “I hope that the verdict will call for the death penalty.”106 Servetus apparently pleaded with Calvin to return to him the manuscript on which he had made comments so he could use it in his defense. “Despite Servetus’s [sic] pleas, Calvin, who developed an intense dislike of Servetus during their correspondence, refused to return any of the incriminating material.”107
From the time Servetus was arrested until his condemnation, Servetus spent his remaining days “in an atrocious dungeon with no light or heat, little food, and no sanitary facilities.”108
“Calvin had him [Servetus] arrested as a heretic, convicted and burned to death.”109
“When the executioner began his work, Servetus whispered with trembling voice: ‘Oh, God, Oh God!’ The thwarted Farel snapped at him: ‘Have you nothing else to say?’ This time Servetus replied to him: ‘What else might I do, but speak of God!’ Thereupon he was lifted on to the pyre and chained to the stake. A wreath strewn with sulfur was placed on his head. When the faggots were ignited, a piercing cry of horror broke from him. ‘Mercy, mercy!’ he cried. For more than half an hour the horrible agony continued, for the pyre had been made of half-green wood, which burned slowly. ‘Jesus, Son of the eternal God, have mercy on me,’ the tormented man cried from the midst of the flames.”110
“Farel noted that Servetus might have been saved by shifting the position of the adjective and confessing Christ as the Eternal Son rather than as the Son of the Eternal God.”111
“Calvin had thus murdered his enemy, and there is nothing to suggest that he ever repented his crime. The next year he published a defence in which further insults were heaped upon his former adversary in most vindictive and intemperate language.”112
The father of Calvinism, Calvin wrote the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Yet, for at least seven years, he harbored hatred and a desire to kill another man. This hatred finally matured into the consummated act of murder from which he never publicly repented.
This is the man revered by the Calvinists, yet he lived contrary to the Scriptures. Jesus said “You have heard it said that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Calvin had anger and murder in his heart for years, ultimately culminating in the murder of Servetus.
What does Scripture say about such a person? “Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.”113 “The cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers . . . their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur.”114
Jesus said, “I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”115 Jesus also taught: “If you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”116
Did John Calvin love Servetus? No, he hated him and wished death for him. Did Calvin forgive Servetus for the “sin” of criticizing his writing? Just the opposite. Calvin apparently nurtured a death wish for Servetus for seven years, aided and abetted his murder, and then continued his diatribe against him even after his death.
Was John Calvin, the originator of Calvinism, even saved? Or was Jesus’ judgment of the Pharisees equally true of Calvin when he said, “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him.”117 John Calvin was as much a murderer as was David when he ordered Uriah to the front lines to die to hide his adultery with Bathsheba. Unlike David, there seems to be no evidence that Calvin ever repented of the murder of Servetus. A year after murdering him, Calvin continued to heap insults upon his victim.
The Apostle John taught, “We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says, ‘I know him,’ but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.”118 “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar.”119
John Calvin did not obey the Lord’s commands. Calvin harbored anger and a desire to murder and finally did murder Servetus. Then he defended the murder and continued to rage against the dead man. Scripture says such a man does not have the truth in him, that he is a liar. John taught, “He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning.120 Jesus told us that the devil is a liar and the father of lies.121
Could there then be truth in Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion? Could there be truth in Calvinism’s doctrine of Predestination?
We would expect and desire that a person who would originate major Christian doctrines be filled with the light of the Lord. But the Apostle John taught, “Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness. . . whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness; he does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded him.”122
Calvinism would have us follow the teachings of a man who, according to Scripture, is a liar, who walks around in the darkness, who hated his brother, who continued in the sin of murderous hatred — who has not seen God or known him, and who is of the devil.
Harsh words, aren’t they? Frankly, I tremble as I write them, knowing full well the wrath that will be heaped upon my head from his followers. Some will seek to denigrate me, saying, “What right have you to judge?” I can only reply as did Paul after judging (through correspondence) the man who slept with his father’s wife, “Are you not to judge those inside [the church]?”123 If Paul were to judge the evidence against John Calvin would he not command, “Expel the wicked man from among you”?124
Christendom has not expelled the wicked man from among us. Instead many have taken his writings to their hearts and seek to convert others to their way of thinking.
The doctrine of predestination slanders God, claiming God arbitrarily damns those he will and saves those he will. But Scripture says God is love.125 Scripture says the Lord is patient, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.126 Even the sovereignty of God is slandered, i.e., God is not capable of saving everyone even though he doesn’t want anyone to perish.
The doctrine of predestination makes a mockery of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross as an atonement for the sins of the world by which he redeemed mankind and paid the price of their sins. Contrary to what Scripture tells us,127 the doctrine of predestination claims that the cross of Christ is not effective for everyone who would believe with a saving faith, but only for those God predestined would be saved, irrespective of their desire to be saved, or their obedience to the will of God,128 or their submission to Jesus as their Lord.129 This, in spite of Scripture repeatedly asserting that Jesus died once for all. The doctrine of predestination almost — or actually does — makes the cross of Jesus Christ irrelevant. According to that doctrine, salvation is not dependent on whether the blood of Jesus cleansed one from all unrighteousness130 but instead on whether God predestined you to be saved.
What standard will you choose? Will you choose the Word of God or a false doctrine which slanders God?
1. This article is taken from a chapter in the book Obedience: the Mark of a Christian, not yet published.
2. Lorraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1979), page 165.
3. Id. at page 163.
4. Id. at pages 162-163.
5. But Scripture says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of heaven but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). And, “without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). Jesus said, “For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:20). Peter said, “. . . you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth . . .” (I Peter 1:22). Paul taught, “For in the gospel a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith'” (Romans 1: 17, quote from Hab. 2:4). Paul said his God-given mission was “to call people from among all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith” (Romans I :5).
6. See Matthew 11:6, Luke 7:23, 8: 13, 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Colossians I :21-23, 1 Timothy 3:6, Hebrews 2: 1, 4: 11, 6:6, 10:26-31,39, and 2 Peter 1: 10,3: 17.
7. See Hebrews 9:26, 10:10, 1 Peter3:18, and 1 John 2:2..
8. 2 Peter 3:9.
9. Boettner, supra note 2, at page 163.
10. My comment was not a result of wanting to live a wild life but one of consternation, not understanding how the doctrine fit with the Scripture I read and learned.
11. The term “lofty doctrine” is taken from Boettner, supra at note 2, page 54.
12. Id., at page 83.
13. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1993), Book III, Chapter XXI, sec. l, page 203.
14. All texts will be taken from the NIV translation of the Bible unless specifically stated otherwise.
15. Matthew 12:48-49.
16. I John 5:3: And this is love for God: to obey his commands.
17. Note that I did not say, “in order to be saved.” Scripture does not state this as a pre-condition to salvation. We come to God as we are which may be dirty, sinful, unholy, and unrighteous. God’s condition is simply that: Those who will be saved will be conformed to the likeness of his Son because God predestined it would be so. This is God’s requirement, not man’s. If you must argue about it, you must argue with God.
18. 1 John 2:6.
19. Matthew 23:10.
20. Luke 6:40.
21. 1 Thessalonians 1:6
22. Colossians 1:12.
23. 2 Corinthians 13:11.
24. 2 Corinthians 10:5.
25. 1 John 1:8.
26. The most extreme example is Jesus’ agonized prayer the night before he was crucified. Aware of what was about to happen he prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matthew 26:39,42,44). For a complete discussion, see the chapter “Jesus Modeled Obedience.”
27. The Old Testament is replete with numerous examples of God’s requirement that his people obey him. The references are too numerous to mention here.
28. John 15:10.
29. John 15:14.
30. John 14:21.
31. John 14:23.
32. John 14:15-16.
33. John 14:23.
34. Acts 5:32.
35. Matthew 22:37
36. 2 Peter 1: 1, Romans 9:5, John 1:1.
37. Hebrews 5:9.
38. Matthew 7:21
39. John 14:15, 21, 23.
40. John 7:16.
41. John 8 26
42. John 8:28.
43. John 8:38.
44. John 8:40.
45. John 12:49-50.
46. John 14:24
47. John 14:31.
48. Matthew 28:20.
49. Romans 8:29.
50. Matthew 7:21
51. Because Jesus said and did only that which God the Father told him to say and do, everything Jesus said and did was the will of God. John 7:16,8:26,28,29,38,40,12:49-50,14:10,24,31, 17:7,14. Jesus stated his purpose in coming to earth: “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38). Jesus was obedient and kept God’s word (John 8:55).
52. 1 Corinthians 7: 19.
53. Luke 22:42.
54. Matthew 26:53-54.
55. 1 Luke 14:33.
56. 1 Peter 1:2.
57. John 7:16,8:26,28,29,38,40,12:49-50,14:10,24,31,17:7,14.
58. Matthew 7:21.
59. Romans 8:29.
60. 1 Peter 1:2.
61. Paul taught the same at Colossians 1:21-23. There he presented the gospel which he taught the Colossians and of which he had become a servant:
God has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
Paul added a qualification not possible if Calvin’s predestination is true: we are presented holy in God’s sight if we continue in the faith . . . not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. Those who do not continue are not saved but those that do are saved.
62. Romans 8:29.
63. Ephesians 1:12.
64. Ephesians 1:5.
65. Malachi 1:3.
66. Malachi 1:4.
67. Hebrews 12:16.
68. Romans 9:11.
69. Ephesians 1: 12.
70. 1 Peter 1:1-2.
71. Ephesians 1:4.
72. Ephesians 1:11.
73. Ephesians 1:4.
74. Ephesians 1:12.
75. 1 Peter 1:2.
76. Romans 8:29
77. 2 Peter 1: 10-11.
78. 2 Peter 1:5.
79. 2 Peter 3:9.
80. 1 John 5:3.
81. Supra note 2, p. 59.
82. Id, p.61.
83. Acts 10:4.
84. Supra note 2, p. 62.
85. Unfortunately overstatements often are not recognized by the person who is not a student of the Word nor of people who read quickly and/or casually.
86. Matthew 28:18.
87. John 6:44: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise
him up at the last day.”
88. 2 Peter 3:9.
89. Hebrews 7:27, 9:12, 26, 10:10, 1 Peter 3:18, 1 John 2:2.
90. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, Colossians 1:21-23.
91. Supra note 2, pages 195-196.
92. Likewise, supra note 2, page 25, the author states that Scripture often describes an act or a thing as it appears to be, rather than as it really is, trying to explain away Scriptures which speak of a purpose of God as dependent on the actions of men.
93. 1 Timothy 2:3.
94. Luke 13:34.
95. Matthew 18:14.
96. John 6:40.
97. John 11:26
98. 1 John 2:2
99. The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination, (The Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1979). Copyrighted in 1932, the book was in its 24th printing.
100. “On only two counts, significantly, was Servetus condemned – namely, anti-Trinitarianism and anti-paedobaptism.” Roland H. Bainton, Hunted Heretic (The Beacon Press, 1953), p. 207. [While Servetus was wrong about the Trinity, regarding his rejection of infant baptism, Servetus said, “It is an invention of the devil, an infernal falsity for the destruction of all Christianity” (Ibid., p. 186). Many Christians of our day could only give a hearty “Amen” to this statement made about infant baptism. However, this is why, in part, Servetus was condemned to death by the Calvinists!] The source of this and all following material re the murder of Servetus is from His Ashes Cry Out Against John Calvin, Evangelical Outreach, PO Box 265, Washington, PA 15301-0265.
101. Steven Ozment, The Age of Reformation 1250-1550 (New Haven and London Yale University Press, 1980), p. 370.
102. Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Baker Book House, 1950), p. 371.
103. The Wycliff Biographical Dictionary of the Church (Moody Press, 1982), p. 73.
104. Stephen Hole Fritchman, Men Of Liberty (Reissued, Kennikat Press, Inc., 1968), p.8.
105. Who’s Who in Church History (Fleming H. Revell Company, 1969), p. 252.
106. Walter Nigg, The Heretics (Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1962), p. 328.
107. The Age of Reformation 1250-1550, p. 370.
108. John H. Fulton, Michael Servetus Humanist and Martyr (Herbert Reichner, 1953), p. 35.
109. The Wycliff Biographical Dictionary of the Church, p. 366.
110. The Heretics, p. 327.
111. Hunted Heretic, p. 214. [Comment: Nowhere in the Bible do we see this sort of emphasis for one’s salvation. The dying thief, the Philippian jailer and Cornelius were all saved by a most basic trusting-submitting faith in Jesus.
112. Michael Servetus Humanist and Martyr, p. 36.
113. I John 3:15.
114. Revelation 21:8. See also Rev. 22:15, Galatians 5:19-21, and Ephesians 4:31, 5:5-6.
115. Matthew 5:43.
116. Matthew 6:14-15. See also Matthew 18:21-35.
117. John 8:44.
118. 1 John 2:3-4.
119. 1 John 4:20.
120. 1 John 2:8.
121. John 8:44.
122. I John 9-11.
123. I Corinthians 5:12.
124. I Corinthians 5: 13.
125. 1 John 4:16.
126. 2 Peter 3:9.
127. Peter claimed Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God (I Peter 3: 18). See Hebrews 9:26: But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. See also Hebrews 9: 12, and 10:10.
128. At Matthew 7:21 Jesus taught that only those who do the will of God will enter the Kingdom of God.
129. Romans 10:9-10 states that those who confess Jesus as Lord and believe in their hearts that God raised him from the dead will be saved.
130. 1 John 1:7, 9.