One of my most frequent prayers is for God to never allow me to believe a lie and never allow me to speak lies. I ask God to reveal all truth to me and to let my heart be open to truth, even if it seems at odds with what I think I already know or believe. I ask God to protect me from half-truths, which I believe to be more damaging and pervasive than lies. As an answer to this prayer, God has shaken my world time and time again. The first time He turned me around was when He revealed the folly of what most claim to be "Christian" holidays; how they are an abomination to Him because He did not ordain them, they involve lies about Himself and His nature, and also because they promote the use and worship of idols more than just about anything else we find in Christianity. Then He revealed to me the truth about tithing and how His tithing commands were very specifically given to Israel and only Israel; that anyone today who tries to mimic or instill those commands are doing it in ignorance and error. Then He laid it upon my heart what Biblical giving looks like in the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 9:7) and has been encouraging me to follow that command rather than a fulfilled Old Covenant command given to certain divisions of the physical nation of Israel. And again He led me into truth about His flat earth which has been abandoned even by His own people because of the love of science and the trust of scientists over God. Finally, this brings me to the new truth He has revealed to me, the truth of which I find myself needing to "come out" about, since I am not and cannot be ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. So here goes:
I am a five point Calvinist.
Yep, I said it. I no longer believe that Christ died for every single person, but only for the elect which was given to Him by God the Father. (John 6:37) I no longer believe that God loves everybody, for God tells us in Scripture that He loves some and hates others. (Psalm 5:5, Romans 9:13, Psalm 11:5, Leviticus 20:23) This might be better understood by the terms "choose" and "did not choose". Because God created everything so I know that God does not hate (as we humans understand the word hate) His creation (which He calls good and very good in Genesis). But God chooses some people for salvation and does not choose others for salvation. I know that, in our unregenerated state, we are completely unable to choose God but instead it is He who chooses us (John 15:16) and I know that it's only because of God's love for us, the elect, that we are even able to love God in the first place. (1 John 4:19)
The above is just a small sampling of scripture that opened my eyes to the biblical truth of the five points of Calvinism. But the nail in the coffin is a passage that I know both Armenians and Calvinists alike are very familiar with. That passage is Romans 9. When I was assigned to reread Romans 9 I wasn't really expecting what it would say, but the truth of all I've outlined above just jumped off the page at me! I read it and was completely amazed that I'd never noticed just how clearly the truths about the elect of God are spelled out in the Romans 9 passage. I couldn't believe that anyone could read it and deny what it seemed to me to be clearly saying. Then I read somewhere that the reason why people don't see the clear meaning is because they believe the passage was written solely for the nation of Israel and not for all of God's people. Which is completely ironic considering these same people will read Malachi 3 et al in the Old Testament and conclude that tithing is for all of God's people rather than just the nation of Israel when scripture so clearly states that tithing is commanded only for the nation of Israel (Leviticus 27:34), yet they read Romans 9, a passage that isn't even written to the nation of Israel, and think it's only for them (Israel)! *Mind officially blown*
Let me go through the passages of Romans 9 and show you that this notion is easily debunked.
First of all, Romans 1:7 says the letter is written to "all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints", not to the nation of Israel. That should put an end to the argument right there, but I'll elaborate further. At the beginning of Romans 9 Paul is speaking of his fleshly brethren, the Israelites, but not to them. And in verse 6 he begins to make clear why he mentions his fleshly brothers. In verse 6 Paul says "but they are not all Israel, which are of Israel" and continuing in verse 7, "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all Children". There is a difference between being a Child (of God) and being of the seed of Abraham. You can be the seed of Abraham but not be a child of God and vice versa, for the seed is of the flesh and to be a Child is of the spirit. Children of God make up spiritual Israel whereas the seed of Abraham make up fleshly/physical Israel. This is exactly what is being explained in verse 8. And in verses 11-15, it is made clear again that the children of Rebecca, even though they are of the same seed, were chosen differently before they were even born. One was chosen for righteousness (though, if you know the story of Jacob and of Esau, and you're not a Calvinist, you'll never quite be able to reconcile why it was that Jacob was chosen over Esau) and one was not chosen. One was chosen to be a spiritual Child and one was not chosen. Then comes verse 16, "So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy"! You cannot will for God to choose you (which means you cannot choose Him, since choosing Him would involve your will), you cannot do enough works for God to choose you, for it is only of God to show mercy on who He will that you will be chosen. And finally verses 19-21 should put all disputations to rest, because God has already answered the non-Calvinists' arguments right there in scripture! Please read the answer to those who fight against God's doctrine of election:
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
My friends who fight against the true doctrine of unlimited election, "who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?" God chooses some because it is His will do to so. I'll put it like my teacher on this subject put it to me at first (I'm paraphrasing his statement here), "Why is it that you take so much pride in the idea that you are able to choose or deny God, but you scoff at the idea that God is able to choose or deny you?" Now that is some serious meat to chew on for awhile isn't it? It was that statement alone that helped me begin to see that the doctrine I was holding to was a man-centered doctrine rather than a God-centered doctrine. If man has anything at all to do with his own salvation, then essentially it is man who is saving himself. God can either fully save you without your input or you can fully save yourself without God's input. I just don't see a reconcilable go-between for these two statements. But back to scripture.
I just love the next three verses, verses 22-24. "What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?". A-MEN! You see, this is not a passage written to the Jews, it's a passage written to Gentiles who are being told with absolute clarity that they, if they are in Christ, are the chosen Children of God. And it is this that has helped me to better understand why it is that so many of the non-Calvinist camp keep talking about the nation of Israel as if they are some separate group of God's people...because they have to believe this in order to be able to deny the truth of Romans 9. But the nation of Israel is no more God's chosen people than is the nation of Turkey, or Iran, or the United States. God's chosen people are no longer a physical nation, as is clearly laid out in Romans 9, but are any people, from all nations, who are of the elect; born-again saints of Christ. Praise God!! And people think that the doctrine of unlimited election is depressing and robs people of some sort of joy in Christ? Nonsense! I've never felt so much joy knowing that 1. I was chosen and 2. that Christ will never lose any of the chosen that God gave to Him! (John 6:39) How can that be sad and depressing? It's the most joyous thing I've ever encountered in the study of my faith! Before I was so scared that if I didn't obey enough that it was evidence of me not really being saved, but now I know I'm saved only because I was chosen and that nothing I did before I was saved attracted God to me and nothing I can do now that I am saved will cause Him to lose me. I'm safe, I'm secure, I'm loved, I'm chosen! Praise God in the highest!
Now some might wonder, "well what about those who aren't chosen? That's awfully mean and depressing. God is a loving God, not a mean God who would choose people for Hell". Well I don't even worry about those people because they will never understand that they weren't chosen, they will never come to even want God, so they will be living life on earth to their fleshly fullest and will never come to know they are lost until the judgement. Besides, I don't even know who they are, so I just assume everyone I meet is part of the elect and I let God sort out the rest. Some others will say, "that's not fair"! Why would God send people to Hell who can't choose Him?! That's a question I can understand, but I can't fully answer. That's because God doesn't really tell us in a way that settles our troubled minds. All we know is that God does everything for the glory of His Son and that God has a perfect plan that we must trust. Go back and read verses 19-21 again, which I think is the best answer we're going to get from God on this side of eternity. But if we're going to talk about fair, was it fair for God to leave Heaven, to come to earth, and to be the propitiation for all the sins of the saints? Was it fair for Him to be beaten, scourged, ripped to pieces, and nailed to a cross for our sins? No, that wasn't fair at all was it? So let's not worry so much about fair, let's worry about what's holy and right. If God ordained it, it's holy and right.
Now I know what all of you non-Calvinists have screaming in your heads right now, "But God is not willing that any should perish". Right? But let's look at the whole verse that you're referring to: 2 Peter 3:9 "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance". (Emphasis mine.) Who is this verse addressing? Quite obviously this verse is addressing the saints. God is not willing that any of the saints should perish, but that all should come to repentance! Christ will not come again until all the chosen saints are saved! (Which almost flies in the face of the doctrine of an imminent rapture, which is, along with the pre-tribulation rapture, another doctrine I once held that God has shaken my world over, and another one I forgot to mention in the introduction to this article.)
In conclusion, verses 31 and 32 sums it all up. Once again, the nation of Israel is not being addressed, it is being discussed. Israel followed after the law of righteousness but did not attain the law of righteousness because they did not seek it by faith but instead by works. So Paul has made it clear that God's chosen people are those who trust His Son by faith, not any who simply work in the law. This has been God's plan all along, after all, He chose Jacob a trickster, He chose David, an adulterer and murderer, he chose Saul who did many wicked things but still went to Heaven, He chose Paul a murderer of God's chosen people, and He chose me, a one-time Atheist and Pagan who followed after false gods. I don't know how He chooses, but it's not for us to know that. It's not even for us to ask because the clay has no business asking the potter why He made the pot the way He did. It's just for us to trust Him, to love Him, and to obey Him. But none of that can happen unless He chooses us and until He calls us. Trust me, if God is calling you, He will save you, because you cannot deny God if you are His chosen child. Nor will you want to.
This is why I cannot deny anymore the truth of the five points of Calvinism, especially the doctrine of unlimited election. Because it is so true that it just seems to pour out of all the scriptures, and many of the ones that stumped me before when I held a "free will" point of view now make perfect sense. I hope you'll be able to come to this blessed knowledge as well and will shout it from the rooftops. If you can come to understand that if you know God it is only because He chose for you to, then you will have a deeper love for and understanding of Christ than you've ever imagined possible.
As a side note, this new revelation (to me, not to the world...plenty knew about this before me) has me needing to go in and review my statement on salvation that I've put at the end of all my posts. I may have to reword it to make it more Biblical. But for now, please visit that page anyway. Because it is the preaching of the Gospel that God uses to lead people to Christ, and I'm pretty sure I have a full presentation of the Gospel there, even if my wording or doctrine is not the best right now. The bottom line is always to lead people to Christ. If you are chosen, you will be led eventually, but it will only be by the preaching of the Gospel. If you are not saved, consider yourself preached to. God bless!