“Descent Into Error” Part 4

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Continued from “Descent Into Error” Part 3

Love Waxes Cold – To The Unsaved

I noticed over time the goals of evangelism changed in the group from “loving the lost” to “elevating Christ’s name and being obedient.”  Whether someone receives Christ or not didn’t matter as much as elevating Christ’s name by venturing out into the world.  They think everything they do is about God’s sovereignty, which is a Calvinist interpretation.  As if God needs their help to prove He is sovereign.  If God needs your help… He isn’t very sovereign!

While elevating Christ’s name and being obedient are most certainly things Christians should do, that is not ultimately why I evangelize.  I evangelize because God sent His Son to die on a cross for all.  God loves the lost and we should love them as He does.  If we do we will certainly elevate His name and be obedient as a result.  The Apostle Paul cried for three years because his brethren, the Jews, rejected Christ.  He said he would rather go to hell then his fellow countryman.  This intense compassion can only come from God, and its appropriate to have because the true God loves them eternally.  The god of calvin does not eternally love the Jews.  If the god of calvin existed then Paul’s cries for the salvation of the Jews is going against God’s will.

Unfortunately the doctrines of Calvinism teaches God eternally loves some people, not most.  So you really don’t know for sure if the person you are speaking to is someone God loves and therefore, why should I?  These thoughts invaded the minds of my witnessing partners and caused them to change their goals from “loving the lost” to “elevating Christ’s name.”

I would ask “Why are you witnessing publicly if God only saves some people?”  The answer was “Because I do not know who the elect are so I witness to all.”

I replied, “So basically you are admitting you love only the elect and hate the rest?”  They didn’t have an answer for that, because they knew their love for the unelect was waxing cold.

I would go out to witness and wonder “How could my friends witness to someone not knowing whether God loves them or not?  Do I love the unelect more than God does?  Thats impossible!  God is love and I cannot love anything more than God does.  This doctrine makes no sense.”

I was told a member who recently went Calvinistic that its NOT ok to speak of God’s love to sinners because “thats not the gospel” and “I wouldn’t want to give a sinner a false hope.” I tried to explain that the cross is about God’s love and his holiness and its impossible to avoid these issues with sinners who ask questions.  “You are telling people they are sinners by walking them through the law.  And then you say Christ died for sinners, do you think a sinner will not put two and two together?  They will think Christ died for them and he did that out of love for them.”

My objections were never met with logical reasoning or in some cases, responses at all.

Love Waxes Cold – To Fellow Christians

In addition to love for the lost waning I also noticed this for fellow Christians in the group who did not embrace the doctrines of calvin.  I noticed cliques forming on the witnessing team.  Cliques based directly on whether you are accepting or not accepting of the pastors they listen to and the doctrines they hold to.

Many times I went witnessing with only one other member or by myself because everyone else did their own thing.  They were invited to join but they never called, showed up, or asked about what happened afterwards.  Sometimes I would hear other groups who went witnessing elsewhere and apparently I was not invited to come since I knew nothing about it.  So much for being a witnessing TEAM.  There is a yearly festival that pulls in 250,000 people over a three day period and nobody showed up to witness except for two of us, which made me angry.  I guess my friends do not care as much about the lost as they claim to.  It was becoming apparent to me that if you were not a calvinist you were not accepted in the “inner circle.”

I often hear people say Calvinism increases evangelism…thats baloney…if it did they would have attended the festivals in our area during the summer and fall months of the year.

This is exactly the way the god of calvin behaves towards people, He saves people into an inner circle of “elect” people who have “secret wisdom” about the inner workings of God.  If you are not part of this inner circle you are shunned.  Sounds like a cult to me….it wasn’t surprising….they were becoming like the god they serve.

The Left Hand Doesn’t Know What the Right Hand is Doing?

Often videos and pictures were made of us witnessing which ended up on a website or on facebook for all to see.  While the original intent was to show “anyone can witness if we can” the impression it gave to many I have spoken with is we are simply showing off.  Recording 10 videos of the same person open air preaching at the same bus stop to a crowd gives the appearance of pride.  I have to admit there were occassions I got prideful for putting a picture or video on a website…so I stopped doing it.  The other members did not stop doing it.

In addition I was told things like “Tony Miano said you should go to the same fishing hole (witnessing spot) frequently so you can be the pastor of the area.”  So some people in the group starting going to the same place for witnessing.  I didn’t realize Christ said “we should go to the same place and preach the gospel”, I think He said, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel.”  I also didn’t realize our witnessing team was being controlled by Tony Miano who isn’t even part of our group.

Doesn’t the bible say something about when I do good works for the Lord I should do it so that my left hand doesn’t know what my right hand is doing?  Yes, it does.

It seems the witnessing group was indifferent to this teaching.  To them its ok to let the left-hand know what the right-hand is doing by putting videos and pictures of themselves on websites or going to the same witnessing spot so people can follow after them.  Sometimes its best to be the big fish in a small pond so people can praise you for doing it.  Its a guarantee you are persevering in the faith and are one of the elect.  This also helps alleviate any insecurities the Calvinist has about his/her own election. “If I am doing more than my neighbor I must be one of the elect.”

Lying to the unelect

If Calvinism is true and you witness to sinners then at some point you are lying to someone.  Why?  Because according to Calvinism Christ died for some people, not most.  Preaching a gospel not mean’t for the unelect is lying whether its intentional or not.  Addressing this idea with some in the group was met with some hostility, probably because their conscience was telling them they are lying.

Here are the “solutions” to the problem of lying I heard from them.

  • Solution #1: Invent labels like “general call” and “effectual call.”

Basically the argument is this…”God is not calling the unelect to salvation therefore I am not lying to them when I preach the gospel.”   This is something they made up out of the clear blue sky.  Somehow the same words in a gospel message mean different things to different people.  When I say “Christ died for sinners” the unelect will not know they are sinners or will not know Christ died for them but the elect will?

Thats not true at all.   The unelect have the creation to tell them there is a God, and they have conscience which tells them they are guilty before this God who created the universe.  In other words, they know they are sinners, although some think they are better than other sinners.

I see it all the time.  Sometimes I meet the same people at the same festivals a year later and they are not saved, yet they heard the full gospel because thats where the conversation went a year earlier.  Since I am talking to sinners about their sin they were concerned about their eternal destiny.  As a result they ASKED me questions about salvation and I TOLD THEM the gospel.

Words like “general call” and “effectual call” do not change the meanings of the words I speak to sinners…thats why we have dictionaries!  WORDS HAVE MEANING.  If you don’t believe me, what is this sentence telling you?

Does the answer of “general call” vs “effectual call” resolve the situation of lying? Nope.

  • Solution #2: “I do not know who the unelect are so I preach to all.”

Is this a true statement?  Yes.  You do not know who the elect will be.  Does this resolve the situation of lying? Nope.

  • Solution #3: “I am obeying Christ by witnessing to all.”

Does your obedience prevent you from lying? Nope.  Is God asking you to lie?  Yes.  Since you speak for God is God lying through you?  Yes.  Both you and God are lying at the same time.

  • Solution #4: Stop witnessing.

This won’t work since you are disobeying Christ and sinning…hmmm…it seems no matter what you do in evangelism you are sinning. What a problem!

  • Solution #5: “There is a big difference between sinners ‘asking’ and ‘responding’ to the gospel.”

Why would it matter if someone “asks” or “responds” to the gospel?  This has nothing to do with me lying to them or not.  Lets say I preach to a crowd of 80 people.  I give the same message to all.  This means everyone gets the same message and I am….lying to someone.  Whether they “ask” or “respond” makes no difference in my presentation.

Does this resolve the situation of lying?  Nope.

  • Solution #6: “I say this to sinners, ‘Christ died for those who repent and believe in Him.’  See?  I haven’t lied.”

Yes you have.  You are asking people to repent who aren’t able to.  Your statement implies EVERYONE you speak to CAN repent and believe.  Since Christ said few people will be saved and most are going to hell your gospel message will, undoubtedly, reach the ears of the unelect.  You are lying.  Calvinists know most people cannot repent or believe.

  • Solution #7: “I never tell people ‘God loves them’ because thats not the gospel.”

Yes you do, you tell them “Christ died for sinners” and then you convice them they are SINNERS.  This gives sinners the impression Christ died for THEM because He LOVES them.  The gospel is about God’s love and justice is it not?  Yes it is.

Does this resolve the situation of lying?  Nope.

  • Solution #8: “I never tell people ‘Christ died for you’ because thats not the gospel.  The Apostles never did that once!”

Yes they did. The Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:3 is writing to Christians.  He is explaining to them the gospel he told them BEFORE they were Christians, that “Christ died for them.”  Telling a sinner this is part of the gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:3 NKJV
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

  • Solution #9: “I simply repeat what the bible says, God will take care of the rest.

While witnessing I would hear my future Calvinist friends say verses out loud to sinners that they don’t believe such as “God is not willing that any should perish but that all come to repentance.”  Any normal reading of the bible would indicate God wants “all” to come to repentance, but to Calvinists thats not true.  God does NOT want all to come to repentance.  I have heard them say this and other verses to sinners and wonder how they can do this with a clear conscience, knowing full well they don’t believe the clear meaning of the verse.  They are lying…because they do not believe it.

If they were honest they would change the words of the verse to fit what they believe, such as “God is not willing that the elect should perish but that the elect will come to repentance.”  At least if they preached it this way they aren’t lying, but then again they would be changing God’s words.  But Calvinists already do that anyway.

  • Solution #10: “I may be a Calvinist but I preach like an Armenian.”

What you really mean is you are willing to deceive sinners by suggesting they have free will to believe you.  Its ok to preach like one belief system but believe in another?  Jesus isn’t trying to deceive sinners with the gospel.  But its ok if you do?

  • Solution #11: Calvinism is wrong.

That was easy!  Problems solved!  When I preach the gospel to anyone I am not sinning because Christ died for all and God isn’t lying through me to anyone.

Unfortunately the people in our witnessing group did not solve the dilemma of lying to the unsaved.  In fact, there were fairly content to respond with “solutions” like these and still call it good at the end of the day without responding to my arguments.  I have to comment this gave me the impression they are not really looking for truth or have the mind of Christ or desire to have a heart of understanding.  Why would I want to witness with people who do not care for truth?

I can tell you that if I were a Calvinist I would have a major problem with the idea of lying to the unelect when witnessing.  Why?  Because I want to make sure I am not sinning and, to make matters worse, God Himself is not lying through me to the lost.  I was having a hard time wondering why my friends were not concerned about this.  Perhaps its because the only alternative is to reject Calvinism and that would hurt their pride too much.  Or it might cause them to lose friends who still believe in it.

Either way it was becoming clear that Calvinism masks itself as superior knowledge when in fact it dumbs-down the mind of those who believe in its teachings.

“Descent Into Error” Part 5 – The Bible as a spell-casting device


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