When witnessing to Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Catholics, etc…one thing you will discover quickly is that each appear to be “religious” and sometimes even using “orthodox” or theologically correct sounding language. For example, a Jehovah’s Witness will claim to believe that Jesus is the Son of God. However, that’s not all there is to the story. Once you learn to get beyond the language barrier, you learn that you are not speaking the same language as they are. Calvinism has the same problem.
Here is an example of this from Gene Clyatt, who tweeted:
See, @BrianCHouston – The Gospel can be condensed down to one tweet… #RepentAndBelieve
The wrath of Holy God abides on sinful man. Jesus died to satisfy that wrath. He rose again on the third day. Repent & believe and be saved.
Sounds logical enough, right? Sounds Biblical enough, does it not? Not until you peel away what the Calvinists really mean by these terms do you really begin to smell the pungent onion scent.
1. “Wrath of God on sinful man. Jesus died to satisfy that wrath”.
To the Calvinist, “that wrath” means the wrath of ONLY those God determined from before creation to be saved. Regardless of whether it comes from the infra or supralapsarian views or preterition or “passing over”, whether God’s inaction against the unelect sinner is passive, etc, the result is still the same: the atonement that satisfied the wrath of God does NOT apply to ALL sinful man according to Calvinist theology, and therefore only some can be saved depending on who God chose.
But that’s exactly what that statement implies, isn’t it? “The wrath of God abides on SINFUL MAN”. If that wrath is upon ALL MEN, then it should naturally follow that the satisfaction spoken of in the next phrase would equally apply to all men, but to the Calvinist it doesn’t. To the Calvinist, the blood of Christ is “wasted” if the atonement could only potentially save all men, but does not actually save them all. So then for any Calvinist to say this with a straight face, that Christ died for THAT wrath is wholly misleading.
So why then the dishonest rhetoric? We are familiar with every other argument the Calvinist has to defend these doctrines of theirs, so we’re not asking for an explanation of them, but to ask why not be straightforward with others when you explain what you really mean when using certain theological terms and rhetoric? Why say that the Christ died to satisfy THAT WRATH upon ALL sinful men if that’s not what you really mean?
2. “Repent & believe and be saved.”
Certainly most would not disagree with that, right? Not even the liberal guy Gene was directing this at (we at least have to give Gene some credit for that. Hillsong is about as close to Biblical correctness as a giraffe is in converting a lion into a vegetarian). Yet as with the Mormons and JW’s, it’s not that simple. Can a man simply repent, change his mind and attitude and believe? According to Calvinism, NO. But you would not get that impression by the way this statement is crafted. It is rhetorically misleading because no Calvinist believes that repentance is a voluntary act or one that can be made by being willingly obedient to the gospel (2 Thess 1:8), but that faith is given as a gift to believe after God has regenerated the person and given them repentance (that’s the entire idea behind monergism, the Calvinists’ explanation of how the sovereignty of God determines and controls every part of the salvation process including even man’s own will to believe and his response to the gospel. We have discussed the Biblical and philosophical nightmare behind soft determinism/compatibilism elsewhere in Free Will Proves the Sovereignty of God and Does God Determine Greater Rewards And Punishment for starts).
Calvinists regularly speak out in terms and language that is inconsistent with what they really believe. If you pay close attention to the Calvinists when they speak, you will see this pattern demonstrated over and over and over again, just like the above example from Calvinist, Gene Clyatt.
If Calvinists are going to demand that they be treated as and respected as Bible believing Christians, then they need to start being accountable for their consistently dishonest representations of the gospel, and be straight up with people about what they truly believe and about what they really mean when they use commonly familiar theological terms. Some Calvinists do not even notice themselves doing this which is what leads to the oft used popular Calvinist mantra “You don’t understand Calvinism”. With the standards that Calvinists demand for “understanding Calvinism”, nobody should be expected to “understand” it and have any meaningful debate on the matter so long as the Calvinist refuses to face his dishonest representations of what he truly believes. The very fact that the Calvinists employ such rhetoric to maintain credibility among religious factions is in itself cause for concern. We are naturally skeptical of a salesman that we think is hiding something about the product he’s trying to sell, and we hope that people use the same critical thinking with their Biblical knowledge and common sense when it comes to evaluating Calvinism.
Following this article, Gene Clyatt responded on Twitter with:
So in other words, Gene just admitted that we in fact do believe in different gospels, otherwise he would not assume our need to repent and believe the gospel because we disagree with Calvinism.
What is strangely hysterical about Gene’s comment is this comment he made around the same time:
By the way, the “Evangelical Mugging” method is not the suggested method of evangelism, but it is superior to NO method of evangelism
The “Evangelical Mugging” method; Grab ’em by the coat, slam ’em into the wall, yell “TURN OR BURN!”, & stuff Chick Tracts into their pocket
We promote Chick Tracts among other KJVO materials published by Jack Chick. You would think that seeing the side of our website with the plethora of KJVO Baptist links, our re-posts of Chick articles, would be obvious. And yet, at least Clyatt while not giving full faith and credit to the “evangelical muggery” followed by a Jack tract, the question would be how could it be considered better than “no evangelism at all” if it’s a different gospel (according to his comments to us that he desires to see us “repent and believe the gospel”)? In other words, if our beliefs are pretty similar to Jack Chick’s, to which Clyatt still refers to as evangelistic, albeit not the greatest presentation of it, then how can he in the same breath claim we need to “repent and believe the gospel”?
Just more fine examples of Calvinist sleight-of-hand.
**ONE FINAL NOTE ON COMMENTS**
We are NOT going to approve any comments from Calvinists that do not deal with the specific subject matter of the article. This article isn’t to debate your view of election, predestination, preterition, infralapsarian, sublapsarian, supralapsarianism, limited atonement or total inability, but why the Calvinist refuses to be forthright about what he/she believes in. There are plenty of other articles that deal with all of the other Calvinist/Reformed doctrines, so if you want to argue something, find it in one of the other articles.