My first true confrontation with Calvinism was in a Calvary Chapel. A young pastor who is a huge fan of John Piper was talking about the “Biblical” obligation to unconditionally support the state of Israel. He said that the Israelites should have slaughtered ALL inhabitants of Caanan during the time of Joshua. According to him, the current Palestinians are their descendants and Israel has to deal with them because they failed in the past to carry out the genocidal commands of their deity. He finally said something which literally made my blood freeze:
“The modern Palestinians call themselves the descendants of the Philistines but this is an outrageous lie. If God tells us in his Word that He utterly exterminated them, He really did it!“.
He did not pronounce the last sentence with a callous indifference but with a joyful excitement.
Later on, I met another young Calvinist pastor who told me that my refusal to accept the justification of Biblical genocides was due to my sinful pride and refusal to give to God the glory He is worthy of.
Finally, I listen to a reformed theology student teaching that God passionately hates mankind since the Fall, that everyone is heading to hell due to his or her inborn sinful nature, and that God only predestined a few people to believe in Him and get saved. He recognized that according to all human standards, such a divine behavior is utterly repugnant and even atrocious. But we cannot judge God according to our morality. And after I asked him why we are supposed to worship such a being, he just answered me: “because He is God.”
All of this occurred within a short time span six months ago.
After having done a lot of research on Calvinism, I realized that this kind of assertions naturally springs out of this belief system.
A specific event prompted me to start this series of posts. It was the recent assertion of the very popular Calvinist preacher John McArthur that 500 millions of charismatics are pseudo-Christians and that a great number of them have sinned against the Holy Ghost (and that they were, consequently, predetermined by God to burn in hell forever).
I see it now as my duty to show the true face of Calvinism to the world.
Here follow the methodology and some practical aspects.
1) I think it is fair to say that Calvinism cannot really exist without Biblical inerrancy. Therefore if I can show that SOME Biblical passages are incompatible with reformed theology, I will have effectively refuted it.
2) It is a common cognitive error to believe that once you have shown that something is possible, you have also shown it is not implausible. But there are many things which are logically possible but extremely unlikely.
3) I will leave aside many Calvinist proof-texts and let my readers decide by themselves if they are plausibly interpretable within an Arminian framework or if they can’t, thereby showing the existence of contradictions within the Bible.
For example, let us say that the books of Hebrew and James are incompatible with divine determinism. This leaves two possibilities:
A) the books of Paul are not at odds with Arminianism
B) the books of Paul teach Calvinism which in turn shows that Biblical inerrancy is false.
In both cases, Calvinism is wrong or utterly implausible.
4) I will use many philosophical arguments too, even though I am well aware that this won’t move hardcore fundamentalists who hold the self-refuting view that philosophy is a folly.
5) I shall also argue that Calvinism is completely unlivable. There are no true consistent Calvinists out there (even if some are dangerously close to achieving this).
6) I am going to use extremely hard words against reformed theology but I want to be clear I (try to) love all Calvinists as my fellow human beings. Therefore I won’t tolerate personal attacks against Calvinists who are going to comment on my blog, unless they behave like assholes.
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