Tuesday, 12 November 2013


Note: This response to Mr Servant's critique was prepared in somewhat of a hurry. This has led to several changes being made. I make no claim to have covered every last disagreement with the critique. Feel free to coment on it in the comments box or on Twitter.

This critique of Calvinism by David Servant came to me of the virtual recommendation by my friend Mr Cox. Weighing in at just under 3,000 words, it does not take long to read, nor for that matter to analyse. The tone is pleasant and that is to be welcomed.  I have no reason to doubt the author’s professed love for Calvinists. He speaks highly of some as “very, very fine Christians” (as opposed to “cuss words” and “Satanic heretics” and possessors of “a homosexual faith” as wickedly described by others) and again “some Christians friends of the highest calibre.”

Immediately, however, it must be said that if the Calvinist interpretation of the gospel (described in Mr Servant’s critique as being the “gospel of damnation”) can produce any Christians at all (never mind of such a rare quality) then we must wonder why we all insist on only one gospel i.e. that of Jesus Christ. It seems that corrupt trees can produce good – even the best – of fruit after all.

Severe time constraints bar me from taking the critique line by line. There is no need anyway, because some of the glaring errors get repeated again. Mr Servant’s critique of Calvinism actually says nothing new. David Cloud and Dave Hunt and others have been peddling this kind of stuff for years and they were wrong then and Mr Servant is wrong now. It is noticeable that Mr Servant does not give one reference for anything which he attributes to Calvinists. Although it may be argued that he is writing popularly, yet Mr Cox (above) appealed to “thinking, studying etc.,” Calvinists. I suggest that one reason why Mr Servant does not supply references is because his allegations actually find no basis in fact.
Because of those severe time restraints  I must take the liberty of usually linking where I can to pages on this blog – often containing only a quote or two – to answer the allegations that Mr Servant makes. There are no rabbit trails here, so do take time to look them up.

Consider the following:

Only once (as far as I can see) does Mr Servant  mention that Calvinists believe that the damnation of any man is because of sin. However, we have several references to the idea that sinners are damned because of God, as if it were His fault. Calvin believed rightly that sin is the sole cause of any man’s damnation.

This at once removes the mad idea that some will find themselves in Hell for no other reason than God willed it. I am unaware of any Calvinist who believes that. Damnation ALWAYS has a judicial aspect to it, with the Judge of all the earth always doing right.
The Calvinist doctrine of the perseverance of the Saints (where God’s people are said to be preserved by God through perseverance in holiness) – Mr Servant rather glibly dismisses this as a Calvinist knowing that he has “salvation in the bag”.  As superficial as that.

The Greek word for “draw” in John 6:44 is used of fishing nets later on in the same gospel (21:6) and used to describe the manner in which the frenzied crowd drew Paul out of the temple in Acts 21:30 So the word “drag” is not inappropriate (as suggested by Mr Servant) and yet only to a point. Contrary to Mr Servant’s words, Calvinists do NOT believe that men are dragged against their will nor forced to be saved. Indeed, had Mr Servant took the time to look up Calvin on John 6:44, then he would have read these words.

For Mr Servant to say that Calvinists believe that the elect are drawn irresistibly to Christ and “having no choice in the matter” (ratcheted up with the old robot illustration) is so wide of the facts as to be positively misleading. It seems to take over Mr Servant’s critique. For example, he asks the question: “…Does that prove his will had an part in his salvation?” as if this was a Calvinist dogma, when it is no such thing. Again, the following is baldly stated as if it were fact: “Calvinist logic that sets grace against human response is not a logic that can be supported by any Scripture.”  But where are Mr Servant's references for such a statement? They are non existent. Perhaps at this point, I should state a few somewhat very basic Calvinists truths that have obviously escaped Mr Servant’s notice:

1) Calvinists believe that man has a free will i.e. it is free to follow the dictates of man’s heart. In the words of the various Calvinist Confessions of Faith: “God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil.” Again: “…nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.” (WCF)

2) Man’s heart however is in voluntary slavery to sin (John 8:34) and it needs to be set free from these chains ere it embraces Christ. It may be said that the elect sinner receives Christ of his own freed and therefore free will. This (to quote Calvin above) he does voluntarily. All this robot stuff is a total nonsense.

3) Calvinists have always preached for a response from the sinner. We are left wondering whether  Mr Servant has never heard of CH Spurgeon or George Whitefield or a whole host of others. See Calvin (speaking on the text that men take the kingdom of heaven by storm).
 Note the call for response. Note the responsibility for not coming to Christ – “inexcusable” says Mr Calvin – yet Mr Servant again blandly states:

“Calvinists elevate human reasoning above Scripture’s revelation, making God’s grace and human responsibility mutually exclusive concepts, while the Bible makes them mutually inclusive.”

To which, I must ask, “Really?”

Moving on quickly, Mr Servant seems to think that Calvinists deny that men can resist the Spirit of God. This is not so.
Apparently, Calvinists do not believe that God offers salvation to the “whosoever will.” Again, this is untrue.

Mr Servant’s “Little Johnny” illustration is nothing less than an emotional attempt to illustrate every error propagated in this critique of Calvinism.  But tugging the heart strings is no substitute for cold hard facts and they are conspicuous by their absence in Mr Servant’s critique. It is to be rejected for a number of reasons;

1/ No one (apart from God) knows who, among unconverted sinners, the elect or non elect are. We have no right to conclude any one to be non elect until the day they die (without Christ).

2/ We are commanded to offer Christ to every man without exception. This is what Calvinists do when instructing their children. This is what I did, and both my children responded in faith.

3/ As above, it is wrong to say that men are damned because of nothing they have done. If you start off in severe error, then anything built on it becomes more fragile as you add  to it.

4/  God has indeed a great love for the reprobate and when the reprobate is lost, then he has no one to blame but himself. Wherein did that love extend? Ultimately to the point that after many sincere calls and calls to repentance and faith with promises of mercy should the sinner come, God was prepared to leave the reprobate to his own chosen devices. Again (as repeated often above) this leaves the sinner totally and absolutely responsible for his own damnation.

There are other matters that I could take issue with here:

For example, his failure to see that the Children of Israel were chosen in a national sense which did not necessarily embrace eternal salvation. In Paul’s words, they were not Israel who were of Israel (Romans 9) i.e. they were not Jews inwardly (Romans 2).

His bald statement that Calvinists believe that the vast majority of people will be lost, “whom he could easily have saved.” Consider the following:

1/ If Mr Servant’s logic thinks Arminianism presents God as more loving than Calvinism, then he really should really think about Universalism (using Mr Servant’s own logic) where no one is lost at all.

2/ Some Calvinists (including Spurgeon) believe that the number of the elect will be greater than the number of the reprobate while some non Calvinists believe that the number of the non elect will be greater than the number of the elect. IOW: it is not a distinctly Calvinist/Non Calvinist issue.

3/ As above, the ones who are damned are those (and those alone) who loved darkness rather than light etc, (John 3:19) This is distinctly said to be “the condemnation” i.e. the cause of it.

4/ His Arminian doctrine that a truly regenerate child of God could at the last be lost in Hell.

I really must leave it there. This answer has taken far longer than anticipated. Calvinism is safe when such attacks are made upon it. 



  1. The Arminians seem to forget that people are sinners. The want to elevate man to the place of God, and put God under man's authority. I must say this is very tempting to the flesh. But the scriptures clearly tell us otherwise. Hell is waiting for the unrepentant sinner because his sin is an offense to God. The sinner loves his sin and he rightly deserves hell because of it. Not only does he do evil, but his heart is turned away from his Creator in fact, he hates God. He does not want God and is not seeking God. So not only is he a sinner doing wickedly but he also does not do the highest good which is to seek to worship the true and living God.

    We "Calvinists" believe that people go to hell because they are sinners from conception. David confesses this sin nature in Psalm 51:5. When Adam fell, we all fell. Paul lays out this concept in Romans 5. So, apart from Jesus Christ, we are all hell-bound. As to how many are in hell....in this case we should be silent where the scriptures are silent? I will say that Jesus Christ certainly told us that broad is the road that leads to destruction and narrow is the way to life and few there are that find it. His parable of the soils is another one to consider along this line.

    The great wonder is that God saves any, for all are sinners and hell is what we rightly deserve. There is no neutrality - none is righteous, no not one, apart from God's amazing grace in Christ Jesus our Lord.

  2. I agree. Certainly the Calvinist has a greater concept of grace. Reminding me of this post: http://weecalvin1509.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/differ.html

  3. It's almost as if they fancy that somehow lost people are neutral regarding God and spiritual things, and in a sort of spiritual limbo. The Christian comes along with the gospel message and these so-called neutral people either accept it or reject the Lord's work on the cross. If they repent and believe the gospel message then they are saved (on this we all agree). However because the Arminians have fancied the lost as neutral, it is only if they reject the gospel that they are headed for hell merely on that basis? Almost as if the lost were o.k. beforehand! (aka the "noble savage") And almost as if then, God had nothing to do with it! As if He is as the Deists imagine...He got things going in the beginning, but now is hands off.

    I am afraid they are not reading their bibles, they are only repeating what someone else said or wrote. For their God falls short of the God of the bible, their understanding of the state of lost man is in error, and therefore they cannot make heads or tails of what the true needs of men are and the realities of salvation, heaven and hell. I would suggest they read a good missionary biography like that of John Paton who went to the New Hebrides isles to bring the gospel message to cannibals. Then these armchair theologians will understand the true state of unregenerate man and God's amazing love and compassion that He sends missionaries to the unsaved, including these poor souls who have sunk into the depths of depravity. That "modern" man fancies that these were somehow lesser beings - no they were just as human as we are. We in the West are just now beginning to get a little taste of what it means to live in a godless place where there has never been a gospel witness and no Holy Spirit to restrain sin. Thus we can make light of these things, imagine that lost man is not so bad after all and that they could make right choices apart from the grace of God.

    1. Hi! I would say of their Arminian or Arminian types that it is their view of God rather than "their God." Thanks for dropping by.


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