Skip to main content

Why I Reject Calvinism

Pastor of Iglesia Conexiones, a baptist church in Jessup, MD. B.A. in Bible, B.S. English Ed., M.S. in Educational Leadership.

Understanding Calvinism

Calvinism is a theological system according to which God saves some people from the condemnation He has justly decreed over all humanity without ever imposing any condition for salvation upon those whom He saves. Those whom He saves, He saves because He wills to save them (according to His own wisdom and purpose); and, that He saves them so is just.

Therefore, neither works of righteousness, nor repentance toward God, nor faith in Jesus Christ influence God’s decision in regards to whom He wills to save. Such works of righteousness, repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ are actually impossible for people to exercise without God causing them to exercise them.

Thus, God saves whom He, according to His own will, chooses to save; and, any works of righteousness, repentance toward God, and faith in Jesus Christ are not the condition for their salvation, but the result of the salvation God has already given them.

In order to support this position, Calvinism teaches that the depravity of humanity is total, that the election of them is unconditional, that the atonement of Christ is limited, that the grace of God is irresistible, and that the saints’ perseverance is guaranteed. These five point of calvinism (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverance of the saints) can be remembered by the acronym TULIP.

Reasons to Reject Calvinism

The reason I reject calvinism is that the Bible does not reflect this system: it does not appear to teach, describe, or follow calvinism. In my opinion, the different biblical passages used to teach the points of Calvinism do not actually teach such points: instead, the passages either follow a system that intersects with Calvinism on some points (as they also intersect with Arminianism and with Molinism on other points), or they are being interpreted in a way that first assumes Calvinism.

Moreover, I believe certain passages in the Bible clearly contradict Calvinism:

  • According to Romans 5:4-5, humans can resist repenting even when it is God who is guiding them to repentance.
  • According to 1 John 2:2, the atonement provided by Christ is unlimited: it is available to every human being who believes.
  • In Acts 2:38, it is implied that humans must make a choice to repent—otherwise, the commanding them to repent is meaningless and absurd.
  • Also, 1 Samuel 23:11-12 shows God doesn’t only decree what will happen: He also knows what a person would do under certain circumstances even if such circumstances never come to pass. In other words, God knows what is possible, even though it is only possible and not actual. This middle knowledge is what Molinism uses to develop its theological system.
  • Moreover, John 3:16 teaches that God loved the world, and that He sent His Son to save the world. Contrary to Calvinism, God did not only love the elect, for verse 17 shows that the world God loves includes humans who believe in Jesus (whom calvinists call the elect) and humans who do not believe in Jesus.
  • In Romans 3:9-19, the passage is not saying that the sinful human is incapable of seeking God—that would contradict Acts 17:27, which teaches that the human can seek God. Instead, Romans 3:9-19 is talking about what humans have actually done throughout history, as opposed to what humans can or cannot do.

In my opnion, Calvinism also ignores the delicate balance that the Bible maintains between God’s sovereignty and human volition: in His sovereignty, God has decided to place humanw in a state in which they can decide on their own how to respond to God’s message—God does not make the choice for them.

The Bible also maintains a delicate balance between the influence of sin and the capacity of the human to recognize and to do what is good. In Matthew 5:16, unbelievers can glorify God when they see believers do what is good. This implies that unbelievers can recognize what is good. In Matthew 7:11, those whom the Lord calls evil are able to give good gifts to their children. The same is true in Luke 11:13. In other words, sin does not necessarily prevent humans from recognizing what is good and from choosing what is good.

Also, Calvinism counts faith as a work unless God causes the believer to have faith; but, the Bible never does that. In the Bible, faith is often a possible human response to God’s message, and it never counts as a work: it is always the opposite of a work.

Calvinism Is Not The Gospel

Like every system created by humanity, Calvinism is a flawed and imperfect system. God, in His grace, offers salvation to us without us needing to understand all the details about how He makes that salvation possible. There may be positive points about Calvinism; nevertheless, it is an error to focus so much on Calvinism that we loose sight of the message the Bible clearly communicates: God gives His message (the gospel), and He commands all humans everywhere to repent (Acts 17:30).

The Calvinist must have something clear: Calvinism is an attempt to explain how the gospel works, but Calvinism itself is not the gospel.

© 2022 Marcelo Carcach

Related Articles