My Controversy with Calvin  

In theological circles there is - and has been for millennia - great debate over the issue of "election", "predestination", generally identified as "Calvinism".  Although Calvin himself was not the author of the general doctrine that bears his name, yet it must be said that he was certainly a champion of it.  I have for many years been very uneasy with the conclusions of the general teaching . . . that uneasiness has increased to the point that I have had much discussion and debate online and offline in attempting to dissuade fellow believers from accepting such teachings as I have come to believe to be blasphemous. 

After another very emotional debate I, in anguish, began to put some of my emotions into verse.  Over a series of months the "poem" has grown (*gulp*) to encompass over 60 stanzas.  Those who know poetry will find it not particularly well written . . . but it does begin to express the grief and cry of my heart.  May the Lord be glorified.

Some of these thoughts may also be found in the old book "The Entail of the Covenant" by Sir Robert Anderson, which is published in electronic form without charge.


Introduction

 

What Calvin taught, if understood,

Ascribes God sin, Who is but good;

He claims out loud to love them all,

Yet secretly He plots their fall.

 

“Shall not the judge of earth do right?”

In sinner’s death has no delight;

Yet never, ever did He plan

To save the one’s to hell He banned.

 

The Calvinists tie tricky knots

To slip them out of sticky spots;

Unspoken things that they believe,

Methinks it close to blasphemy.

 

“He did not pick their lost estate”

(Though ‘fore their birth it was their fate);

Although He hates them,  never say

He always had it planned that way.

 

“Elect rejoice!  Your glorious lot

Was guaranteed without a thought;

Christ’s precious blood is just for them,

But tell the rest it’s for all men!”

 

“For God so loved the world”, we read,

“The world of the elect, He means!”

And “all” means “the elect” – not “all” –

Except when speaking of the Fall.

 

Eternal Insecurity

 

Hear Christ say, “Come unto me!”

Yet not give strength?!  Dishonesty.

The Savior would not mock us so,

His motives clear, no shadow knows.

 

1st John 4:16 – we read

We know God’s love, it have believed;

Yet Calvinists can n’er be sure,

Unless they to the end endure.

 

Scripture says a man believes

Based on a promise he receives;

But if each “all” elect must mean

No man is sure it’s meant for him.

 

No Faith to Claim Others for Him

 

Oh Church awake!  You’ve been deceived!

The devil laughs, the Lord is grieved.

This scholarly philosophy,

Has knocked the Christian off his knees.

 

Religious duty sent from God

To pray for souls, the ones we love;

Yet deep inside, it matters not

For nothing said will change their lot.

 

Why bother pray, why bother fight,

Why bother plead into the night,

For no matter what we do,

‘Twill be the same – God planned it so.

 

Eli too with Calvin stood –

“It is the Lord – He’ll do what’s good

My boys are bad – God picked it so,

Yet when I die to heaven I’ll go”

 

Yet God held him responsible,

For all the sin his sons befell;

When he fell backwards off his seat,

God laid it squarely at his feet.

 

Know God = No Calvin

 

You see, some Scriptures are a test,

To see which ones know Him the best;

It tempts us to relax our grip,

Exit the fight, just let God pick

 

For God - He likes to set a trap,

To take the wise in craftiness;

They whose instincts trust their mind,

Will find they’ve left the Lord behind.

 

Moses, Paul – it was their fate

To pen the thoughts that we debate;

Understanding what they knew,

We’ll find that what they did, we’ll do

 

When righteous Moses, godly Paul,

Saw loved ones miss election’s call;

They told the Lord they’d rather die –

He changed His mind, He heard their cry.

 

When God decreed that David’s son

For David’s sin must die so young;

For seven days wept, fasted, prayed,

Because he knew God’s gracious ways

 

See Spurgeon’s heart – that godly prince,

Was known to pray (the others winced) -

Though Calvinist he was to core:

“Save the elect – then choose some more!”

 

These godly ones, though all elect,

When on their actions we reflect;

What Calvin taught that they believed

Just isn’t so – we’ve been deceived.

 

Calvin’s Salvation:  Experience, not Faith

 

The point we must now make with force –

Dead men cannot believe, of course . . .

First must come life, so Calvin saith,

Salvation comes before comes faith.

 

Since dead men cannot choose or pray,

Salvation simply comes one day;

My heart finds I’m elect –‘tis true,

Because what Christians do, I do.

 

My confidence is not in Him,

His precious blood, to save from sin;

My hope is in that hidden work,

For proofs I search that I’m elect.

               

Dead Men Walking

 

They stretch the “dead” analogy

Beyond all that God’s word would see;

For “dead men” also cannot sin,

Love evil, or drive nails in Him.

 

Cannot trust?  Can’t hate as well!

They can’t obey?  Cannot rebel!

The force to push God’s hand away

Can also grasp that hand today.

 

Misunderstood Texts

 

“See Jacob’s love and Esau’s hate!”

With glee they show God picked their fate;

Yet “younger served by older” – see

God’s way for every family.

 

And as to “hatred”, understand

The Savior said, “Hate Mom and Dad”

Unless you them condemn to hell,

It’s just a “lesser love” as well.

 

In Malachi we’re meant to see

What Edom got was less mercy;

For God did not reject that clan,

See righteous Job - he came from them.

 

In Romans 9, a key verse sits –

Does God make some to perish “fit”?

Yet Vine’s makes clear, Greek “middle voice”,

They “fit themselves”, it was their choice.

 

How ‘bout the hardening of the heart,

Wherein God clearly has a part?

He hardens all, “concludes in sin”,

To humble hearts, turn all to Him.

 

God broke off Jews - we love to see

Ourselves be chosen in the “tree”;

Yet see God’s purpose all along

To graft them back where they belong.

 

Pagan Philosophies vs. Scripture

 

“Omniscience” and “Omnipotence”,

Two things we’re sure God does possess;

Yet how we think and what we’re taught,

It’s not God’s Word but pagan thought.

 

It is confusion in these two,

Which undergirds the Calvinist view;

Fatalism, pagan style,

Controls our thinking all the while.

 

Omnipotence

 

“Omnipotent!   He surely can

Accomplish anything He planned;

If He really ‘would’ save ALL,

Then all are saved, and none will fall!”

 

 “Omnipotent!”  Yet God has bound

Himself to work on certain ground;

“Ye are all gods – choose good or ill”,

To search for Him, or go to hell.

 

As Eve did learn named “gods” are those,

With the ability to choose;

We see this in Psalm 82 -

The Savior said it, so it’s true!

 

 “Omnipotent!”  Yet will not break,

The smallest promise He did make;

The smoking flax, the weak, bruised reed,

Protected by His sovereignty.

 

Proverbs 16:4 & 9,

Explain this principle sublime;

The wicked choose, the Lord forsake,

He molds them in the plan He makes.

 

Man’s heart, it chooses out a way,

God lets him choose – it is his day.

Once choice is made, then God will set

Precise location of each step.

 

God gives free will, and man chooses,

Where his steps fall God disposes;

God’s sovereignty defies man’s whim,

The wrath of man will still praise Him.

 

John 3:19 & 20 too,

We are condemned by the love we choose –

Some love the dark because of sin,

Some love the light, are drawn to Him.

 

In Mathew 23 – again -

His sovereign love is like a hen;

Yet what He wants He never got,

He said, “I WOULD . . . but ye WOULD NOT”

 

The same word – “Thelo” – found in Greek,

Is “will” or “would”, the things He seeks;

He “would” save all, had He His way,

He’ll never force – we must obey.

 

Omniscience

 

“Omniscient! Surely God then knows

All of the way a man will go;

The beginning from the end is seen,

Sees what will be as though it’s been!”

 

“Omniscient!”  Yet the Lord restricts

Himself to not know things He picks;

The Savior – God – said, “I don’t know

When I’ll be coming back for you.”

 

“Omniscient!”  Yet the Lord of all

Declares the heart unknowable;

Deceitful it is o’er all things,

God tests it when He pulls the reigns.

 

Hezekiah knew this part,

For God left him to know his heart;

At crucial times His hand removes,

He sets His plan on how we choose.

 

Limited Atonement?

 

Another error that is seen,

To make the cross name every sin;

“Christ died for all?  Then all are saved!

No debt remains which must be paid!”

 

To insist on this is to demand,

That God planned EACH sin beforehand;

Rejecting Christ is by His will?

Then EVERY sin we must fulfill.

 

Every sex sin, every lie,

That Christians do was paid by Christ;

Since debt was paid for future sin,

God insists we do each one.

 

Just one serpent lifted high,

The number saved was undefined;

The Savior said His suffering soul,

Was like that brass snake on a pole.

 

The ashes of the heifer, red,

Could see the “Whosoever” cleansed.

A fountain springs for sins unclean,

Is not made less by the number seen;

 

2nd Peter 2 verse 1,

Apostates purchased by the Son;

In Matthew 18:34

A gift declined - a debt restored.

 

If Christ made bread and fish to grow,

To meet the needs as they arose;

Surely His blood – “drink indeed”,

Can now expand to meet each need.

 

Of all of this, this is a sum –

None e’er can say, “I could not come”

Which cannot be, if Christ’s great death

Is limited to just “elect”.

 

History of “Calvinism”

 

And now we Calvin’s source explore,

How such a thing came to our door;

As bad as may be found the fruit,

We see it comes from rotten roots.

 

This thing was learned by Augustine

A godless pagan he had been;

“O’er will the gods have sovereignty,

‘Fore time they chose our destiny.”

 

This fatal thought he brought with him

When he became a new Christian;

Some verses seemed to aid his view

That God was like the gods he knew.

 

He taught this to the Catholic church,

Whose doctrine went throughout the earth;

Then as now the Jesuits teach

That, heav’n or hell, God elects each.

 

John Calvin studied at their feet,

As he prepared to be a priest;

The bondage of the will he learned,

Before in faith to Christ he turned.

 

The errors of St. Augustine

Were birthed in Manichaeism;

The Catholics learned, then Calvin heard -

They all were great philosophers.

 

Yet Jesus said the deepest things

Are kept from wise men’s reasonings;

Instead they to the babes belong,

Their mind is weak, but spirit strong.

 


Great Men or God’s Word

 

"This can't be wrong, as you now say,
For godly men hold this today.
These great men, and reformers too,
Can't all be wrong - it must be true!"

If one thing is from Scripture clear,
'Tis "great men" holding error dear;
The "great men" are not always wise,
The sweet perfume contains a fly.

King David and King Solomon,
Uzziah too - the best of men,
At Gibeah's high place they did pray,
They sought to worship God that way.

And though God heard them, was not pleased,
300 years they were deceived;
The priests and prophets should have known,
For Scripture's clear that this is wrong.

King Hezekiah finally stood,
And broke them down just like he should;
And other "sacred cows" did break,
Like Moses' holy copper snake.

Such evil can be kept around,
And passed through generations down;
The fear of man it brings a snare,
God's praise alone our only care.

 

Summary

 

And so my controversy hear –

It will to some me not endear;

This error crushed the church before;

God lays the matter at our door.

 

God binds HIS will, gives mercy’s choice,

In destiny gives us a voice;

God truly longs to save us all,

Some take His grace, some slight His call.

 

His love comes down like rain and sun,

On worthy and unworthy ones;

And like our food His grace bestows,

Unmerited, on all below.

 

“They shall all be taught of God”,

He works to Christ all men to draw;

He IS the Savior of ALL men,

Especially of the ones that turn.

 

The “antilutron” ransom – Christ -

“In place of” all He testifies;

He would have ALL MEN to be saved -

“All” does include “elect”, depraved.

 

The Calvinists, when all is said,

Will wish they’d been like babes instead;

The “higher knowledge” to despise,

Become a fool, to become wise

 

So let us work, ‘til day is done,

Trust in His love, sure as the sun,

Bring countless souls to His dear Son,

Then hear Him say to us, “Well done!”

 

-Alfred Corduan  03/12/12  1.10