Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – A Contradiction?

As you may remember, I lived as a Calvinist for a number of years, teaching the “doctrines of grace” in a Sunday School Class for Adults, and in Small Group studies for years.

During this time, certain verses and passages seemed to niggle at the back of my mind, but I sought to ignore them and refused to consider alternate ways of looking at the Word, and the God of the Bible.

Certain verses seemed to be in contradiction with the general teaching of Calvin.

One of those teachings were the apparent hatred God has for some sinners, to the point where He would not allow regeneration of their souls prior to their activating the faith required to please God. Yes – that is a common teaching in the reformed thought, that God regenerates a lost sinner prior to the sinner responding to the call of salvation.

Any sinner that is not regenerated, given life eternal, is relegated to eternal suffering. This brings up a number of issues in my mind, which include the justice of God in condemning a sinner for not able to respond to the Gospel of Christ.

Nevertheless, the topic I want to consider is the Love of God in relation to the sinner.

Many times in the New Testament, (golly – bunches of times in the Old Testament) believers are enjoined to love thier enemies.

Matthew 5:44

But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

or

Romans 12:20

To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.”

What has that got to do with Calvinism? The doctrines of grace teach that God does not love His enemies, but of the destruction and eternal torment of sinners, the enemies of God. They will suffer throughout eternity and this will supposedly bring glory and honor to the Father.

Wait a minute

We are told to imitate Him, as dear children.

Ephesians 5:1

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.

or, consider

 Matthew 5:48

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

So what is your point Carl?

Are we to hate our enemies or love them? If we follow the teaching of Calvin, it seems in order to follow our Father in relation to His enemies, we would have the right to do damage to them. After all, according to the God depicted by Calvin, destruction of the enemies of God pleases Him.

Never mind all the passages that speak of our not taking revenge, or that God is love. I found that once I admitted to myself that the logic of Calvinism had some weakness, the whole scheme tumbled down.

If you are considering the teaching of Calvin, remember to keep a gentle spirit, an open mind to the passages of Scripture that give you pause, and flee from the pride of a “higher spirituality”

To be loved by the suffering Savior and His gracious Father is enough.


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