After John Calvin's teachings, the earliest authoritative explanation of Calvinism is what was given at the Synod of Dort in 1618-19. Nearly three decades later, the wording cited at Dort was slightly altered without changing its substance in the Westminster Confession of Faith, finished in December of 1646. Both of these sources of primitive Calvinism reveal that it was not different back then, than it is today. Calvinism has always allowed for a Christian to be immoral under their warped concepts of grace and salvation. Below is exactly how Calvinism was originally worded in these two sources respectively in the early to mid 1600's. Both statements were written about the elect under their doctrine of the perseverance of the saints:Although the weakness of the flesh cannot prevail against the power of God, who confirms and preserves true believers in a state of grace, yet converts are not always so influenced and actuated by the Spirit of God as not in some particular instances sinfully to deviate from the guidance of divine grace, so as to be seduced by and to comply with the lusts of the flesh; they must, therefore, be consistent in watching and prayer, that they may not be led into temptation. When these are neglected, they are not only liable to be drawn into great and heinous sins of the flesh, the world, and Satan, but sometimes by the righteous permission of God actually are drawn into these evils. This, the lamentable fall of David, Peter, and other saints described in Holy Scripture, demonstrates (Article 4).If you carefully read the above, it should be apparent that Calvinism has always allowed for true Christians to comply with the lusts of the flesh and, therefore, commit great and heinous sins of the flesh, the world and Satan. King David when in adultery and murder, and Peter, who disowned the Lord, are cited as examples. Collectively, this allows for the true Christian, according to Calvinism, to be adulterous, murderous and one who verbally disowns Jesus before men. This spells out the same devilish license for immorality that has been preached through the centuries to our present dark day.
Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein: whereby they incur Godís displeasure, and grieve his Holy Spirit; come to be deprived of some measure of their graces and comforts; have their hearts hardened, and their consciences wounded; hurt and scandalize others, and bring temporal judgments upon themselves (Paragraph 3).
Somehow some have been misinformed into thinking that the Calvinism preached by Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and others of approximately 150 to 250 years ago was different and more sound than the Calvinism of today. Dear reader, donít be deceived. There is no essential difference! Under their version of grace and salvation, a Christian can be one who is both adulterous and murderous at the same time. This has never changed throughout the centuries.
Many have a less-than-precise understanding of Calvinism. They think Calvinism teaches if you are saved you wonít fall away or if you fall away you were never saved. A more precise way to describe their view about falling away is given by one of their own teachers, D. James Kennedy. This is what he wrote:
Calvinismís Partial and Temporary Falling AwayIt is true that Christians can fall into sin; we can partially and temporarily fall away, but not totally and finally fall away. (Pamphlet entitled, Can A Christian Fall From Grace, p. 10.)Hence, Calvinism does allow the elect (those regenerated) to fall into heinous sin and temporarily fall away, at which point they still remain saved, even before repentance. This is how they can teach a license for immorality. Sometimes they might describe this as simply that a Christian can commit occasional acts of sin, but not lifestyle sin. (They deny a total and final falling away until they unwittingly teach their warped view of the sin unto death.) This type of convoluted reasoning has always been part of Calvinism, but seemingly remains undetected by their own advocates.
Going back to the very teachings of John Calvin himself, we see the same deadly misrepresentation of salvation as this man, who burned Michael Servetus at the stake with green wood, comments on the following Scripture:But if a righteous man turns from his righteousness and commits sin and does the same detestable things the wicked man does, will he live? None of the righteous things he has done will be remembered. Because of the unfaithfulness he is guilty of and because of the sins he has committed, he will die. (Ezek 18:24)
Calvin used 1305 words in his twisted explanation of that verse to try to preserve the theology he was willing to kill over. Here is part of what he wrote about David when in adultery and murder, as he comments on Ezek. 18:24:
John Calvin on Ezekiel 18:24... For the example of David shows that the elect, although regenerated by Godís Spirit, not only sin to a small extent, but, as I have said, plunge into the very lowest abyss. David became a perfidious homicide, and a traitor to the army of God; then that wretched king fell into a series of crimes: yet he failed in only one thing, and showed that Godís grace was only suffocated within him, and not altogether extinguished ....In contrast to Ezek. 18:24, Calvin stated that David didnít die spiritually at all, as Ezekiel preached. All that occurred because of his sinful plunge into the lowest abyss was that he suffocated Godís grace, but didnít altogether extinguish it. In other words, David retained his salvation while living like the devil at the time. Again, this shows that Calvinism has always allowed for the vilest behavior among the elect.
Calvinists are unknowingly confused people embracing a chaotic theology. At times they speak of holiness, then they are able to turn 180 degrees in the opposite direction and teach that a true Christian can fall into grievous sins; and for a time continue therein, citing David and Peter as (unholy) examples of the elect. The Calvinism of the past is just as much a false message about salvation as it is today.
Perhaps, asking the right pointed question/s will also be helpful to expose the true heart of Calvinism to those you know. Let me recommend the following two: (1) Did David remain saved while in adultery and murder, before he repented? (2) Can a true Christian stray to that same extreme and likewise remain saved? The true Calvinist of our day, just like Spurgeon, Whitefield and Edwards of the past, would be forced to answer yes to both of these questions, in spite of the Scriptural evidence! Remember, they think once elect always elect and even the vilest sins canít change that. Calvinism, past and present, needs to be exposed, resisted and refuted not encouraged or spread, especially by those who know eternal security is not a Christian teaching. For more information see our articles entitled, Perseverance of the Saints and The Righteous Can Die Spiritually . God bless you.
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