Rebuttal to Calvinism
I read with interest an article in the Magee Courier, dated July 19, 2018. Seems some fellow attempted to prove that Paul was a Calvinist by offering up only one verse of Scripture. Well, if Paul was a Calvinist, the writer sure picked the wrong verse to prove his point. Note what the verse says: “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2Tim. 2:10)
Now the basic premise of Calvinism is that God has already elected some people to be saved and not others. Supposedly, that decision was made before the world was created. But you will note that Paul told Timothy that he endured affliction and imprisonment “that they (the elect) might also obtain salvation.” Now, that’s strange because according to Calvinists, salvation of the elect is supposed to be a done deal. Why then was Paul concerned about the elect being saved? And why would he and the other apostles subject themselves to the anguish, pain and even death they would suffer if who will be saved and who will be lost has already been decided. Seems to me that would be a silly thing to do and a complete waste of time.
The truth is Paul was not a Calvinist and our friend has erred by using that verse to teach that he was; for in that particular verse, Paul was speaking of his fellow Hebrews, the true elect of God: “For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have called thee by thy name.” (Isa. 45:4) Paul was concerned about the salvation of his fellow Israelites throughout his ministry: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people? God forbid. For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin...Even so at this present time also there is a remnant (of Israelites) according to the election (ekloge – the choice) of grace. ” (Rom. 11:1;5)
The premise of Calvinism is that God predetermined who will be saved and who will be lost. Supposedly, He decided that before the foundation of the world. Well, if that’s true, why then did Jesus die on a cross for all of mankind? Note the words of Jesus about who is able to obtain salvation: “For God so loved the world (kosmos – the sum total of all of mankind), that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever (pas – anyone and everyone that) believeth in him should not perish (apollumi – to be lost), but have everlasting life.” (Jn. 3:16)
Now that alone should be evidence enough that anyone can be saved and that Calvinism is heresy, but I said I was going to show that Paul was not a Calvinist. So please allow me to share some verses that Paul himself penned in Scripture and you decide whether or not anyone and everyone can be saved. To aid us in discovering the truth, I have translated some Greek words; something the Calvinists I’ve met have never done.
You will note that the following verses are Paul’s own words so let’s see what he had to say: “For whosoever (pas –anyone and everyone that) shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:13.)
Let’s look at what he said to young Timothy: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will (thelo - who’s desire it is to) have all men (anthropos – anyone and everyone without respect of persons) to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of truth.” (1Tim.2:3-4)
Here is what he wrote to Titus: “For the grace (charis – unmerited favor) of God that bringeth salvation (eternal salvation) hath appeared (has shined light) to all men (anthropos – anyone and everyone).” Tit. 2:11) This verse goes hand in hand with Ephesians 2:8 – “For by grace (charis – unmerited favor),” are ye saved through faith (pistis – having been persuaded by the Word of God and the Spirit).” Now every true Bible student knows that Paul was speaking to the Ephesians about eternal salvation but, if who will be saved and who will be lost has already determined, why would anyone have to be persuaded to receive salvation?
Peter was not a Calvinist either for he tells us that it is not “God’s will” that anyone be lost, let alone that God has predestined people to be: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering (makrothumeno – extremely patient) to us-ward, not willing (boulomai – not willing; nor has it been determined) that any (tis – anyone) should perish, (apollumi – to be lost) but that all (pas – anyone and everyone) should come to repentance (metanoia – have a true change toward God).” (2Pet. 3:9)
The translation for these verses came from the Greek Lexicon, which is used by scholars to translate the Scripture. So, as we can see, God has not predetermined who is to be saved and who is to be lost. Neither did Jesus die for a select group of people but for all of mankind. Does this mean all will be saved? No! Salvation is a choice and if you haven’t made that choice, I pray that you make it. Jesus is waiting to hear from you.
But here is a further lesson. Never accept anything as truth that’s based on one verse of Scripture. There are many other verses I could have listed but for the sake of space, I listed these that are easily understood.
Pastor – Coat Baptist Church