The Fruits of Calvinism
“Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy
and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the
rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.”
The problem in Colossae was different than the problem in Galatia. In Galatia, there was a group of Judeaizers coming in and trying to get the Christians to go back under the law. Paul said in Galatians 3:3, “…Having begun in the spirit, are ye now made perfect through the works of the flesh?” Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” In Colossae, it evidently was a man, not a group. According to Colossians 2:8, the word “man” is singular, so it was somebody who was creeping in and trying to sow a perverted gospel known as Gnosticism. In the Greek, you will find that the word “Gnostic” means knowing.
This was a warning about somebody coming in and teaching something new and superior in the tradition of men. It set up opposition between the wisdom of men and the wisdom of God. Here is what the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia says about Gnosticism: “Gnosticism is Christianity perverted by a learning and speculation. The intellectual pride of the Gnostics refined away the gospel into a philosophy making salvation exclusive and not universal. They lived under the conviction that they possessed a mysterious knowledge that could only be understood by them.” Now I wonder, does that sound like something that is prevalent in our land today? I am preaching this morning on the Fruits of Calvinism.
When I was a college student, I was naïve enough to think that everybody was either an Arminian or a Calvinist, and the determining factor was whether or not they accepted the security of the believer. When somebody would come to you and say, “Are you a Calvinist?,” if you believed in the security of the believer, you would say, “Yes, I'm a Calvinist.” Later on as I got to study more about Calvinism, I realized that there was more involved in Calvinism than the security of the believer. Really, security of the believer was not even involved in Calvinism. Then I was told about the five tenants of Calvinism, the TULIP. I was still naïve enough to think that you could be a “one-pointer,” or a “two-pointer.” However, if you study the tenants of Calvinism, I do not believe that there are very many of us who would subscribe to any particular one of these five. Last Christmas, when one of our students was home in his local church, he asked a young lady who goes to another Christian college what she had learned her first semester. She said, “I learned T-U-L-I-P,” and gave him the meaning of those five tenants.
The Five Tenants of Calvinism
I want to summarize TULIP for you. First of all there is T, which is Total Depravity. Most of us would say we believe in total depravity, Jeremiah 17:9: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Romans 3:10-12: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are altogether become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” When the Calvinist says he believes in total depravity, he believes in far more than what I have just stated. He means he believes in Total Inability. That necessitates that regeneration must precede faith. That is an astounding thing! Englesma acknowledges, “Deny this doctrine, and the whole of Calvinism is demolished.”1 David J. Englesma, “The Death of Confessional Calvinism in Scottish Presbyterianism” (Standard Bearer, December 1, 1992), cited in David Hunt, What Love Is This, (Loyal Publishing, 2002), 95.He is saying that if you do not believe what the Calvinist believes about total depravity, then you do not believe any of the tenants of Calvinism. That is true; I don't.
C.H. Spurgeon, the hero of Calvinism, said this: “If I am to preach faith in Christ to a man who is regenerated, then…it is unnecessary and ridiculous for me to preach Christ to him…”2 C.H. Spurgeon, “The Warrant of Faith” (Pilgrim Publications, 1978), 3, cited in Hunt, 102. They make the analogy, Ephesians 2:1 “And you hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins;” and they say that “dead” means “total inability.” In other words, if a man is spiritually dead, he is unable to accept Christ. However, if you follow that analogy to its logical conclusion, then you would have to say that a dead man cannot receive nor can he reject. He cannot sin. Their analogy falls apart if you follow it to its logical conclusion.
Then you have the U, which is Unconditional Election. That simply is that some people are elected to go to heaven, and some people are elected to go to hell. Loraine Boettner said that the early Christian leaders would have rejected Calvin's view of predestination, and that this cardinal truth of Christianity was first clearly seen by Augustine,3 Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1932), cited in Hunt, 222. who by the way was the founder of the Roman Catholic Church. Calvin quotes Augustine four hundred times in his Institutes. If I were to ask you how old John Calvin was when he wrote his institutes, most of you would think he was in his 50s or 60s. Ironically, he was 26 years of age.4 David Hunt, What Love is This? (Loyal Publishing, 2002), 37-38. They said of Calvin that he never had an original thought and everything he put in his Institutes he derived from Augustine and carried with him much of the baggage of the Roman Catholic Church -- baptismal regeneration, infant baptism, etc. Calvin held infant baptism, to be of such value that it transformed an infant into one of God's elect.5 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998 ed.), IV:xxv, 22, cited in Hunt, 305. So there you have U, Unconditional Election.
Then you have L, which is Limited Atonement. That simply means that Jesus died only for the elect.
Then you have I, which is Irresistible Grace. How can “grace” be irresistible? Anything imposed upon someone by a grace that is “irresistible” is not a gift received.6 Hunt, 366. If something is imposed upon you, without your desire to have it, I ask you, is that grace? That is a fallacious definition of grace to me: irresistibly imposed. You have the U, L, I. All three of those tenants would say that God is partial. James 3:17: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” Acts 10:34, Peter said, “I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.” Peter said in 1 Peter 1:17: “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work…” So there you have I.
Number five is P, which is Perseverance of the Saints. John Piper, who, by the way, claims to be a seven-point Calvinist said, “No Christian can be sure that he is a true believer. Hence, there is an ongoing need to be dedicated to the Lord and to deny ourselves so that we might make it.”7 John Piper and Pastoral Staff, TULIP: What We Believe about the Five Points of Calvinism: Position Paper of the Pastoral Staff (Desiring God Ministries, 1997), 25, cited in Hunt, 379. Is that grace? The Calvinist says that he talks about the doctrines of grace. However, as we get into the message, we are going to see that it is grace plus works.
The Four Fruits of Calvinism
First Fruit: Calvinism Incriminates the Nature of God
I want to call to your attention four truths [that] I believe are Fruits of Calvinism. Calvinism incriminates the nature of God. Calvinists talk about the Sovereignty of God. When they talk about the Sovereignty of God, they do not mean by that what we mean. They mean that God is the author of sin. I believe that incriminates His holiness. R.C. Sproul said, “God desired for man to fall into sin. I am not accusing God of sinning. I'm suggesting that God created sin.”8 R.C. Sproul, Almighty Over All (Baker Book House, 1999), 54, cited in Hunt, 221. I say that's blasphemy. Palmer believes that God has ordained everything, even sin.9 Edwin H. Palmer, foreword to The Five Points of Calvinism (Baker Books, enlarged ed.,20th prtg., 1980), cited in Hunt, 221
Deuteronomy 32:4 “He is the rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.” Job 34:10: “Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.” Habakkuk 1:13 “…thou canst not look on iniquity.” 1 John 1:5: “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” James 1:13 “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.”
I am so glad my life is in the hands of a God who cannot sin. When God Almighty make His first mistake, He will cease to be God. Not only does Calvinism incriminate His holiness, but number two, it incriminates His love. Interestingly, in the almost 1,300 pages of Calvin's Institutes, not one time does he expound on the love of God.
While I was preaching in Wisconsin, a young man came to me and said, “ Brother Comfort, do you preach that God hates sin and loves the sinner?” I said, “I certainly do.” He said, “Oh no, no, let me show you in the book of Psalms that God hates the sinner.”
Can you imagine even saying that? I said, “Do you know what you have done? You have violated a principle of Bible interpretation. In the Bible, terms of emotion are terms of comparison. 'Jacob have I loved; Esau have I hated'” He said, “ Well, every time you find the love of God in the Bible; it's always in the past tense. It's never in the present tense saying, 'God presently loves man.'” I said, “You know what? For forty-two years I've been preaching in evangelism that God loves the sinner, and I've seen thousands of them converted, so, I think I'll just keep preaching that God loves the sinner and hates the sin.”
Luke 19:10: “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” John 3:16-17: “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. For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” Romans 5:6-8: “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one died: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
II Cor. 5:14-15: “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” II Cor. 5:21: “For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” I Tim. 1:15: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” I Tim. 2:4-6: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Heb. 2:9: “Jesus tasted death for every man.” II Peter 3:9: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though stretched from sky to sky.10 F.M. Lehman, The Love of God (Singspiration Music/ ASCAP, 1946).
Hallelujah for His love! It not only incriminates His holiness, His love, but it incriminates His grace. Calvin held that infant baptism transformed an infant into one of God's elect.11 Hunt, 380. R.C. Sproul says, “Infants can be born again. Although the faith they exercise can not be as visible as that of adults.”12 New Geneva Study Bible, "Regeneration: The New Birth" (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), 1664, cited in Hunt, 380. Everyone in Geneva had to be baptized and partake of the Lord's Supper. I ask you, is that grace? Not on your life! Fifteen women were burned at the stake in Geneva. In Geneva, coercion even by force was an integral part of the system. In 1558-59, there were 414 prosecutions for moral offences. Between 1542 and 1564, there were seventy-six banishments and fifty-eight executions while the population of Geneva was less than 20,000.13 Will Durant, "Caesar and Christ" Pt. III of The Story of Civilization (Simon and Schuster, 1950), 656,cited in Hunt, 63. Jerome Bolsec disagreed with Calvin on predestination. He was arrested, banished from Geneva, and warned that if he ever returned, he would be flogged.14 Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church (Charles Scribner's Sons, 191O; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, reprint 1959), II: 72-73,cited in Hunt, 65. Is that grace?
Here's what Armstrong says: “Perseverance is a necessary attribute of justification.”15 John Armstrong, "Reflections from Jonathan Edwards on the Current Debate over Justification by Faith Alone" (quoted in speech given at Annapol is 2000: A Passion for Truth Conference, sponsored by Jonathan Edwards Institute, PO Box 2410, Princteon, NJ 08543), cited in Hunt, 404. God justifies, but man must have faith and obey.” Piper says, “We must also own up to the fact that our salvation is made contingent upon subsequent obedience which comes by faith.”16 John Piper and Pastoral Staff, "TULIP:What We Believer about the Five Points of Calvinism: Position Paper of the Pastoral Staff' (Desiring God Ministries, 1997), 25, cited in Hunt, 378. And I say what they are doing is mingling grace and works. Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then it is no more works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is not more work.” So here's what you've got to conclude: it's either all of grace, or all of works. You cannot mingle the two. “Tis grace that brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home.”
Now the Calvinist's archenemy, Jacob Arminius, said this when he was dying: “A believer can depart out of this life to appear before the throne of grace without any anxious fear.”17 Jacobus Arminius, The Works of James Armi nius, trans. James and William Nichols (Baker Book House, 1986), 1:667; cited in Laurence M. Vance, The Other Side of Calvini sm (Vance Publications, Pensacola, FL, rev. ed. 1999), 591, cited in Hunt, 378. Ladies and gentlemen, he knew a little bit about the grace of God. I think I'm just going to keep preaching that God is grace. Psalm 116:5, “Gracious is the Lord, and righteous; yea, our God is merciful.” Psalms 145:8, “The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.” John 1:16-17, “And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Romans 3:24, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” Romans 5:20, “Moreover, the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Titus 2:11, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men.”
I can preach the gospel downtown today and hunt up a drug addict, a prostitute, or a homosexual, and say, “Jesus had you in mind when He died on Calvary's Cross.” Thank God for His grace!
Second Fruit: Calvinism Instigates Bitterness and Division
So number 1, Calvinism incriminates the nature of God. Number 2, it instigates bitterness and division. William MacDonald said this: “It is the practice of many Calvinists to press their views relentlessly upon others, even if it leads to church divisions. This theological system becomes the main emphasis of their conversation, their preaching, their prayers, and their ministries.”18 William MacDonald to Dave Hunt (marginal note in review copy). On file, cited in Hunt, 384.
Let me encourage you, don't be naïve enough to thing that you can put a Calvinist in leadership in your church and say, “Don't talk about Calvinism.” That is like telling Michael Jordan not to talk about basketball. That is like telling Bill Gates not to talk about money. It just consumes their very being. They have no concept that they are hurting the cause of Christ and dividing the boy of Christ. Calvinists are not builders; they are destroyers.
In forty-two years of ministry, I have been in thousands of churches. I have never been in one that was built on Calvinism. I have been in many that have been divided by Calvinism, but never one that was built on Calvinism. I told my wife that the only thing that is attractive to me about Calvinism is that if I were a Calvinist, I would never have to go through a building program.
Le me talk to you from my heart and let you know what Calvinism did to this institution. Ambassador Baptist College came within one year of being totally ruined. About 1993, we began to have a little impetus of Calvinism start, and it kept growing until 1997. I'm going to be honest with you.
I came to the place, and my wife knows this, when I dreaded to come in the doors of Ambassador Baptist College. There was such oppression, tension, and division in this school because of Calvinism. During those years, I was on the phone trying to get somebody to be my successor. If Mickey Mouse had said that he would have succeeded me, I would have thought about it because of what Calvinism was doing to this institution. For three years, I would get up in the pulpit to preach, and this group of Calvinists would tear me apart. I remember preaching right before we left the other property in December before the kids went home. That day the Calvinists were up in arms. Brother Surrett came to me after I preached in December 1996, and said; “I think you're going to get some feedback from that message.” It was like that constantly.
From day one, I have said that no student or faculty member can criticize a chapel speaker. Why do I say that? When I was in college, I would go to chapel and God would deal with my heart. Then I would go to the classroom, and some professor would snatch away the good seed of the Word of God. I made up my mind that was not going to be characteristic of Ambassador. Dwight Smith and Alton Beal can tell you that day after day the chapel speaker was dissected in the classroom. I have had married men tell me that when they would come home from work, some of these Calvinist married students would come to their door and say, “What did you think about the chapel message today?”
They had some signals. Whenever that speaker said something they did not agree with, they would close their Bible and put it on the floor beside them. That was the sign that the chapel speaker was not worthy to listen to. Dwight Smith told me he had been challenged by a message by Brent Snook on revival. After chapel was over, he went to the restroom, in which there was a professor, and said; “God spoke to my heart about revival.” The professor said, “Young man, don't you know that's the kind of preaching that is wrong with fundamentalism?”
Week after week, I had students sit in my office and try to make my calling illegitimate. They would tell me time after time there was no Scriptural validation for an evangelist. Didn't they know that an evangelist started this school? Didn't they know that in two years, an evangelist raised $400,000 and got his friends to become his enemies to start this school? They tried to invalidate my ministry and make it illegitimate. I had young men sit in my office and say, “this stuff about revival is garbage.” We were in that atmosphere day after day after day.
Finally, the thing came to a head. Many times you will make a decision in the will of God, and you will wonder, “Is this really in the will of God?” And you'll make the decision because you believe it's right. Then years later, you'll look back and say, “Boy, that was of God. No question about it. That was of God.”
In the summer of 1997, I said we were not going to let the Calvinist crowd come back. We included in our statement of faith two statements concerning Calvinism. One pertained to irresistible grace and the other to limited atonement. When we sent that out in July 1997, we lost thirty students who would not sign that statement. In 1997, thirty dormitory students made up a large amount of the budget of this school. Though it was an expensive surgery, it was the most wonderful thing that has ever been done in the history of this school. If we had not done that, I am convinced that this school would not be in existence right now.
1 Corinthians 3:3, “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” Where there is division, there is carnality. Proverbs 6:16, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him…” What is the first one? “A proud look.” Verse 19, “And he that soweth discord among the brethren.” Proverbs 6:14, “Frowardness is in his heart, he deviseth mischief continually; he soweth discord.” Proverbs 16:28, “A froward man soweth strife: and a whisperer separateth chief friends.”
Here is my advice to you, young man, if you are an assistant in a local church. God did not call you to determine the direction for that local church, but rather, He called the pastor. If you are in a local church, and there is a philosophical or doctrinal disagreement that makes it so you cannot stay there, graciously go to the pastor and thank him. I have not had one thank-you not from a Calvinist in my entire ministry. I remember so vividly what Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., said: “When the flower of gratitude dies on the altar of a man's heart, he is well-nigh hopeless.” So you go to that pastor and say, “Thank you for giving me a place to serve, but I believe it's come to the place where I need to leave. I'm not going to stay around and sow discord. I'm not going to try to get a following or go across town to start a church. I'm going to leave town so I will not be a cause of division in this local church.”
Third Fruits: Calvinism Initiates Confusion
Calvinism incriminates the nature of God. It instigates bitterness and division. Number three, it initiates confusion. To some of the Calvinist's statements, I have to scratch my head and say, “Am I understanding what he's saying?” Gerstner said, “It is your decision to choose or reject Christ. But it is not of your own free will.”19 John G. Gerstner, A Primer on Free Will (Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1982), 10, cited in Hunt, 110. Sproul said this, (remember that Sproul said that regeneration preceded faith):20 New Geneva Study Bible, "Regeneration: The New Birth" (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995), 1664, cited in Hunt, 379. “Once Luther grasped the teaching of Paul in Romans, he was reborn.”21 RC. Sproul, The Holi ness of God (Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1993 ed.). 144, cited in Hunt, 316. What is the teaching of Paul in Romans? Justification by faith! I thought he was regenerated before he found out Paul's teaching in the book of Romans. It's a contradiction. Bob Wilkin of Grace Evangelical Society, who was at Sproul's Ligonier National Conference in June 2000, said: “I feel such a burden for these people. Their theology makes assurance impossible.”22 Bob Wilkin, "Ligonier National Conference" (The Grace Report, July, 2000), cited in Hunt, 379. The lack of assurance permeated the whole conference. Sproul said, “Awhile back, I had one of those moments of acute self-awareness, and suddenly, the question hit me, 'R.C., what if you are not one of the redeemed?' My sins came pouring into my mind and the more I looked at myself, the worse I felt. I thought, 'Maybe it's really true. Maybe I'm not saved after all.'”23 RC. Sproul, "Assurance of Salvation" (Tabletalk, Ligonier Ministries. Inc., November 1989), 20, cited in Hunt, 381. Wouldn't it be terrible to have to live under that continuous cloud of doubt?
Isaiah 26:3, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” II Timothy 1:7, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” Doubts confronted nearly all the Puritan divines.24 Hunt, 379. Philip Congdon says, “Absolute assurance of salvation is impossible for Classical Calvinism”25 Philip F. Congdon, "Soteriological Implications of Five-point Calvinism" (Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn, 1995), 8:15, 55-68, cited in Hunt, 378. Calvin said, “For there is scarcely a mind in which the thought does not sometimes arise, 'Whence your salvation but from the election of God? But what proof have you of your election?' When once this thought has taken possession of any individual, it keeps him perpetually miserable, subjects him to dire torment, or throws him into a state of complete stupor.”26 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Wm.Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998 ed.), lll:xxiv, 5, cited in Hunt. 407. I want to ask you, where did we lose the principle that we're saved by simple child-like faith?
Matthew 18:3, “…Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.” No man in the distress of his soul went into a motel room and opened a Gideon Bible trying to find an answer for his destitution and came out a Calvinist. I will just keep preaching that it is by simple trust in Jesus Christ. John 1:12, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” John 3:15, “That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:18, “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” John 5:24, Verily, Verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believe on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” John 6:35, “I am the Bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 7:37-38, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” John 11:25, “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” John 12:46, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.”
Fourth Fruits: Calvinism Invalidates the Great Commission
Number one: Calvinism incriminates the nature of God. Number two: it instigates bitterness and division. Number three: it initiates confusion. Number 4, it invalidates the Great Commission. According to Vance, the Sovereign Grace Baptist leader, admits this: “We do not win many souls. A few of our kind of churches win a soul now and then, but most of us do very, very little of this… Our preachers are not soul-winning men. We do not have soul-winning members…We almost never give instructions on why and how to win souls. We do not really work at soul-winning in our churches.”27 Joseph M. Wilson, Soul Winning" (The Baptist Examiner, February 15, 1992), 1, cited in Laurence M. Vance, The Other Side of Calvinism (Vance Publications, Pensacola, FL, rev. ed. 1999), 542, cited in Hunt, 353.
Anything that takes away your zeal for souls is not Bible. We had one of our graduates, who graduated with a 4.0 GPA, but became swayed by the intellectualism of Calvinism, come to Brother Camp and say, “You know, when I first came to Ambassador, I was down on the strip trying to win people to Christ that really couldn't be saved anyway.” You cannot make me believe that that attitude is found in the Word of God.
Calvinism invalidates the Great Commission and the commands of Christ. Matthew 28:19, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Mark 13:10, “And the gospel must first be published among all nations.” Mark 16:15, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Luke 24:47, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
Not only does it invalidate the commands of Christ, but also it invalidates the constant invitation. Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; thought they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Matthew 11:28-29, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto our souls.” John 4:13-14, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water spring up into everlasting life.” John 4:35, “Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up our eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”
It invalidates the compassion of Christ. Matthew 9:36-38, “But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.” Why in the world does God command us to pray the Lord of the harvest to send forth laborers if they are going to get saved without any human instrumentality? It invalidates the compassion of Christ. He wept over Jerusalem. Matthew 23:37-38, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” He didn't say, “Ye could not.” He said, “Ye would not.”
I want to summarize my message. Some of you think that Calvinism only entails those five tenants. However, the tentacles of Calvinism are far reaching, and it will affect everything this school has taught you. If you leave this school a five-point Calvinist, you will hate this school. You will hate everything you have been taught. You will do a 180-degree about face. Calvinism will affect you dispensationally. It will affect your eschatology. We have one of our graduates now who is a Calvinist, who said that Jesus came in 70 AD. It will affect your view of the preservation of Scripture. I don't know of any Calvinist today who holds the position that we do on the text. Many of them did while they were here, but many of them no longer hold that view on the text. It will affect your view of personal separation. You leave this school as a Calvinist and you will mock our stands when you leave here. It will affect your view of the will of God. That's why we have Decision Making in the Will of God by Friessen years ago, and Friessen implied that there is no perfect will of God. In other words, there are many women that you could marry and still be in the will of God. There are many things that you could do and still be in the will of God. If I were a Calvinist, why in the world would I do what I have done in starting this school? You know what I'd do? I'd get a job that paid well and make a lot of money and accrue a lot of material possessions and I would live it up. That's the end result of Calvinism.
The “Bottom Line” – Examine the Fruit
Calvinism will affect your view of personal holiness. Many, many Calvinists now are social drinkers that will progress even farther. And I could go on and on talking about things that are affected by the tenants of Calvinism. But here's the bottom line, go back to what Mike Bates preached on last week from Galatians 5, and I want you to notice two things. The works of the flesh and the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:19-21, “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness…” Now the first four have to do with immorality. I'm not accusing the Calvinist of immorality. You remember what Mike Bates said about the works of the flesh? He said they're not all manifest in everybody, but some are manifest in all unsaved people.
Now the next group, I think you can find some application. The works of the flesh – idolatry, John Calvin, is their idol; witchcraft, hatred. If you get in a group with former students who are Calvinist, Ron Comfort is the topic of their conversation, and there is vitriolic hatred for Ron Comfort. Variance, that means divisions. Emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies. Those are the works of the flesh. Go to verse 22 and 23. “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, against such there is no law.” If a person manifests those things in verses 19-20, he is walking according to the flesh. If he manifests in verse 23, the fruit of the spirit, he is walking in the spirit. All you have to do is examine the lives of these who propound this system about which I preached this morning and you can tell pretty easily if they are walking in the flesh or if they are walking in the spirit. Let me close by saying this, young people, you be kind, be gracious, be loving. There is not a former student that is a Calvinist now that would come in that door, and say, “Brother Comfort, I love you,” that I would not wrap my arms around his neck, and I would say, “Thank God! Thank God you said that!” There is not one of them I wish ill against. So, don't go out of here with a bitterness against the Calvinist. You can have bitterness against that system, but don't you dare have bitterness against a person.
Dr. Ron Comfort
Past President and Founder of Ambassador Baptist College in Lattimore, NC. He has traveled in evangelism for over fifty years.
The above chapel transcripted message is copyrighted by Ambassador Baptist College, 2004, and holds all rights to the message. It is presented here with their permission of current President Allen Beal and Dr. Ron Comfort.