Category: Calvinism


It is with sadness that I am writing this post to share with you that I have now left the church that I had been attending for over five years.

I remember the first day that I attended that church and how deeply I appreciated the pastor’s expository preaching! So much so, that tears welled up within my eyes as I heard God’s Word finally being preached the way God intends His Word to be preached: in truth, verse by verse, in context, and without the text being manipulated to say something other than what God intends for it to say to us! I even went up to the pastor after the service and told him how much I appreciated his preaching, and eventually told him how I had recently left a church (HBCRM) after attending there for over 14 1/2 years because God’s Word was being twisted and taken out of context by the pastor in order to manipulate our thinking and to try to make it say something that the pastor was trying to get us to accept in some way, and I also told him that I left because of many compromises that my former pastor had made.

I met so many wonderful people at my now former church, and made some friends, as well. I will miss them all, especially M who I recently met at the women’s luncheon, and J who sat in front of me during the services.

Some of you may be wondering what happened that caused me to leave, so briefly, and respectfully, I will tell you:

Last year my pastor came up to me and asked me how I was doing, which is something he does with everyone quite frequently because of the kind and caring person that he is. He also asked me if I was still writing poems on my blog, and I proceeded to tell him how the direction had somewhat changed concerning what I am writing, and that presently I was writing a series out of my desire to reach Catholics with the Biblical gospel. I also told him that next year (Lord willing) I am going to be writing about Calvinism to warn those who read my blog of the importance of knowing God’s Word because of how the teachings of Reformed Theology/Calvinism distort the character and nature of God and even the gospel itself! I then asked him if he could recommend something for me to read to help me as I prepare to write about it. I was almost certain that he would agree with me regarding the valid concerns that I have about Calvinism/Reformed Theology, but I was stunned by his reply as he proceeded to tell me that “salvation is a mystery” and how “God’s ways are past finding out.” He then had me open my Bible to Romans 11:33, which he also did, and then he read it out loud as I followed along in my Bible:

“Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!”

I was speechless and devastated by what he had just said to me, and quickly became aware of the fact that my jaw began to drop out of shock and I had to make a conscious effort to pull it back up in order to close my mouth! There were simply no words that came to mind to say to him at that moment –I was stunned, and filled with concern, as well!

He also shared with me how the church that he had grown up in split because of Calvinism, and that many people were hateful in the way they treated one another. He told me near the end of our conversation that he would send me some information on Calvinism, (but I never received anything).

I came away from our conversation with the impression that he was afraid of a split taking place at ‘our’ church, and that it may possibly be the reason why he seems reluctant to speak out against it. It seemed to me like he was trying to push Calvinism to the very back of his mind so that he would never had to deal with it at all. At least that’s what I initially thought.

The next major thing that happened to raise the level of my concern was something that my friend discovered when she took part in the women’s Bible study last year:

My friend, who  attended my former church for the past two years (she left two months ago), told me that John MacArthur’s study guides were being used in the women’s Bible study classes that she was attending. Knowing that John MacArthur is one of the most prominent preachers/teachers of Reformed Theology, and to hear that his books were now in our church was a very troubling truth to discover! She expressed her concerns about that to ‘our pastor’ and was told basically the same thing that I was told, and he tried to assure her that Calvinism was not being taught and that no seeds were being planted as she had suggested to him out of her valid concerns.

Then, just a few weeks ago, I received a call from ‘my pastor’ in which he stated that he was calling to let me know that my friend was no longer going to be attending ‘our church.’ I could be wrong, but I had the feeling that this call was more about finding out what I already knew about my friend leaving, and if she had influenced me to also leave in any way, and maybe he also wanted to find out how much I really knew about Calvinism. The statements that he made to me during our conversation seemed to confirm that, and I proceeded to tell him that I was considering leaving too, but that as I listened carefully as he preached through the book of Romans I did not hear him say anything that would indicate that he was trying to present the teachings of Calvinism to us. He told me to trust him and that he was not trying to bring Calvinism into the church. He tried to assure me by telling me that he has never been to any of John MacArthur’s Shepherd’s Conferences, and that he is not part of the Gospel Coalition. However, the one thing that I have learned from all that I have already been through with pastors, my former husband, and with a few friends, is the fact that the only one we are to put our trust in is the Lord, and no one else! That thought remained unspoken, and I soon learned that I was right in not trusting him, as nice of a person as he may seem to be.

At one point in our conversation that lasted for more than an hour and twenty minutes, I posed this question to him:

“Since you are now preaching through the book of Colossians, may I humbly ask you to prayerfully consider addressing Calvinism when you get  to Colossians 2:8? Then I would feel more assured.”(Assured that he was not trying to bring Calvinism into the church).

I then proceeded to read the verse to him…

“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ,”

…and then waited for his response. At first he seemed to consider it, but then quickly changed his mind saying that in all of the years that he has been a pastor at the church he has not had a problem with it. He also pointed out the fact that there were some Calvinists who were presently attending out church, which was something that I was already aware of.

At one point he mentioned that “there are no seeds being planted,” obviously referring to what my friend had previously said to him. At that point I cautiously and humbly  brought to his attention what I credit God for putting in my mind at that very moment, which was this:

“But if John MacArthur’s  books are being used as study guides, some people may think that you are  in agreement with all that John MacArthur teaches, and they may get involved in Calvinism as a result.”

He seemed to give pause at what I said at that point. He also said that he would try to keep a closer watch on the books that were being used, but that he tries to give freedom to the teachers in what they choose for the Bible studies. I gently tried to remind him of how Scripture warns about false teachings in the last days and how Satan comes to destroy.

At around this point I also brought up how after receiving an email about the upcoming women’s Bible studies I did a search on the authors of the books that were going to be used as the study guides and found information that indicated that both authors may very well be Calvinists, since one was a part of John MacArthur’s church at one point. Since I was sitting at my computer when he called I was able to access the quick captures that I had taken of the information and read some of it to him.

Here is what I discovered. Consider this information as a warning, dear reader, so that you can beware of these authors: Jen Wilkin and Elizabeth George.

From the beliefs of Jen Wilkin that you will find stated below, note how she emphasizes “His children” when she says the following:

“For His glory and because of His love for His children, God initiated a plan of redemption, which He fully accomplished on their behalf. God the Father sent Jesus the Son, fully God and fully man, to die on the cross as a substitutionary  sacrifice for the sins of His children. Jesus lived a sinless life on earth, suffered death on the cross, was buried, and then rose again from the dead, demonstrating His victory over sin and death. Jesus fully paid for the redemption of God’s children, and by God’s grace, we respond with repentance and faith.”

Now, I may be wrong, but to me it was a clear indication that she was presenting the teaching of Limited Atonement which says that Jesus Christ did not die for the sins of the whole world, but only for those whom God chose to save before the foundations of the world, referred to as “the elect” by those who teach Calvinism. (More on that when, Lord willing, I do an extensive review of John Calvin’s teachings compared to Scripture, as soon as I finish the series that I am presently doing concerning the topic of Catholicism.).

Concerning Elizabeth George, as you can see from the information below…

“She was also a Logos Bible Institute instructor and a Bible study lecturer and curriculum development team member at Grace Community Church in Sun Valley California.” 

That happens to be the church that John MacArthur is the pastor of. Enough said, IMHO.

 


At one point in our conversation I told him that I had some videos that I wanted to share with him concerning how Calvinism distorts the character and nature of God and the gospel itself, if he would be willing to listen to them, when time allowed. He told me that he would listen to the clips if I would send them to him, which I was thankful to hear him say.

Much more was said, but that is all that is necessary to allow you to see pretty much what was said during our conversation. Emails were exchanged in the days ahead, and I did send the video teachings to him by Pastor Tom Stegall. They were the same ones that I previously shared with all of you in my previous post, which is the series entitled, ‘Confronting Calvinism.’ 

The deciding factor that caused me to finally leave without hesitation came about as I did research on the association of churches that my former church belongs to. Upon coming across the information that I believe God led me to find, and some information that another friend had shared with me, I not only discovered the association’s clear involvement with Calvinism, but also I came across two articles that were written by the person who leads worship at what is now my former church. In the articles he spoke highly of John Piper and other prominent pastors and teachers of Reformed Theology. I then wrote what will probably be my last email to my former pastor to let him know that as much as I appreciated his expository preaching, and how kind and caring of a person that he is to all who attend there, and as much as I love all of the people that I met during the five years that I attended there, I would not be returning. I then proceeded to tell him about some of the information that I had discovered, and ended my email by saying the following:

“I have made my decision after much prayer and research, so there is really no need to discuss this any further. I am taking a stand for Biblical truth by leaving because I completely reject and oppose the teachings of Calvinism because they are unbiblical and damaging to the character of the God whom I serve and the very gospel itself. I just pray that one day you will come to realize the serious problems with Reformed Theology/Calvinism and see the need to warn those whom God has entrusted to your care, and trust God with the results. Since there are people who attend (name of church) who are Calvinists, as wonderful as they may be, it is only a matter of time before problems arise.”

You will continue to be in my prayers, (name of pastor). I am very sorry that it had to come to this.”

So, dear reader of this blog from time to time, now maybe you can understand that even though I started out with an urgency to write about Catholicism in order to reach Catholics with Biblical truth, why I found myself equally concerned about the teachings of Calvinism; its teachings are just as damaging to the gospel as Catholicism is, and it was God’s way of preparing me for this time in my life. I may have started out with the desire to warn you of the importance of testing its teachings against Scripture, but because of all of the videos that I have listened to on the subject, and because of testing its teachings against God’s Word myself, all of my studying  has served to help me stand firm on the Rock of my salvation, never realizing that one day Calvinism would affect me in such a deep and personal way!

In hindsight, I now can see why God kept bringing Calvinism to my attention in many small ways, even before I knew what it was! The first incident happened back in around the year 2010. A friend from my previously former church of 14 1/2 years came to me and tearfully said, “What if I’m not one of the elect?” I had no idea what she meant, but that pleading, tear-stained question stayed with me even after I tried to help assure her of her salvation by sharing Scriptures with her and asking her some questions.

The second thing that occurred  was finding the teachings of Reformed Theology that was presented on a website by using the acrostic, TULIP. It didn’t take long for me to  realize that these teachings did not line up with Scripture!  (Please consider watching the videos that I added below).

Then, after writing about leaving my previous church in January of 2012, someone contacted me through my blog and asked me if I was “reformed.” Once again, I was puzzled by another question, not knowing what she meant because I had never been asked that question before. I assumed that she was referring to the Reformation, so I answered her email by saying, “Yes, I believe we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone.” Even though I had a strong feeling that I didn’t give her the answer she was expecting, I answered honestly and proceeded to hit the ‘send’ button as I slightly cringed.

Now I realize that God used those puzzling moments in my life in order to motivate me to begin researching Calvinism so that I would be prepared for this time in my life when I would need to know what Reformed Theology actually teaches, and how it distorts the character and nature of God, the Word of God, and the gospel itself!

I pray that God will somehow open the eyes of my former pastor so that he finally comes to see the damaging effects that Calvinism has on the gospel and the extreme importance of warning the people that he will one day stand before God and give an account for how he taught them according to God’s Word.

That makes four churches that I have now left because of errors (the Catholic church) or because of pastors drifting away from Biblical truth, or making compromises with Biblical truth in some way.

So maybe now you can understand one of the reasons why I have not been writing as much lately, and that is because I have been dealing with this issue and seeking God concerning what I should do about it, and hoping  and praying that God would somehow use me to warn my former pastor of the dangers of Reformed Theology/Calvinism. But who am I to tell a pastor what he should do, and what God’s Word clearly says? I am just someone who seeks to follow Jesus Christ, and earnestly contend for the faith, someone who does not follow any man’s teachings.

I am not a divisive person either. I am someone who simply refuses to compromise or to remain silent. Why? Because I have learned from others who have become very dear to me,  how destructive  the teachings of Calvinism can be to the beliefs and convictions of those Christians who once lovingly reached out to others with the good news of the Biblical gospel which clearly states that Jesus Christ died for ALL who will CHOOSE to place their trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ’s ‘once for all’ sacrifice.

Salvation is available to ALL who are willing to come to Him and to believe the true Biblical gospel that declares Jesus Christ, who was and is God in the flesh, willingly came to this earth to live the perfect sinless life that we are incapable of living, to die in our place as our substitute for all of our sins – no matter how horrendous they may be – and that He was buried and gloriously arose from the dead on the third day to show that His sacrifice was accepted by God the Father to satisfy the wrath that He has towards all mankind because of our sin and rebellion, and I will continue to earnestly contend for the faith by defending that truth in a respectful, but firm manner –no matter what!

RELATED SCRIPTURES

“Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” (1 Timothy 4:16)

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1)

“Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

“This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance, (and for this we labor and strive) that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” (1 Timothy 4:10)

“I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. My brothers, some from Chloe’s household have informed me that there are quarrels among you. What I mean is this: One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul?” (1 Corinthians 1:10-13)

“I urge you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teachings you have learned. Keep away from them. For such people are not serving our Lord Christ, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” (Romans 16:17,18)

“But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, “In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.” These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit.” (Jude 1:17-19)

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16,17)

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

“Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” (Acts 20:26-31)



Thank you very much for stopping by and taking time out of your busy day to read some of my posts and poems.

God Bless You

Mary/Living4HisGlory

RELATED VIDEOS

Although I realize the title of these videos may offend some Calvinists who may see them, that is certainly not my intention. I am sharing them because the truth presented in these videos is powerful because it is based upon the truth of God’s Word. Please prayerfully consider listening to his teachings when time allows, and be sure to test everything that he says against Scripture as we are shown to do in Acts 17:11, as well as the teachings of everyone you listen to who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ and a preacher or teacher of God’s Word.

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Welcome to another post in the category of posts entitled, TEACHING THURSDAY.’ Lord willing, every month or so on a Thursday, I will be posting either a video, an article, or some form of teaching  in which a *Biblically sound teacher *(Biblically sound because what they say and teach lines up with the truth of God’s Word,  Acts 17:11) will either expose an unbiblical movement, teaching, or a practice that is leading many Christians astray, or present some type of Biblical teaching to help you grow in a deeper understanding of God’s Word on different topics. Some of these teachings may be essentials of the Christian faith, and others may be things that we can debate but not divide over.

It is my hope and prayer that by presenting these teachings to you, many more Christians will not only come to realize the importance of testing the words of men (and women) against the truth of God Word so they will not be deceived, but also it is my hope and prayer that many Christians will come to know the joy of learning God’s Word.

Now on with today’s TEACHING THURSDAY:

As I had mentioned to you in the very beginning of the year, Lord willing, next year I will be presenting you with an in depth series in which we will be comparing the teachings of Calvinism (also known as Reformed Theology) to Scripture. This series will begin after I complete the Catholicism series that I am presently writing; a series in which we are comparing the teachings from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to Scriptures that can be found in the Catholic Bible. Just as I am trusting that God will open the eyes of many Catholics so that they will begin to question all that they have been taught as they see what God’s Word actually says, I will also be trusting that God will open the eyes of many who have embraced the teachings of Calvinism so that they will come to realize that the teachings of Calvinism do not line up with Scripture, distort the very nature and character of God, and — if I may be so bold as to say — that the teachings of Calvinism even present another Jesus and another gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:2-4, Galatians 1:6-9) Yes, I realize that is a very shocking statement to make, but if you will choose to pray for discernment and examine the teachings of Calvinism through the lens of Scripture instead of accepting the interpretations of what Bible teachers of Reformed Theology/Calvinism say concerning God and a certain passage of Scripture, your eyes will be opened to the truth by the power of the Holy Spirit to see how God’s Word and His very nature are being twisted and changed into something that is clearly not Biblical Christianity.

Since watching some of the presentations by speakers at the Pastor’s Conference that took place at the end of April 2017 at Calvary Chapel Appleton, in Appleton, Wisconsin, in which the the focus was on the book of Galatians, I decided to share these teachings with you today concerning Calvinism as an example of what you can expect next year in my series concerning Calvinism/Reformed Theology: teachings based on Scripture, truth spoken in love, and the words of men being tested against the truth of God’s Word to see if what is being said is true (Acts 17:11), or not.

Please prayerfully consider listening to these teachings by former Calvinist, Robert Congdon, whether you are someone who has no idea what Calvinism/Reformed Theology actually is, whether you are someone who has heard of it and knows a little about it, or even if you are someone who has actually embraced any or all of the five points of  TULIP, which are:

  • Total Depravity

  • Unconditional Election

  • Limited Atonement

  • Irresistible Grace

  • Perseverance of the Saints

 

Thank you very much for stopping by and taking time out of your busy day to read some of my posts and poems.

God Bless You

~Mary/Living4HisGlory

UPDATE:

Over the past week I have been trying to finish writing Part 2 of May 13th Marks The 100 Year Anniversary Of The Alleged Apparitions Of The Virgin Mary At Fatima – Learn To Discern Do Not Be Deceived and hope to have it finished by Sunday evening.