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New Wine for the End Times
Problems with Calvinism
Calvin lived in the 16th century at the time of Martin Luther. Both Calvin and Luther believed in election. However, Luther did not believe in all the five points of Calvinism. One could say that anything Calvin taught could be considered as Calvinism. Election, however, goes back to Augustine.
The doctrine of election states that God chose, before the foundation of the world, who would be saved and who would not be saved. In other words, God chose who would spend eternity in heaven and who would spend eternity in hell. This choice has nothing to do with how good or bad one would be.
The opposing doctrine is called Arminianism. This doctrine states that God foreknew who would ask for God’s salvation, and thus this foreknowledge is a type of election. Yet each person has the free will to choose for themselves whether or not to follow Christ.
The New Wine System, as described in this book, is in the middle of the two. The truth hides in the middle. There is an election. But the choice was not, strictly speaking, who would be saved. (Of course the elect are all saved.) God’s election is who would be chosen to reign with Christ during the millennium. It’s exactly the same thing as God’s chosen people of Israel in the Old Testament. Everyone not chosen still has the free-will to follow Christ and then to mature in Christ during the millennium. The elect are those in the true Church, which is the true Israel.
The foundation of Calvinism is all about the glory of God. Calvinists believe that God has greater glory when it's understood that we can do nothing. All decisions are made by God. However, if it is truly the desire of God to save all people (1 Timothy 2:4), then how can it glorify God to say that God chooses to send people to hell in defiance of His own desire? Would it not be a much greater glory for God to see that God provided a way for every person, from all generations and nations, to have the free-will opportunity to mature in Christ for eternal life? Is it to God's glory to say that Christ's blood was sufficient to atone for all sins of all people, and yet God failed to provide a plan for everyone to have the true opportunity to be reconciled with God? Is it to God's glory to say that only the few who find the narrow gate would be saved, and that most will never even have the opportunity to hear the gospel?
Calvinism is often taught with five points, known by the acronym T.U.L.I.P. However, Calvin himself did not come up with this list of points.
Perseverance of the Saints
The first point of Calvinism asserts that our entire nature is totally sinful. Under slavery to sin, we are blind to the truth, unable to save ourselves, or even to humbly seek after God. Our very nature is so sinful that we would automatically choose to continue in sin instead of follow God. Scripture supports this view.
Romans 3:10-12 As it is written, "There is no one righteous; no, not one. (11) There is no one who understands. There is no one who seeks after God. (12) They have all turned aside. They have together become unprofitable. There is no one who does good, no, not, so much as one."
Because of our sinful nature, nobody will come to the Father unless the Father draws him.
John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up in the last day.
The total depravity of man is without question true. No one will seek Christ unless the Father draws him, because everyone is blinded by their sins. However, Calvinists sometimes miss the fact that everybody will someday be drawn to Christ.
John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
The same Greek word for “draw” is used in both John 6:44 and in John 12:32. No one can come to Christ unless the Father draws him. Yet everyone will be drawn to Christ. Thus, being drawn to Christ is not irresistible. Some will not be eternally saved, even though they are drawn. This, then, is a strong argument against the doctrine of election for salvation.
Also, note the fact that everyone, at some point, will be drawn to Christ. How can one be drawn to Christ if one has never heard about Christ? For this verse to be true, death cannot be the end of God’s plan of salvation.
Many people who argue against the five points of Calvinism understand that to defeat total depravity would defeat the whole system. This would be true. Romans 3:10-12 and John 6:44 prove the principle of total depravity. What is always missed is John 12:32. Everyone will someday be drawn to Christ.
The second point of Calvinism asserts that God’s choice for who is chosen to be saved is unconditionally grounded in God’s own sovereign decision, and is not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith. Thus, believers have no reason to boast about themselves as being saved. Salvation is by God’s grace alone.
Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, (9) not of works, that no one would boast.
John 15:16 You didn't choose me, but I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain; that whatever you will ask of the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
Central to the teaching of the doctrine of election is Romans 9. The context of the passage is Paul wrestling over the fact that Israel had rejected the Messiah. “But it is not as though the word of God had failed,” Paul says. Paul’s response is that not all Israel is Israel (verse 6). Not all are children of Abraham simply because they are his descendants. Then Paul goes into the doctrine of election.
Romans 9:7b-9 "In Isaac will your seed be called." (8) That is, it is not the children of the flesh who are children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as a seed. (9) For this is a word of promise, "At the appointed time I will come, and Sarah will have a son.
Notice that the focus here is being elected to be heirs of the promise of Abraham. In other words, election is about being chosen to be a part of the true Israel. The “children of the flesh” had rejected the Messiah. God, by his sovereignty, elects those who will be a part of the true Israel, who will not reject the Messiah. This is not to say that God is electing those who will be saved.
Romans 9:10-23 Not only so, but Rebecca also conceived by one, by our father Isaac. (11) For being not yet born, neither having done anything good or bad, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him who calls, (12) it was said to her, "The elder will serve the younger." (13) Even as it is written, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." (14) What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? May it never be! (15) For he said to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." (16) So then it is not of him who wills, nor of him who runs, but of God who has mercy. (17) For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I caused you to be raised up, that I might show in you my power, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth." (18) So then, he has mercy on whom he desires, and he hardens whom he desires. (19) You will say then to me, "Why does he still find fault? For who withstands his will ?" (20) But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed ask him who formed it, "Why did you make me like this?" (21) Or hasn't the potter a right over the clay, from the same lump to make one part a vessel for honor, and another for dishonor? (22) What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath made for destruction, (23) and that he might make known the riches of his glory on vessels of mercy, which he prepared beforehand for glory,
Election is proven without a doubt by this passage. Election is not based on merit. Paul makes the point that the younger twin was given the promise, before they were born, before either had done anything good or bad. Therefore, election is unconditional.
For what are we being elected? The context of the passage is still the election of Israel. Did the people of Israel, at that time, believe that only the “children of the flesh” would be saved? When did being a part of Israel become a requirement for being saved? If so, we would need a very explicit verse of Scripture that says this. We should interpret Romans 9 in the context of the culture of that time.
Here are some verses that argue against salvation election.
1 Timothy 2:3-4 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; (4) who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.
2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some count slowness; but is patient with us, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance .
Why would God elect only specific people to be saved, if it’s His desire for all to be saved?
Romans 2:11 NIV For God does not show favoritism.
The context of this verse is that of Jews and Gentiles. Paul is saying that God does not show favoritism of Jews over Gentiles or Gentiles over Jews. If being a part of Israel in Old Testament times was the only means of salvation, then how is that not God showing favoritism of Jew over Gentile? But if this was not the case, then Gentiles in Old Testament times could be saved without being a part of Old Testament Israel. Thus, Old Testament election is not the same as salvation. It’s simply being elected to be a part of God’s chosen people of Israel. Yet this famous Calvinist election passage of Romans 9 uses God’s election of Old Testament Israel to illustrate election.
Also, if God really does not show any kind of favoritism, then God could not elect some to be saved and not others. Salvation election is favoritism. But it’s not favoritism for God to choose those who will lead others into a saving relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.
One could argue, however, that those elected to be in Israel (the Church) is a favoritism of God. It’s true that those in the church are elected. But those in the church are simply the firstfruits (Jeremiah 2:3, Romans 8:23, James 1:18) of the harvest. The firstfruits often have to go through persecution in order to bring the good news to the rest of the harvest. God’s purpose is to allow all to be saved, within the boundaries of their free-will. All who continue in their desire to follow God will eventually inherit eternal life. Within this purpose, from the eternal perspective, God does not show favoritism, which disproves unconditional election.
The third point of Calvinism asserts that the purpose in Christ’s death was only for the forgiveness of those God elected to be saved. Limited atonement does not limit the value of Christ’s death. Calvinists say that the amount of Christ’s suffering was not based on the number of people that were to be saved. If God were to have elected additional people for salvation, it would not have caused Christ to suffer more. Calvinists would say that if God had chosen for everyone to be saved, that Christ’s suffering would still be the same.
Limited atonement simply states that God’s purpose in Christ’s death only applies to the elect. For example, God does not choose to save the fallen angels. Therefore, the purpose of Christ’s death does not apply to them. Likewise, the purpose of Christ’s death does not apply to those not chosen for salvation.
Election for salvation logically requires limited atonement. If God chose, before the foundation of the world, which of us were to be saved, then God’s plan for Christ’s death could only involve the people he chose. God could not justify the sins of those he did not choose for salvation.
Here are some verses that argue against limited atonement. Notice that many of these verses also argue against election itself.
1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; (4) who desires all people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth. (5) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, (6) who gave himself as a ransom for all; the testimony in its own times;
1 John 2:2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world .
Romans 5:18 NIV Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.
Romans 11:32 For God has shut up all to disobedience, that he might have mercy on all.
1 Timothy 4:10 For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we have set our trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe.
Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men.
2 Corinthians 5:14-15 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all , therefore all died. (15) He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again.
2 Corinthians 5:19 Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not reckoning to them their trespasses, and having committed to us the word of reconciliation.
John 1:29 The next day, he saw Jesus coming to him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. (17) For God didn't send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
Notice that many of these verses not only argue against limited atonement, they actually make it clear that everyone has been reconciled. How can anybody wind up being condemned if they have been reconciled? The answer is that only the wicked, who forfeit Christ’s gift of salvation, wind up being condemned.
Do Calvinists have verses in favor of limited atonement? When compared with Arminianism, the answer is yes.
Matthew 26:28 For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the remission of sins.
The context of this verse is that of the new covenant. The new covenant is with the Church, which is Israel. The Church is limited in number to the elect. Therefore, the bread and the wine of the new covenant is for many, but not all. As we have seen, when other verses speak of salvation for the world, the blood is for “all.” When it’s understood that people in the age to come will be saved that are not under the new covenant, then we can see how this “many” does not contradict the “all” in the previously quoted verses.
John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.
The argument of limited atonement here is that the Good Shepherd lays down is life only for his sheep. The context of the parable is Jesus’ comparison between the common people of Jerusalem, and the Pharisees. Some of the Pharisees had committed the unpardonable sin. Others were in danger of doing so. Jesus considers all who have not rejected him to be his sheep. Everyone in the Lamb’s Book of Life is Christ’s sheep.
For those who had already had their names blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life, before the crucifixion, it could be argued that Christ’s sacrifice was not made for them. Therefore it could be argued that Christ’s atonement was not for everybody. Christ’s atonement would not be applied to those very few who had already rejected Christ’s sacrifice before the sacrifice was even made. However, when one realizes that names are blotted from the Book of Life, and when one realizes that the Book of Life is not a book of predestination, then it becomes understandable that this type of limitation on atonement does not argue for the election of salvation.
John 17:9 I pray for them. I don't pray for the world, but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
Jesus is praying for the elect. That is not to say that only the elect will be saved.
Acts 20:28 Take heed, therefore, to yourselves, and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the assembly of the Lord and God which he purchased with his own blood.
Ephesians 5:25 ESV Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
Jesus obtained the elect with His own blood. That doesn’t mean that the blood of Jesus doesn’t also reconcile everyone else.
The preponderance of Scriptural evidence indicates that Christ died for everyone. Everyone has been reconciled. If Christ’s sacrifice applies even to people who do not profess faith in Christ, then why must they be punished? Divine justice requires that the sinner be punished, either himself, or the substitute. However, if the sins were already paid for by the substitute, then why would the unrighteous sinner require punishment?
Romans 5:18 says Christ’s sacrifice was justification that brings life for all men. And it’s not an ‘all’ that’s assumed to be ‘all who believe.’ In the same context, only the “many will be made righteous.” This greatly discredits limited atonement. Without limited atonement, Calvin’s election has serious problems.
Romans 5:18-19 So then as through one trespass, all men were condemned; even so through one act of righteousness, ALL men were justified to life. (19) For as through the one man's disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the one, MANY will be made righteous.
These problems are only resolved when we realize that everyone has been “justified to life.” Everyone has been reconciled, meaning everyone can be resurrected. And the only way they will be condemned, is for them to harden their heart and reject their free gift, and to get their names blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life.
Election for salvation logically requires limited atonement. If God chose, before the foundation of the world, which of us were to be saved, then God’s plan for Christ’s death could only involve the people he chose. God could not reconcile those not chosen for salvation.
Many who believe in salvation election don’t subscribe to limited atonement. The reason, probably, is the clear verses of Scripture for election, and at the same time the clear verses of Scripture that limited atonement is not true. However, it’s impossible to have salvation election without limited atonement. Calvinists had to include it in their five points for good solid logical reasons. God could not reconcile those He never intended to save.
In mathematics one can disprove an assumption by making the assumption, and then following the logic of the assumption. The mathematician applies previously proven theorems to the assumption, and eventually comes up with either a false statement or a contradiction. In so doing, the mathematician disproves the assumption. This is not numbers and formulas. However, we should realize that if limited atonement is false, then salvation election must also be false.
Election itself is without question true. But when one realizes that election does not necessarily mean an election of salvation, then one should see that all the verses against limited atonement should completely eliminate salvation election.
The fourth point of Calvinism asserts that everyone God has chosen is forced to have faith for salvation. They cannot resist. For those chosen, the Holy Spirit calls the person in such a way that the person cannot refuse the call.
Irresistible Grace is another necessary logical conclusion that must be made from the assumption of salvation election. If God predestines all who will be saved, then how can one who has been chosen by God decide against Christ? Doing so would invalidate God’s predestination.
Is the draw of the Holy Spirit irresistible? Would the Holy Spirit bother to draw someone who is not elected to be saved? Consider the following verse.
Acts 7:51 "You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit! As your fathers did, so you do.
Jesus chose the disciples, not for salvation, but to go and bear fruit (John 15:16). Calvinists would probably agree that Jesus’ choice of the disciples is election, except for one problem that they have.
John 6:70-71 ESV Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil ." He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.
Jesus chose the twelve. Yet Judas rejected Christ. This discredits irresistible grace. Judas was able to resist God’s choice. When God reveals Himself to us, we must respond to that voice with faith. Refusing to respond to God’s voice can cause one’s name to be blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life. Remember John 12:32?
John 12:32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself."
God will draw all people to Christ. That draw is God’s grace. Christ being lifted up from the earth was God’s grace. But that draw is not irresistible. Just as Adam had the free-will to disobey, God still allows man the free-will to reject God.
Therefore, even the elect are not unconditionally predestined. The elect were chosen before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4-5). And yet it is possible for some to choose to reject God, and become wicked. We all have free-will. Election is simply God’s choice to reveal himself to the person in a strong undeniable way. If the strong undeniable draw of the Holy Spirit is rejected, the sin is unpardonable.
Irresistible grace would seem to be false. And if irresistible grace is false, then salvation election must also be false. One cannot be true without the other. Man’s free-will ability to resist God’s grace invalidates salvation election.
The fifth point of Calvinism asserts that you cannot lose your salvation. This point is better known as, “Once saved always saved.” If one is truly saved, then Calvinism would state that it’s because one has been unconditionally predestined to be saved. Therefore, if one were to lose that salvation, it would invalidate the unconditional predestination of salvation. Therefore, the perseverance of the saints must go hand-in-hand with salvation election. One cannot be true without the other.
There are indeed verses of Scripture that support an assurance of salvation. The New Wine System also supports an assurance of salvation. As long as one desires to follow Christ, they have an assurance of salvation.
The distinction between assurance of salvation in Calvinism, and that of the New Wine System, is that Calvinism does not allow for the free-will of the saved to become unsaved. Calvinism does not allow for one to reject Christ after he or she has truly accepted Christ. They would simply argue that the person had not been saved to begin with.
Here are some verses Calvinists use to argue perseverance of the saints:
John 10:27-28 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (28) I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
It’s true that nobody, including Satan, can cause one of Christ’s sheep to lose their salvation. But these verses say nothing about whether the sheep would leave the hand of Christ out of their own free-will.
John 6:47 Most certainly, I tell you, he who believes in me has eternal life.
If one continues one's belief in Christ, then one has an assurance of eternal life. But if one purposefully and knowingly discontinues one's faith in Christ, then this very verse could be used to argue that one does not have eternal life. (In the Greek, faith and belief are basically the same thing.)
Romans 8:1a There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.
Those who reject Christ, even if they were once saved, are no longer in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 1:6 ESV And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
This verse does not deny our free-will ability to reject Christ. Those who know Christ and love Him would never want to reject Christ. However, we have the ability to do so. Also, for those who know and love Christ, God will be faithful to bring them through full sanctification. They will mature in Christ. Does Scripture teach that there is a danger for Christians if they were to reject Christ?
Hebrews 6:4-6 ESV For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, (5) and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, (6) and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.
The warning here is for true Christians who shared in the Holy Spirit. This is not about sins in weak moments. This verse is talking about the intentional rejection of Christ after one has truly believed and received the Holy Spirit. This is the theme of Hebrews. It was discussed in much more detail back in chapter 8 of this book.
Many people consider Hebrews 6:4-6, and the entire book of Hebrews, to be hard to understand. So let’s look at a verse in Romans:
Romans 11:17-24 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them, and became partaker with them of the root and of the richness of the olive tree; (18) don't boast over the branches. But if you boast, it is not you who support the root, but the root supports you. (19) You will say then, "Branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in." (20) True; by their unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by your faith. Don't be conceited, but fear; (21) for if God didn't spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. (22) See then the goodness and severity of God. Toward those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in his goodness; otherwise you also will be cut off . (23) They also, if they don't continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again. (24) For if you were cut out of that which is by nature a wild olive tree, and were grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree, how much more will these, which are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
How must a Calvinist interpret these verses? The root, in verse 18, is Christ. It's also Israel. Compare this with John 15, where those who abide in Christ are the branches of the vine.
Can someone who is truly in the vine be cut out off from the vine? If not, then why does Paul warn us against it? If he is not really in the vine, then how can he be cut off from the vine? Is Paul’s warning consistent with Calvin’s perseverance of the saints? This passage cannot be consistent with the Calvinist view of the perseverance of the saints.
These verses would tend to strongly discredit “once saved always saved.” And if “once saved always saved” is false, then salvation election cannot be true. How can a person be cut from the vine if they were predestined to be saved before the foundation of the world? And if it were to be said they were not really saved to begin with, then how could they have really been in the vine to begin with?
Notice that people can be cut off from the vine, and then be grafted back in again (verse 23). On the other hand, the verse in Hebrews 6:4-6 states that “it is impossible to restore again to repentance those … who fall away.” How are these two verses reconciled? With only two types of people in the grave, these two verses cannot be reconciled. One says you can lose your salvation, and then get it back again. The other says that if you lose you salvation, you cannot get it back again.
However, with three types of people in the grave, these two verses are easily reconciled. The verse in Hebrews is talking about rejecting Christ after receiving the revelation of Christ. Doing so causes one’s name to be blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life. These people move to the wicked group.
On the other hand, the verses in Romans are talking about being in the vine of Israel. Those who are completely sanctified are in the wise group. The vine is about abiding in Jesus, and comes from John 15. The vine is Christ. Those who abide in the vine are in Christ. A branch could be cut off because of pride (verse 20). However, pride is not an unpardonable sin. A branch cut off is no longer abiding in Christ. The branch could later repent and come back into the vine of Christ. Those who are temporarily in and out of Christ are moving in and out of the wise group. This is very different from having one’s name be blotted from the Lamb’s Book of Life. The elect are those who, in the age to come, are in the wise group. In the meantime, we must work out our salvation with fear and trembling. But it’s God that does the greater work within us. (Philippians 2:12-13).
Calvinism vs. Arminianism (election vs. free-will). Solving this major Church divider without the use of paradoxes, or two sides of the same coin. Solved by applying Old Testament Jewish eschatology to the New Testament Church.
Faith in the Creator can be a starting point for faith that ultimately leads to a relationship with Christ. But what happens if there is no faith in the Creator?
The theory of evolution has caused many people to embrace atheism. Atheism is the one religion that can really be damning to the soul. The theory of evolution and atheism is all about looking at the evidence of the Creator in the Creation, and then denying there is a God. Basic personal revelations from God about Himself are denied. Is this the unpardonable sin? Will atheist evolutionists have no excuse when they stand before the judgment of God?
Hopefully, for most, God will see this as more of Satan’s lies and have mercy. Hopefully, God will continue waiting in love and not yet blot out their names. But others, who know the real truths of science, who know down deep that God is their Creator, yet who nevertheless continue to “suppress the truth” (Rom 1:18), could get their names blotted out. Only God knows for sure the people who have, for too many times, rejected His personal revelations.
2 Thessalonians 2:11 speaks of a powerful delusion, sent by God, so that they will believe the lie, and so be condemned. Simply believing a lie does not make one lose out on the possibility of salvation. But when there are personal revelations from God, and people still choose to believe the lie instead of God, then they can be condemned. Apparently, during the great tribulation, this happens on a massive scale as people take the mark of the beast and worship the antichrist. The theory of evolution is probably not the entire lie spoken of in this verse. But it certainly must be a major aspect of that lie.
Does science really deny the Creator? As it turns out, almost every field of science today is affirming the existence of the Creator. Many scientists from many different fields are writing about the theory of Intelligent Design as an alternative to evolution. Intelligent Design does not look at the Bible, nor does it look at the teachings of any religion. Intelligent Design is simply a study of the universe and the reasons why the universe had to have been designed by a super intelligence.