There are 5 pedals to Calvinism that make up the acronym TULIP. They are all despicable to me. T-Total depravity, U- ultimate reconciliation, L- limited atonement (really???), I-irresistible, and P-perseverance of the saints. Only if you believe that “the will of God is always done” could these concepts fit into a Biblical view. It is a system first and the Bible second.
I believe that mankind is totally deprived in that we are born sinners. That the natural state of man is animosity towards God and selfishness towards self. “The heart of man is desperately wicked who could know it,” cried Jerimiah the prophet (jer17:9). That does not mean he is so corrupted that he cannot make a choice. The Bible not only presupposes a free will, it is loaded with references to it. “Whoso ever will believe!” think of that sentence. “Will” is your will. To believe is a choice on what you trust. To say like the Calvinist “it is all God” is to completely ignore the central responsibility of every person.
Ultimately, there is a Hell. Not only a place of holding, like Hades but a place of punishment. The doctrine of ultimate reconciliation is that ultimately whoever God choose will be saved and those He doesn’t choose will go to Hell. Is this why Jesus looked at the rich young ruler with love when he walked away filled with sorrow? Ultimately God judges each for what they did, for what they said, for what they chose to do with His son (rom2:6). Not if they were a good draft pick to Him.
I most distain the next one; limited atonement. They believe Jesus did not die for everyone, only the elect. I do not know how they get around such verses as 1jn2:1; “He was a propitiation not only for those who believe but for the world.” And “God so loved the world…(jn3:16)” The world. He paid for everyone. It is sufficient to all but only efficient for those who believe.
Irresistible grace is a lot like ultimate reconciliation. I see no Biblical grounds for it. I find it arrogant. “God picked me and not others.” If God picks you, you will be saved. I think God picked everyone through Christ and yet, not everyone picks Him back. Perhaps the greatest two words in the new Testament are “in Christ” used over and over again. “In Christ” we are new creations, we are chosen, we are elected, we are born to a living hope. All because we are “in Christ.” Those are the effects of that state of being.
“In the last days many will depart from the faith,” the apostle Paul declares. The Calvinist says; “well Paul, they were never really in the faith, it just looked like it.” Because they believe once saved, always saved. Look at Hebrews chapter 6; “for those who were once enlightened, those who tasted of the powers of the age to come, those who were partakers of the Holy Spirit, if they fall away there remains no sacrifice.” Looks clear. They were Christians, then they weren’t. 2Pet2:20-21 Also makes it clear that they would have been better if they never believed, if they “fall away.”
I get asked by my dear Calvinist friends; “How can you ever feel secure in your salvation if you believe it is possible for you to lose it?” It is an easy answer for me. “I love Jesus, I know that I know Him. Where else would I go for eternal life?” but then I flip it on them. “We all know people that seemed like they were walking with God and then backslid. You might say “they were never really saved.” How then do you know that you are really chosen and not just one like that?”