A brother in Christ who opposes God’s predestination emailed me this quote from Calvin’s Institutes. A Bible professor at various institutions including Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, here is the quote followed by his comment:

“We call predestination God’s eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of those ends, we speak of him as predestined to life or to death.” (Calvin: Institutes of the Christian Religion, Bk. 3, ch. 21, sec. 5).

This declaration above, quoted from Calvin’s final revision of the Institutes in 1559, is a blatant contradiction of the plain teachings of Scripture; read the biblical texts that cannot be canceled by Calvin’s contradictory declaration: Matt 18:14; 1 Tim 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9. The question is this: Do you believe Calvin or Scripture? As you should well know, the 5-pointers deny even John 3:16 and push Calvin’’s predestination fallacy to its logical heretical conclusion, opposing— (as a philosophy is free to do) —all the Scriptures that say Jesus died for everyone. No real Calvinist, therefore, can ever know until after he dies whether he was created for life eternal or whether Jesus died for him.

Believe me if you will, but it always pains me to quote Romans 9 to Arminians. It’s like carrying a nuclear warhead into a boxing ring. Thing is, I didn’t write it. The Spirit of God did. And much as we might wish to spare our Arminian brothers and sisters the pain, God didn’t say it so we would hide it. Like every single word of Scripture, it too is profitable for correction and rebuke so the man of God may be prepared for every good work.

Here is my response to this brother:

Dear (John Doe),

I understand your objection to the doctrine of election. To say all men are not created “equal” with respect to God’s decrees is highly offensive to men steeped in the egalitarian political culture of the United States of America.

And yet, this doctrine is thoroughly—one might even say robustly—Biblical. We ought never to raise our own puny excuses for wisdom above the very words of God.

Never forget the joy of your soul in being born again by God’s Spirit; namely, that God chose to give you the gift of saving faith. Why?

Well, the Apostle Paul gives the reason in all its stark simplicity:

“Just as it is written, ‘Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.’ What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth.’ So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.

“You will say to me then, ‘Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?’

“On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, ‘Why did you make me like this,’ will it?” (Romans 9:13-20)

Later in the same chapter of the Institutes you quoted, Calvin continues:

“Now a word concerning the reprobate, with whom the apostle is at the same time there concerned. For as Jacob, deserving nothing by good works, is taken into grace, so Esau, as yet undefiled by any crime, is hated. If we turn our eyes to works, we wrong the apostle, as if he did not see what is quite clear to us! Now it is proved that he did not see it, since he specifically emphasizes the point that when as yet they had done nothing good or evil, one was chosen, the other rejected.

“This is to prove that the foundation of divine predestination is not in works. Then when he raised the objection, whether God is unjust, he does not make use of what would have been the surest and clearest defense of his righteousness: that God recompensed Esau according to his own evil intention. Instead, he contents himself with a different solution, that the reprobate are raised up to the end that through them God’s glory may be revealed. Finally, he adds the conclusion that “God has mercy upon whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills” [Romans 9:18]. Do you see how Paul attributes both to God’s decision alone? If, then, we cannot determine a reason why he vouchsafes mercy to his own, except that it so pleases him, neither shall we have any reason for rejecting others, other than his will. For when it is said that God hardens or shows mercy to whom he wills, men are warned by this to seek no cause outside his will.” (Institutes III:21:11)

May God  bring us safely Home, dear brother, where there will be no more cavilling against His perfect loving will. He owes us nothing. He owes no man nothing. This makes His kindness that led us to repentance all the sweeter, doesn’t it?

Warmly in Christ, 

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