The Incredulity of the Four-Point Calvinist
The Bible is clear that Jesus Christ came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). The Lord knows those people who are His (2 Tim 2:19) because He chose them for salvation by His grace (Rom 11:5) before the foundation of the world (Rev 13:8; 17:8). He predestined each elect soul to be adopted as His child (Eph 1:4–5), demonstrated by their receipt of the Spirit of adoption (Rom 8:15, 23).
The indwelling Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ, sent from the Father and the Son (Jn 14:26; 15:26). The recipient of the Spirit of grace subsequently believes in Christ (Zech 12:10; Rom 12:3; Gal 3:22; Phil 1:29; Heb 12:2). This is a positional and a practical faith. The believer actually believes the Word of God preached and taught to him (Rom 10:17) because both the Spirit and the Word are now in him. They have brought him from deadness in sin to spiritual life in Christ (Eph 2:1, 5; Col 2:13).
The true believer is brought to hear and understand who Jesus Christ is and what He has done for His beloved bride, His church (Mt 16:18; Eph 5:25; 1 Cor 12:13). Jesus loved her (His church) and gave Himself up for her (Eph 5:25). In other words, from Jesus, He lays His life for His sheep (Jn 10:11, 15). There is no greater love than Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the cross for the benefit of His people from all over the world (Jn 3:16; Jn 15:13; 1 Jn 3:16). Christ’s church loves Him because He first loved us (1 Jn 4:19), demonstrated in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Rom 5:8), having bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). He saved us (Titus 3:5) and released us from our sins by His blood (Rev 1:5). In Christ, we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7), by His precious blood (1 Pet 1:19), with which He bought us for a price (1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). We belong to Him (1 Cor 3:23), and it is by God’s doing that we are in Christ Jesus (1 Cor 1:30), having been transferred from the domain of darkness and into the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1:13).
The self-proclaimed “four-point Calvinist” neither understands history nor does He understand the exclusivity of God’s love for His chosen people (Dt 7:7; 1 Pet 2:9). When the followers of Jacobus Arminius, the Remonstrants, brought their charges against the church, they brought five points of contention…not four.
Arminians know that their argument is a collective whole. All five points brought to the Synod of Dordt were interconnected and each one related cogently to the other four. They made their case, and they received the church’s response in correlated kind. The five points of Calvinism are an interconnected, collective whole. They go together as did the five points of Arminianism. They are not there for anyone to pick or choose what they like or dislike.
The so-called “Four-Point Calvinist” is no Calvinist at all. He has denied the Reformed faith at its crux. His point of contention always pertains to the nature of the atonement. Did Jesus die for everyone head for head across time and around the world? The true Calvinist says, “absolutely not.” The Arminian and the Universalist say, “Yes, Jesus paid the penalty for all sins of all people. After all, He is the savior of the whole world.” Where the Arminian parts ways with the Universalist is the means of application.
The Universalist is consistent in that he believes Christ died for absolutely everyone and absolutely everyone is saved (notice the logical consistency). The Arminian claims that Jesus’ death is sufficient for all people, but it takes the work of man to make salvation efficient. Every person becomes the determiner of his or her own salvation. The Arminian claims this sovereign power is executed by each person’s so-called “free will.”
Arminian preachers are notorious for manipulating their hearers by use of gimmicks and emotional pleas. Saw dust trails, nervous benches, closed eyes and raised hands, and altar calls are standard practices for “trying to get a decision.” Instead of preaching the finished work of Christ for the salvation of God’s chosen people and trusting the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit to apply salvation to the elect, redeemed people of God, the Arminian tells his hearers that Jesus has made salvation possible by dying on the cross for everyone and paying the penalty for everyone. Men must judge Jesus’ work to be adequate or not. Of course, none of this is biblical.
It is inconsistent for a man to say, “I believe God chose a particular people for salvation (election), out of totally depraved humanity (all people in Adam). I believe God draws everyone to Christ and He preserves those who have judged God on His merits at the cross (irresistible grace and preservation of the saints). Now, O man, judge Christ! Judge the Savior!” This is blasphemy. I ask, “Who are you, O man, to be judging the worthiness of Christ’s perfect work on the cross?” God is the only Judge who can judge the merits of Jesus Christ, and He has approved them, by raising Jesus from the dead.
The so-called, “four-point Calvinist” must, of course, misinterpret John 3:16. “God so loved the world,” but he has chosen the most inconsistent interpretation of “kosmos” (world) by claiming it means “everyone, everywhere, and at all times.” The reason this Universalist interpretation is inconsistent is that God clearly does not love everyone (Ps 5:5; 7:11; 11:5; Rom 9:13). The Word even tells His followers, “Do not love the world (1 Jn 2:15–17).” The Arminian may object, “But ‘world’ there means the ‘world system.’” Ok, so you agree that there are multiple interpretations of the word, “world” do you? You do well to know that in John’s Gospel alone, there are at least ten different uses/interpretations/meanings for the Greek word kosmos translated “world.” Are you sure you have the right one, in joining with the heretical Universalists?
Next, the Arminian, posing as a “four-point” Calvinist will say “everyone who believes in Jesus will be saved.” Well, this is absolutely true. The implication by the Arminian preacher, however, is that God has abandoned His sovereignty in salvation, making it a crapshoot of chance. Can dead men make conscious decisions? Biologically, we know dead men do not make decisions, but the Arminian imposter does not really believe the biblical assessment that the natural man is spiritually dead in his trespasses and sins (1 Cor 2:14; Eph 2:1); rather, man is just sick and needs to muster some self-generated faith in the Christ he hates (Jn 7:7; 15:18–19, 24–25).
Exposing the “four-point Calvinist” is necessary because of how many multitudes have been led astray into trusting in themselves and their “decision” on some particular day back when. May today be the day of salvation for many who actually understand what the Bible says about God’s sovereign will and sovereign work in saving His people from their sins. In order for that to be the result of one reading this article, I will now present the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the Gospel of grace. Grace means that it is God’s will, not man’s will (Jn 1:12–13). Grace means it is God’s work, not man’s work (Eph 2:8–9). Grace means God receives 100% of the credit, the honor, the glory for the salvation that belongs to Him (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1) …not man.
Here is the Gospel of God…not man. God is the Creator of all things. He is the architect and builder of all things. This is His story. Each of us is a character in His cosmic drama. We play our part by His design. In Him, we live and move and have our being. From Him, through Him, and to Him are all things (Rom 11:36).
In the eternal counsel of the Trinity (one God/three Persons), God’s will was decreed for all things according to His eternal good pleasure. God, being eternal, is above space and time, knowing the beginning from the end, being eternally present at all points. Thus, before creation, God had His predetermined plan and foreknowledge of all He would cause to come to pass (Acts 2:23).
In His plan, He predestined to adoption some of the people He would create in time (Eph 1:4–5). By His gracious choice (Rom 11:5), He elected these to be saved from the consequences of Adam’s (man’s) fall into sin (lawless disobedience against the Creator God). Salvation would be the glorifying center to God’s story. The cross of Jesus Christ is that centerpiece of God’s salvation. This is why we preach Him and it and not “you only need to make a decision.”
In love, God the Father chose His children to adopt as His own, with Him as their Father (1 Jn 3:1, 10). He wrote their names in the Lamb’s (Jesus’) book of life before creation (Rev 13:8; 17:8). This specific group of the whole of created humanity was given to Jesus to be His bride, His church, the Israel of God, His holy nation derived from every nation (Mt 16:18; Eph 2:20–22; 5:25; Gal 6:16; 1 Pet 2:9; Rev 5:9).
Jesus came to save His people from their sins (Mt 1:21). He bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Pet 2:24). He released us from our sins (Rev 1:5) by shedding His precious blood for the forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7; 1 Pet 1:19). We preach Christ crucified because it is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe the good news report that remission of sins is by His death (Rom 1:16–17). He died for us, His sheep, for whom He laid down His life (Jn 10:11, 15). He gave Himself in place of His church (Eph 5:25) as a demonstration of His love for her (Rom 5:8)…not the world (all humanity).
After His death, burial, and bodily resurrection from the dead, Jesus ascended into heaven and was enthroned in glory at the right hand of His Father, having been given all authority and power to execute His sovereign reign over all (Ps 110:1; Mt 28:18). He reigns as the King of glory (Ps 24), and His grace works to secure the salvation of His holy nation of royal priests (1 Pet 2:9). He saved us (Titus 3:5) and He has given gifts to us (Eph 4:8).
The foremost gift given by God the Father and God the Son is God the Holy Spirit, His token of love (2 Cor 5:5), sent to indwell God’s elect, redeemed people (Jn 14:17, 26; 15:26; Rom 8:9, 11). He enters the soul (heart and mind) of the elect by baptizing them at God’s appointed time (Mt 3:11; Acts 10:47; 11:16). When the Spirit enters to permanently abide in one’s soul, He brings the Word of God to give light and life to the recipient who is born again (Jn 3:1–8), having been drawn to Jesus Christ by the Father (Jn 6:44, 65).
By the Spirit-filled preacher proclaiming God’s Word, the Bible, the Spirit gives life to the chosen (Job 33:4; Jn 6:63; 2 Cor 3:6). He causes them to be born again (1 Pet 1:3) and then causes them to walk in all His statutes (Ezek 36:27). Jesus Christ, the just and righteous one of God, justifies the ungodly by His blood and His grace (Rom 3:24; 5:9). The Spirit of Christ sanctifies the justified sinners (Jn 17:17; Rom 15:16; 1 Thess 5:23; 2 Thess 2:13; 1 Pet 1:2), employing the Word to wash the saints of God, continually (Eph 5:26).
It is appointed once for a man to die and then comes the judgment (Heb 9:27). Sinners are guilty of breaking God’s Law (1 Jn 3:4). The number of sins is innumerable from man’s perspective. The offense against the infinite majesty of God warrants eternal punishment (Mt 25:41, 46; Jude 7) in the lake of fire that burns forever (Rev 20:14–15). There is only one escape from the eternal wrath of God and that is Jesus Christ (Mt 3:7; Lk 3:7; 1 Thess 1:10).
On the day of Jesus Christ’s return, all humanity will be resurrected from the dead (Jn 5:28–29). One group will be raised body and soul to life. These will be caught up together with Christ in the air at His coming (1 Thess 4:13–5:11). The second group will be raised body and soul to judgment. They will stand at the great white throne of God with Jesus Christ on the judgment seat (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11). Jesus Christ is the judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 2 Tim 4:1; 1 Pet 4:5). His people who will join Him in judgment have already been judged, being in union with Christ on the cross, and there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1).
The destruction of the present heavens and earth under God’s judgment will be with all-consuming fire (2 Pet 3:10–12). With immortal, imperishable humanity being the beginning of the new creation, a new heavens and a new earth will follow in the re-creation order. Here is the eternal home and dwelling place of God’s predestined, elect, redeemed, regenerated, justified, sanctified, resurrected, and now glorified people. God is their God, and they are His people. This is forever, and it is the good news we gladly preach as our only hope. Amen and Amen, Hallelujah!
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 4, 2021