WHAT'S WRONG
WITH FIVE-POINT
CALVINISM ?

PAUL L. FREEMAN

He loves me --  
loves me not

   There is a system of teaching abroad today
which is infecting our Fundamental Churches,
Bible Institutes, Christian Colleges, and Sem-
inaries.   It is known as Five-Point Calvinism and
originated with John Calvin's interpretation of the
Word of God.   The fearsome thing about it is its
spread into fundamental churches and schools with
little opposition.   It appears that the proponents of
Neo-Evangelicalism, with their criticism of Funda-
mentalists for their supposed "lack of scholar-
ship toward the Word of God"
, have had a great in-
fluence.   As this system of false doctrines spreads
into the last strongholds of Biblical Christianity
there is a silence when there should be a re-
sounding reply from the Word of God by Pastors
and Teachers.   The intellectualism of this system
of teaching seems to have cast a spell over our
leaders and the will to resist is stifled for fear of
saying something non-intellectual.   In that which
follows I urge you to compare the Five-Points of
Calvinism with the Word of God and ask the Holy
Spirit
to guide you into all truth.
   Concerning the Five-Points of Calvinism,
Loraine Boettner has stated on page 59 of his
book, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination,
"Prove any one of them true and all the others
will follow as logical and necessary parts of the
system.   Prove any one of them false and the
whole system must be abandoned"
.   Since Mr.
Boettner is considered an authority on the subject
I would encourage you to follow his advice and
abandon the system when you find one of the Five-
Points to be wrong.   The Five-Points of Calvin-
ism are as follows:

1. TOTAL INABILITY
2. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
3. LIMITED ATONEMENT
4. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE
5. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

   It is not the purpose of this paper to present an
exhaustive study of these points and to examine
the Scriptures used by Calvinists to prove their
system of teaching.   Rather, this study is set forth
for the Christian believer who wants to know, very
simply stated, what these Five Points are and
whether they are in agreement with all the
Scriptures.

TOTAL INABILITY
   The teaching of Five-Point Calvinism is that
man is totally unable to do anything to obtain sal-
vation.   They state very emphatically that he can-
not repent or believe the Gospel.   Their teaching
is that man cannot believe until he is born-again.
This new birth is brought about by God who
chooses certain individuals and regenerates them.
Those whom He regenerates are then capable of

believing by virtue of their new birth.   Man does
not
have a free will by which he is able to come
to Christ for salvation.
   Concerning the statement that man cannot re-
pent
we find the Word of God stating the exact op-

posite.   In Acts 17:30 we find that God commands
"all men everywhere to repent", and that having so
commanded, He expects they can and will.   In II
Peter 3:9 we find that God is "not willing that any
should perish, but that all should come to repent-
ance."
  If they should come, then they can come.
God does not mock men by asking them to do what
they cannot do.   In Acts 11:18 we are told that God
hath "also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."
Notice that the repentance comes first and it re-
sults in life.
   Concerning the statement that man cannot be-

lieve the Gospel, and that man cannot believe un-
til he is born-again, let the following Scriptures be
studied - John 1:12; 3:15, 16, 36; 5:24; 6:40; 7:39;
12:36; and 20:31.   These Scriptures all show that
spiritual life follows upon the sinner's believing
in Jesus Christ.   The Apostle John gave as his
reason for writing his gospel, "that ye might be-
lieve that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and
that believing ye might have life through his name."
(John 20:31)
It is very clear that believing comes first and the
new birth follows.   The verses I have cited from the
Gospel of John by no means exhausts the Script-
ures which prove life through believing.   If you will
take Strong's Concordance and study the words
"believe, believed, believest, believeth, and believing" you will find
much more.   A notable example is Acts 16:31 where
Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
thou shalt be saved"
.   The Calvinist would twist
it to read, "when thou art saved by the Lord Jesus
Christ thou shalt believe"
.   What utter disregard for
the plain teaching of the Word of God.
   Concerning the statement that man does not
have a free will by which he is able to come to
Christ, please note what Jesus said in John 7:17
"If any man will do his will, he shall know of the
doctrine"
.   Here He said that a man may will to do
God's will.   Again in John 5:40 Jesus rebuked the
Jews when He said "ye will not come to me, that
ye might have life."
  It was not that they could not
come, but that they would not come.   In Rev. 22:17
the Word of God declares "whosoever will, let him
take the water of life freely."
  Here God makes a
real offer of the water of life to "whosoever
will
"
.
   Beloved, God has been pleased "by the foolish-
ness of preaching to save them that believe."

(1 Cor. 1:21)   Salvation is by believing, and if we
tell the lost man that he cannot believe, we shut
the gates of Heaven against him and find ourselves
in the hideous company of him who "hath blinded
the minds of them which believe not, lest the light

of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image
of God, should shine unto them."
  (II Cor. 4:4)

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION
   The teaching of Five-Point Calvinism is that
God has determined and decreed that some are to
be saved without any conditions to be met on their
part.   This is called Unconditional Election and is
the choosing of some to salvation in Christ, while
at the same time leaving the rest in their lost con-
dition by not choosing them.   This election is not
based on God's foreknowing that certain would
believe, but is based on His sovereign will to
elect certain ones.   Those who are not chosen to
be part of the Elect of God can in no way enter in-
to that company.   In line with this teaching the
statement is made that God does not love all men,
but only those whom he has chosen to be saved.

   The Scriptures are very plain that God has His
Elect ones who by faith in Jesus Christ are pre-
destinated "to be conformed to the image of his Son,"
(Rom. 8:29).   They are adopted by God and Chosen
in Christ "(4)before the foundation of the world,"
(Eph. 1:4,5).   This election is plainly declared to
be based on "the foreknowledge of God" (I Peter 1:2
and Rom. 8:29).   Since God knows the end from the
beginning He foreknows those who will believe in
Christ.   He has purposed that they will be to the
praise of His glory throughout the ages and through
them He will show "the exceeding riches of his
grace"
(Eph. 2:7).
   The Scriptures are also very plain in stating
that "whosoever will" may come to Christ.   Please
read the following Scriptures - John 3:15,16; 4:14;
12:46; Acts 2:21; 10:43; Rom. 10:13; Rev. 22:17.
The word "whosoever" means all, any, every, the
whole.   Since we believe in the verbal, plenary
inspiration of the Word of God we are forced to be-
lieve that when God moves the Scripture writers to
say "whosoever", then that is exactly what He
means.   That there is a condition to be met in order
for one to be saved is proved by our Lord's words
in John 8:24 "for if ye believe not that I am he, ye
shall die in your sins."
  Other Scriptures have al-
ready been quoted under Total Inability to bear
out the conditional requirement of believing in
order to have salvation.
   That God loves all men in this world and sent
His Son to die for them is abundantly clear from
John 3:16.   The Five-Point Calvinist changes the
meaning of the word "world" here and adds to the
Word of God by placing immediately behind it two
words, "the elect".   The verse then appears this
way, "For God so loved the world (the elect), that
he gave his only begotten Son, etc."
  I have seen
this verse written in this way in gospel tracts.
The word "world" is used 77 times in the Gospel
of John, I would encourage you to take Strong's

Concordance and look up each occurrence, then in-
sert the words "the elect" behind each usage of
it.   You do not have to go far before you see how
ridiculous it is.
   You see, beloved, if God does not love all men
then we should not love them either.   Since our
Christian character comes from the indwelling of
our Lord, we cannot show forth an attribute that
is superior to His.   Yet strangely enough, the Word
of God says we are to love our enemies, our wives,
our husbands, our children.   If we must love
lost sinners, and our Lord is holier than we are,
we must believe that He loves them too.   I'll be-
lieve John 3:16 as it stands unaltered by the
followers of John Calvin.

LIMITED ATONEMENT
   The Five-Point Calvinist states that Christ
died on the Cross for the sins of the Elect.   To say
that He died for the sins of the Non-Elect is not
reasonable.   Since, according to their system, God
has chosen some to be saved and chosen the rest
to be lost, He cannot require the death of Christ
for those He does not plan to save anyhow.   There-
fore the Atonement of Christ is limited to the Elect
only.

   If you have accepted Total Inability and Un-
conditional Election it is necessary to limit the
scope of Christ's death on Calvary.   The only prob-
lem is that the Scriptures directly state that the
death of Christ was for every man and is effective
for the sinner the moment he believes.   In I John
2:2 it is said that His death was a propitiation
(satisfaction) not only for our sins but for the sins
of "the whole world."   In Heb. 2:9 it says that
Christ tasted death for "every man."   I Tim. 2:6
says that He gave Himself a ransom for "all".
John the Baptist declared in John 1:29 that Jesus
was the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of
the "world."   In Isaiah 53:6 the Word of God states
that "All" have gone astray (I would assume that
refers to all men in the world) and that the Lord
laid on Jesus the iniquity of us "all."   Since the
gospel is for "whosoever will" and it consists of
the good news that Christ died for sinners.   I must
believe that the Atonement of Christ is not limited.
   Not only is the Atonement of Christ unlimited
and offered to all men, but the Holy Spirit is
presently working to convict the world (all men) of
one sin.   That sin is that Christ paid the penalty
for their sins, but they do not believe on Him
(John 16:8,9).   God is not willing that any should
perish (II Peter 3:9) and it is said that He "will
have all men to be saved,"
(I Tim. 2:4).   In Scripture
we find the Father giving the Son to the world, the
Son tasting death for every man, and the Holy
Spirit convicting the world.   Since God's work
must be our work, we should part company with
Five-Point Calvinism right here.   The Bible knows

nothing of a limited Atonement: that comes
from the vain intellectual reasoning of men.

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

   Calvinists teach that all those whom God
has chosen to be saved will be unable to re-
sist the call of God.   Since He has predeter-
mined them to be saved, He effectually calls
and regenerates them without any condition to
be met on their part.

   The Word of God teaches that "the grace of
God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to
all men,"
(Titus 2:11).   Since God has provided
salvation for all men, and yet all do not come;
that is proof enough that men do resist the
Grace of God.   The Bible gives clear instances
of men resisting the Grace of God.   Jesus
stood over Jerusalem and said that He wanted
to gather them unto Himself, but they "would
not"
(Matt. 23:37).   When Stephen preached to
the Jews he said that regarding their attitude
toward God's Word they were stiffnecked and
that they were "resist[ing] the Holy Ghost" Who
was calling them (Acts 7:51).   The writer of
Hebrews, when describing those "who draw
back unto perdition"
(Heb. 10:39), said that
though they were sanctified by the blood of
Christ, yet they had "(29)done despite unto the
Spirit of grace"
(Heb. 10:28,29).   Here it is
plain that the blood of Christ was available
to them for salvation, but was refused.   That
the Spirit of God strives with sinners to bring
them to repentance and faith is stated in Gen.
6:3.   This verse also states that God will one
day give man up when His grace is continually
resisted.

PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS

   The last point in the Calvinistic system of
teaching is that those whom God has chosen
to be saved will persevere to the end and will
not finally and fully depart from the faith.   The
one who is truly born-again is eternally secure
in Christ and is never in danger of losing his
salvation.
   Most Fundamentalists would find little to
disagree with in this statement, except to
qualify the way God chooses men to be saved
by stating that His Election is according to
His foreknowledge.   The eternal security of
the believer is a fundamental doctrine of
Scripture.   However the false teaching set forth
under the first four points of Calvinism bear
their inevitable fruit here.   There is a subtle
exclusion here which is not seen in the stated
position, but which eventually shows up in
practice.   In churches where these doctrines
are taught there are the following effects on
those who come into the assembly :-

   1. The man who is under the conviction of
the Spirit and on the threshold of believing in
Christ is soon hearing that he cannot of himself
believe and unless God has chosen him to sal-
vation there is nothing he can do.
   2. The one who has been born-again, but is
still a babe in Christ, is often expected to exhibit
a spiritual life more advanced than his growth to
date.   Because the fruit is slow in coming he be-
gins to doubt whether he is truly born-again.   Thus,
one who is a child of God begins to doubt that he
is a true believer and sits at home in absolute
frustration, convinced that God has not chosen
him.
   3. Those who are saved and living a spiritual
life begin to develop an intellectual superiority
over those who cannot see the glorious truths re-
vealed by John Calvin.   Since they are the Elect
of God and the unsaved are the Non-Elect whom
God does not love, they begin to display a self-
righteous attitude toward those lost in sin.   The
attitude of the Jews toward the Gentiles, whom
they referred to as "dogs", begins to come into
the life of the Calvinist.   It is the attitude dis-
played by John Calvin when he desired the death
penalty to be pronounced upon Servetus.   John
Calvin
handled the theological part of the trial of
Servetus, who was subsequently burned at the
stake for blasphemy.
   The usage of the phrase "Perseverance of the
Saints"
gives the impression that the saints are
doing something to keep themselves secure in
their salvation.   A more Scriptural phrase would
seem to be "The Preservation of the Saints."
(I Thess. 5:23; Jude 1)   Beloved, inquire of your
Bible teacher regarding Calvinism.   Do not be
satisfied with a "purposely evasive" answer.   The
man who holds these teachings usually will not
be a soul-winner or be mission minded.   If your
church has no outreach for the lost it may well be
that Five-Point Calvinism has already done its
deadly work.

 ( Only a sinner saved by His Grace, a )
 ( Free Gift provided to ALL who would )
 ( receive it by Repentance toward God )
 ( and Faith toward the Lord Jesus     )  
 ( Christ.                             )

 ( September 16, 1990 was the day I    )
 ( called upon the name of the Lord    )
 ( for His Forgiveness of ALL my sins. )
 (   --KL Paulson @ U.S.A.             )   
[Christian Helps Ministry (USA)] [Christian Home Bible Course]