Some Reasons Why I am Not a Calvinist and am Not Reformed

Some years ago I asked a friend this question: “Are you now a Calvinist?”  For the next twenty minutes he talked about God’s Sovereignty and the nature of faith and “easy-believism” and an incredibly diverse list of other topics. He concluded his long answer with this statement, “If that makes me a Calvinist, then I guess that is what I am.”  I simply suggested that he ask me the same question I asked him.  My answer was short and simple: “No, I am not!”  

My answer was perhaps too short and too simple.  Perhaps his longer and somewhat confusing answer was based on some fear of being misunderstood and misaligned.  Perhaps he is simply being influenced by some rather powerful leaders. Whatever the reasons, I still like my answer the best! I am not a Calvinist and I am not reformed.  Here are a few reasons why:

  1. I believe that depravity is Biblically compatible with responsibility.  Man is depraved, and depraved far more deeply and darkly than any of us can really understand. We are sinners in every way and are without doubt deserving of eternal judgment. However, we are also commanded to repent, to seek God, to believe in Jesus Christ, and to be born-again.  On the one hand, the Bible is quite comfortable teaching complete depravity (and uses every description possible to help us wrap our finite minds around that truth). On the other hand, the Bible is just as comfortable in teaching that men everywhere ought to repent and believe on Jesus Christ to save them from sin and hell, and holds them entirely responsible and completely able. 
  2. I believe that love and holiness are God’s primary attributes.  Everything He does will be right and will be based on those two attributes. I love it that our God will always do right based on His Love! He doesn’t just love, He is love, and He did love the whole world at the Cross (John 3:16).
  3. I believe that Christ died for the sins of the whole world and offers definite salvation to whosoever will trust in Him for the forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life. I believe that “there is no respect of persons with God” (Romans 2:11); that He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (1 Peter 1:9); and that “he is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2). 
  4. I believe that God’s grace can be rejected and that His will is not always done on earth.  “I would have, but you would not” is common Bible theology. God is willing to save, but many refuse and reject.  God is willing to forgive, but many will not confess.  “You do always resist” is an indictment straight from the words of the NT writers.  Praying “thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven” implies very simply that God’s will is not always done on earth, but that God desires it to be and combines the enactment of His will with our prayers. Do I understand that? Not at all, but I do believe it is clearly taught in the Scriptures.  In fact, I marvel that God continues to love us and to offer us His forgiveness and mercy and grace simply as a gift free for the believing.  Ephesians 2:8-9 is very clear about this matter.  God’s salvation is by grace and through faith and is a gift from Him based on the death, burial, and resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.  God does draw sinners to him (all men, according to the Words of our Savior); God does desire to save (all men, according to the Words of the Apostle Paul); God does offer salvation to those who will believe (whosoever will, is how Jesus said it); and it is based on the fact that Jesus did die for sin (the sin of the whole world, is how John said it).  
  5. I reject the teaching that some are unable to be saved because they are elected to be lost eternally and no atonement was provided for them. Years ago, when I held my firstborn in my arms, I wrestled with the question of whether or not my baby could be destined to eternal hell without any hope.  If Jesus did not die for all, perhaps He did not die for my little one.  If God only elects to save some, perhaps He did not elect to save this one.  If God condemns some to hell without an atonement available to them, perhaps His atonement was not for her.  If some cannot believe because God will not give to them the gift of faith, perhaps she will be unable to believe because God will not give to her the gift of faith.  If eternal life is dependent on her persevering to the end, perhaps she will not persevere. And on and on my mind raced.  I praise God for the comfort I found in the simple truths of the gospel.  Salvation really is based wholly on Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and it really is available to all who will believe on Him. Salvation is Jesus Christ and His death, and burial, and resurrection. My eternal life is based on Him, and Him alone.  Are there issues I can’t explain? You know it!  Are there some texts that stretch my understanding? Absolutely.  Did Jesus die for the sins of the whole world? No doubt.  Is salvation promised to all who believe? Yes. Yes. Yes.  

And dear friends, for these reasons, and others, I do not consider myself a Calvinist or reformed!  

I know many good people wold take a different position, and some of my own personal friends would.  I know some who are Calvinistic and reformed and win many souls to Christ.  I respect their system of theology and am in no way attacking them or separating from them.  I simply take a different position and wanted to offer some reasons why I do.  

Thanks for reading,

Your sincere friend,

Dave Young

8 thoughts on “Some Reasons Why I am Not a Calvinist and am Not Reformed

  1. Thanks Dave for your article. I have always believed this, but I am surrounded by Calvinist, and at times it makes me doubt. Your approach is direct and humble. From a former PCC student from Chile.

    Like

    • Hello Yolanda: thanks for your kind words. Calvinism is a system of theology and can be spot on in many places. In my opinion, they are way off in some very important ones and that is why I choose not to identify with the system. Every blessing, Dave

      Like

  2. Thank you for some excellent thoughts on this important,relevant threat to the church. Not sure why you added the last paragraph, I just can’t respect a system of theology that is contrary to scripture . As it has been said”all means all and that all that all means”,period!Like you, I know some soul winning strong Christians who cant seem to talk about anything else than Calvinism/ reformed. You are much appreciated and we love your ministry! Kindest regards, Greg Gibson

    Like

  3. Great article. I appreciate the directness and brevity in which your position is stated. Point five is very persuasive to me and I have never hear any of my good reformed friends answer it directly.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: YOUR SATURDAY SEVEN - Rob Martinez

  5. A post like this may get likes and comments from the peanut gallery or echo well within the silo of Anti-Calvinism, but it does not accurately portray Calvinism or any aspect of Reformed theology as it has been defined by those who hold to it since the earliest days of church history.

    I would not assume your sources, but since you failed to provide any, I will assert that similar statements are classic straw-man-type arguments seen in books dedicated to anti-reformed doctrine.

    I guess what I mean is… and with all due respect, you clearly understand a false portrayal of the Calvinist argument without actually understanding what Calvinists believe.

    For that, I will point you to… basically any respected theologian or commentary that is older than, say, 100 years old. They’re not saying what you say they’re saying.

    If you do read the early church fathers, I pray you do so with an open mind, and I hope it’s a blessing to your heart. But even if you seek to disprove them, represent them more accurately than this post seems to imply.

    Grace & peace to you, my brother.

    Soli Deo Gloria

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi David, Thanks for reading my post and for commenting. I appreciated your gentle kindness and respect. That is always a blessing and it leads me to assume that you are a genuine believer who desires to please Christ. I want to do the same. I was hoping you would sign your name. 🙂

      Although my article is quite simple, it is based on what I believe the Bible teaches as well as what I have experienced both in my extensive reading as well as in my long-time interactions with many, many Calvinists through the years. We talk candidly and yet respectfully with each other (and I even preach for and with some of them) and many of them most definitely do claim to believe the things I listed in my article. I I own many Calvinist-based commentaries that claim such too.

      Just out of curiosity, are you implying that Calvinists do believe in unlimited atonement and do believe that God’s grace can be resisted? I have had more than a few tell me that they don’t believe that. I am just curious as to your beliefs.

      I would love to meet you sometime and discuss our thoughts and views in person. It is always a pleasure to discuss things with a gentleman.

      Grace and peace to you as well.

      Dave

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Yolanda Thompson Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s