There is a lot of misinformation about the Doctrines of Grace available in the online world. I realize that in any theological discussion, there are often two people (or twenty) who agree on the main points, but disagree on minor ones. I cannot speak for anyone but myself. Before you shrug me off as a nut or a heretic, please take a minute to scroll through a few of these popular myths about the Doctrines of Grace:
1. The Doctrines of Grace is the teaching of a man, John Calvin.
FALSE. Many people who believe the Doctrines of Grace have been labeled “Calvinists”. These truths were systematized into the “TULIP” as a response to the teachings of Jacobus Arminius about 45 years after Calvin’s death. (Meanwhile, the Waldensians [ancient Baptists] were teaching these truths all along.) John Calvin was not a good man. Most people who believe these truths do not want to be associated with him, and I am one of those people. They are more accurately called “the Doctrines of Grace”. However, I am no longer afraid of the name itself, because I know that these things are not Calvin’s truths, but rather, they are BIBLE truths.
*For sake of convenience, “Calvinism” and “Doctrines of Grace” will be used interchangeably in this post.
2. Calvinism teaches that God chooses some people for Heaven and some for Hell.
FALSE. We are all bound for hell. There is none righteous, no not one. (Romans 3:10) The fact that ANY of us can be saved is a gift of God’s grace. (Romans 6:23)
3. Those who believe in Sovereign Grace do not witness to others.
FALSE. There are some “hyper-Calvinists” (sometimes referred to as “fatalists”) who believe that “whatever will be, will be” so why bother? That is not accurate of just regular, run-of-the-mill Christians who believe in Grace. My church witnesses to strangers, passes out Gospel tracts, and even prints Gospel tracts! Why do we do this? Because the BIBLE says to do this. (Mark 16:15 and many other places) But, while we’re on the subject, as a member of seven churches which were not Sovereign Grace churches, I can tell you that those people struggle to get out and witness for Christ, too. Let’s be honest: door-to-door witnessing is hard work and we are all in the flesh.
4. You can only become a Calvinist by reading a modern “perversion” of the Bible.
FALSE.(“Perversion” is a little phrase I picked up in ‘Nam.) My husband and I have studied these things by using a King James Version of the Bible, and using only the Bible. Our church is KJV only, and the churches with whom we fellowship are KJV only. Not to mention, John Gill, John Bunyan, Andrew Fuller, William Carey, Adoniram Judson, Isaac Backus, and many other Baptists before 1900 who also used the KJV and believed these same truths.
5. Calvinism is the same as Reformed Theology or Presbyterianism.
FALSE. Those who call themselves “Reformed Baptists” and Presbyterians do believe in the Doctrines of Grace, but that is not what all Calvinists are. My church is not “reformed” – we need no reformation, our doctrine has existed since the Apostles tread upon the Earth. We are not Presbyterians because we do not believe in Presbyterian covenant theology nor do we baptize babies.
6. It is a new thing for Baptists to believe in the Doctrines of Grace.
FALSE. Read Baptist history and you will find numerous examples of Baptists of old (see #4) who preached these same blessed truths. Spurgeon is the most popular Baptist Calvinist. I heard him quoted countless times in my childhood, and I must ask, why would those preachers espouse a heretic? Probably because he wasn’t one. Yet Spurgeon was, most definitely, a Calvinist. He even wrote “A Defense of Calvinism“.
7. Calvinism is a false Gospel.
FALSE. A “false Gospel” adds something to salvation. What does Calvinism “add”? Does it claim that you must be good to get to Heaven? No. Does it say you must “work your way there”? No. If anything, this is the purest Gospel you’ll ever hear: “Trust Christ! He does EVERYTHING!”.
Thanks for reading.