Yeshua told us many would come. Will we know them?
Last week, we began unpacking the heated and controversial topic of false Christs, or Messiahs. Yeshua tells us about them and they are mentioned elsewhere in the Bible over a hundred times. It is certainly one of the most important things to study, especially in these last days, so that when confronted with it we will see it for what it is. Let’s continue our study of False Christs and wolves.
When you think of Protestantism, it might conjure up faint remembrances of Martin Luther and his 95 theses, and the stiff doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church that he fought against. It might make you think of your home church- perhaps especially in the Southern Bible Belt regions of the United States. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of churches here in the western world are Protestant churches; and while a significant amount of doctrinal freedom from Rome is certainly owed to men like Luther, most ecclesiastical institutions still hold to the tenets of the Mother Church. That said, a majority of protestant churches today have a theological position fathered by Calvinism. This ideology, named after its founder, John Calvin (born Jehan Cauvin, 1509-1564) is prevalent in almost all Reformed Churches, Baptist Churches, Presbyterian Churches, and United Churches of Christ, though the intensity of the theological application can and does range from a more “traditional” stance to something that has come to be known as “Hyper-Calvinism”. Unfortunately, Calvinism in general is not found anywhere in the pages of scripture, so it really doesn’t matter which flavor you choose- it’s false. And it is taught and revered in most every major church in the world. Let’s look at the doctrine itself and test it against scripture.
According to Wikipedia: “In March 1536, Calvin published the first edition of his Institutio Christianae Religionis or Institutes of the Christian Religion. The work was an apologia or defense of his faith and a statement of the doctrinal position of the reformers. He also intended it to serve as an elementary instruction book for anyone interested in the Christian faith.
Institutes of the Christian Religion (Latin: Institutio Christianae Religionis) is John Calvin‘s seminal work of systematic theology. Regarded as one of the most influential works of Protestant theology, it was published in Latin in 1536 (at the same time as Henry VIII of England‘s Dissolution of the Monasteries) and in his native French language in 1541, with the definitive editions appearing in 1559 (Latin) and in 1560 (French).
The book was written as an introductory textbook on the Protestant creed for those with some previous knowledge of theology and covered a broad range of theological topics from the doctrines of church and sacraments to justification by faith alone and Christian liberty. It vigorously attacked the teachings of those Calvin considered unorthodox, particularly Roman Catholicism, to which Calvin says he had been “strongly devoted” before his conversion to Protestantism.”
Calvin went on to develop doctrine with a man named William Farel after a move to Geneva, and during this time helped to shape the greater doctrine of the Reformed Protestant Churches. He argued against the Eucharist being the actual body and blood of Christ, and some of the sacraments of Rome; forming a theological position based primarily on the relationship between the Law of God and the Gospel. It is important to note that at this time, there were primarily only Lutherans who opposed the Church of Rome on many points of doctrine, and what became known from those Lutheran circles as “Calvinism” gave way to even more distance from the mother church and her doctrine. However, this newfound “Calvinism” did not really begin to spread to other peoples until after his death, and other classifications of “reformed theology” wouldn’t come until later.
So, what exactly is Calvinism anyway? And why is it unscriptural? You would think that a guy with enough education to be both a lawyer and a theologian would know enough about the Bible to believe YHVH, but there is a lot to be said for misinterpretation. Calvin, along with most other Protestant Reformers of theology asserts the idea that there are actually two very different covenants pertaining to different groups. One covenant- that of salvation by works- was given in the Garden of Eden to Adam and Eve, while the other covenant- that of salvation by grace through faith– was given to the rest of mankind. Their argument is that because Adam and Eve sinned, causing the fall of humanity and introducing death into the world, they were unable to attain immortality through perfect obedience to YHVH, who then had to provide the covenant of “grace through faith” to all of humanity afterward. What exactly “grace” means to them depends very heavily on which testament you happen to be in, but the end result for all of humanity is that obedience is no longer necessary or even possible. This has led to many additional subsets under the Calvinist umbrella which include doctrinal ideas such as predestination, hypothetical universalism, hyper Calvinism, and others.
The main reason that Calvinism will not hold up under scrutiny, though, is because it is based off of other false doctrine. Let’s look at TULIP.
Calvinism has 5 points, T.U.L.I.P which is an acronym for:
Total Depravity- the doctrine of original sin which is a fabricated idea of Augustine of Hippo, and not found in scripture. There is sin in the world, true- but the concept of total depravity is an overbearing assumption that even babies are evil and full of sin.
Unconditional Election- which states that YHVH alone chooses who will be saved and who will not. We get absolutely no say in the matter. This is a false view because scripture tells us that we are responsible for our own sin and that loving YHVH is our own choice We are drawn to Him certainly, but we choose to follow in love. If we do not get to choose to love YHVH for ourselves, then it is not actually really love. We would be robots.
Limited Atonement- which is absurd. It states that the sacrifice of Yeshua on the stake was “limited” to only providing coverage for those whom YHVH has already elected, and no one else. This really needs no further explanation, as we all agree that Yeshua died for all of humanity.
Irresistible Grace- which again, states that when YHVH has purposed for one of the “elect” to be saved, that they WILL be saved. There is no way a person can either decline the notion of saving faith, or fall from grace once it has been assigned. And make no mistake, it is an ASSIGNMENT- this ideology does not allow for personal conviction or choice.
Perseverance of the Saints- which states that once a person is assigned salvation by YHVH, that His will cannot be tampered with by anyone or anything, so those whom He has chosen WILL persevere, no matter what. This makes apostasy impossible, and this point alone has been problematic, to say the least.
So, we can see just from these points here- which literally DEFINE Calvinism- that these do not align with scripture in a way that presents a solid foundation. And what’s more, since we know there have been some who have actually walked away from the faith, what does Calvin make of those people? Evidently, according to this theology, they were never saved to begin with. Calvinism perverts discipleship by twisting it into an elitist club where only YHVH’s favorites will see Him at the End of Days. The Bible does not teach that.
In fact, let’s look at what the Bible DOES say on this matter. We’ll go through the five points again, and test them against scripture.
Total Depravity: Ezekiel 18 says, The Lord spoke his word to me. He said, 2 “What do you mean when you use this proverb about the land of Israel: ‘Fathers have eaten sour grapes, and their children’s teeth are set on edge’? 3 As I live, declares the Almighty Lord, you will no longer use this proverb in Israel. 4 The life of every person belongs to me. Fathers and their children belong to me. The person who sins will die.5 “Suppose a righteous person does what is fair and right….9 He lives by my rules and obeys my laws faithfully. This person is righteous. He will certainly live,” declares the Almighty Lord.10 “But suppose this person has a son who robs and murders. The son does all the things 11 that his father never did… Will this person live? He will not live. He has done all these disgusting things. So he must die, and he will be responsible for his own death.
Unconditional Election: We have several verses that show that YHVH does choose people- such as John 15:16, “You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. But we also have several verses that show that it is not unconditional. Consider Deuteronomy 28, “And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. So while there is a certain sense of YHVH setting people apart for His good pleasure, there is nothing that would suggest that either there was no choice involved for the recipient, or that being set apart by YHVH negated any requirements on the part of the elect.
Limited Atonement: 1 John 2: 1-2 tells us, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. As a matter of fact, brothers and sisters- there are hundreds of verses that tell us of the wonderful sacrifice that Yeshua brought to us all because He loves us so very much.
Irresistible Grace: In Galatians 5:4 Paul tells us plainly, Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. If you cannot fall from grace, then Paul is made to be a liar. There are many more verses that support Paul’s claims.
Perseverance of the Saints- Hebrews 10:26-31 puts it plainly. ‘For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains then no more sacrifice for sins, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of YHVH. For anyone who refused to obey the law of Moses was put to death without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know the one who said, “I will take revenge. I will pay them back.” He also said, “The LORD will judge his own people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.’ I don’t think it gets more clear than that. You can absolutely lose your salvation if you lose your faith, or live in willful disregard for what Yeshua has done for you in lifting you out of the bondage of sin. In fact, grieving the Spirit by intentionally walking away from the faith is often argued as the unpardonable sin.
Through this study, we can see clearly that Calvinism, in all its forms, is a false doctrine that leads its followers into the realm of pop-theology and farther away from Yeshua the Nazarine. The issue is that almost all of the western world and many many churches believe this as their foundation. This is honestly, one of the main reasons I left the mainstream church. Calvinism is not scriptural and should not be listened to or taught anywhere, and now that you know more about it, I urge you to research it for yourself.
I pray that you carefully consider this study. I pray that you open the Bible and ask YHVH for wisdom. I pray that if you have been indoctrinated by this “False Christ” that you will be diligent in unlearning so that you can begin to see Messiah for who He is instead of what they taught you about Him. I also pray that you will begin to see who YOU are in Christ because YOU are beautiful and precious and valuable to Him. He died for you because you are loved. I pray that this has been a blessing to you. As always, please reach out to me if you need to talk it out. I would like to pray with you. If you are spiritually unresolved and have questions, I am always here. Shalom!