What Makes Calvinism Strong and Weak

10-Arguments that make Calvinism; reformed theology, strong or weak on man’s “free will” to believe Jesus

1. Did Christ die for everyone?

If the premise is that Jesus died for everyone (righteous and unrighteous), how come more people are going to hell? Therefore, it would seem that when God said He wants everyone to be saved, it referred only to the chosen elect.

At the other end of the spectrum is hypergrace. Even without asking for forgiveness, everyone can be saved because all sins have been redeemed once and for eternity. However, John 17:9 seems to confirm that “everyone” refers only to the elect.

1 Peter 3:18
Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit.

John 17:9
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those, You have given Me because they are Yours.


2. Does man have free will and the ability to choose?

Adam and Eve disobeyed God, and it reflected their ability to choose. They were created in perfection and lived with God with free will, although they were not reprobates.

Calvinists presuppose that reprobates do not have the natural desire to obey or choose God. Indeed Adam and Eve were not reprobates (wicked men) as with Mary, the mother of Jesus, Job, and even John the beloved, who loved God. The point is, there were none-reprobates in the Bible.

But then, Apostle” Paul points out that “the “natural man” cannot respond to the Gospel unless there’s divine illumination. His argument makes a free will and the ability to choose rather complicated.

  • Jesus knocks at the door of our hearts (Revelations 3:20). He invites us to have fellowship with Him. For us to accept or refuse can mean free will.
  • Apostle Paul also invites those who are dead to awake, arise, and believe in Jesus (Ephesians 5:14; 2:8-9).

2 Corinthians 2:14
The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. They are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

3. Can a person “dead to sin” respond to God’s offer?

Being “dead to sin” separates us from God. For Calvinists, we’re not only separated but couldn’t possibly respond or believe Jesus because we are all sinners.

That may be true, but in the New Covenant, Jesus restored our relationship with God so we can freely and boldly come to Him.

  • For Calvinists, salvation is predestination. God chooses who to save.
  • For evangelicals, everyone has the “free will” to come to Jesus.

Hebrews 4:16
“Let us approach God’s throne of grace with confidence so that we may receive mercy and find grace…”

Titus 3:5
“He saved us, not based on deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit…”


4. God’s sovereignty can override our “free will

God can lead someone to pray for someone, but God can inspire someone to pray for that someone to begin with. The point is, even if we choose our own volition, that desire goes back to God’s sovereignty, His determined will. (John 6:44)

  • In Calvinism, “unconditional election,” an aspect of predestination, means God chooses who to save.
  • God leads only “the elect” to salvation, but those not selected, the reprobates, get justice without condition.

John 6:44
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him.

2 Corinthians 4:4
In their case, the God of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.

Romans 9:18
God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden.

We can freely and boldly come to God and receive mercy.

Bible verses for hyper-Calvinism.

5. Does the act of receiving Jesus mean “work”?

The “sinner’s prayer” express our desire to believe and receive Jesus. Calvinists refer to the “act of believing” work. For evangelicals, the act is accepting a gift. (John 3:1)

Accepting a gift is a response to an invitation. It does not imply we took part in what the giver did. Interestingly, the apostles invite us to “share” in the suffering of Christ.

The point is, our response to believe and receive Jesus is “not work” by itself. Instead, it’s God working in our hearts.

To accept an invitation does not mean we took part in what the giver did.

6. Why would God intervene to save some but abandon others?

In His mercy, God chooses to pursue those who need “pushing” and cause them to believe. While those He knows would never accept Jesus—He abandons. (Romans 1:24-27)

Christ died for all, but those who reject Him are not God’s choosing. Still, those who God knows will believe, He leads them to Jesus (John 6:44). However, we will never know who these are, the reason we’re tasked to share the Gospel with everyone.

  • It sounds unfair that “God chooses” who to save. But in essence, “God preserves” those He knew will believe Jesus.
  • Perhaps, Jesus spoke to Paul because that is what will make him believe. For others, God does nothing because even if Jesus reveals Himself, they will still reject Him.

Romans 1:24-27
“… God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their hearts…”

John 6:36
“But as I stated, you have seen Me, and still you did not believe.”

“God preserves” those He knew will believe Jesus.

7. God’s foreknowledge and irresistible grace

It’s easy to believe Jesus, but not everyone will choose to be His follower because giving up sin isn’t an option for them. But then, God can cause circumstances, such as brokenness, to make the Gospel irresistible and push us to repent.

However, God’s offer is limited. The door to heaven can shut anytime. [Parable of ten virgins]

Philippians 2:1
For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

8. Irresistable grace

We can say God led us to believe because He can make grace irresistible. But the decision to accept is still ours to make because God did not choose everyone.

Although there’s no clear verse on God giving us free will, it is evident the first time man chose to sin. The kind of free will Calvinists points to is the will to choose God.

  • Even if a person doesn’t want to believe, God can make the Gospel irresistible, but only to the elect.
  • The conviction of sin gears our will to long for a savior (John 16:8). That’s God “drawing us to Him.” But the decision to respond remains ours.

Jesus died for everyone, but not everyone will accept Him.


9. Did God give me faith to believe, or did I do that on my own?

Corrie Ten Boom, admired for her conviction, overcame the holocaust because of her immense faith. But when asked about it, she said, it wasn’t my faith—it was Jesus.

  • We need faith to believe in God, but faith comes by hearing God’s words (Romans 10:17).
  • Jesus is the author and finisher of faith; He is the “Word,” which implies that God can cause us to believe and have faith.
  • God can choose who to give mercy to or who to refuse because He is sovereign.

God can cause us to believe and have faith.

Luke 24:45
“He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

John 15:5
“Apart from Jesus, we can do nothing.”

John 15:16
“You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, that you should go and bear fruit…”

10. The Gospel is for everyone!

There is no excuse to know God. Creation speaks of the Almighty and His laws written in our hearts. Whether or not God foreknew who would believe Jesus is not the case here; the offer is for everyone. Jesus commanded us to share the Gospel with whoever we encounter.

Romans 1:20
“Ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”

This topic is open for healthy debate. Feel free to share your opinion.

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