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The Evolution of Calvinism

Introduction:

On major doctrinal issues Calvinism evolved from Paganism, Gnosticism, and Roman Catholicism. Calvinists and all others holding the doctrines of unconditional salvation, or once saved, always saved, are major enemies of the cross. Although their position is supported neither by experience nor rational explanation, it is paraded as orthodoxy demanding uncritical acceptance. Calvinism is thus an assaulting force, fighting against righteousness in this life. Accordingly, Five Points are used to pillage the gospel. Thus there is another gospel that openly declares that Christ did not die for all; that many are called, but cannot respond; that people are predestinated to damnation by God…even infants. And yet, these aggressors against the truth, dare claim that the Five Points are “the very gospel itself,” that “the gospel preached by the Reformers is the very one taught in the pages of scripture.” The Reformation, of the Luther/Calvin kind, gave the church a heavy dose of Roman Catholicism: through Anselm’s penal atonement; and through Augustine’s predestination and the sinning religion.

The propagation and defense of the truth against this apostasy has been very weak at best. Arminians and Wesleyans stand awe-struck and small-mouthed before this great giant of apostasy. They show some disagreement while carefully suppressing the full truth!

The Calvinistic doctrine of sin finds its roots in Paganism and Gnosticism, not the scriptures. The likeness of both Calvinists and Gnostics will be compared. The Gnostics were a religious movement that evidently borrowed from both pagan philosophy and Christianity, and so apostate. Doubtlessly, ideas and concepts were borrowed from many sources and became Gnostic when used in the context of their system. The Gnostic system was a fusion of Christianity and Greek philosophy.

On teachings that are briefly considered below, it will be shown that Calvinism is an evolving, sinister system in opposition to the gospel of Christ. Calvinistic teachings on sin, election, etc., have no parent type in scripture, but the evident relationship to Paganism and Gnosticism, etc., cannot be denied by fact.

This discussion is simply to give a few insights into the Ancestry of the system called Calvinism; and hence, the reason why the Posterity, Calvinists, think these barbaric thoughts about God damning most people, etc. Thus their origin and evolvement helps to identify who they really are today and why they think as they do. Such a system could only yield a departure from the faith with respect to the atonement, and salvation matters; the result is thus expected, considering the source. It is hoped, therefore, that these remarks will inspire further study along this line and help break the present silence among so many.

The Scriptures, Pagans, Gnostics, and Calvinists on Sin

The Scriptures on Sin:

The apostle John wrote a polemic against the Gnostics and their views on sin, etc., in 1 John.

The apostle states, on the matter of sin:

3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. [So, the incarnation of Christ is evidence that earthbound believers can be delivered from sin in the here and now by Christ, their example.]

3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil…For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.

3:9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin…

3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God…

From these sriptures it is evident that the proof of one being in Christ is his not sinning–“Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not.”

You can go to most any commentary and see how the passages that teach deliverance from sin in this life are explained away. Essentially, the Christian (?) world agree with the Gnostics that we cannot be free from sin and that sin does not separate one from God, as it used to in Eden when man sinned. They are in Christ, they say.

The Calvinistic statements in defense of sin in the here and now, as that of others, are discussed at 1 John.

We here simply show the similarity between the Gnostics and Calvinists on the sin issue. Reformation and Reformed systems, as with all forms of the “sinning Christian,” have tenets of Gnosticism. The Gnostic believes that sinlessness can only be experienced by pure spirit; Calvinists believe that one cannot be free from sin while in the body, only after death. The Gnostic believes that the spirit is not contaminated, though the body was inherently sinful. Calvinists believe that one can be sinful and accounted holy at the same time. So, both for the Gnostic and Calvinist, Christianity and sin are possible at the same time, in the same life, and there is no deliverance while in the body.

In the process of this discussion it will be seen that the Pagans, Gnostics, and Calvinists are in disagreement with the scriptures on the sin issue; but while in disagreement with the scriptures, agreement among them will be clear.

The Pagans on Sin:

The Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus said:

“How, then: is it possible to be sinless? It is impossible; but this is possible, to strive not to sin.”The Calvinists agree with Epictetus, but see how they disagree with the apostle John at 1 John.

Earlier the Greek philosopher, Plato, had articulated these words:

“But having become good, to remain in a good state and be good, is not possible, and is not granted to man. God only has this blessing; but man cannot help being bad when the force of circumstances overpowers him.”

Note the corresponding kinship between Greek philosophy, Gnosticism, and false Christianity–Calvinism–that all despair of any hope for deliverance from sin while in the body. Later, we will hear the outbreak of hopelessness in what we call the Christian church as the advocates of the “sinning Christian” speak in behalf of sin.

The Gnostics on Sin and Perseverance:

Irenaeus, in Irenaeus Against Heresies, speaking of Gnosticism, says:

“2. … But as to themselves, they hold that they shall be entirely and undoubtedly saved, not by means of conduct, but because they are spiritual by nature. For, just as it is impossible that material substance should partake of salvation (since, indeed, they maintain that it is incapable of receiving it), so again it is impossible that spiritual substance (by which they mean themselves) should ever come under the power of corruption, whatever the sort of actions in which they indulged. For even as gold, when submersed in filth, loses not on that account its beauty, but retains its own native qualities, the filth having no power to injure the gold, so they affirm that they cannot in any measure suffer hurt, or lose their spiritual substance, whatever the material actions in which they may be involved.

“3. Wherefore also it comes to pass, that the ‘most perfect’ among them addict themselves without fear to all those kinds of forbidden deeds of which the scriptures assure us that ‘they who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God…’ Some of them, moreover, are in the habit of defiling those women to whom they have taught the above doctrine, as has frequently been confessed by those women who have been led astray by certain of them, on their returning to the Church of God, and acknowledging this along with the rest of their errors. Others of them, too, openly and without a blush, having become passionately attached to certain women, seduce them away from their husbands, and contract marriages of their own with them. Others of them, again, who pretend at first to live in all modesty with them as with sisters, have in course of time been revealed in their true colors, when the sister has been found with child by her [pretended] brother.

4. And committing many other abominations and impieties, they run us down (who from the fear of God guard against sinning even in thought or word) as utterly contemptible and ignorant persons, while they highly exalt themselves, and claim to be perfect, and the elect seed…”

…they run us down: This sounds like the Calvinists in their condemnation of Christian perfection as “perfectionism.”

Jerome, Augustine, and the Pope Fought Jovinian

Rome Against Truth:

The harlot church thus fought the truth advocated by Jovinian; so does the daughters of the harlot church of today, Calvinists and others.

But we note here that not all people, then or now, can be silenced with respect to the truth. We call attention to Jovinian:

“There arose another voice of dissent on the ecclesiastical scene who did not travel with the crowd–Jovinian by name (350?-405). This great worthy of righteousness was known by some as an unorthodox monk or a heretic; others called him ‘the last bright witness of first century Christianity and the first torch-bearer of the Reformation.’ Dr. Harnack, that great historian of Christian doctrine, says of Jovinian:

“‘His main positions were as follows: 1. The natural man is in the state of sin. Even the slightest sin separates from God and exposes to damnation. . . 3. Regeneration is the state in which Christ is in us, and we are in Christ; there are no degrees in it, for this personal relationship either does or does not exist. Where it does, there is righteousness. . . 8. To him, too, the truth applies that there are no small and great sins, but that the heart is either with God or the devil. 9. Those who are baptized in Christ, and cling to Him with confident faith, form the one, true church.’”

“Finally, Jovinian’s position against the‘sinning Christian’ drew the resistance of the great theologians of his time. Augustine and Jerome wrote against him; both Ambrose and the Pope called synods against him for his condemnation.

“Thus, apostasy rolls on to deeper, darker falsehood!”

The Calvinists on Sin and Perseverance:

Calvin denies, as do all Calvinists, the solemn truth that sin brings death and separation from God to the believer. He says:

“. . . the sins of believers are venial [not causing death of the soul], not because they are not deserving of death, but because, through the mercy of God, ‘there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus’ because they are not imputed to them, but obliterated by a pardon.”So, believers are the only persons on the planet who can sin with impunity? Nonsense!

Dr. Lewis Sperry Chafer says:

“Through the present priestly advocacy of Christ in heaven there is absolute safety and security for the Father’s child even while he is sinning.”

Steele and Thomas say:

“… True believers do fall into temptations, and they do commit grievous sins, but these sins do not cause them to lose their salvation or separate them from Christ.”

The Gnostics and Calvinists on Grace

The Gnostics on Grace:

Hippolytus, in his Refutation of all Heresies, says:

“For (they would have us believe) that they are not overcome by the supposed vice, for that they have been redeemed…and that they do whatsoever they please, as persons free; for they allege that they are saved by grace. For that there is no reason for punishment, even though one shall act wickedly; for such a one is not wicked by nature, but by enactment.”

The Calvinists on Grace:

Muller says:

“Since justification is viewed by the Protestant orthodox as a counting righteous rather than a making righteous, it rests not merely on the merit of Christ, but upon the union of the believer with Christ by grace through faith. An individual is counted righteous because he is in Christ, covered as it were by the righteousness of Christ. . .

“Thus sinners are considered positively righteous by the imputation of the active obedience of Christ.”

The Gnostics and Calvinists on Elect

The Gnostics on Elect:

Clement says:

“These quotations I have adduced in reproof of the Basilidians [Gnostics], who do not live rightly, either as having power (exousian) to sin because of their perfection, or as being altogether assured by nature of future salvation, although they sin now, because they are by dignity of nature the elect.”

The Calvinists on Elect:

Muller says:

“Only the elect are therefore effectively called.”

Steele and Thomas make the following observation:

“The doctrine of election declares that God, before the foundation of the world, chose certain individuals from among the fallen members of Adam’s race to be the objects of His undeserved favor. These, and these only, He purposed to save…He chose to save some and exclude others.”

The Westminster Confession of Faith states:

“I. They whom God hath accepted in his Beloved, effectually called and sanctified by his Spirit, can neither totally nor finally fall away from the state of grace; but shall certainly persevere therein to the end, and be eternally saved.

“II. This perseverance of the saints depends, not upon their own free-will, but upon the immutability of the decree of election…

“III. Nevertheless they may, through the temptations of Satan and of the world, the prevalency of the corruption remaining in them, and the neglect of the means of their preservation, fall into grievous sins…”

Doctrines of Calvinism on Sin, not Christian, But Pagan and Gnostic

The evidence speaks for itself! Calvinism is a Gnostic mutant, mutating from the “Christian heresy” known as Gnosticism. Accordingly, there is no parent type of the Calvinistic “sinning Christian,” election, predestination, or effectual calling to be found in the scriptures. The issues on sin, etc., are not an in-house disagreement among evangelicals. It is Christians in disagreement with professed Christians, Calvinists, and others, on doctrines of sin that have Gnostic and pagan tenets. And there can never be agreement with this enemy of the cross. Let me be clear on the matter: Calvinism is a mixture of pagan philosophy and Gnosticism on the sin issue, and therefore not Christian. And Christians must so regard Calvinism as not being Christian. Christians that may be in Calvinistic circles that hold the doctrine as a concept, but deny it as a practice must come out of this harlot system!

Malcolm Lavender

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