The Dangers of Calvinism: A Pastoral Response

Today, I come to you with a heavy heart, burdened by the weight of a doctrine that has ensnared many believers in confusion and despair. The doctrine of Calvinism, often presented with eloquence and intellectual appeal, has caused deep distress for those who seek the truth of God’s Word. Let us delve into the heart of the matter, guided by the light of Scripture, and the Holy Spirit. 

Recently, I received an email from a dear brother named Ryan. His words echoed the struggle of many who have grappled with the teachings of Calvinism, feeling their hope slip away as they question their very salvation.

Ryan, like so many others, found himself in the throes of doubt, wondering if his belief in Jesus was enough, if his sins were too great, and if God had predestined him for eternal life or condemnation. His email arrived in the wee hours of the morning, a testament to the sleepless nights of those haunted by these questions.

As I read Ryan’s heartfelt plea for clarity, my heart ached for him. Here was a soul, hungering for the assurance of salvation, yet tangled in the web of Calvinistic teaching that denies the freedom of choice granted to us by our loving Father.

Calvinism, with its intricate arguments and seemingly profound theology, often leads to a dangerous path of hopelessness. It suggests that God picks and chooses who will be saved, regardless of our own desires or actions. This notion, my friends, is a distortion of the Gospel—a twisting of the beautiful truth that salvation is freely offered to all and applied to anyone who chooses to believe on Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Who shed His blood, was buried and rose again to pay for all their sin.

In response to Ryan’s email, I sought to provide him with a simple yet powerful illustration. Imagine, I told him, that you are purchasing a plane ticket. You choose the destination—Heaven—and the ticket is your belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, crucified for your sins and risen for your redemption. When you board the flight, secured by your belief in Jesus’ finished work for the payment of your sins, it takes you to the predetermined destination of Heaven.

Belief in Jesus, my dear friends, is the ticket. It is the assurance that God has promised to all who put their trust in His Son. This is not a predestination of some to salvation and others to damnation, as Calvinism wrongly teaches. Rather, it is a divine invitation to all mankind: “… whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17, KJV).

Yet, Calvinism does more than confuse the mind—it wounds the spirit! It leaves believers like Ryan questioning their own worthiness, trapped in a cycle of despair. I shared with Ryan the truth of Scripture, reminding him that we all struggle with sin. The Apostle Paul himself lamented, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24, KJV). 

But Paul also rejoiced in the victory that is ours through Christ Jesus, our Lord, knowing his salvation assurance lies not in his performance or God’s unconditional electing, but in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. He declared, “Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:57, KJV). This victory over sin is not an unattainable dream—it is the promise of God to all who believe.

Now, for those who find themselves ensnared by the teachings of Calvinism, I urge you to turn to the Word of God. Dive deep into the Scriptures, for there you will find the truth that sets us free. When doubts assail you, cling to the promises of God’s Word like a lifeline. Many try to remember the date and time they believed on Jesus for eternal life as the proof that their secured in Him. Instead, may I implore you to look to the empty tomb and the acceptance of Jesus’s blood as your assurance! Is He still resurrected? Is the blood still accepted? Yes! You are secured and assured!

Do not be deceived by the allure of intellectualism or the complexity of man-made doctrines like Calvinism. The Gospel is simple yet profound: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, KJV).

To my dear brother Ryan, and to all who find themselves grappling with the weight of Calvinistic teaching, I offer this message of hope. Your salvation is not dependent on the whims of man or the complexities of theology! Nor does it ride on the unconditional election of God for some and not for others. No, instead, it is a gift freely given by a loving God, received through faith in His Son and secured by His resurrection!

Let us stand together, dear brothers and sisters, united in the truth of God’s Word. Let us reject the lies of Calvinism and embrace the glorious freedom we have in Christ Jesus. And to those who have yet to experience this freedom, I extend to you the invitation of a loving Savior: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31, KJV).

In closing, let us lift our brother Ryan in prayer, that he may find peace and assurance in the boundless love of our Savior. And if you, like Ryan, are struggling with the weight of Calvinism, know that you are not alone. Reach out to us, and together, we will seek the truth of God’s Word.

May the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.