How Calvinism gets it wrong. Election, predestination… Jacob Prasch explains what they really mean. At last we understand!
At a teaching day at the church we attend in southern England, Jewish Bible teacher Jacob Prasch did one session on Calvinism, and here is a short summary which we hope will help people get a handle on this.
First some history
John Calvin (1509-1564) was a French Catholic priest who became a Protestant theologian and ended up inGeneva,Switzerland, where he was part of a repressive religious government running the city. There was no freedom of religion. If you disagreed openly about religion, you were in trouble. People were burned at the stake, drowned in the river, publicly flogged, forced to humiliate themselves in various ways, etc. (That is one reason the American founding fathers said church and state had to be kept separate – so that religious fanatics could not persecute people for their beliefs.)
Calvin believed in infant baptism, like the Catholic and Anglican (Episcopal) churches do still. Believers’ baptism as adults was then called re-baptism, and those who did it were called Anabaptists (re-baptizers). Calvin was against believers’ adult baptism, and yet many modern Baptists call themselves Calvinists! This is fundamental!
Calvinists today teach an acronym called TULIP. Calvin never taught TULIP, which stands for:
Total Depravity (of sinful mankind)
Unconditional Election (those who are saved have no choice in the matter)
Limited Atonement (Jesus died only for the elect, those who are chosen)
Irresistible Grace (those who are chosen have no choice in the matter)
Perseverance of the Saints (once saved always saved)
Some Calvinists use the Lord Jesus’ parable about the potter and the clay which they believe means that God makes some people for heaven and some for hell. They also use ‘Jacob I have loved; Esau I have hated’, but they have a wrong interpretation of these and other scriptures, which are taken out of context, and used without corresponding texts, co-texts, which illuminate them.
The main point is that when the Bible talks about ‘election’, those ‘elected’ or chosen to be saved are plural, corporate. Jacob said that election does not refer to individuals; it is plural. It is the church that is elect, the Body of Christ on earth, the Bride of Christ. It is the church that Jesus is coming back for.
We have free choice to repent and believe and be part of Jesus’ church, the Bride of Christ. We are either in it or not in it. God wants all people to be saved. He does not want anyone left out, but people can choose to be out, and God knew that most people would in fact reject His Son Jesus.
In the Old Testament Israel was the elect nation to which God revealed Himself; the Jews were the chosen people to receive all that knowledge. Their ‘election’ too was plural, corporate.
This is different than election. We are predestined to….something, to fulfil something, to do something.
2 Timothy 1:9 God ‘… has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose…’
God foreknew who would be saved and He saved us to do something for Him, which He has foreordained. Our faithfulness in doing it (whatever job He might give us) will determine our status later (in the Millennium).
He does not predestine some for hell. He predestines us to do something for Him.
Note: This is a very truncated version of Jacob’s talk, which you can order from our church website http://yeshuaspeople.com/
Or you can check out Jacob’s Moriel website at http://www.moriel.org/ and find lots of great articles.