We have all no doubt heard the accusation at least a hundred times. Calvinism makes man into a puppet/robot. As opposed to what, I ask, Arminianism making God into a puppet/robot?
Arminians speak of God as limiting Himself by giving Man a will that is free to resist Him if it so chooses. What does it mean for man’s will to be free though? Free in regards to what? The argument makes no sense. It means God rolls the dice and does not determine anything, but rather waits to see upon what number the dice lands, knowing ahead of time where the dice will land, but unable to choose its destiny beforehand.
Suppose we stroll into our kitchen to grab a delicious frozen treat from our freezer. What motivated us to stroll into our kitchen in the first place? What motivates us to choose the blueberry popsicle over the strawberry? What motivates us to break the popsicle in half, and then give the other half to our son rather than save both halves for ourself? All these motivations, and yet I’m supposed to believe my choice is free? To quote Luther, “there’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.” And I am supposed to believe God determined none of these things that led to my choice?
The Bible does not deny that man has a will. What the Bible denies is that man’s will is free.
John 1:12-13 But to all who have received him – those who believe in His name – He has given the right to become God’s children –children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.
Ephesians 1:4-5 For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love. He did this by predestining us to adoption as his sons through Jesus Christ, according to the pleasure of his will
The Bible teaches that we choose, but we choose in accordance with our nature. And since we are born with a sin nature, what we always choose is sin.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
and in sin did my mother
God looks down from heaven
on the children of man
to see if there are any who understand,
who seek after God.
They have all fallen away;
together they have become corrupt;
there is none who does good,
not even one.
The Bible insists that man is conceived in sin and born with a sin nature. And this is so, because God imputes the guilt of Adam’s sin to every human being at conception.
Romans 5:12-14 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned – for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.
Sin was in the world before the law was given, but being that as it may, sin is not counted where there is no law. If that is the case, then how could death nevertheless have reigned from Adam to Moses? After all, if the wages of sin is death, and death reigned before there was law, and sin is not counted where there is no law, then how could death have reigned? There is only one possible answer. There was a law in effect, but it was not the law of Moses. What law was in effect? What law was preached that had attached to it the promise of death for disobedience?
Genesis 2:16-17 And the Lord God commanded the man saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
How did the commandment (law) that was preached to Adam bring the promise of death to everyone else? Again, there is only one possible answer. God had to have imputed the guilt of Adam’s disobedience to everyone else from Cain to Moses.
Some people have a problem with the idea of God imputing someone’s guilt to another person. Ironically enough, however, the same people who have a problem with the idea of God imputing someone’s guilt to another person have no problem with the idea of God imputing someone’s righteousness to another person (namely, Christ’s). It works both ways though. If God is just to impute Christ’s righteousness to a person who did nothing to earn or deserve it, then He is just to impute Adam’s guilt to a person who did nothing to earn or deserve it.
This is how God saves people. This is also how God condemns people.
Romans 9: 10-13 And not only so, but also when Rebekah had conceived children by one man, our forefather Isaac, though they were not yet born and had done nothing either good or bad – in order that God’s purpose of election might continue, not because of works but because of Him who calls – she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”
Arminians accept the idea that it is fair for God to justify a man by imputation, but only because they know full well it is impossible for a sinner to satisfy the law’s demand for absolute perfection. In other words, Arminians will stoop to live with the idea that God will only impute righteousness by grace rather than as a reward for work performed, because they know full well they could never do enough work to reach the level of perfection that God requires. However, they deny the justice inherent in grace by insisting that it is not right for God to condemn a man by imputation, for they insist that while man cannot earn his justification, he must indeed earn his condemnation.
But if man has earned his condemnation, then what has he done but also earned his salvation? After all, God does not save people who do not need to be saved. It is only the sick who Christ came to heal, not the well.
If man can earn his condemnation, then he can also by virtue of this, earn his salvation, for God saves only those who are in need of salvation. If you are born not needing to be redeemed, then how do you obtain the benefits of redemption if not but by condemning yourself? By condemning yourself, you also earn the right to redeem yourself, even if that means only that you have earned the right to be redeemed by grace. Hence the Arminian assertion that all men are capable of being totally bad, yet by their free will they choose not to be.
The T in Total Depravity has nothing to do with performance. This is something that mystifies the Arminian, because the Arminian is all about performance. He performs to condemn himself, and he performs to save himself. In the end he accomplishes neither.
The T in Total Depravity has nothing to do with performance. Rather, the T in Total Depravity has everything to do with legal status and the subsequent nature of man as a result.
In other words, God charges every human being at conception with the guilt of Adam’s disobedience. The children of men do not fall away and become corrupt at some point after their birth. Rather, the children of men fall away and become corrupt at their conception, for they are each brought forth in iniquity, and in sin do their mothers conceive them. Furthermore, because of this, man’s will is not free. Rather, his constant desire is to sin, and every thought of his heart is only evil continually.
The Arminian lives under the delusion that his choice to believe is a better sacrifice than the body and blood of Christ. And yet the tolerant Calvinist will assert that many the Arminian were nevertheless saved by the preaching of this very same system, because his understanding of the system was inconsistent.
Inconsistent? A man can claim Buddha is Lord and Savior and be inconsistent!
The system is false. That is its problem. It claims that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner after any and every sinner first saves himself by choosing to celebrate Jesus is Lord, rather than Buddha.
For the Arminian, salvation by grace through faith in Christ means God promising to save a man without requiring any moral improvement from the man just as soon as the man first chooses to identify Jesus as the only true God. What is an inconsistent Arminian? It is the Arminian who thinks salvation by grace through faith in Christ means God promising to save a man after the man has improved his moral behavior with the help of the Spirit, thereby proving to God and to men that the man was serious when he chose to make Jesus the Lord of his life. In other words . . .
. . . the Lordship Salvationist is the inconsistent Arminian!
It is no wonder that most tolerant Calvinists are, in fact, also Lordship Salvationists. After all, the Lordship Salvation heresy feeds ravenously into the nonsense of self righteousness. James White, R C Sproul, John MacArthur, John Piper, Paul Washer, Matthew McMahon, and more All these guys are Lordship Salvationists. They are also some of the most notorious tolerant Calvinists. The two heresies go hand in hand.
As a child I used to ask my free will believing mother why, if it was true that God knows who will go to Hell, does God still create these people? My mother, stumped by the question as all Arminians are, always answered the same – “because He loves them and wants them to choose Him.”
Even children know the free will argument makes no sense. God does not love the people He condemns. He hates them. He created them for the express purpose of glorifying His power, His absolute holiness and His intolerance for sin, and also to show the elect the rich measure of His grace.
Romans 9:22-23 What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory
Inevitably, someone will complain that this is not just. But why should this not be just? Does God not have the right to create some creatures for the express purpose of destroying them in order to make known His own glory? Is He not the Creator? Does He not have the right to do this?
Where is it written that God is not allowed to create a person for the express purpose of destroying them so that in their destruction He might make known His power and wrath? I would understand the complaint had God had He would not do this, but then went ahead and did it anyway. This is not what He did though. He has said quite plainly in His word that He loves whomever He loves, and He hates whomever He hates.
Romans 9:17-23 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed n all the earth.” So then He has mercy on whomever He wills, and He hardens whomever He wills. You will say to me then, “Why does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have You made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show His wrath and to make known His power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of His glory for vessels of mercy, which He has prepared beforehand for glory
Arminians find this unjust, because they believe it in their right to be glorified along with God. After all, that friendly little snake in the garden told their great-great-great-great ancestor that they could establish their own righteousness in competition with God’s if they would but simply disobey God and declare their independent righteousness by partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
Arminians reject sovereign election because sovereign election is not conditioned upon anything they do or ever will do. They have no ability to earn glory for themselves by earning a place among the elect, therefore they hate it. Tolerant Calvinist keep sovereign election hidden in the back room for the same reason, because it is not conditioned upon anything they do or ever will do. In the Arminian scheme of things, resisting God’s will means impeding His will. This is why they consistently misquote Matthew 23:37.
Arminian misquotation: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how often I would have gathered you, but you would not.
Actual text: Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of the righteous blood shed on earth, from all the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not.
The prophets and the wise men and the righteous scribes, rather than Jerusalem itself, is the object of Christ’s tears. They were the ones murdered, tortured and hounded by the wicked city. He still got His way. He still gathered His children even though the wicked city willed against this.
In truth, Arminians do not believe Christ’s propitiatory death is the only standard of righteousness God accepts. Arminians believe instead that God’s demand for righteousness is satisfied by a choice to vote Jesus the only true God. In return, tolerant Calvinists keep the doctrine of definite atonement buried in the back room for the same reason. They do not believe His propitiatory death is the only standard of righteousness God accepts.
A system is not separate from its propositions. Rather, a system is identified by its propositions. And therein lies the problem for the tolerant Calvinist. It is impossible to speak of salvation exclusively as something by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone while also maintaining the notion that my free will got me there. These are two irreconcilable propositions. They each belong to a system that cannot be reconciled with the other. Identifying one of them as inconsistent does not make it any less irreconcilable.
And yet the tolerant Calvinist attempts to do just that – reconcile one system to the other. He does this by treating the propositions separate from the system. In other words, what I believe about God, what I believe about sin, and what I believe about mankind are categories the tolerant Calvinist keeps separate from the system. In terms of salvation, it does not matter to him what a person believes about God, or what he believes about sin or what he even believes about mankind, just as long as he has a Jesus – any Jesus – who has died and risen again and is now Lord rather than Buddha.
This is why when a person confesses to have been saved through the message of a Christ who died for everyone, the tolerant Calvinist bobs his head up and down with a nod. Yes, I acknowledge you are a brother, he says, you were saved, but now let me tell you the truth about Christ’s death.
The Arminian thinks he was saved by voting Jesus the only true God – an act which even demons perform! The tolerant Calvinist agrees. Both are as deluded, deceived and as lost as the other.