Calvinism In Context

Primer On Relevant Obstacles – Logical Fallacies

15 Logical Fallacies You Should Know Before Getting Into a Debate

Types, Purposes Of Logical Fallacies

“Logical fallacies are flawed, deceptive, or false arguments that can be proven wrong with reasoning. These are the most common fallacies you should know about.

Arguments and debates are an important part of college and academic discourse. But not every argument is perfect. Some can be picked apart because they have errors in reasoning and rhetoric. These are called “logical fallacies,” and they’re very common.”

Calvinism Operates Within This Context

*> Daryl here. Having participated in & read numerous discussions on Calvinism vs. non-Calvinism, lately, I have identified several logical fallacies common to a ‘T’, in Calvinist argument. Calvinism must be understood to operate within this context. Familiarizing one’s self with these logical fallacies, will assist in cutting thro’ ‘the house of smoke and mirrors,’ logical fallacies and cut to the chaff.

An ex. from a Calvinist website defending the doctrine of ‘Total Depravity’ follows below this section, for any wanting to skip over this material. The link above gives further help with this subject. The most common logical fallacies I have observed are false dilemma/dichotomy, ad hominem, straw man argument, hasty generalization, causal fallacy, and others from time to time.


Ad Hominem

An ad hominem fallacy uses personal attacks rather than logic. This fallacy occurs when someone rejects or criticizes another point of view based on the personal characteristics, ethnic background, physical appearance, or other non-relevant traits of the person who holds it.

Ad hominem arguments are often used in politics, where they are often called “mudslinging.” They are considered unethical because politicians can use them to manipulate voters’ opinions against an opponent without addressing core issues.

Straw Man

A straw man argument attacks a different subject rather than the topic being discussed — often a more extreme version of the counter argument. The purpose of this misdirection is to make one’s position look stronger than it actually is.

The straw man argument is appropriately named after a harmless, lifeless scarecrow. Instead of contending with the actual argument, they attack the equivalent of a lifeless bundle of straw — an easily defeated puppet that the opponent was never arguing for in the first place.

Appeal to Ignorance

An appeal to ignorance (also known as an “argument from ignorance”) argues that a proposition must be true because it has not been proven false or there is no evidence against it.

The argument can be used to bolster multiple contradictory conclusions at once, such as the following two claims:

False Dilemma/False Dichotomy

A false dilemma or false dichotomy presents limited options — typically by focusing on two extremes — when in fact more possibilities exist. The phrase “America: Love it or leave it” is an example of a false dilemma.

The false dilemma fallacy is a manipulative tool designed to polarize the audience, promoting one side and demonizing another. It’s common in political discourse as a way of strong-arming the public into supporting controversial legislation or policies.

Slippery Slope

A slippery slope argument assumes that a certain course of action will necessarily lead to a chain of future events. The slippery slope fallacy takes a benign premise or starting point and suggests that it will lead to unlikely or ridiculous outcomes with no supporting evidence.

You may have used this fallacy on your parents as a teenager: “But you have to let me go to the party! If I don’t go to the party, I’ll be a loser with no friends. Next thing you know, I’ll end up alone and jobless, living in your basement when I’m 30!”

Circular Argument

Circular arguments occur when a person’s argument repeats what they already assumed before without arriving at a new conclusion. For example, if someone says, “According to my brain, my brain is reliable,” that’s a circular argument.

Circular arguments often use a claim as both a premise and a conclusion. This fallacy only appears to be an argument when in fact it’s just restating one’s assumptions.

Hasty Generalization

A hasty generalization is a claim based on a few examples rather than substantial proof. Arguments based on hasty generalizations often don’t hold up due to a lack of supporting evidence: The claim might be true in one case, but that doesn’t mean it’s always true.

Hasty generalizations are common in arguments because there’s a wide range of what’s acceptable for “sufficient” evidence. The rules for evidence can change based on the claim you’re making and the environment where you are making it — whether it’s rooted in philosophy, the sciences, a political debate, or discussing house rules for using the kitchen.

Red Herring

A red herring is an argument that uses confusion or distraction to shift attention away from a topic and toward a false conclusion. Red herrings usually contain an unimportant fact, idea, or event that has little relevance to the real issue.

Red herrings are a common diversionary tactic when someone wants to shift the focus of an argument to something easier or safer to address. But red herrings can also be unintentional.

Appeal to Hypocrisy

An appeal to hypocrisy — also known as the tu quoque fallacy — focuses on the hypocrisy of an opponent. The tu quoque fallacy deflects criticism away from oneself by accusing the other person of the same problem or something comparable.

The tu quoque fallacy is an attempt to divert blame. The fallacy usually occurs when the arguer uses apparent hypocrisy to neutralize criticism and distract from the issue.

Causal Fallacy

Causal fallacies are informal fallacies that occur when an argument incorrectly concludes that a cause is related to an effect. Think of the causal fallacy as a parent category for other fallacies about unproven causes.

One example is the false cause fallacy, which is when you draw a conclusion about what the cause was without enough evidence to do so. Another is the post hoc fallacy, which is when you mistake something for the cause because it came first — not because it actually caused the effect.

Sunk Cost

A sunk cost fallacy is when someone continues doing something because of the effort they already put in it, regardless of whether the additional costs outweigh the potential benefits. “Sunk cost” is an economic term for any past expenses that can no longer be recovered.

For example: Imagine that after watching the first six episodes of a TV show, you decide the show isn’t for you. Those six episodes are your “sunk cost.” A sunk cost fallacy would be deciding to finish watching anyway because you’ve already invested roughly six hours of your life in it.

Appeal to Authority

Appeal to authority is the misuse of an authority’s opinion to support an argument. While an authority’s opinion can represent evidence and data, it becomes a fallacy if their expertise or authority is overstated, illegitimate, or irrelevant to the topic.

For example, citing a foot doctor when trying to prove something related to psychiatry would be an appeal to authority fallacy.


Equivocation happens when a word, phrase, or sentence is used deliberately to confuse, deceive, or mislead. In other words, saying one thing but meaning another.

When it’s poetic or comical, we call this a “play on words.” But when it’s done in a political speech, an ethics debate, or an economics report — and it’s designed to make the audience think you’re saying something you’re not — that’s when it becomes a fallacy.

Appeal to Pity

An appeal to pity relies on provoking your emotions to win an argument rather than factual evidence. Appealing to pity attempts to pull on an audience’s heartstrings, distract them, and support their point of view.

Someone accused of a crime using a cane or walker to appear more feeble in front of a jury is one example of appeal to pity. The appearance of disability isn’t an argument on the merits of the case, but it’s intended to sway the jury’s opinion anyway.

Bandwagon Fallacy

The bandwagon fallacy assumes something is true (or right or good) because others agree with it. In other words, the fallacy argues that if everyone thinks a certain way, then you should, too.

One problem with this kind of reasoning is that the broad acceptance of a claim or action doesn’t mean that it’s factually justified. People can be mistaken, confused, deceived, or even willfully irrational in their opinions, so using them to make an argument is flawed.

Final Word

We hope this primer on logical fallacies helps you to navigate future disputes with friends, family, and online acquaintances without descending into vitriol or childish name-calling.


Calvinist Using ‘Straw Man Argument’ In Attributing The Same To Opponents – Calvinist Website

Total Depravity: Debunking Common Straw Man Arguments


“The usual way of arguing against one of the doctrines of grace is first, to misrepresent it so badly that no serious student of the Scripture would ever embrace it; then totally demolish it with arguments that have nothing at all to do with the issue. You have heard these straw man arguments before. Now we shall boldly look at them and debunk them one straw at a time. Some say the doctrine of total depravity (inability) cannot be true because:

1. The Bible teaches that all are responsible to believe and repent.

2.The Bible teaches that man has a will (choice). Man is not a robot or a puppet.

3. Every man does not act as sinfully as he is capable of acting.

4. Even wicked men perform acts which are good in the sight of other people.

Well…                                                                                                                                                                   1. The Bible teaches that men, controlled by a sinful nature, are not able to believe or repent. The person who believes in free grace has no argument with the truth that sinners are responsible. What he denies is that God requires no more than man is able to do. For instance, God requires perfect obedience to His law from those who possess no ability or desire to obey it (Romans 8:7).                                                                                                                                                     

Man’s inability springs from his sinful and rebellious unwillingness. He cannot (John 6:44), because he will not.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. The Bible does teach that man has a choice and that he acts freely in the exercise of that choice. The issue concerns whether a person, controlled by a sinful nature, will ever make the proper choice. The Bible teaches that man’s will is bound and controlled by his sinful nature; so that he cannot and will not choose Christ, believe the gospel, or forsake sin unless God, in sovereign grace, changes his nature (John 3:19-21, 6:44, 6:65; 1 Corinthians 1:18, 2:14; Romans 3:11).

3. Every man, left to himself is capable of the most heinous sins. Every man at heart is the same (Proverbs 27:19) — deceitful and desperately wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

4. Men are wicked in God’s sight and totally incapable of doing that which is well-pleasing to Him (Genesis 6:5; Psalm 14:1-3; Ecclesiastes 7:20, 29; Job 15:16; Jeremiah 9:3; Romans 3:10-18).

My Response (Daryl)

In above argument they throw out the straw man accusation against non-Calvinists, saying they misrepresent ‘total depravity,’ then give the typical non-Calvinists arguments as if this is the straw man, then they bring their argument with corroborating Scripture, as if there is nothing in Scripture that opposes their reasoning.

The Calvinist ‘straw man argument’ ex. used above, by Calvinists attributed to non-Calvinists, is in actual fact, the exact reverse. The Calvinist states what they think non-Calvinists argue, and then give their response in accordance with what they attribute to non-Calvinists as the non-Calvinist’s arguement.

The whole argument to prove non-Calvinist ‘straw man argument’, is actually reversed or at least highly misrepresentative of non-Calvinists. They say “non-C misrepresent it so badly that no serious student of the Scripture would ever embrace it. So they start off saying they are being misrepresented, and what non-C are saying is not the truth about C. So automatically, the non-C is being portrayed as being misinformed, and in such way, as no serious student of the Scriptures would ever embrace.

There are several logical fallacies applied in this approach so far. Ad homien – attacking the opponent, portraying the opponent as misinformed so badly, that any serious student of Scripture would reject their misinformed argument. Then, say the C., the non-C. demolish the argument that is not relevant to the true one, therefore they appear to win the straw argument. This is like a house of mirrors.

The C. would say, “You are misrepresenting me, making the argument something that it is not, and then responding to the false argument you have created, with your straw man argument.” House of mirrors. Calvinism must be understood to operate within this context, therefore logical fallacies must be understood, in order to cut thro’ ‘the smoke and mirror’ logical fallacies and cut to the chaff. Their accusation of straw man argument is in actuality the real straw man argument.

They give 4 points supposedly common to non-C, then respond with Scripture to ‘debunked’ those reasons, yet they give no Scripture for the non-C position. This could be seen as straw man approach. They say non C. say this, giving no non C. support for their points, which may not accurately represent non C. arguments. Then they demolish the non-C. pre-supposed arguments, doing exactly what they accused the non-C. of. House of smoke & mirrors logical fallacies.

The Logical Fallacy Of False Dilemmas


Logical fallacies serve to confound an issue and make a false perspective appear to be valid. In this article we will debunk this fallacious argument and present a much more robust answer to the problem being presented.

These Calvinists are committing the “false dilemma” fallacy by insisting that there are only two alternatives to the problem when other valid options are clearly available and not being offered for objective consideration.

Calvinism’s Greatest Fallacy- ‘God Decrees A World Of Evil’

Many Calvinists insist that all the heinous evil in our world must have been meticulously “brought to pass” or “decreed” by God otherwise it would prove (1) God has no purpose for evil’s existence or (2) He is powerless to do anything about it.[1]

For instance, Calvinistic scholar, Matt Slick states, 

“…if someone were robbed and beaten, and yet God had no say in the crime whatsoever (for it was a free, uninhibited action based upon the criminal’s free will), then the person robbed would not have only been unjustly treated, but the evil he endured would have had no point to it.  It was just a spontaneous action from a criminal.  God is sort of left helpless in the matter.” <link>

These Calvinists are committing the “false dilemma” fallacy by insisting that there are only two alternatives to the problem when other valid options are clearly available and not being offered for objective consideration.

First of all, let’s dispose of the second alternative presented by the Calvinist’s false dilemma, “God is powerless to do anything about moral evil.”  We can all agree that God has the power to stop sin, just as He had the power to prevent it from ever entering into our world, so let’s just dismiss that as an option. We are not debating about what God COULD do, we are debating about what God is PLEASED to do. This is not about God’s abilities, its about His character.

We can affirm that “God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him,” (Ps. 115:3) while still holding on to the equally valid truth that, “the highest heavens belong to the LORD, but the earth he has given to mankind” (Ps. 115:16). This means it pleases God to give man a certain level of “libertarian freedom” or “dominion.”  This is a biblical view of divine sovereignty and human responsibility.  As A.W. Tozer rightly explains:

“God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice, and man from the beginning has fulfilled that decree by making his choice between good and evil. When he chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfills it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. If in His absolute freedom God has willed to give man limited freedom, who is there to stay His hand or say, ‘What doest thou?’ Man’s will is free because God is sovereign. A God less than sovereign could not bestow moral freedom upon His creatures. He would be afraid to do so.” – A.W. Tozer, The Knowledge of the Holy: The Attributes of God

One cannot presume that it did not please God to create libertarian free creatures, as do the Calvinists who present this false dilemma.

Now, let’s consider the Calvinist’s first alternative, which was, “God has no purpose for evil’s existence.” The shortsightedness of that statement is revealed by simply asking, “Did God have a good purpose in creating libertarian free creatures who have the ability to choose moral evil?”

Calvinists are failing to acknowledge the possibility that evil is a consequence of libertarian free will (the ability of morally accountable creatures to refrain or not refrain from a given moral action). The only way they can ignore this possibility is to deny God’s omnipotence by suggesting He is not powerful enough to have created libertarianly free creatures even if He was pleased to do so. Surely Calvinists do not want to suggest God is incapable of doing as He pleases.

“In short, the Calvinist has assumed our premise cannot be true (question begging) and concluded that God is either (1) purposing all evil or (2) the existence of evil has no purpose (false dichotomy). Thus, their argument, once again, rests on a logical fallacy.

*> Daryl here. The third choice which C.’s deny, is that God gave humanity a free will, therefore evil is a possibility, resultant upon the freedom of people to choose evil or good. Again, C.’s logical fallacy, the false dilemma they present, is that either evil has no purpose or God decreed it, because God, being absolutely sovereign, decrees all things. The existence of evil, not from the choice of man, for man cannot choose freely, must therefore come from God, for there is no other possibly. God in decreeing all things, decrees all evil for some redemptive good, tho’ it may be a mystery. For them, there is no other explanation for evil. Their own perspective paints them in a corner, creating this false dilemma.

A clear distinction must be made in the idea of God actively purposing evil and His actively using creaturely evil for His good purposes. The former impugns his Holiness while the latter highlights His redemptive sovereignty and ultimate glory as the Holy, perfect, sinless Creator.

“In short, the Calvinist has assumed our premise cannot be true (question begging) and concluded that God is either (1) purposing all evil or (2) the existence of evil has no purpose (false dichotomy). Thus, their argument, once again, rests on a logical fallacy.

Calvinists should be asking what we believe God’s purpose is in creating libertarianly free creatures, not merely presuming He hasn’t, or couldn’t even if He so desired.  (And in turn, we should be asking Calvinists what they believe God’s purpose is in creating “non-libertarianly free” creatures that He Himself determines to do evil.)

Calvinist Apologist, Dr. James White

[1] Calvinistic apologist, Dr. James White, was asked, “When a child is raped, is God responsible and did He decree that rape?” He answered, 

“Yes, because if not then it’s meaningless and purposeless and though God knew it was going to happen he created it without a purpose… If He didn’t then that rape is an element of meaningless evil that has no purpose.” (See full dialogue below)


Calvinistic Pastor, Dr. John Piper, teaches:

God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child…” (Link)— Mark R. Talbot, “’All the Good That Is Ours in Christ’: Seeing God’s Gracious Hand in the Hurts Others Do to Us,” in John Piper and Justin Taylor (eds.), Suffering and the Sovereignty of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2006), 31-77 (quote from p. 42).

John Calvin himself taught:

“Creatures are so governed by the secret counsel of God, that nothing happens but what he has knowingly and willingly decreed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 16, Paragraph 3)

“thieves and murderers, and other evildoers, are instruments of divine providence, being employed by the Lord himself to execute judgments which he has resolved to inflict.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 1, Chapter 17, Paragraph 5)

…it is very wicked merely to investigate the causes of God’s will. For his will is, and rightly ought to be, the cause of all things that are.”…”For God’s will is so much the highest rule of righteousness that whatever he wills, by the very fact that he wills it, must be considered righteous. When, therefore, one asks why God has so done, we must reply: because he has willed it. But if you proceed further to ask why he so willed, you are seeking something greater and higher than God’s will, which cannot be found.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

It is evil, says Calvin, to question the supposed purpose for God’s decreed will in any thing.

“Many professing a desire to defend the Deity from an individual 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.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

“…it is utterly inconsistent to transfer the preparation for destruction to anything but God’s secret plan… God’s secret plan is the cause of hardening.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 2, Chapter 23, Paragraph 1)

All Of Adam’s Children Have Fallen By God’s Will”

“I admit that in this miserable condition wherein men are now bound, all of Adam’s children have fallen by God’s will.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 4)

“With Augustine I say: the Lord has created those whom he unquestionably foreknew would go to destruction. This has happened because he has willed.” (John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 5)

“…individuals are born, who are doomed from the womb to certain death, and are to glorify him by their destruction.” (John Calvin,Institutes of Christian Religion, Book 3, Chapter 23, Paragraph 6)

John Calvin Said : a


ORIGIN OF CALVINISM – * excellent informative listening – Calvinism in context

a – part 1

a – part 2

The False Dilemma Of Universalism

Another very common logical fallacy, false dilemma presented, is proclaiming that if one believes everyone is free to choose to believe, obey, and follow the Lord, that they are believing in universalism. It’s either predetermined election, or everyone will be saved. This false dilemma of course is not true, a third option being, people can choose to respond the gospel offered, but those who don’t are under God’s judgement.

Conversations On Calvinism Vs. Free Will

M. T. – M. SYou might be surprised to know that not all Calvinists are determinists. Most aren’t but people think that because they don’t understand. We do believe that people make choices and that we are responsible for our own choices.


  • M. S.- M. TCalvinists always say people don’t understand. But the truth is, it’s not complicated. Scripture is simple and clear. Calvinism inevitably leads to determinism if applied consistently.

M.T. – M.S. It’s never determinism when you believe and understand that we still choose what we choose and are responsible for those choices. God is sovereign over it all and we make our own choices. Both are true. Like you said before some truths we just can’t comprehend. It’s pretty uncharitable though to tell someone they believe something they actually don’t believe instead of listening and trying to understand.


*> Daryl here, responding to above comment -for this blog. This is double speak rhetoric, either a trained part of C. doctrinal debate, or ignorance of what C. really teaches.

The compatibilism argument, (which should be read from link above) says, man has free choice within the confines of a totally depraved nature, only able to make choices within that arena. So they say, yes everyone has free choice, which is not true. Man has free choice to choose God, which compatibilism still denies. So M.T. above says; It’s never determinism when you believe and understand that we still choose what we choose and are responsible for those choices.” Then M.T. goes on to say, “It’s pretty uncharitable though to tell someone they believe something they actually don’t believe instead of listening and trying to understand.” (typical C.’s response)

Because C.’s change the definition of free will to mean ‘combatalism’ they charge you with accusing them of telling them things they don’t actually believe. This could be considered a straw man argument, yet they will attribute straw man argumentation to you. So often I hear, “You don’t understand, you’re misunderstanding, misinterpreting what C.’s believe.” They change words, definitions, often, constantly exercising logical fallacies.


M.S. – M.T. Calvinists in general very frequently accuse people of not understand their doctrine.

M.T. – M. S. I do understand what you’re saying. A lot of us say that. But also its true that people don’t fully understand sometimes.

What is compatibilism? a

C. C. M. SWell the Calvinists will say that everything you said is just an attempt at dodging what they see as the truth of the matter. 


The above responses could be: An appeal to hypocrisy — also known as the tu quoque fallacy — focuses on the hypocrisy of an opponent. The tu quoque fallacy deflects criticism away from oneself by accusing the other person of the same problem or something comparable.

The tu quoque fallacy is an attempt to divert blame. The fallacy usually occurs when the arguer uses apparent hypocrisy to neutralize criticism and distract from the issue.


M. T. L. M. I understand what you’re saying. I believe that we will never choose God in the our own nature- in the flesh as Paul describes it- until we have the Spirit we cannot discern the things of God. We do make our own choices and yes everyone is called to believe. All those who do not believe and trust in Jesus are lost. And God is still loving and good even though those who don’t believe will go to hell. Maybe this will be helpful to at least understand these kind of beliefs. Even if you don’t agree, that’s totally fine.

“From a theological viewpoint, the definition of the will is viewed in light of the revealed, biblical truths of original sin and the spiritual depravity of man. These two truths render the definition of “will” in regard to fallen man as “captive to sin” (Acts 8:23), a “slave of sin” (John 8:34; Romans 6:16-17) and subject only to its “master,” which is sin (Romans 6:14). As such, although the will of man is “free” to do as it wishes, it wishes to act according to its nature, and since the nature of the fallen will is sinful, every intent of the thoughts of the fallen man’s heart is “only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5, cf. Genesis 8:21). He, being naturally rebellious to that which is spiritually good (Romans 8:7-8; 1 Corinthians 2:14), “is bent only on rebellion” (Proverbs 17:11). Essentially, man is “free” to do as he wishes, and he does just that, but man simply cannot do that which is contrary to his nature. What man “wills” to do is subject to and determined solely by his nature.

Here is where compatibilism makes the distinction between man having a free will and being a “free agent.” Man is “free” to choose that which is determined by his nature or by the laws of nature. To illustrate, the laws of nature prohibit man from being able to fly, but this does not mean that man is not free. The agent, man, is only free to do that which his nature or the laws of nature allow him to do. Theologically speaking, though the natural man is unable to submit himself to the law of God (Romans 8:7-8) and unable to come to Christ unless the Father draws him to Him (John 6:44), the natural man still acts freely in respect to his nature. He freely and actively suppresses the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18) because his nature renders him unable to do otherwise (Job 15:14-16; Psalm 14:1-3; 53:1-3; Jeremiah 13:23; Romans 3:10-11). Two good examples of Jesus’ confirmation of this concept can be found in Matthew 7:16-27 and Matthew 12:34-37.”


*> Daryl here Compatibilism is still entirely based upon the belief in the total depravity of man. The Scriptures cited above are used to paint man as being in an impossible position to ever choose God, apart from God 1st changing man’s depraved disposition.


Calvinism And Biblical Interpretation


Calvinists make such a fuss about them being better at scriptural interpretation than others who may call themselves fundamentalists. Many calvinists are guilty of even proclaiming that they are the only ones with a genuine understanding of the truth. Al Mohler (of Southern Baptist Convention) clearly thinks so!
“Where else are they going to go? If you’re a theological minded, deeply convictional young evangelical, if you’re committed to the gospel and want to see the nations rejoice in the name of Christ, if you want to see gospel built and structured committed churches, your theology is just going end up basically being Reformed, basically something like this new Calvinism, or you’re going to have to invent some label for what is basically going to be the same thing, there just are not options out there

Calvinists Are Generally Evangelized Into Calvinism

– Indoctrination

The typical calvinist will tell you that he is better able to understand the Bible because he is one of the elect, or that he takes a higher view of God’s sovereignty (or grace), but is this true? In fact, calvinists in general are only calvinist in their beliefs because they were “evangelised” at some point in time to look seriously at the doctrines of calvinism, usually by a pastor, friend or teaching media of some kind. Genuine Christians who are not “evangelised” by calvinistic doctrines are, as a rule, non-calvinist. That is, they have to be “informed” in some way concerning calvinism before they will consider the issues. Even (especially) those who read their Bibles thoroughly do not develop calvinist beliefs without some definite contact by a calvinist (or similar), be he pastor, friend, or through some kind of media (DVD, CD, book, etc.).

Therefore, why is it that people need contact with calvinistic doctrines before they become calvinist? Why is it that just reading the Bible alone doesn’t appear to make them calvinistic? For, it does appear that Bible study on its own does not produce calvinist doctrines!

So, to become a calvinist does seem to require some kind of “evangelising” to the creed by a dedicated calvinist contact. But, the question may be asked, can’t they get these doctrines by just reading the Bible without any calvinist “contact”? Well, the answer apparently is a resounding “No!” People just don’t become calvinists by merely reading their Bibles. They become calvinists after being “contacted” by calvinist doctrine via someone or various media. There is clearly a calvinist way of looking at what the Bible says, and this calvinist way is definitely not clear to those who know nothing about calvinist doctrines. In other words, calvinism is a method of Biblical interpretation that is not available to non-calvinists. (As a consequence, many calvinists will declare those who don’t understand calvinist doctrines to be either naïve Christians, or even without any spiritual understanding, that is, non-Christians! Although calvinists prefer to call them “non-elect”, rather than “non-Christians” or “unsaved”.)

Calvinist ‘Code’-Esoteric Knowledge Reserved For Initiates – Gnosticism

Calvinism is a specific code designed to interpret the Bible in a certain specific way. Thus calvinists often declare that they didn’t realise the greater degree of “understanding” they could have of God’s sovereignty and grace, until they embraced calvinism; the calvinist code was the “key” that unlocked the extra knowledge! (This is often termed “esoteric knowledge”; that is, knowledge reserved only for those initiated into the group. Outsiders without such “esoteric knowledge” are therefore supposed to lack much of the knowledge of the insiders.)    

Calvinists do claim to be Biblical fundamentalists, yet often arrive at different scriptural conclusions than non-calvinists who also call themselves Biblical fundamentalists, but who study the Bible without the input of calvinist doctrines. How can this be so if both groups allegedly study the Bible with fundamentalist zeal, yet differ so widely in their conclusions? The answer lies in the range of available options for interpretation for each group. While the non-calvinist fundamentalist places certain conditions upon proper Biblical interpretation such as context and consistency of meaning throughout the Bible, the calvinist is required to apply conditions imposed by the teachings of Calvin. (C.’s rhetoric, feigned as orthodox hermeneutics)

The calvinist cannot avoid being influenced by the teachings of Calvin, or else he wouldn’t be a calvinist. Most calvinist conditions generally do not initially appear to increase the acceptance of any apostasy or non-fundamental doctrines. Calvinist teaching for the uninitiated firstly usually focuses upon the common ground between both calvinist and non-calvinist. (Try reading Beware of calvinists seeking common ground) It is rare for calvinists to immediately come out in the open concerning their allegedly major doctrines, for example, those of unconditional election (the calvinist God chooses from the beginning the small group that will be saved; the rest go to hell without any option otherwise) and limited atonement (that Jesus only died for the sins of those whom the calvinist God would choose for heaven; that is, Jesus didn’t die for the sins of any of those whom the calvinist God condemned to hell for eternity).

A major problem for calvinist interpretation lies with the limiting of certain interpretation options. That is, calvinism has a tendency to decrease options for interpretation.

Different Rules Of Interpretation Creating Awkwardness – Rhetoric Feigned As Orthodox

Note the commentary on Isaiah 11:7, by Gill, a calvinist teacher.
“And the cow and the bear shall feed” That is, together, in one church state, at one table, or in one pasture, upon the wholesome food of the Gospel, the salutary doctrines of Christ; who though before of different dispositions, the one tame and gentle, useful and profitable, dispensing the milk of the divine word, and gracious experience; the other cruel and voracious, barbarous and inhuman, worrying the lambs and sheep of Christ; but now of the same nature, and having no ill will to one another, and being without fear of each other:

It is impossible to avoid seeing the implications by Gill in this concerning the “reformed” or “nicer people” (the puritans, or calvinists) eating in accord with those who once persecuted them (probably seen by him as the catholic persecution). Of course, Gill (on Isaiah 11:6) says that this is like Saul the persecutor, “through converting grace”, becoming “as gentle and harmless as lambs, and take up their residence in Christ’s fold.” That is, Saul the tormentor becomes Paul the lamb. But the analogy is somewhat flawed, in that if Saul is a bear tormenting the cows, then he must remain a bear feeding with the cow in Isaiah 11:7. But, Paul did not just become a “nicer” bear; he changed from being a bear to a cow, or, in this case, a sheep of the sheepfold. He became a new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

For both cow and bear to remain separate yet eating in peace (in accord) at the one table, it can only mean that the two separate groups have remained two separate groups. The bear remains a bear (albeit a nicer bear!) and the cow remains a cow! But the Christian is a new creation, so scriptural consistency cannot accept this explanation by Gill concerning this verse. Thus, for Gill to be right, the Bible should have said that two cows (one previously a bear) were eating together!

So, the question now is: Just why has Gill delivered such an awkward explanation? The third rule of Biblical interpretation (the first two deal with context and facts presented) is as follows:
“When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”

The actual literal meaning (which indeed makes common sense) of Isaiah 11:7 is that the context of Ch.11 is about the future of a literal Israel. Most calvinists (this includes Gill) do not believe in a literal remnant of Israel returning, preferring to teach that the church has either taken over the role of Israel, or has become Israel herself.

Calvinists Make Own Rules Constituting Context

*> Daryl here. Calvinists even make their own rules for what constitutes context, (C.’s rhetoric, feigned as orthodox hermeneutics)

Proximity Does Not Necessitate Context

Proximity does not necessitate singular context, as various tho’ts can be communicated, beyond a strict, single contextual theme, within a text, including, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, etc.

“But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9

Calvinism changes the meaning and intent of Scripture, by linking previous tho’ts, not justifiably so, under the guise of context.

Here the phrase ‘not willing that any should perish’ is linked to the previous verse, in which Peter is addressing fellow believers. This is not contextual exegesis. Two separate tho’ts are expressed. 1) “Patient toward you” (all Gentiles, is suggested) 2) Not willing that any should perish.

‘Forced Contextualism’

Here is an excellent rebuttal of the Calvinistic misuse of ‘forced contextualism.’

How a Calvinist can distort the meaning of 2 Peter 3:9…/how-a-calvinist-can…/

Another ex. is John 3:16

Calvinism changes it to say “In this manner, God loves the world.” (of believers).

Horrible Excuse For Contextual Exegesis

John 3:15 saying “everyone who believes in Him may have eternal life,” Calvinism then says, the context of 3:15 combined with 3:16, is actually saying, “In this manner God loves everyone who believes in Him.”

Calvinism claims to be honouring context, charging opponents of violating context, by holding to the plain literal intent, and clear, simple meaning of Scripture.

Reading Calvin interpretations of John 3:16 can be highly convoluted and confusing, some not really getting to the point of how it should be interpreted, translated.

Calvinism desecrates the principle of context in Biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, as many pride fully, illegitimately claim themselves, the true exegetes of Biblical interpretation, all the while changing the meaning of words, and intent of tho’t, under the guise of practicing contextual application, by forcing an imaginary connection between separate streams of tho’ts.

Again Context Explained:

“When the plain sense of scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studied in light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.”

There are hermeneutical rules for exegeting context, proximity not automatically applicable.

‘T’-Total Depravity-Beginning & Bedrock Of Calvinism


Bible Saints That ‘Pleased God’

Total depravity is the Calvinist doctrine that human nature is thoroughly corrupt and sinful as a result of the fall of Adam. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of depraved is – very evil: having or showing an evil and immoral character. In addition, Merriam- Webster  defines depravity as a very evil quality or way of behaving: an evil or immoral act.

The question I would like to present here is this: Does the whole counsel of scripture support the belief that all humanity is totally depraved (having very evil and immoral character)?

The question is not, “Has all humanity been effected by sin?” The question is that of total depravity. Is all (unsaved) humanity completely evil to the core? In a nutshell, total depravity is the belief that all humanity, as a result of the fall of Adam, is corrupt in their entire being and wholly incapable of doing anything truly good.

If all humanity has become totally depraved through the fall of Adam, then it would stand to reason that all of Adam’s descendants, without exception, would be totally depraved.

Does the Biblical account of all the people in the Bible support this ideology, or does the testimony of scripture refute it? I contend that the Biblical record refutes it, and I would like present the reasons why I make that claim.

Beginning in Genesis 4, the concept of totally depravity is called into question.

After Cain became angry because God had accepted Abel’s offering and had not accepted his offering, God told Cain that sin was knocking at the door and that he should not allow it to rule over him, least it become his master (see Genesis 4:6-7).

God did not deal with Cain as if he were totally depraved. On the contrary, God instructed Cain to rule over this sin that was knocking at the door. The Bible tells us that Cain murdered his brother not because he was totally depraved, but because his deeds were evil and his brother’s was righteous. 

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:10-11)

If all humanity were totally depraved, then this would include Abel, yet the apostle John tells us that Abel’s works were righteous. Remember the definition of depravity is a very evil quality or way of behaving: an evil or immoral act. The Bible never describes Abel in this way. On the contrary, the Bible repeatedly describes Abel and his works as righteous.

If Cain and Abel had been totally depraved, Cain would have been unable to rule over the sin knocking at the door, and Abel would not have done that which was righteous.

In the gospels, the Lord Jesus Christ declared that Abel was righteous (Matthew 23:35) and the writer of Hebrews tells us: Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. (Hebrews 11:4)

No matter how you stack it, the statement, “Abel obtained witness that he was righteous,” completely dismantles any concept of total depravity: a theology that does not take into account the testimony of scripture concerning the real people who lived for God.

If the doctrine of total depravity were true, it would be true of everyone, but what about those in scripture who sought after God?


The Bible says, Enoch walked with God (Genesis 5:24). The author of Hebrews tells us: By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.(Hebrews 11:4)

Enoch was such a man of God, who pleased God, he never died! Jude tells us that Enoch prophesied of the coming of the Lord as well (Jude 1:14).


The Bible says Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God (Genesis 6:9). Noah was righteous in the sight of the Lord (Genesis 7:1) and in Ezekiel, God mentions Noah along with Daniel and Job as righteous (Ezekiel 14:14, 20).

In the New Testament, the apostle Peter refers to Noah as a preacher of righteousness (2 Peter 2:5) and the writer of Hebrews testifies of Noah’s righteousness as well.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear (the fear of the Lord), prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became the heir of the righteousness which is by faith  (Hebrews 11:7).


The scriptures tells us, Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness (Genesis 15:6; Romans 4:3, 9, 22; Galatians 3; 6; James 2:23).

Abraham had integrity of heart (Genesis 20:5-6) and a faithful heart towards God(Nehemiah 9:7, 8) and Abraham is called the friend of God (2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23). Throughout scripture God is referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matthew 32:22; Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 3:13; 7:32).

Jesus said Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad (John 8:56) and God’s promise to Abraham was to bless all the nations through his seed: Jesus Christ (Acts 3:25; Galatians 3:16).

Abraham is called the father of faith and the father of all who believe  (Romans 4:16; Galatians 3:7, 9, 29) and the blessing of Abraham comes on the Gentiles through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:14).

Abraham was a man of faith who obeyed and feared God (Genesis 22: 12; 26:5; Hebrews 11:8). We see also that Isaac and Jacob were men of faith who feared the Lord and obeyed him as well

Calvinist Response To O.T. Saints Pleasing God

Old Test. Saints Regeneration


I am new to the doctrines of grace and would greatly appreciate some Godly input. How do we understand the state of Old Testament saints? For example, the Psalmist writes, “With my whole heart I have sought thee” and “I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved.” (Psalm 119:1047) How is a totally depraved, dead man able to say this?

Hi M.

Please forgive how foolish this may sound, but were they regenerated by the Holy Spirit? What differentiates them from New Testament believers?


Welcome Mr. D.

To your question — it is not foolish at all. It is an essential aspect of Reformed theology that the believers in the Old Testament were regenerated or born again by the Spirit of God, even as we are: otherwise, they could not have faith, could not have a heart which desired to please God, could not exhibit love toward the saints nor delight in the law of God; they would not be able to receive the forgiveness of sins through faith, nor be persuaded or assured of God’s favor and mercy. Thus, we confess:

This covenant was differently administered in the time of the law, and in the time of the Gospel: under the law it was administered by promises, prophecies, sacrifices, circumcision, the paschal lamb, and other types and ordinances delivered to the people of the Jews, all foresignifying Christ to come; which were, for that time, sufficient and efficacious, through the operation of the Spirit, to instruct and build up the elect in faith in the promised Messiah, by whom they had full remission of sins, and eternal salvation; and is called the Old Testament, WCF VII.5

The calling, regeneration, justification, adoption and sanctification which we experience in the New Covenant is one and the same with that received by the saints of God; received by the same faith in the same promises on account the same Mediator, all from the same Father.

The Old covenant held forth the work of Christ which was to come; the New Covenant holds forth Christ who has come and accomplished his work.”

*> Daryl here. Calvinism makes up it’s own rules here, it seems, saying the O.T. saints were actually regenerated, since they could not have any desire to please God, in the ‘totally depraved state,’ the curse of original sin had left them in. So Calvinist say, as a chosen elect people of God, their belief in the prophesied coming Messiah, applied forgiveness and regeneration, enabling them to respond to God out of a ‘new nature.’

The ‘total depravity’ doctrine requires the belief in the O.T. saints regeneration, which when proven false undermines total depravity, which brings down the whole Calvinism house of cards.

The regeneration, and indwelling H.S. of the Israelite people would be easy enough to disprove.

*Excellent Listening* O.T. Regeneration Disproved


The Juvenile attempt at skirting the Bible to form a soteriological system now known as Calvinism has a glaring oversight which should have stopped its formation from ever taking root: There is no regeneration in the Old Testament.

“They have this idea, “I need to prove regeneration in the O.T.” So they go scouring the O.T. looking for anything they can find, anything that looks any thing like regeneration…because that’s what they’re looking for, it blinds them to the context of what the passage is actually about, and they spend all of their time coming up with all kinds of reasons why the passage is talking about what they need it to talk about, rather than what it’s actually talking about.”eisegesis

They shift the burden of proof, onto their opponents to prove them wrong. = a logical fallacy


1st Family On Earth Dismantles Total Depravity

So …………..

Beginning in Genesis 4, the concept of totally depravity is called into question.

After Cain became angry because God had accepted Abel’s offering and had not accepted his offering, God told Cain that sin was knocking at the door and that he should not allow it to rule over him, least it become his master (see Genesis 4:6-7).

God did not deal with Cain as if he were totally depraved. On the contrary, God instructed Cain to rule over this sin that was knocking at the door. The Bible tells us that Cain murdered his brother not because he was totally depraved, but because his deeds were evil and his brother’s was righteous. 

According to Calvinists, was Abel a chosen regenerated elect, and Cain not?

Herein lies the 1st real dilemma, for John Calvin said, and all Calvinists must agree:

“I admit that in this miserable condition wherein men are now bound, all of Adam’s children have fallen by God’s will.” (John Calvin, ibid)

All of Adam’s children were totally depraved, yet Abel became regenerated and Cain not?

For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. (1 John 3:10-11)

At any rate a God given choice and warning is illicited to the first family on earth, one evil and the other righteous. The 4th chapter of the 1st book of the Bible, addressing the very 1st family on earth, dismantles Calvinist total depravity!

Paul’s Appeal To Scripture – Context Clarifies


How then should we understand Romans 3:10-18?

Consider the following:

Romans 3:10-18 uses quotes from the old testament which make a distinction between the wicked and the godly. Thereforewe should not come to the conclusion that Paul is citing these scriptures to prove that everyone is only ungodly and totally depraved.

First, notice Romans 3:10-12: As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

These words are taken from Psalm 14 and Psalm 53 which are almost identical Psalms. Both begin with the words, “The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God.”

Psalm 14:1-3 says the following: The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good. The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Now notice verses 4-7 of the same Psalm: Have all THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY no knowledge? who eat up MY PEOPLE as they eat bread, and call not upon the Lord. There were they in great fear: for GOD IS IN THE GENERATION OF THE RIGHTEOUS. Ye have shamed the counsel of THE POOR, because THE LORD IS HIS REFUGE. Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! when the Lord bringeth back the captivity of HIS PEOPLE, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.

In the original text from which Paul quotes, the ALL who do not seek after God is a reference to the workers of iniquity in contrast to the people of God.

It is not a reference to every person in the Psalm, nor is it a reference to every person in Romans. It is a reference to those who practice lawlessness.

Romans 3:13 is a quote from Psalm 5:9 and Psalm 140:3. In both, the context is referring to deliverance from wicked and evil people. In both Psalm 5 and 140, the Psalmist appeals to God to deliver him from those who are wicked because he is righteous.

Romans 3:14 is a quote from Psalm 10:7 which is a Psalm regarding the wicked who show contempt towards God in their pride and is in contrast to the humble and poor who trust in God.

Romans 3:15 is a quote from Proverbs 6:18. Consider the context of Proverbs 6:16-19:

These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Romans 3:16-17 appears to be commentary made by Paul regarding what has been said in verses 10-15 and not necessarily a direct quote from the old testament.

Romans 3:18 is a quote from Psalm 36:1, which is another reference to the wicked in contrast to those who trust in the Lord.

When we consider the old testament contexts from which Paul quotes in Romans 3:10-18, we cannot conclude that Paul is making a sweeping statement that every person is wicked, wretched, and evil.

Context Is Key To Proper Understanding

From Romans 1:18 until 3:18 Paul is not teaching that man is inherently depraved. On the contrary, Paul says, “that which may be known of God is manifest IN THEM; for God hath shewed it unto them” (1:19).

Man in his fallen condition isn’t inherently depraved, for man possess both the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:22).

In Romans 1 the issue is not that they were inherently depraved, but rather, that they chose to do the things they did, and in doing so they rejected the knowledge of God.

Because that, WHEN THEY KNEW GOD, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1:21)

And even as they did not like to RETAIN GOD IN THEIR KNOWLEDGE, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, TO DO those things which are not convenient…(Romans 1:28).

The wrath of God was revealed against them, not because of their inherit depraved nature, but because they rejected the knowledge of God and did those things that are wicked.

In Romans 2 Paul addresses the Jew. Paul does not condemn the law breaking Jew because he is inherently depraved. Paul condemns the law breaking Jew because of his deeds.

Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest DOEST THE SAME THINGS. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which COMMIT SUCH THINGS (2:1-2).

But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS… (2:5-6)

Context-No Sweeping Statement Of Total Depravity

When we consider the old testament contexts from which Paul quotes in Romans 3:10-18, (and other Rom. references), we cannot conclude that Paul is making a sweeping statement that every person is wicked, wretched, and evil.

*> Daryl here This can be the case for most texts Calvinists use to prove ‘total depravity’, examining the context, seeing how those texts are intended to be understood, by the writers.

10 Common Calvinist Proof Texts Debunked


Simple example with right perspective.

Eph. 2:1-2  argument that individuals are chosen for salvation/damnation before they are even born

Eph. 1:4-5 Corporate election known from the beginning of the world.

4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

Ephesians 1-2 speaks about a corporate election. The body of Christ (the church) will be going to heaven, which was planned and known from the beginning of the world. Jesus knew that he would not die in vain, and that there would be a group of people who would choose to believe in him and endure to the end. Anyone is free to join this body of Christ which is predestined to go to heaven.

Acts 13:48 argument that God ordains (forces) individuals to believe in him, whereas the rest have no chance to do the same since God has not provided them with this opportunity

 Their disposition to receive the gospel

When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the word of the Lord, and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. (some translations say ordained)

This verse alone does not mention the criteria for God’s choice to ordain individuals, unlike many other verses which clarify that it’s our FAITH that is the criteria. Neither does this verse suggest that God’s appointing is the CAUSE for people’s faith. According to Adam Clarke, the original Greek word ”includes no idea of preordination or predestination of any kind” (“Commentary on Acts 13:48”). The original Greek word simply means “disposed” (to set in position), and therefore the verse could be translated “as many as were disposed (or who set themselves in such a disposition) to eternal life believed”.  Their disposition to receive the gospel is contrasted with the disposition of the Jews just two verse before, and the Jews had chosen another path. So those who judge themselves unworthy of everlasting life did not believe, but those who disposed themselves to eternal life believed, and whether they believed or not depended on whether their heart rejected or accepted the Gospel which was preached to them.

Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but SEEING YE PUT IT FROM YOU, AND JUDGE YOURSELVES UNWORTHY of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.

“The meaning of the word used in verse 48 and the context of verse 46 helps us to properly exegetically interpret verse 48 consistently with the rules of hermeneutics, namely, interpreting a passage based upon the meaning of the original language and in light of the immediate context.

In light of this, this passage means that those who “judge” themselves “unworthy of everlasting life” did not believe, but those who “disposed” themselves “to eternal life believed.” Whether they believed or not depended on whether their heart rejected or accepted the gospel which was preached to them. Those who hardened their hearts did not believe, but those who softened their hearts did believe. What made the difference was the disposition which they choose to have in response to the message that was preached. Therefore, this passage should not be used to teach that it is not man’s free choice to believe, as it is implied all throughout the Bible that it is man’s choice to believe or not.’

Calvinism’s Proof Texts Examined

(These below are just a sampling from the many cited in link above)

Romans 9:13-33
13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.
14 What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.
15 For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.
26 And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
28 For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
29 And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha.
30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith.
31 But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.
32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;
33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

(These below are just a sampling of those cited in Rom. chpt. 9 section in link provided)

This is doubtless the Calvinist’s favorite proof text for sovereign election. Does Romans 9 teach that God arbitrarily or sovereignly chooses some sinners to be saved and the rest to be lost? Let’s consider eight important facts about this passage:

Context Completely Ignored In This Case

* > Daryl here. Looking at the Calvinist application of Rom. 9, it puzzles me how they can completely ignore clear context here, the Israelite nation in relation to the Gentiles, jumping on every text they figure they ‘shoe horn’ into their doctrine of predestined election, when they pride themselves on their ‘contextual applications’ everywhere else, conveniently, to change the meanings of words, to the detriment of the writer’s intent, thus demonstrating their twisted sense of contextual, hermeneutical exegisis.

(1) The example of Esau and Jacob does not refer to election pertaining to personal salvation but to election pertaining to nations in God’s overall program. Verse 12 makes this clear. “It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.” The promise of God to Rebecca was about the elder son serving the younger, not about their personal salvation. Esau could have gotten saved. He could have believed in God and been in the Hall of Faith in Hebrews 11. This passage does not teach that Esau was sovereignly predestined to be reprobate. It teaches that God sovereignly chose Christ’s lineage.

*> Daryl here. A similar scene plays out between Noah and his sons in Gen. 9:20-28, when Ham, entering the tent, “saw the nakedness of his father,” (which is uncertain as to it’s full meaning), and went and told his brothers. Noah’s response was,

Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. 27  May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant.”

God Opposes The proud-Gives Grace To The Humble

(2) As for Pharaoh, it is important to understand that he first hardened his own heart. “But when Pharaoh saw that there was respite, he hardened his heart, and hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said” (Ex. 8:15). This is not a case of “sovereign reprobation.” The Scripture teaches that it is always God’s will for men to serve Him, but when they reject Him He rejects them and judges them and makes examples of them. Compare 2 Thess. 2:10-12 — “And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; BECAUSE THEY RECEIVED NOT THE LOVE OF THE TRUTH, THAT THEY MIGHT BE SAVED. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: THAT THEY ALL MIGHT BE DAMNED WHO BELIEVED NOT THE TRUTH, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” These sinners will be damned but not because they are not sovereignly elected and not because they are sovereignly reprobate but because of their personal decision in regard to the truth. Words could not be plainer. God did make an example of Pharaoh, but to go beyond what the Bible says and to claim that God chose to create Pharaoh for the purpose of reprobating him is a great error and is to malign the name of the loving God.

* > Daryl here Reading this account of late, bro’t to mind James 4:6 But He gives us more grace. This is why it says: “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.

The proud, as in Pharaoh’s case, God opposed, and how does He do that? One way is by allowing their heart to be hardened, by with-holding His grace.

The reference to 2 Thess. 2:10-12 above, is pivotal, in perceiving correctly, God’s relationship with and response to mankind, as it dispels much of the grossly erroneous Calvinistic mindset.

10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

(3) Rom. 9:22-23 does not say that God sovereignly fits some sinners to destruction and some to glory. The phrase “vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” allows for a variant voice; according to the PC Study Bible, it can be both the passive and middle voice in Greek; middle means to fit oneself. In the middle voice the subject acts in relation to him/herself. Consider this note from Vincent Word Studies: “NOT FITTED BY GOD FOR DESTRUCTION, but in an adjectival sense, ready, ripe for destruction, the participle denoting a present state previously formed, BUT GIVING NO HINT OF HOW IT HAD BEEN FORMED. That the objects of final wrath had themselves a hand in the matter may be seen from 1 Thess. 2:15-16.” By allowing the Bible to speak for itself through the plain meaning of the words and by comparing Scripture with Scripture we see that the sinner fits himself for destruction by his rejection of the truth. Even those who have never heard the gospel, have the light of creation and conscience and are responsible to respond to the light that they have that they might be given more light (Acts 17:26-27).

* > Daryl here Diligent word study, in translation, reveals incorrect Calvinism, seen above.

The fact alone of the clear, correct context, dispels Calvinism’s application to Rom. 9. The comparison of Scripture with Scripture, and diligent word translation, continues to dispel and correct Calvinism errors, of predetermined election, and reprobation.

Reading Into Texts What Is Not There

1 Thessalonians 5:9 — “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Arthur Pink says, “To say that God ‘hath not appointed us to wrath’, clearly implies that there are some whom He has ‘appointed to wrath’…” (The Sovereignly of God, p. 98).

This “interpretation” is made by reading things into the verse that aren’t there. That God has not appointed us to wrath does not mean that He has appointed some to wrath. This is simply a promise that the believer will not be subject to the wrath that will be poured out in the Great Tribulation (1 Thess. 5:1-3). This is the wrath that is in view. There is not a hint in this passage that God has sovereignly chosen some sinners to reprobation and judgment.

*> Daryl here. Some of these ‘arguments,’ to be honest, are rather childish. Knowledge of the text and it’s context, above, is easily understood, to be referring to the wrath of God to come upon the ‘disobedient and unbelieving,’ at the end of the age.

A much applied transgression, reading into texts what is not there, suggesting Calvinism tho’t implied, into texts, that carefully examined, prove otherwise, is ‘Calvinism in context.,’ ‘modus operandi.’ Before jumping in, understanding ‘Calvinism in context’, will help avoid getting bogged down in debates of confusing semantics, inferences, contextual abuse, logical fallacies applied, etc., while recognizing the weaknesses.

This blog is aimed first and foremost, at portraying accurately ‘Calvinism In Context,’ it’s true context.

Pressing In Further – ‘In The Beginning’



This is typically one of the first questions a Calvinist will ask a non-Calvinist when attempting to convince them of their doctrine.[1] In fact, when I was a Calvinist, I used this argument more often than any other, and it was quite effective. However, I have come to believe there are at least four significant problems with this line of argumentation:

‘Question Begging’ Logical Fallacy

*> Daryl here. As I mentioned ‘logical fallacies’ as a high priority ‘modus operandi’ with Calvinism’s offence and defense strategies, the ex. below explains ‘question begging’ fallacy. As is explained below, the ‘question begging’ fallacy, presumes a deterministic answer is required, that is, that there is only one position, (Calvinism), requiring an answer, accepting the question as plausible and forth coming response. The question is assuming God’s predeterminism in all things, and the answer accepts predeterminism as true. This is a logical fallacy argument posed.


As we have discussed HERE, this is a game of question begging because it presumes a deterministic answer is required. It is tantamount to asking, “What determined the response of you and your friend?” As if something or someone other than the responsible agents themselves made the determination. The question presumes determinism is true and that libertarian free will (self-determination) is not possible. [2]

I believe that the cause of a choice is the chooser (or the cause of a determination is the determiner) and accept the mystery associated with the functioning of that free will in making its own determinations.[3] Now, Calvinists will often challenge my appeal to mystery at this point as if it is a weakness unique to my libertarian worldview. This is a very shortsighted argument, however, which will be made abundantly clear in the next point.


While the Calvinist may feel he has the “upper hand” when asking about the “decisive factor” in man’s choice to reject God’s words, the role reverses quite dramatically when the conversation shifts to man’s first choice to reject God’s words. Whether discussing Satan’s first act of rebellion or Adam’s first choice to sin, it becomes quite evident that the Calvinist has painted himself into a corner by denying libertarian free will.

While on the one hand arguing that mankind will always act in accordance with his nature (assuming the nature could not be libertarianly free, mind you), the Calvinist has no rational answer as to why Adam (or Lucifer) chose to rebel. [4] For instance, John Piper openly admits:

How God freely hardens and yet preserves human accountability we are not explicitly told. It is the same mystery as how the first sin entered the universe. How does a sinful disposition arise in a good heart? The Bible does not tell us.”[5]

And RC Sproul similarly teaches,

“But Adam and Eve were not created fallen. They had no sin nature. They were good creatures with a free will. Yet they chose to sin. Why? I don’t know. Nor have I found anyone yet who does know.”[6]

Trouble Right From The Beginning

As you can clearly see, the Calvinist has just “kicked the can down the road,” so to speak, when it comes to appealing to the mystery of free moral will.[7] They eventually appeal to the same mystery that we do, all the while thinking they are taking the higher moral ground by giving God all the credit for the Christian’s choice to repent and trust in Christ. In reality, however, by not accepting the mystery of man’s free will, the Calvinist has created a new mystery that is simply not afforded by the text of scripture.

Presuming True The Very Argument Up For Debate

Question begging’ is the logical fallacy of presuming true the very argument up for debate. By asking what determined a man’s choice, the questioner is presuming someone or something other than that man made the determination, thus presuming true the foundation for deterministic logic (i.e. “a theory or doctrine that acts of the will, occurrences in nature, or social or psychological phenomena are causally determined by preceding events or natural laws [or Divine decree].” Merriam-Webster Dictionary). While a determiner may state reasons or influential factors for his or her own determination (i.e. I chose to overeat because it tastes so good) that does not mean the factors listed effectually caused the determination (i.e. the taste of food determined the agent’s choice to overeat).  The agent alone made the determination based on the factors taken into consideration and deliberated upon. To presume without proof that something or someone outside the agent himself made the determination (i.e. was the “decisive factor”) is question begging.

[4] On the one hand, Calvinists argue that mankind always chooses according to their greatest inclination which is ultimately determined by their God given nature, yet on the other hand they affirm that Adam “was perfectly free from any corruptions or sinful inclinations,” and that he “had no sinful inclinations to hurry him on to sin; he did it of his own free and mere choice” Jonathan Edwards, ‘All God’s Methods Are Most Reasonable’, in Sermons and Discourses: 1723-1729, ed. by Kenneth P. Minkema, Works 14 (1997): 168.)

How does the affirmation of Adam’s freedom to sin or refrain from sin not violate the Calvinists own definition of human will and choice? For Adam to choose to sin he must violate the law of his own nature, as defined by the Calvinistic systematic.

Mongerism Response To Adam Dilemma- Compatibilism


God being sovereign, He had to have fore-ordained Adam’s sin, even tho’ Adam chose of his own free will. If God had not fore-ordained Adam’s fall, then Adam’s free choice would have shown God as not sovereign.

This argument denies or confuses God’s foreknowledge with fore-ordained determinism. God knew Adam would choose evil, and His purposes always work in harmony with His fore-knowledge.

Even Calvinist theologians admit it’s a mystery, as stated above. Compatibilism discussed below.

Deflecting Cries -“We’re Misrepresented & Misunderstood” The ‘New Calvinists Say’

It is not uncommon for a Calvinist to tell me that they feel I am misrepresenting Calvinism because I speak of it as if it is “too deterministic.” For instance, Calvinistic apologist Matt Slick, in a recent online debate, told me that he did not believe in determinism only later to affirm the statement I read from which states, “compatibilism is no less deterministic than hard determinism.” <link>

Dr. William Lane Craig regularly describes Calvinism as “universal divine causal determinism – God determines everything that happens in the world,” and he provides many solid arguments for doing so. One listener brought a similar critique to Dr. Craig:

Question: I believe you really mischaracterize Calvinism. What you are talking about sounds more like Hyper-Calvinism. Because Calvinism actually does affirm free will; I can read chapter 10 of the Westminster Confession of Faith where it actually explains how free will works within that system.

Dr. Craig’s answered by saying: 

What I am rejecting is universal divine causal determinism. Now, if Reformed theology rejects compatibilism then I have got no quarrel with it. In fact, when I read much of the Westminster Confession, I resonate with it. The problem is that I don’t think that the Reformed theologian can give us a coherent interpretation of Scripture. As I said, the Reformed divines – in my first point – typically say that the reconciliation of these texts is just inscrutable. They can’t put them together; it is a mystery.  <link>

What many younger (or lessor informed) Calvinists seem to miss is that compatibilism, the philosophical system adopted by most notable pastors/scholars leading in the resurgence of Calvinism today, is a form of determinism. It is the belief that God’s determinism of all things (sometimes referenced as “sovereignty” or “meticulous providence”) is compatible with “creaturely freedom” (defined as creatures acting in accordance with their predetermined natural desires). We have established this in previous articles.

A Quick Summary Of The Philosophical Debate Over Divine Omniscience

Calvinists = If God knows everything then He must have determined it, therefore God determines moral evil. (contradicts the biblical teaching of God’s Holiness)

Open Theists = If God knows everything then He must have determined it, therefore God doesn’t know everything. (contradicts the biblical teaching of God’s Omniscience)

Traditionalists = God knows everything because He is the great “I AM” who exists at all places and at all times not because he necessarily determines it. His ways are higher than our ways, so our finite minds will never fully comprehend how an infinite God works within the temporal world but we NEVER should undermine the clear biblical teaching of God’s holiness or knowledge to appease our philosophical speculations.

*> Daryl here The ‘new Calvinists’ say humanity has free will, but limited to function within their depraved state, unable to respond to God/the gospel, without their depraved state being transformed 1st by the predetermined will of God, choosing them for salvation. =compatibilism


Some Calvinists one talks to seem less deep in their understanding of determinism and some just want to doublespeak and hide their belief in determinism. Either way posts and blogs like yours shine the light of clarity to the issues. If they truly rejected determinism, they’d be obligated to fight on our side of the fence. As it is, all the accusations of misrepresentation can be quite irrational and through the roof. I was banned just today on Matt Slick’s carm forums because Calvinists were acting unjustly and unfairly and wouldn’t let themselves be called out on it. I’m always polite and wouldn’t hurt a fly, but the psychological double standards they use can in my mind be nothing short of real cognitive dissonance. Maybe people not yet mired in determinism can be like brands snatched from the flame. I truly believe determinism is an evil belief system, I have no more doubts in my mind, and it makes logical sense since it attributes all evil causally to God, even if it is claimed indirectly.

Compatibilism = double speak, psychological double standards, cognitive dissonance

Thanks and God bless.


A wonderful article expressed in the spirit of Jesus – – thank you Leighton. Calvinist; Dr. James N. Anderson, of the Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte NC, in his published work; Calvinism and the first sin, states the underlying proposition: “It should be conceded at the outset, and without embarrassment, that Calvinism is indeed committed to divine determinism: the view that everything is ultimately determined by God…..take it for granted as something on which the vast majority of Calvinists uphold, and may be expressed as the following: “For every event [E], God decided that [E] should happen and that decision alone was the ultimate sufficient cause of [E].” Dr. Anderson also states that Calvinism is committed to a compatiblist form of free will. (within Reform theological system)

The terms “Hard Determinism” and “Soft Determinism” were coined by William James, (1842), an American philosopher psychologist, and libertarian who held compatibilism in disdain. James criticized compatibilism asserting it offered a “kinder-gentler” picture of determinism, which he held in strong contempt stating: “Now days there is a softer view of determinism, which abhors harsh words, and attempts to repudiate necessity, by simply calling it freedom.” James felt Compatibalists were superficial and called their arguments “a bag of verbal tricks which they deploy as a way to avoid the real intellectual problems of free will”, and “the entire compatiblist enterprise is a quagmire of evasion”. He felt that Compatibalists were trying to avoid the reality of a deterministic world, with semantic tricks and verbal sleight of hand. (compatbilism = soft determinism quagmire of evasion, semantic tricks, verbal sleight of hand)

The German philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724), held to a similar view, calling compatibilism “a retched subterfuge”. What is more interesting is that both James and Kant felt that the Hard Determinists were the honorable and intellectually honest ones, who faced the problems of determinism and free will head-on, calling them “worthy adversaries”. Interestingly, this complaint continues to be made by philosophers today, stating sentiments like: compatibilism appears to be the product of wishful thinking, and of wanting to have the best of both worlds, i.e., a metaphysical distinction of determinism with the ethical-moral distinction of libertarian culpability.Although James and Kant did not communicate as representatives of Christianity, in their observations of how a deterministic worldview manifests itself, expressed in human language (double-think), the philosophical components of determinism and compatibilism still function the same way in both the Christian and non-Christian worlds. And the unique semantic idiosyncrasies of a deterministic worldview, as observed by James and Kant are quite illuminating for the discerning Christian today.

(compatibilism – retched subterfuge, wishful thinking, wanting best of both worlds – determinism & libertarian culpability, double-think)

Changing the Meaning of Words to Promote a Theory * (good read – important to see)

By Bob Kirkland

The only way Calvinists can support their theory from the Bible is to alter the meaning of Bible words or take them out of context. When a Calvinist teaches “whosoever will,” he means whosoever “God wills.” Calvinist Arthur (A. W.) Pink (1886-1952), who “sparked a renewed interest in the exposition of Calvinism,”1 wrote, “The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only.”2 He said:

[T]he “world” in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people.3

When a Calvinist talks about the “sovereignty” of God, he has his own definition of the word sovereignty (as he does with the word depravity). Easton’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary says that the sovereignty of God is “[H]is absolute right to do all things according to his own good pleasure.”4

God, in His sovereignty, in His absolute right to do all things according to His own good pleasure, has established some laws for mankind. For example, the Bible says, “except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). God, in His sovereignty, has determined that the sinner who does not repent will not gain eternal life.

Considering that the word “sovereignty” is not in the Bible and considering the actual meaning of the word, rather than Calvin’s distorted meaning (which he needed to support his theory), we see God is no less sovereign because He, according to His own good pleasure, gives man a free will making him capable of repenting of his sin and receiving Christ as his Savior.

Again, when A. W. Pink said the “‘world’ in John 3:16 must, in the final analysis, refer to the world of God’s people,” he continued, saying, “Must we say, for there is no alternative solution.”5 The dictionary says, a solution is, “an answer to a problem.” John 3:16 presents no problem unless you are a Calvinist needing a “solution” to support your theory. The way a Calvinist solves his problem is to simply change the meaning of words in the Bible and in the dictionary to mean what they need to mean to support their position.

*>Daryl here The most common approach Calvinists use to justify changing words, is to squeeze a spurious reading out of a text in proximity to words that need changing, to adapt to their beliefs, involving eisegetical application of context, surrounding certain words and ideas communicated in Scripture.

Calvinism In Context – The Real Warfare

Calvinism in context: An ideological theory, using debate tactics, in search of a proof text to prove a point, a ‘competitive, rivalist, narrative, warfare’, not a doctrinal dissertation, but dissident to Scripture.

Calvinist belief in the total depravity of mankind is their bedrock foundation, dismantle this and the ‘house of cards’ will begin to fall. ‘Total depravity’ depends on the idea of the regeneration of Old Test. saints. Exposing this fallacy, exposes total depravity, which is actually exposed in the garden of Eden, and with mankind’s 1st family. Calvin’s quotes along with others, reveals the fallacious arguments, he developed.

Rather than debating Calvinists on their ground, sticking to what Scripture says, is the most beneficial, having a knowledge of correct understanding of Calvinism key proof texts, as well as some basic Scriptures that oppose key Calvinistic argumentation. The abundant use of logical fallacies Calvinism uses, is best to be steered clear of until well familiarized with this ‘warfare.’

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