Friday, October 12, 2018
Today, I am compelled by the Holy Spirit to issue a loving but sincere warning for those who hold to the theological traditions of John Calvin, otherwise known as Calvinism. Many hold to his theology knowing little to nothing of his life other than the assumption that he was a great theologian. Yet, his persecutions of those he judged heretical agree with the loveless works of Saul of Tarsus before he was born again and converted, and became the Apostle Paul.
Did Saul of Tarsus have great theological and academic credentials? Yes. Did he persecute those he judged heretical? Yes. Did John Calvin have great theological and academic credentials? Yes. And did John Calvin persecute, imprison and cause to be murdered the one he judged a heretic? Yes. But truth says, “though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” (1 Cor. 13:2). Did Saul of Tarsus or John Calvin demonstrate love for their fellowman whom they judged a heretic? No. But true Christians love their fellowman, friend or foe.
Therefore, why would anyone, knowing these historical truths follow after the theological works of either Saul of Tarsus before his conversion, or John Calvin after his professed conversion? For God said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits…A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit…Therefore by their fruits you will know them” (Matt. 7:15–20).
Like Saul of Tarsus before his conversion, and John Calvin after his professed conversion, the popes of Rome also pursued, persecuted and murdered those they judged as heretical. Calvin’s theology, therefore, of no ability and thus no responsibility, suits the natural heart of man. But God said, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isa. 1:18), for we in fact have ability and responsibility. Man’s fall did not render him so depraved as to be without will or choice.
Anyone holding Calvin’s theology has the obligation to declare it openly. But most will not because Calvin’s first theological point of “Total Depravity” is dreadful. It claims that mankind does not have the ability to choose between good and evil, right or wrong, God or the devil; that humanity is so depraved as to have zero ability to choose. That doctrine itself is depraved, for the Holy Bible is rich with many examples that fallen mankind has the ability to choose.
I will not highlight all of Calvin’s falsehoods here, but I encourage you to examine them in light of all biblical truths, not ignoring Scriptures that fully oppose Calvin’s claims of predestination’s total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints, meaning once-saved-always-saved. And beyond that, sincerely “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5).
Consider any Protestant evangelist today. How would you view them if they influenced the government to burn alive at the stake or behead those they judged heretical? Would you follow their doctrine? Certainly not. Yet, John Calvin did it unapologetically and his theology attempts to absolve him of his responsibility. Today, if the masses understood and knew the truth, they would run from Calvin’s teachings. Why, because “by their fruits you will know them”.
Radicalized Muslims of Islam behead and burn alive at the stake those they count heretics. During the great tribulation Antichrist will behead millions of Christians because he will judge them to be heretics. That’s also the historical works of both Catholicism and Calvinism. You should see a pattern here, because “he who is spiritual judges all things” (1 Cor. 2:15).
Documented historical truth reveals that for centuries the creators of Roman Catholicism, its papal throne and Jesuit priests, pursued, persecuted and murdered those judged as heretics. With the onset, however, of the “increase of knowledge” (Dan. 12:4) and the information age of the 20th century, Catholicism by necessity changed its image to a kinder and gentler one, otherwise, Catholicism would not have endured to our day, but the same spirit(s) that created her, remained.
Documented historical truth also reveals that the creator of Calvinism, John Calvin, pursued, persecuted, and in at least one instance caused to be murdered those he judged a heretic. During his reign there was a chilling similarity of Calvin’s hatred and persecution of those he judged a heretic to that of Catholicism. But Calvinism, by necessity of survival, also had to change its public image to a gentler and kinder one, but the same spirit(s) that created it, remained.
The foundational works of violence and death by the sword of both Catholicism and Calvinism altogether miss the mark of biblical humility, dying to self, and love for God and neighbor that’s the hallmark of true new-birth conversion faith in Christ. In fact, Jesus said “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:44–45).
Calvinism’s dreadful form of predestination says that fallen mankind has zero ability to hear or respond to God, to choose to believe His Word by faith and so be saved. Calvinist’s believe that God, by His will, saves those He wants, even against their will, but damns others to death, also by His will. Thus, John Calvin having no ability or responsibility for his so-called salvation felt conveniently justified in pursuing, persecuting and even killing whom he judged heretical.
That is not from the God of the Bible. “For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all” (Rom. 6:10), with emphasis on “for all” which includes “all” people made in the image of God, “who desires all men to be saved” (2 Tim. 2:4); “who gave Himself a ransom for all” (2 Tim. 2:6). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16–17). That’s the God of the Bible, and in the love of Christ don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Marlin J. Yoder