Calvinism has an appeal because it tends to have an answer for everything -- you can explain everything [by saying] that God predestined it." --- Author unknown
This article I want to explore Calvinism and why I do not agree with it. This article due to space will not cover every in and out of Calvinism such as TULIP, etc, but will cover my basic disagreements. The modern churches today that are rooted from Calvinism include the various Presbyterian churches and "Reformed" churches. Calvinism is getting very popular out there, and there are many young people flocking to the reformed . Calvinist theology] is infiltrating and starting to predominate in many baptist congregations including as a strong force in the Southern Baptist Conference and even some fundamentalist baptist churches. This is ironic since Calvinists used to put some Ana-baptists to the stake. I used to ask Calvinists: why should I hold Calvin as being a godly man, since he kept the worse baggage of Rome and burned Servetus to death?[a known martyr in Unitarian circles]. I am going to run down what I noticed after years of seeing Calvinist blogs, reading their books, and interacting with them online. Many are well-meaning people who do want the truth, but they have been deceived. One thing as a warning to everyone: once you become a [*name that man*] "ism" [Lutheranism, Wesleyanism, Calvinism etc, you have run off the rails from being a Christian. There is a reason the Bible warns about the DAUGHTERS of Rome and the harlot daughters of the mother.
Mark 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
1. The overall problem with Calvinism is they hold to Rome's baggage. This includes holding to early Roman Catholic councils, and early church fathers. Calvinists ignore the warnings of the apostles who warned against grievous wolves even during their time, and hold to Rome's false teachings that come from Augustine. Augustine who was praised by Calvin who based a lot of his writings on his teachings, led people to embrace the worse aspects of preterism, sacramentalism--he taught, that "Christ bore himself in His hands" and amillenialism. These basic "Catholic" roots cannot be ignored.
Calvin said this as well:
“Augustine is so wholly with me, that if I wished to write a confession of my faith, I could do so with all fulness and satisfaction to myself out of his writings.”
In embracing Augustine via Calvin, they embrace his spiritual ancestors of Eusebius, Origen, Ignatius, all full of false teachings and leading the churches astray. One sad thing about many Calvinists I have encountered is they seem to take the Roman Catholic version of "church history" for granted, instead of listening to the warnings in the New Testament. Acts 20:29 "For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock."
The very fact their churches are built on these false foundations has led to immense errors, these false early church fathers, are also another avenue back to Rome. Scott Hahn a well-known Catholic convert, writer and teacher, used to be a Presbyterian pastor, had this to say in his book detailing his conversion to the Roman Catholic church:
“Scott gained many insights from the early Church Fathers, some of which he shared in his sermons. This was rather unexpected for both of us, because we had hardly ever read the early Church Fathers when we were in seminary. In fact, in our senior year we had complained loudly to friends about possible creeping Romanism when a course was offered by an Anglican priest on the early Church Fathers. Yet here was Scott quoting them in sermons! One night Scott came out of his study and said, ‘Kimberly, I have to be honest. I don’t know how long we are going to be Presbyterians. We may become Episcopalians’” (Rome Sweet Rome, p. 56).
I have seen this time and time again, even other converts to Rome, have pointed out their emphasis on Rome's false foundations instead of scripture in leading them to swim the Tiber. False church history has led many intellectual seekers without the Holy Spirit into the ditch.
2. The Second thing I noticed with the history of Calvin, was more Catholic baggage and that was not only early proto-Dominionism--marrying church and state back in the 1500s Geneva [Calvin supported the union of church and state and theocracy] but burning "heretics" at the stake, namely Servetus who Calvin said of "If he [Servetus] comes to Geneva, I will never allow him to depart alive." Well this happened. Servetus by the way was a celebrated martyr in Unitarian circles. In other words Calvin retained the murderous aspects of Rome. The Calvinist roots even of the Puritans had them burning people later on.
3. Thirdly, Calvinists, holding to aspects of Romanist sacramentalism even if they admit to some errors in Catholicism still practice false traditions like baby baptism, and practicing Lent. They hold to many traditions of men. Now many churches are infected with false traditions like Christmas, but Calvinists hold to many aspects of the false liturgical churches. One growing trend is even though the Westminister Confession denies the Real Presence, many Calvinists are now contemplating a more Roman Catholic view of communion, while maybe not taking thing as far as out and out transubstantiation, much of Catholic sacramentalism is contemplated, this is not without controversy though.
4. Fourthly, the idea of Christians being "the elect" who live among those who are not "the elect" and never can be, is totally wrong. Calvinists believe that Christians are predestined to be saved. They see themselves essentially as the Christian version of the 'chosen people". One wonders if this is one reason many Calvinists churches do not pass out tracts or do very active witnessing, after all if every Christian is predestined and "already in", what use is there preaching to the lost who have been supposedly predestined to hell from birth? This too leads away from conviction of sin, with Christians being led to see themselves as 'the elect" who supposedly cannot be lost who fail to examine themselves in the faith. 2 Cr 13:5.
The idea of the elect is against the gospel too as scripture says: Jhn 1:7 "The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all [men] through him might believe".
5. Calvinists can be great Bible scholars and hold a higher concern for doctrine, but here too lies one of the dangers of Calvinism, as a response to the watered down mega-church seeker sensitive "Christianity", it is good that folks seek more biblical truth. The problem comes in when this is married to false church traditions and foundations. Young people desiring more spiritual depth, then end up following Calvinism into more errors.
6. Calvinist churches with some exceptions are part of the ecumenical movement and most Calvinists wishing to separate themselves from the "fundamentalists" they see as intellectually deficient, end up going into "scribe-ville", and falling into the pits that can be laid for those who are "ever learning and never coming into truth."
One well known "Calvinist" Mark Noll [who considers himself a "reformed evangelical"]wrote a book "The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind" decrying the anti-intellectualism of the evangelical world. While he is correct about aspects of this--charismatic churches abuse human emotions to deceive, the sad thing is all this call for "reason" leads back to Rome's false foundations, Noll was a signer of Catholics and Evangelicals Together after all.
The World Reformed Alliance has had the typical ecumenical talks with Rome. They have merged with other organizations and had multiple ecumenical dialogues. Many Reformed and Presbyterian churches are teamed up with the World Council of Churches. There is also the promotion of something called "new calvinism" which is basically akin to neo-evangelicalism, teaching more "relevancy" and compromise with the world.
The New Calvinism is a growing perspective within conservative Evangelicalism that embraces the fundamentals of 16th century Calvinism while also trying to be relevant in the present day world. In March 2009, TIME magazine ranked it as one of the "10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now." Some of the major movers in this area are John Piper, Mark Driscoll, C.J. Mahaney, Joshua Harris, Tim Keller, and Al Mohler.
Now there are a few exceptions to this ecumenical pathway, one can find some old school Reformed types, who hold to the RCC being the harlot. James White, is a Calvinist who warns about Rome and debates well known Catholics such as Robert Sungenis but one thing I noticed having talked to plenty of Calvinists online and reading their blogs, is the majority have embraced the one world religion, and ecumenicalism between churches. Presbyterian USA is one of the most liberal churches out there and most of the Reformed churches have joined the ecumenical parade. There is the Pyromanics website who warns about the Emergent movement, and other errors in the church. White Horse Publications publishes books warning against the Roman Catholic church such as Robert Zins's book: "Romanism: The Relentless Roman Catholic Assault on The Gospel of Jesus Christ". While there are many well-intended Calvinists out there, and many hold to some truths such as sola scripture, a re-examination of Calvinism as a whole is needed. Calvinism is a heresy, and to be frank another "daughter" arising out of the foundations of Rome's false teachers.