What is Calvinism?
Calvinism is a system of Christian theology that was developed by Geneva-based theologian John Calvin. It is a theological system that emphasizes the absolute sovereignty of God, the predestination of the elect, and the depravity of humanity.
History of Calvinism
Calvinism is a major branch of Protestantism that follows the theological tradition and forms of Christian practice of John Calvin and other Reformation-era theologians. The movement was first called Calvinism by Lutherans who opposed it, and many within the tradition would prefer to use the word Reformed. It was a development of the earlier Christian theology of Augustine of Hippo, but developed different emphases, especially on the doctrine of predestination and Election. Many within the tradition would prefer not to use the word predestination, preferring instead to speak of God’s active calling and election of individuals to salvation.
The Five Points of Calvinism
The Five Points of Calvinism, also known as the doctrines of grace, were first formulated in the Synod of Dort in the seventeenth century. The main principles of Calvinism can be summarized in five points, which are often called the “five points of Calvinism.”
-Total Depravity: Man is totally depraved and cannot choose to follow God on his own.
-Unconditional Election: God has chosen those who will be saved, and this choice is not based on anything that man does.
-Limited Atonement: Christ died only for those who have been chosen by God for salvation.
-Irresistible Grace: Those who are chosen by God cannot resist His call to salvation.
-Perseverance of the Saints: Those who are truly saved will persevere in their faith until the end.
What Does the Bible Say About Calvinism?
There are many verses in the Bible that support the beliefs of Calvinism. Calvinism is the doctrine that God has predetermined who will be saved and who will not. The verses below make it clear that salvation is not based on our works but on God’s choice.
Scripture Passages That Seem to Teach Calvinism
- Ephesians 1:3-5
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will.”
- Romans 8:28-30
“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
- John 6:37-40
“All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
- John 10:26-29
“But you do not believe because you are not part of my flock. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish
Other Important Bible Passages
In addition to the five points of Calvinism, there are other important Bible passages that relate to this doctrine.
- For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
- And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6)
- But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. (Romans 3:21-24)
- I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!” (Galatians 2:21)
This doctrine teaches that salvation is completely by God’s grace and cannot be earned or merited in any way by human effort. It also teaches that once a person is saved, they cannot lose their salvation since it was not based on anything they did in the first place.
In conclusion, the Bible does not teach Calvinism. The doctrine of predestination is never mentioned in Scripture. The notion that God has Chosen some to be saved and others to be damned is a man-made doctrine that has no basis in the Bible. The Bible teaches that God is willing that none should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). It is clear from Scripture that God desires for all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4). The choice is ours. We can either accept or reject His offer of salvation.