Pascal’s Wager for Christians Thanks, Gerald Altman, for the pic. Non-Calvinism vs Calvinism
I limit this paper to these few aspects of scripture because of time constraints. These few are sufficient to demonstrate my point.
Jesus died for ALL people and getting to heaven is based on the personal choice of belief in Jesus to save you. The extrapolation of this doctrine is that those who refuse to believe in Jesus are the ones who go to hell.
Damages of Non-Calvinism:1. Because of a true understanding of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf we walk in humility before a holy God in defiance of the list of deadly sins (Proverbs 6:16-19) and seek to emulate the very nature of Christ Himself (Matthew 20:28, Luke 22:27; Isaiah 50:6; Philippians 2:8). 2. We tell everyone we can about the saving grace of Jesus because we want them to know that God loves them and has room for them in His kingdom, in compliance with Matthew 28:19. 3. Because we used our free will to accept Jesus’ death as a substitute for our own, we are being made in the image of Jesus, who allowed Himself to be nailed to the cross (John 10:18 freewill!), learning to live as He exampled when He walked this earth (Romans 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18). 4. Love and service to others are a given because we are often unaware of a heart which might be turned toward heaven because of our good works (James 2:24). 5. Doing everything Jesus commands is our goal because obedience demonstrates our love for Him (John 14:15). 6. Being baptized is of utmost importance because scripture makes it very clear that being buried with Jesus and raised as a new person is essential to our salvation (John 3:5, John 13:8, Colossians 2:12; 1 John 1:9). 7. Untold numbers of people will be spared eternity in hell because those of non-Calvinist convictions understand their position before a holy God who gave His Only begotten Son so that ALL people might be saved. 8. The forgiveness spoken of in Matthew6:14-15 comes alive in the lives of non-Calvinists because we understand, on an ever-deepening level, that Christ forgives us so that we might receive salvation. We are anxious and ready to forgive others for their sake, as well as our own, because we won’t risk our salvation for any reason.
Calvinism or T.U.L.I.P Doctrine:
God chooses people and privileges them with salvation, and there’s nothing they can do to change that. They are without freewill, accountability, sinning is no longer a problem, and they can never lose their salvation. The extrapolation of this doctrine is that God also chooses who goes to hell, rejecting people for reasons unknown to them, dismissing them as unworthy for reasons known only to Him. There’s nothing hell bound people can do about their eternal condition because they are without freewill, and are powerless to effect change over their eternal residence.
Damages of Calvinism:1. Along with Calvinism comes an intrinsic sense of pride. It screams, “I’m special, God picked me. I’m so blessed!” This pride is evident in each and every post made by a Calvinist. Pride is the root of all sin, so this doctrine intrinsically defies Proverbs 6:16-19 (list of seven deadly sins) and the very nature of Christ Himself (Matthew 20:28, Luke 22:27; Isaiah 50:6; Philippians 2:8). 2. Calvinism, by definition, requires no evangelism because God is only going to accept those He chooses, and His Spirit will inform those who are saved. As a result, there is no scriptural need to tell others about God or Jesus’ sacrificial death. Hearing the gospel has nothing to do with salvation because salvation rests 100% with God. This tenet of Calvinism defies Matthew 28:19 to go into “all the world, making disciples and baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” (Please also reference Mark 16:15-16; 1 Peter 3:15; Matthew 5:16; Colossians 4:2-6; Romans 1:16; 2 Timothy 1:8-12; Psalm 40:9-10; Acts 26:22-29; 1 Timothy 1:15). It also contradicts Romans 10:17, that faith comes through hearing the word of God. 3. From a Calvinistic standpoint, there is no reason to be made into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Cor. 3:18)) because the good works which justify us before God (James 2:24; Romans 8:30) are not needed for Calvinists because they have already been chosen by God’s irresistible unchangeable grace. 4. Love (Ephesians 5:2, John 15:13) and service (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45, John 13:1-17) to others is unnecessary because no kindness shown to the ‘unchosen’ will affect their life for they are without freewill and predestined to hell. 5. Doing anything Jesus commands in scripture (John 14:15) is unnecessary for Calvinists because they are ‘chosen’ and their salvation can’t be undone even if a lack of obedience demonstrates a lack of love for Jesus. 6. Being baptized with Jesus (John 3:5, John 13:8, Colossians 2:12; 1 John 1:9) is unnecessary because it’s simply another work which doesn’t apply to Calvinists because they are ‘chosen’ and can’t be unchosen. Hence, the scriptures regarding baptism are truly intended for those who harbor no faith at all in Jesus because they have no freewill to choose faith (because that makes so much sense). 7. Untold billions of people will go to hell because God doesn’t want them, which defies, well…, pretty much the entire Bible; think the choosing of Israel from which to bring the Messiah, the life/ministry/death/and resurrection of Jesus, the promise of heaven, along with the writing and preservation of the Bible, which has been documented for an entire species who doesn’t even need it! Neither the ‘chosen’ or the ‘lost’ need it, so why did God bother with the Bible in the first place? 8. Scripture ‘requires’ that the ‘chosen’ forgive God if any number of Calvinists’ family and friends, possibly even all of them, don’t make God’s list of ‘chosen’ ones, and are predestined to hell. But it’s okay if Calvinists don’t forgive God for His decision because they are ‘chosen’ and that can’t be changed, even though unforgiveness defies Matthew 6:12, 14-15 and Luke 6:37; 17:4; Mark 11:25.
Calvinism, which items 1-8 describe as a false doctrine because it stands in contradiction to scripture, is used to convince those who do have a heart for Christ that they are among the ‘elite’ group chosen by God, luring them into a false sense of status and security which could cost them their own salvation. This teaching will lead untold numbers of people straight into hell. How do I know? I know because it’s a false doctrine. A false doctrine stands in defiance of and opposition to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Where will the opposition of Jesus spend eternity?
I’m even going to go so far and state that the scripturally unfounded evangelism on the part of Calvinists is rooted in the very falseness of its doctrine. In other words, Calvinists are the agents of the Enemy and work to deceive those who might find true salvation. That is, after all, the working definition of a false doctrine, to separate the lost from Christ. What better way to accomplish this than by appealing to one’s ego, tapping into an innate sense of self and entitlement? Satan knows people better than people do.
For Calvinists, life is easy peasy, right? Calvinists have all the blessings and perks with none of the works or accountability. I mean, it’s not like God is really concerned with accountability, right? It’s not like there’s going to be a Judgment Day. Why would a Judgment Day be needed? Judgement has already been passed based solely on God’s sovereignty, so why drag it out in some big ceremony? Those who are ‘chosen’ have it made. Everyone else… not so much.
The Calvinist doctrine reminds me of atheism in one regard: Atheists often claim to be moral people, kind and generous with others. They claim one does not need belief in God to be moral. However, atheists have NO foundation on which to base their morality because they deny the existence of the ONE who established morality. Without God there is no morality.
Likewise, Calvinists, who claim that salvation is 100% the work of Jesus, without ANY cooperation on behalf of the ‘chosen’ have NO claim to any aspect of scripture because God has ‘chosen’ them and He can’t change His mind. According to Calvinists, their salvation is irrevocable and nothing they do has any effect on it, so there is no reason to evangelize, to care about others, to do works for justification, to be baptized, or to obey the commands of Jesus. The sovereignty of God is the SOLE scriptural precept on which Calvinist salvation rests for it is ONLY God’s sovereignty which saves them. This doctrine renders nearly the entire word of God ultimately useless.
So, what is the wager when weighing Calvinism against Non-Calvinism? If both doctrines allow for the salvation of mankind, asserting the given that salvation depends upon the Redeeming work of Jesus, why would one choose the doctrine which speaks to ‘self’ as described here while standing in contradiction to scripture, rendering nearly the entire Bible irrelevant? Why wouldn’t one choose the doctrine which aligns itself most closely with the humble sacrificial heart of Jesus as demonstrated by His life, ministry, death and resurrection, the doctrine which not only establishes the need for God’s word, but most closely aligns itself with it (all of it, without dismissing huge chunks of it)? Why put at risk one’s very salvation to take the chance on Calvinism? Because it feeds one’s ego? Is self-validation worth an eternity in hell? After all, Jesus died for everyone, so a person can still be saved and rest in the knowledge that identity in Christ is what makes one valued, not some arbitrary decision by God. In the end, the choice of Calvinism says much more about the character of those who embrace it than it does about the character of God.