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Proof I Could Never Be a Calvinist

John Calvin (1509-1564)

John Calvin (1509-1564)

In this passage John Calvin says that God sends people to Hell for no other reason than that God wishes to do so:

“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an invidious charge admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobated…. This they do ignorantly and childishly since there could be no election without its opposite reprobation. God is said to set apart those whom he adopts for salvation. It were most absurd to say, that he admits others fortuitously, or that they by their industry acquire what election alone confers on a few. Those, therefore, whom God passes by he reprobates, and that for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.”

— John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (translated by Henry Beveridge), Book 3, Chapter 23.

HT: Jerry Walls via Facebook. You can find the definition of “reprobation” here at “(Theology) Christianity: condemnation to eternal punishment in hell; rejection by God.”

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9 Responses

  1. Ross April 4, 2014 / 12:18 am

    Herein is love, not that we loved God but that He loved us, and gave His Son to be the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but for the sins of the whole world. ….And the Spirit and the Bride say come. And let him who hears say come. And let him who is thirsty come. And WHOEVER DESIRES, let him take the water of life freely.(1 Jn, and Rev )

  2. bruce mercer April 5, 2014 / 11:54 am

    those who come will be accepted. you cite that like God will exclude any who come. faith in the finished works of Christ (active and passive obedience) and repentance are the appointed means to salvation. faith and repentance as well as regeneration are the work of the Spirit (God) in us to point us to Christ (God-man), and it’s by grace from Abba Father (God)

    • Craig L. Adams April 5, 2014 / 12:10 pm

      Yes. I see. But, “reprobate” means that God has chosen to send them to hell “for no other cause but because he is pleased to exclude them from the inheritance which he predestines to his children.” They did not come because God had determined beforehand that they could not come.

      • noscire April 6, 2014 / 10:43 am

        Sir, God’s holiness, justice and righteousness is beyond anyone’s mind to measure, they did not come because they are determined to walk away and hate God, left them condemned already in their own weight. Christ (the word who is God became flesh) came to the rescue of many appointed to salvation and the Holy Spirit intervenes, changed their inner being and to enable them to follow Him willingly this was to show His grace, mercy and love beyond measure, and off the chart of anyone’s capacity to comprehend. Now, who is responsible for the damnation of the reprobates is it God? yes because he is just to punish them, is God responsible for their committed crimes? no, it is not He who created sin in them, He did not made the decree of man’s disobedience but allowed it to happen because of man’s independent rebellion. God is just to send all humanity to hell but by His sovereign electing grace chose a definite people for Himself and set them apart to express His mercy and love. This is the revelation of His attributes and He cannot abandon one attribute for the sake another and that’s what Christ did to satisfy justice and appeased wrath through His death on the cross and can now be still holy, just, righteous, gracious, merciful, and loving. You should have considered this. Let me also explain this quote “God sends people to Hell for no other reason than that God wishes to do so” He has all the reason and God wishes to do so because of their sin, yet He is willing to save some for the praise of His glorious grace and that’s good news! Calvin simply wanted to refute the error of those who admit the doctrine of election, but deny that any one is reprobate which is illogical. reprobate is a ‘sinner’ who is not of the elect and is predestined to damnation and again, God did not predestined them to commit sin nor predestined anyone to commit suicide yet allowed it to happen anyway out of their own weight and predestined them into condemnation and there’s no need the power of God to make them reprobate but only out of their own weight. He is not surprised because He upholds everything from eternity past to eternal future. Again God did not manipulate sin to enter but simply allows it to take place for a greater purpose and that includes the revelation of Himself to His creation through His redemptive acts recorded is Scripture.

        • Craig L. Adams April 6, 2014 / 6:33 pm

          Thanks for taking the time to defend Mr. Calvin. I believe you have stated the Calvinistic line pretty well (from what I know of it).

          However, the “love” and “justice” of the Creator you describe is not either “love” or “justice” in any really meaningful sense. The love and justice of the Creator that you posit are contrary to love and justice as we would understand them. And since we are spiritually shaped by the God we serve — this type of theology seems to me to be morally and spiritually toxic. It undermines the meaning of both love and justice.

          I believe we are spiritually shaped by the God that we serve.

          I know many very good Christians — and there have been many throughout Christian history — who subscribe to this type of theology but whose lives rise above it and I am thankful for that — and for them. Certainly God is faithful and sometimes overlooks our faults and misconceptions. Certainly there are many things about God that we will never understand fully because our minds are incapable of conceiving of God as God truly is.

          I believe all forms of determinism — this would include the Calvinistic theology to which you subscribe, but would also include naive forms of universalism, and atheistic forms of determinism — undermine the notion of moral responsibility and trivialize human action. It does not exalt the sovereignty of God to make God a deterministic monster.

          I believe that the God revealed to us in Jesus Christ is a God of universal grace and love. I believe of Christ that: “in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” (John 1:4 NRSV). This is not a theology of universal salvation, but it is a theology of universal love.

          I believe that salvation is offered to all — not as a ruse, but as a reality.

          “I appeal to every impartial mind… whether the mercy of God would not be far less gloriously displayed, in saving a few by his irresistible power, and leaving all the rest without help, without hope, to perish everlastingly, than in offering salvation to every creature, actually saving all that consent thereto, and doing for the rest all that infinite wisdom, almighty power, and boundless love can do, without forcing them to be saved. — John Wesley, “Predestination Calmly Considered.”

          (By the way, there are some forms of Reformed theology to which I have little or no real substantive objection. And, while I often quote Calvin unflatteringly, he said and taught many good things — and at times, seems less strict in his “Calvinism” than some of his followers became.)

          More on this topic here:

    • A. J. Derxsen October 3, 2021 / 1:42 am

      “I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11).

      Calvin was therefore wrong.

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