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Sunday, 10 June 2018

LEIGHTON FLOWERS SOTERIOLOGY 101: RESERVING JUDGEMENT ON PAIGE PATTERSON


Leighton Flowers refers in the link above to the allegations of sexism against Dr Paige Patterson, former President of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS). It is true that we should not entertain an accusation against an elder except on the testimony of two or three witnesses. The scriptural procedure for establishing the truth of a matter is clear. (1 Timothy 5:19). In this particular instance, the board of SWBTS were presented with irrefutable conclusive evidence, and as such they were justified in acting decisively and immediately terminating Dr Patterson's employment.{1} Flowers insists that we do not know all the facts, but in my view, if the matter were left to him then precisely nothing would be done! Flowers goes round in endless circles justifying apostates and "clarifying" matters which are already patently clear to the rest of us mere mortals. I adhere to the principle: "Think the best of someone until you know the worst", but when we do know the worst, then we should not equivocate!

Outgoing SBC President Steve Gaines has publicly condemned Patterson's behaviour in an official statement: "I disagree with the counsel he gave to a woman who was married to an abusive husband. I personally believe that if a husband abuses his wife physically, the wife should immediately: 1) notify the police and follow their instructions, 2) remove herself and her children physically from the abusive husband under the protection of police for her safety, and 3) notify the family's pastor so the church can engage in church discipline toward the abuser. The church should also seek to come alongside the woman and help her in any way possible to ensure her protection and care.. Regarding Dr. Patterson's more recent remarks about a teenage girl, I believe they were improper." {2} 

Contrary to Flowers often repeated out of context opinion that we should not judge, Christians ARE called to judge matters within the church. However, we are not to judge outsiders, that is God's business. (1 Corinthians 5:12). God hates hypocritical judgement i.e. when we condemn someone and are doing the same things. If this is the case then we can expect God's judgement to fall upon ourselves. (Romans 2:3).

We all stumble in many ways. (James 3:2; 1 John 1:18). Nevertheless, if we are truly Christian and have made bad decisions, then we should repent and put things right quickly so that restoration can take place. To the shame of the SWBTS and Patterson, this matter has been reported publicly in the Washington Post! It is astonishing that Patterson has an attorney and that this dispute cannot be settled quietly between believers. (1 Corinthians 6:5-6). Patterson has actively discouraged female abuse victims from going to the law, and yet he is quite prepared to avail himself of legal redress in this situation rather than simply "forgive". There is a word for that somewhere! Why not rather be wronged (if indeed he has been wronged)? (1 Corinthians 6:7). Perhaps Patterson should take his own advice and pray! {3} We should of course expect nothing remotely Christian from a big game hunter who kills animals for pleasure! Apparently they don't matter either! (Proverbs 12:10). Patterson will no doubt have time to reflect on these things as he enjoys his grotesque taxidermy collection. {4} What a sad reflection on the state of Christianity in these last days that many church leaders despise the vulnerable and seem incapable of repenting. We should ALL humble ourselves, otherwise God will do the job for us! (Matthew 23:12).

Flowers states that he wants to avoid the drama. Oh dear, I fear he is in the wrong profession then. These remarks from Flowers are typical of his insipid rhetoric and his constant excuses for his "friends". He is such a nice guy and wants good relationships with all and sundry, including those who teach doctrines of demons. (1 Timothy 4:1). Drama followed Jesus Christ and His apostles wherever they went! We are actually promised trouble if we are true followers of Jesus Christ. (John 16:33). Why would Jesus' followers experience trouble if they do nothing and offend no one as Flowers is at such pains to do? The very cross of Christ IS an offense! (Galatians 5:11).

Putting the Patterson issue aside, Flowers reveals in his statement that he holds an utterly flawed understanding of Christianity. That old humbug: "You do not understand", is a phrase used repeatedly by Flowers in various contexts. This is an insidious device to suppress freedom of expression! Flowers spends an inordinate amount of time accusing others of a lack of understanding. This makes me very suspicious of his real agenda. Who is Flowers to say that believers "do not understand", and that they do not have the right to speak out about critical issues affecting the church? (Ephesians 5:11). Concerning Calvinism, actually the issues are very simple: Calvinism depreciates the very nature of God Himself and severely impedes the Gospel - the Good News, the very message of salvation to everyone, all, whosoever, the whole world.. (2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 John 2:2). It doesn't get much more blasphemous than this, and yet incredibly, Flowers does not refer to Calvinism as heresy! In refusing to condemn Calvinism outright, he actually gives it a perverse kind of acknowledgement. (2 John 1:11-12; Ephesians 5:7). Flowers actually defines a heretic as someone intent on dividing the church, and he applies the term to anyone who exposes false teachers. Biblically heresy refers to those practicing and teaching things contrary to sound doctrine. (Acts 5:17, 24:5, 14; Galatians 5:20; 1 Timothy 1:10). Jesus' letter to the church at Pergamum warns against tolerating those teaching false doctrines.(Revelation 2:14-16 cf. 2 Corinthians 11:4). The Apostle Paul states that divisions are a sine qua non:

..for there MUST be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Heresy (N) from a Greek word signifying (1) a choice, (2) the opinion chosen, and (3) the sect holding the opinion. In the Acts of the Apostles ( 5:17 ; 15:5 ; Isaiah 24:5 Isaiah 24:14 ; 26:5 ) it denotes a sect, without reference to its character. Elsewhere, however, in the New Testament it has a different meaning attached to it. Paul ranks "heresies" with crimes and seditions ( Galatians 5:20 ). This word also denotes divisions or schisms in the church ( 1 Corinthians 11:19 ). In Titus 3:10 a "heretical person" is one who follows his own self-willed "questions," and who is to be avoided. Heresies thus came to signify self-chosen doctrines not emanating from God ( 2 Peter 2:1 ). {5} 

Flowers: "What concerns me most about the recent developments in the SBC over the last few weeks and months is not so much the uncovering of mistakes made by the leadership; after all, that really is not that uncommon throughout church history. If you do not believe me just read back through the history of Catholic and Protestant leadership, or even more evident is the history of Israel’s leaders. People are sinners and they will fail. That’s nothing new."

Above we have Flowers acknowledgement of Roman Catholicism, which in reality was never true Christianity!!! The apostate ecumenical Protestant Church is despoiled and cannot seriously be categorised as biblical Christianity! (2 Timothy 3:5). Israel became apostate to the point that they rejected and killed the prophets and rejected and betrayed their own Messiah! (Matthew 23:31; Luke 20:14). Flowers nonsense gives credence to that which is evil! (Isaiah 5:20). The failure of so many denominations is prophesied in the scriptures and is due to the infiltration of deceivers, not "mistakes". (2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 Timothy 4:1-3). Frankly we should expect all kinds of shenanigans amongst false teachers! (Matthew 7:20). However, we should expect faithful leaders to act with integrity and to be examples to the flock! (1 Peter 5:3).

I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; (Acts 20:29).

Flowers: "People are sinners and they will fail." !!! I have some news for Dr Flowers: THE TRUE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST WILL NOT FAIL. ..I will build my church and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18). 


Saturday, 26 May 2018

THE INSANITY OF CALVINISM: JOHN PIPER, DAVID MATHIS

The following excerpt is from a series by David Mathis, Executive Editor of desiringGod, the Calvinist web ministry founded by John Piper who acts as lead teacher for the ministry. {1}

The Question posed by Mathis: Does God 'Cause' Sin? We should not be intimidated by Mathis' use of philosophical terms such as "proximate cause", "remote cause", and the argument that sin is by God's "ordination". Mathis' argument is based on human reason rather than the word of God. (Colossians 2:8). It is noteworthy that Mathis relies heavily upon Calvin, rather than the biblical texts for his irrational theory:

"The older theologians denied that God was the efficient cause of sin . . . [in part] because they identified cause with authorship. But if . . . the connection between cause and blame in modern language is no stronger than the connection between ordination and blame, then it seems to me that it is not wrong to say that God causes evil and sin. Certainly we should employ such language cautiously, however, in view of the long history of its rejection in the tradition.

At least, the above discussion does indicate that Calvin is willing in some contexts to refer to God as a cause of sin and evil. Calvin also describes God as the sole cause of the hardening and reprobation of the wicked:

'Therefore, if we cannot assign any reason for his bestowing mercy on his people, but just that it so pleases him, neither can we have any reason for his reprobating others but his will. When God is said to visit mercy or harden whom he will, men are reminded that they are not to seek for any cause beyond his will.'"
{2} 

If God is the cause of sin, does this not also make Him the author of sin? The definition of cause is source, root, origin, author etc.
The Calvinists cannot avoid this line of human reasoning due to their reliance upon Calvinism's deviant philosophical system, TULIP, and the original writings of John Calvin, rather than the Word of God. To make God the author of sin is rank heresy. God's own revelation of His righteousness and holiness absolutely preclude such vain speculations.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5).

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:13-14,17).

If you have seen me you have seen the father... You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin.1 John 3:5 cf. 2 Corinthians 5:21

Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil. (1 John 3:8 cf. John 8:44).

God brings calamity upon people for various reasons, typically because of their own sin; it does not logically follow that God is the cause or author of sin:

Therefore the LORD has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice. (Daniel 9:14).

How can God be the author of something he condemns and abhors?

..but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! (Matthew 18:6-7).

John Pipers Insanity

When asked the question: "Has God predetermined every tiny detail in the universe.. including all our besetting sins?": Piper: "Yes.. Every horrible thing and every sinful thing is ultimately governed by God." {3} Piper goes on to say that we will go insane unless we accept this perverse line of reasoning. Thankfully, the prospect of insanity does not apply to those who trust in the Lord and reject the unhinged notions of Calvinism! (Proverbs 3:5-6).
In effect, Piper asserts that God's sovereignty cancels out His goodness and righteousness. Piper: "God is absolutely sovereign. He can do whatever he wants to, and he can do it whenever he wants to. He has that kind of power."

Do Piper, Mathis and their associates imagine in their arrogance that they have solved the mystery of iniquity? Sin is the outworking of iniquity, culminating eventually in the man of sin. (2 Thessalonians 2:7). The "mystery of iniquity" is precisely that, it exceeds the grasp of human reason. (1 Corinthians 13:12).

"The revelation of it is still future; for (γὰρ), though it is in a sense already present and at work, it works now only as a mystery, not as a thing revealed." {4}

What we can say for certain is that it is a logical impossibility for God to be the cause of sin and evil, since causal determinism is contrary to God's very nature. Although God can do anything He wants to, He clearly does not "want" to do evil!
(James 1:13-14,17; 1 John 1:5; Psalm 34:16).

Calvinists like Piper and Mathis turn the Word of God on its head - anything that reverses the scriptures is satanic. (1 Timothy 4:1).


Jesus died for all people everywhere v Calvinism: Jesus died for a few people.
God does not desire anyone to perish v Calvinism: God determines that many people do perish and go to hell.
God hates sin v Calvinism: God is the cause of sin.
God desires all people to repent v Calvinism: God determines that many are incapable of repentance.
People can resist God v Calvinism: People cannot resist God.

What is not to understand about the plain reading of the scriptures?

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2).
The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent.. (Acts 17:30).
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).
“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you." (Acts 7:51).

Calvinism is a wicked system and a loathsome misrepresentation of Christianity. (2 Peter 3:16; 1 Timothy 6:20).

Calvinism has the appearance of godliness and its proponents say many "religious" sounding things, but by inverting the Word of God, they deny the power of the Gospel. The scriptures tell us plainly: Avoid such people. (2 Timothy 3:5).

An Event to Avoid

Church of England minister and ecumenist Richard Coekin, Director of the Co-Mission group of churches in south east London has been promoting New Calvinism for the last decade. The keynote speaker at this year's London Men’s Convention on the 2nd of June will be false teacher John Piper. {5}

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1).


{1} https://www.desiringgod.org/about-us
{2} https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/does-god-cause-sin
{3} https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmMvatMyUfI
{4} http://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_thessalonians/2-7.htm
{5} https://christianconventions.org.uk/lmc/convention

Friday, 18 May 2018

THE COMPROMISE OF LEIGHTON FLOWERS! SOTERIOLOGY 101

Dr Leighton Flowers has an impressive CV. He is a Professor of Theology and a former five point Calvinist. He is a former pastor of over ten years experience. Flowers was named the Director of Evangelism and Apologetics for Texas Baptists in 2018. He is also Adjunct Professor of Theology for Trinity Seminary. {1}

Flowers rebuttal against Calvinism is very good technically, BUT there are some questions surrounding his ministry that leave me very puzzled.

One would expect Flowers to have a bible verse on the "Our Beliefs" page of his website, but his primary text is a quotation from AW Tozer! {2}
In fact there are many scripture references, but no actual bible quotations on this page at all.

I notice that Flowers also frequently quotes CS Lewis in his videos. Both CS Lewis and AW Tozer were ecumenists and closet mystics. As I look down the list of non-Calvanistic scholars Flowers lists as reading material, I am very troubled indeed. For example, he lists false teachers such as ecumenist Billy Graham, false deliverance teacher Derek Prince, ecumenist Greg Laurie, open theist and annihilationist Clark Pinnock, ecumenist Ravi Zacharias, ecumenist David Jeremiah.. I could go on.. and on... This tells me that Calvinism is not the only serious problem that needs to be addressed within the Southern Baptist denomination. The ecumenical movement is THE biggest threat to biblical Christianity in our time, and yet inexplicably, Flowers actively promotes ecumenical teachers and apostates on his website!

Flowers video: Tiptoeing through the TULIP {2} is well named. Flowers is at great pains not to tread on anyone's toes! I am surprised he has even started this ministry. Flowers asserts at the outset that he is not anti-Calvinist. This seems a very strange thing to say since his entire website is a rebuttal against Calvinism. His principle point is that Traditionalists and Calvinists interpret certain texts differently, and that the discussion does not have to be divisive. However, elsewhere he can't avoid the inevitable conclusion i.e. if Calvinism is correct, then God is the author of wickedness. Is Calvinism another gospel or is it not? If Calvinism is another gospel, then why do Flowers and the Southern Baptists ..put up with it readily enough? (2 Corinthians 11:4). "..ye might well bear with him (or it)] These words have generally been regarded as ironical, nobly would ye bear with him (Alford, Plumptre), and explained of the ready reception which the false teachers had met with.. He (Paul) means, of course, that they have done much more than tolerate the preachers of the false gospel, and have paid them an extravagant deference." {3}


The distortion of the gospel of Jesus Christ is so very weighty a matter that Paul repeated twice: If anyone preaches another gospel.. let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:7-9). Flowers opinion that this is not a divisive subject is unscriptural: ..for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. (1 Corinthians 11:19).

Dr. Eric Hankins: "For the most part, Southern Baptists have been glad to relegate disagreements over Calvinism to secondary status along with other important but “non-essential” theological matters. The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself. And, to their credit, most Southern Baptist Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard. We would be fine if this consensus continued, but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this longstanding arrangement." {2}

How very agreeable of Satan to play nicely for so long! Seriously though, if you appease Satan for long enough, then he will ultimately push things to breaking point, and this appears? to be exactly what is happening to the Southern Baptists. (Ephesians 4:27; James 4:7;1 Peter 5:8). The thin end of the wedge (idiomatic), is something that if allowed or accepted to a small degree would lead to systematic encroachment. Is the current threat from radical Calvinists a judgement from God upon the Southern Baptists? (Hosea 11:5).

Flowers calls his excessive approval of Calvinist teachers "grown up"; I call it "weakness" ..at best! I find that I cannot rule out a more sinister motive however, due principally to Flowers dubious choice of non-Calvinist reading material and his flattery of many false teachers. Surely Flowers spiritual discernment and excellent exegeses is not limited to one area of expertise? If Flowers really does not have spiritual discernment beyond Calvinism, then I cannot account for it at all, other than to put it down to his employment of Hegelian dialectic. If this is the case, the Southern Baptists are in much more trouble than I originally perceived them to be. If it is not the case, then Flowers and the Southern Baptists indulgence of Calvinist teachers may be an avoidance technique ..that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. (Galatians 6:12).

Some observations from a previous post:

Sometimes it seems that Flowers would rather condemn those who call out false teachers than the false teachers themselves! A number of people involved in apologetics are called to.. contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3). "Winning the argument", in human terms, as Flowers puts it, is the last thing they are interested in doing! I find Flowers reductionism and his condemnation of those speaking out against apostas
y highly offensive! Perhaps more attention to the damage being done to the flock might be in order! (Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:3). The practice of "Stealth Calvinism" is particularly despicable i.e. the Founders Ministries advice to Calvinistic pastors to avoid full disclosure while interviewing in order to gain leadership positions!

Flowers advice to those finding themselves under the authority of a Calvinist pastor who has insidiously taken over leadership of a "traditional" church: ".. bear with the pastor and pray for him ... ask questions, be patient, serve him, support him and to speak to him.." {7}. This counsel seems very tolerant and loving, but is it? Paul warned about the problem of false teachers who creep in unnoticed. (2 Peter 2:1). If a man has hidden his Calvinism prior to taking up a position as a pastor, then his personal integrity comes into grave question. (Luke 16:10). An elder should be above reproach and an example to the flock. (1 Timothy 4:12). ..to hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:6-9 cf. James 3:1). The new pastor has created the problem, not those who are upset by his teaching. Not everyone is strong (Romans 14:1); and yet all will be obliged to come under the authority of, and be subject to, false teaching.. actually a different gospel. (Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:4). Must a whole congregation suffer and be sacrificed because of one man's dishonesty? (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). I thought that shepherds were supposed to lay down their lives for the flock, not the reverse! (John 10:12-13). I do not think that Flowers would have got on very well with some of the advice the apostle Paul gave at times! (Romans 16:17; 2 Corinthians 11:13). My advice is to politely ask questions, at the beginning, and obviously to pray. After patiently exhausting the possibility of a resolution, failure to act decisively is tantamount to putting up with another gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:4). The sad fact is that Calvinism does split churches, and there comes a time when separation becomes inevitable. (2 Corinthians 6:17).
{4}

Jesus warned: You will recognize them by their fruits.. (Matthew 7:16). Who are they and what are their fruits?

Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:15 cf. Matthew 24:11; Colossians 2:8).

I have heard Flowers say that John MacArthur is a "good teacher". !!

Can anyone teaching another gospel be a "good teacher"? !!
Quite apart from Calvinism, MacArthur says that we can take the mark of the beast and be saved! (Revelation 14:9, 22:18-19). {5}

I have also heard Flowers say that John Piper is "a humble and a godly man". Really?

John Piper: "The intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person.. ..Do Calvinists want to make everybody else Calvinists? Absolutely we do!" {6}

*Piper falsely teaches supersessionism (replacement theology).
*"John Piper opened up Warrengate when he made a mistake by inviting Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren to be a keynote speaker at the Desiring God Conference 2010." {7}
*Piper promotes the false teaching known as "Christian Hedonism".
*Piper led the ancient spiritual Roman Catholic monastic mystical practice of Lectio Divina at Passion 2012 with Louis Giglio, Francis Chan and Beth Moore. He has since apologised and removed this material from his website. {8}
*Regarding Pipers Book: A Hunger for God, Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer: "But of even greater concern is that Piper draws from a number of disturbing sources. There are spiritual formation leaders such as Richard Foster (pp. 19, 58, 202-203) and Dallas Willard (pp. 203-204), Roman Catholic priests and monks (p. 210), and the Desert Fathers and early church mystics from which much of modern fasting practices originate (p. 210)." {9}
*Flowers recently highlighted the negative effect of Piper's theistic determinism in a counselling situation. {10} Flowers advice to look to ourselves and our own past experiences if we are struggling with unbelief, is, in my view, unsound and entirely misses the mark. The antidote to error is truth. (John 8:32, 36; Matthew 11:28).

I find Flowers tactic of censuring those who speak out strongly against false teachers highly offensive. Ad hominem attacks aside, the Gospel IS worth fighting for! (1 Timothy 6:12). I am quite prepared to throw my toys out of the pram rather than accept another gospel! (Matthew 21:12; 2 John 1:10; Titus 3:10).

I call upon Flowers to think about the consequences of his prevarications.

Therefore repent. If not, I will come to you soon and war against them with the sword of my mouth. (Revelation 2:16).

{1} https://soteriology101.com/about-2/
{2} https://soteriology101.com/about-2/statement-of-faith/
{3} http://biblehub.com/commentaries/2_corinthians/11-4.htm
{4} https://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.co.uk/2018/04/calvinism-horrible-decree.html
{5} https://bewareofthewolves.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/john-macarthur-false-teacher-wolf-in.html
{6} https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/why-are-calvinists-so-negative
{7} http://apprising.org/2010/04/07/crosstalk-bob-dewaay-on-warrengate-and-john-piper/
{8} https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-system-for-praying-in-2012
{9} http://tottministries.org/a-hunger-for-god-desiring-god-through-fasting-and-prayer-by-john-piper-wheaton-crossway-1997-pp-239-paper-10-99/
{10} https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz2emj_LSx0

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

THE SPIRIT 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. (Colossians 2:8).

The doctrinal tangle between traditional Christianity and the Reformed tradition (Calvinism) presents a difficult dilemma for a number of Christians. Calvinism appears to have some superficial agreement with the scriptures, but in reality there are lethal differences. (2 Corinthians 11:4). The acronym TULIP represents the main points of Reformed theology: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints. All five points are interrelated into one system and effectually reverse the "good news" of the Gospel into very bad news for the majority of people. The false doctrine of limited atonement is the teaching that God has predestined some fallen humans (the elect) to salvation and eternal life, and others to damnation and everlasting punishment in hell.

The Greek word rendered "predestinate" is found only in these six passages, Acts 4:28; Romans 8:29-30; 1 Corinthians 2:7; Ephesians 1:3-14.

The Calvinist definition of predestination is contained within the Westminster Confession of Faith:

VI. As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.[12] Wherefore, they who are elected, being fallen in Adam, are redeemed by Christ,[13] are effectually called unto faith in Christ by His Spirit working in due season, are justified, adopted, sanctified,[14] and kept by His power, through faith, unto salvation.[15] Neither are any other redeemed by Christ, effectually called, justified, adopted, sanctified, and saved, but the elect only.[16]

VII. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extends or withholds mercy, as He pleases, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by; and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.[17] {1} 

Pastor Kevin Thompson, Beyond the Fundamentals, gives us the biblical definition:

"By predestination we mean the predetermined redemptive plan of God to justify, sanctify and glorify whosoever freely believes. All people are created with equal value as image bearers of God. Because God desires mercy over justice and self-sacrificially loves everyone, He has graciously provided the means of salvation to every man, woman, boy and girl. No person is created for damnation, or predetermined by God to that end. Those who perish only do so because they refused to accept the truth so as to be saved.” {2}  

I have always held the traditional view that God earnestly desires all people everywhere to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4). The verses below indicate that everyone is invited to respond to the gospel message:

John the Baptist testified about Jesus Christ... that all might believe through him. (John 1:7).
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 1:12)
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, (John 3:18).
And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:39-40).
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 4:10). See also John 3:36; 5:24; 6: 29, 35,40, 47; 12:32; Hebrews 3:19; 1 John 2:2; 3:23; 5:10.

It takes some serious scripture twisting to make bible verses fit into the false doctrine of Calvinism.

Below are a few samples of alleged Calvinist "proof texts" for limited atonement:

*And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. (Acts 13:48).

The Expositors Greek Testament: "..there is no countenance here for the absolutum decretum of the Calvinists, since Acts 13:46 had already shown that the Jews had acted through their own choice. The words are really nothing more than a corollary of St. Paul’s ἀναγκαῖον: the Jews as a nation had been ordained to eternal life—they had rejected this election—but those who believed amongst the Gentiles were equally ordained by God to eternal life, and it was in accordance with His divine appointment that the Apostles had turned to them." {3}

It is possible to take the verb τεταγμένοι (τάσσω) "appointed" as either middle or passive. Such an interpretation in the middle voice might read: ..as many who were disposed.. (see Acts 20:13). Acts 18:6 has the same verb τάσσω in the negative: ..they set themselves against/resisted.. (ἀντιτασσομένων). Other examples of the middle voice include Matthew 28:16; Luke. 7:8; Acts 15:2; 18:6; 22:10; 28:23; Romans 13:1; 1 Corinthians 16:15.

Notice that the Jews rejection of the gospel was of their own volition: Acts:13:46; 18:6; 28:27.

Calvinist Strongholds: Ephesians 1:3-14 and Romans 8:28-34:

* 4 ..even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, (Ephesians 1:4-5).

The phrase "us in him" is a corporate statement about believers in general. This verse does not refer to specific individuals "chosen" before the foundation of the world. The election of believers is actualized in Him. The phrase: “before the foundation of the world”, is applied elsewhere specifically to the eternal communion of the Son with the Father (John 17:24). Paul does not say that God chose us to be in Him, rather he says God chose us in Him to be holy and blameless. In other words: From the foundation of the world God predestined whoever is in Christ to become holy and blameless in his sight.

* 13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Verse 13 specifies precisely when we were sealed with the Holy Spirit and included "in Him" i.e. upon conversion, not "before the foundation of the world". This verse also confirms that hearing plus faith precedes conversion. Calvinism reverses the order and has conversion preceding faith. Verse 14 has significant future implications ..we have not yet taken full possession of our inheritance. (Ephesians 5:27; Romans 8:30).

The word “chosen” is used of Jesus' choice of the twelve apostles (John 6:70; John 13:18; John 15:16-19). The exception, Judas Iscariot, chosen to the office of apostle, leaves us with a difficulty unless we allow for free will. (John 17:12). There may be another explanation. The Pharisess were identified as being.. of their father the devil. (John 8:44). However Judas is identified as an actual devil: "..one of you IS a devil." (John 6:70). 

* 28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are  called according to his purpose. 29 For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:28-30).

Verse 28: "those who love God", is non-specific, i.e. it does not refer to particular individuals, rather it refers in a general sense to those who have previously repented and believed the gospel. In Calvinism, "effectual call" is the doctrine also known as “irresistible grace", but when Paul uses the word "called" in his letters, he addresses those who have responded to the call i.e. believers, rather than those who are invited to respond to the gospel message. Verse 29 and 30 are specific. Now Paul refers to those who have repented and are known and foreknown; these particular individuals are predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son i.e. the last stage in salvation, the glorification of the saints.

Christians should not allow false teachers to wrongly interpret the complexities contained within Paul's letters. There are some things in them (Paul's letters) that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:16 cf. Acts 20:29; 2 Timothy 2:15). An overwhelming number of passages/verses support the view that the gospel is an open invitation that everyone is capable of responding to.

The sum of your word is truth, and every one of your righteous rules endures forever. (Psalm 119:160).

The following verses confirm free will and human responsibility:

Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. (Isaiah 45:22).
Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. (John 3:18).
Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. (1 John 5:10). See also: John 7:17, Joshua 24:15; John 1:12-13; Deuteronomy 30:19-20; James 1:13-16; 2 Timothy 2:26 etc. etc.

I wonder what the Apostle Paul would have to say about the Calvinist interpretation of atonement if he were with us. I think he would be horrified by his words being taken in such a way!

Historically Scotland played an important part in the spread of Calvinism to England and North America through the Presbyterian denomination. These days Calvinism is undergoing a resurgence and is not limited to the Presbyterians. The despicable practice of "stealth Calvanism", poses an ominous threat to traditional Southern Baptist churches in the US. (4) Here in the UK, we have our own infestation of New Calvinism, courtesy (amongst others) of the ecumenical Church of England. Richard Coekin, Director of the Co-Mission group of churches in south east London has been promoting New Calvinism for the last decade. The keynote speaker at this year's London Men’s Convention on the 2nd of June will be false teacher John Piper. {5} 

John Piper: "The intellectual appeal of the system of Calvinism draws a certain kind of intellectual person.. ..Do Calvinists want to make everybody else Calvinists? Absolutely we do!" {6}

Piper rightly defines Calvinism as a "system". Calvinism is actually a philosophical system. The suggestion that God favours intellectuals is a thinly veiled appeal to the flesh and to worldly pride! (1 Corinthians 1:19-28; Matthew 19:14). Much could be said about John Piper, his ecumenical associations and his false teachings! Very briefly:

*Piper is a seven point Calvinist.. he has added "double predestination", and "the best-of-all-possible worlds", for good measure. {7]
*Piper falsely teaches supersessionism (replacement theology).
*"John Piper opened up Warrengate when he made a mistake by inviting Purpose Driven Pope Rick Warren to be a keynote speaker at the Desiring God Conference 2010." {8}
*Piper promotes the false teaching known as "Christian Hedonism".
*Piper led the ancient spiritual Roman Catholic monastic mystical practice of Lectio Divina at Passion 2012 with Louis Giglio, Francis Chan and Beth Moore. He has since apologised and removed this material from his website. {9}
*Regarding Pipers Book: A Hunger for God, Desiring God Through Fasting and Prayer: "But of even greater concern is that Piper draws from a number of disturbing sources. There are spiritual formation leaders such as Richard Foster (pp. 19, 58, 202-203) and Dallas Willard (pp. 203-204), Roman Catholic priests and monks (p. 210), and the Desert Fathers and early church mystics from which much of modern fasting practices originate (p. 210)." {10}

*The negative effect of Piper's theistic determinism in a counselling situation has recently been highlighted by Leighton Flowers. {11} * I have reservations about including Flowers material, and I only include it here because his rebuttal against Calvinism is very good technically. Flowers advice to look to ourselves and our own past experiences if we are struggling with unbelief, is, in my view, unsound. The antidote to error is truth. (John 8:32, 36; Mathew 11:28).

The spirit of Calvinism seeks to destroy true biblical faith and replace it with a different gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:4; Galatians 1:6 cf. 1 John 4:6). The severe warning of Colossians 2:8 indicates that critically, the true faith once for all delivered to the saints, is under attack from such "systems". (Jude 1:3). KJV: "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit", or as the AV has it "take you captive", i.e. to lead away as booty, i.e. (figuratively) seduce - spoil. The Greek verb συλαγωγέω = "I plunder, lead captive; met: I make victim by fraud." {12}

BEWARE OF CALVINISM! (1 Timothy 4:1).

{1}   http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/
{2}   http://beyondthefundamentals.com/Document_Files/Predestination_Presentation.pdf
{3}   http://biblehub.com/commentaries/egt/acts/13.htm
(4)   http://www.patheos.com/blogs/rogereolson/2014/07/beware-of-stealth-calvinism/
{5}   https://christianconventions.org.uk/lmc/convention
{6}   https://www.desiringgod.org/interviews/why-are-calvinists-so-negative
{7]   https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/what-does-piper-mean-when-he-says-hes-a-seven-point-calvinist
{8}   http://apprising.org/2010/04/07/crosstalk-bob-dewaay-on-warrengate-and-john-piper/
{9}   https://www.desiringgod.org/articles/a-system-for-praying-in-2012
{10}  http://tottministries.org/a-hunger-for-god-desiring-god-through-fasting-and-prayer-by-john-piper-wheaton-crossway-1997-pp-239-paper-10-99/
{11}  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yz2emj_LSx0  *
{12}  http://biblehub.com/greek/4812.htm

Sunday, 6 May 2018

WRANGLING OVER WRATH BY DAVE MACPHERSON

     End-time wrath in the Bible is hardly my favourites topic. But since it is there, my earlier work entitled "The Incredible Cover-Up" will be happy to share the following thoughts about it:
     Pretribs teach that the church will never experience God's wrath (the various rapture views heartily agree) and quote verses like John 5:24, Romans 5:9 and 8:1, and also quote I Thessalonians 1:10 and 5:9 to try to prove the church's exemption from the tribulation.
     Do these verses really teach a pretrib escape?
     John 5:24 speaks of the "condemnation" that never comes to one who passes "from death unto life."
     Romans 5:9 tells of being "saved from wrath" - the wrath that one escapes when he or she is "justified by his blood."
     Romans 8:1 assure those "in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit" that they are no longer under "condemnation."
     I Thessalonians 1:10 refers to "Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come." Any wrath from which Jesus delivers, such as second coming wrath on the ungodly or eternal wrath of Hell, is not the Satanic wrath which gives the tribulation its bad reputation.
     Even tribulation saints in the middle of persecution can stand on this verse and rest assured that a much greater wrath will eventually overtake their persecutors - a wrath that no one can withstand.
     I Thessalonians 5:9 says that "God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." If I wanted to reverse this text, I could say that Satan hasn't appointed us to salvation, but to obtain wrath. The opposite of salvation is not merely a time of tribulational testing, but the eternal wrath of God.
     Even E. Schuyler English in his pretrib book "Re-Thinking the Rapture," pp. 56-7, admits that the last clause of I Thessalonians 1:10 is better rendered "who is delivering us from the wrath to come." He adds that this verse doesn't prove the pretrib view.
     Most of the pretrib leaders do know the difference between Satanic and godly wrath. But if their followers don't know the difference, they can easily be convinced of a pretrib rapture with verses like I Thessalonians 1:10.
     If the tribulation is primarily Satanic wrath (from which no believer is ever immune), pretrib promoters can best succeed in getting followers by giving the false impression that all tribulational wrath is divine wrath.
     Indeed, in "The Rapture Question" (billed as a "comprehensive" biblical study) John Walvoord omits any mention of Revelation 12:12 which says that "the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath...."
     Even if all tribulation wrath were exclusively divine wrath (which it isn't), God would have no more difficulty in distinguishing between the bad guys and the good guys than  He had when He visited Egypt with plagues.
     Actually, posttrib authors like Ladd, Payne, and Gundry (and others whose end-times views are similar) can see divine wrath commencing at the end of the tribulation - certainly not at or near the start of the tribulation, as pretribs would like to claim.
     Payne's "The Imminent Appearing of Christ," p. 172, contains a chart showing that all of the trumpet and bowl judgments (which seem to mark the commencement of God's wrath) immediately preceding the appearing of Christ could happen in as little as fifteen minutes. And these judgments are directed only towards the ungodly - never at God's holy people.
     Well, this is my brief take on the subject of wrath. What's yours?

Monday, 30 April 2018

CALVINISM: THE HORRIBLE DECREE

John Calvin was a second generation reformer born in 1509 in Noyon, northern France. He was a young man of about twenty six years old and a recent convert to Protestantism when he wrote his first edition of the Institutes of the Christian Religion. Soon after its publication, Calvin began his ministry in Geneva, Switzerland. He revised and expanded the Institutes over a number of years, until the fifth and final edition was published in 1559. Calvin got much of his inspiration for the Institutes from Augustine of Hippo, the founder of Roman Catholicism.

There is no evidence that Calvin was actually a born again believer. (Matthew 7:15-20). He is said to have been strongly devoted to Roman Catholicism as a youth and he trained for the priesthood at the Collège de Montaigu until around 1530. It is unlikely that Calvin's break from the RCC was based on theological differences or a heart for reform. Rather his withdrawal from the college appears to have been the result of a conflict between his father and the cathedral chapter of Noyon over a business matter in 1527. Calvin's father and older brother were excommunicated in 1528. As a result, Calvin's benefices and expectations became uncertain. In other words, Calvin's departure from the college was an inevitable consequence of these events. Calvin's father subsequently enrolled him in the University of Orleans to study law.

The basis of Calvin's soteriology was double predestination aka limited atonement:

Calvin: "All are not created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death." {1} 

Calvin's doctrine of double predestination was taken directly from Augustine, whom he frequently referred to and directly quoted in his writings. It appears that Augustine's flawed teaching on predestination was an overreaction to the error of Pelagius and was a throwback to Gnostic Manichaeism. Critically, Augustinian predestination was not taught for the first 300 years of the early church period, as the writings of a considerable number of influential early church fathers demonstrates. {2}

Calvin: "The decree is dreadful indeed, I confess. (Decretum quidem horribile, fateor)."  - the horrible degree. Double predestination is extremely problematic and differs from the plain teaching of the bible in a number of key respects:

* everyone who believes in Jesus shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16).
* everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Acts 2:21).
* God commands all people everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30). 
* The Lord.. is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. (2 Peter 3:9).
* God desires all people to be saved. (1 Timothy 2:4). 
* Jesus gave himself as a ransom for all. (1 Timothy 2:6).
* He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2).

Calvin's mandatory implementation of his version of Christianity upon Geneva pre-empted even God Himself, or rather Calvin's idea of God. Following Augustine's example, Calvin literally forced "regeneration" upon the populace by his own, rather than God's "sovereign" intervention! In November 1552, the Council declared Calvin's Institutes to be "a holy doctrine which no man might speak against", hence Calvin became known as "the Pope of Geneva". Failure to become one of the "elect" was punishable by death or expulsion from Geneva. Failure to attend church was a punishable offence and all entertainments and shows were banned outright.

Calvin's compulsive implementation of paedobaptism (infant baptism) is a further indication of his flawed understanding of soteriology. Calvin denied that a conscious decision was necessary in order to become a believer, and he viciously overruled any objections from the Anabaptists. Protestants were known to “baptize” Anabaptist "heretics" by drowning them in rivers! Calvin defined baptism as: "..the sign of the initiation by which we are received into the society of the church, in order that, engrafted in Christ, we may be reckoned among God's children."

Free-will, a dirty word to Calvinists, was expunged... and so proceeded Calvin's rule of terror. Calvin's vile actions even contradicted his own writings:

Calvin: "..the kind of drawing, it is not violent, so as to compel men by external force; but still it is a powerful impulse of the Holy Spirit, which makes men willing who formerly were unwilling and reluctant." {3}

CALVIN'S STATEMENTS SUPPORTING PERSECUTION
Prefatory Address in his Institutes to Francis, King of the French, 1536. "But when I perceived that the fury of certain bad men had risen to such a height in your realm, that there was no place in it for sound doctrine, I thought it might be of service if I were in the same work both to give instruction to my countrymen, and also lay before your Majesty a Confession, from which you may learn what the doctrine is that so inflames the rage of those madmen who are this day, with fire and sword, troubling your kingdom. For I fear not to declare, that what I have here given may be regarded as a summary of the very doctrine which, they vociferate, ought to be punished with confiscation, exile, imprisonment, and flames, as well as exterminated by land and sea. This, I allow, is a fearful punishment which God sends on the earth; but if the wickedness of men so deserves, why do we strive to oppose the just vengeance of God?"
Letter to William Farel, February 13, 1546. "If he [Servetus] comes [to Geneva], I shall never let him go out alive if my authority has weight."
Letter to the Lord Protector of Somerset, adviser to King Edward VI, October 22, 1548. "[They] well deserve to be repressed by the sword which is committed to you, seeing that they attack not the King only, but God who has seated him upon the throne, and has entrusted to you the protection as well of His person as of His majesty."
Letter of August 20, 1553, one week after Servetus arrest. "I hope that Servetus will be condemned to death."
Defense of Orthodox Faith against the Prodigious Errors of the Spaniard Michael Servetus, published in early 1554. "Whoever shall now contend that it is unjust to put heretics and blasphemers to death will knowingly and willingly incur their very guilt. This is not laid down on human authority; it is God who speaks and prescribes a perpetual rule for his Church. It is not in vain that he banishes all those human affections which soften our hearts; that he commands paternal love and all the benevolent feelings between brothers, relations, and friends to cease; in a word, that he almost deprives men of their nature in order that nothing may hinder their holy zeal. Why is so implacable a severity exacted but that we may know that God is defrauded of his honour, unless the piety that is due to him be preferred to all human duties, and that when his glory is to be asserted, humanity must be almost obliterated from our memories? Many people have accused me of such ferocious cruelty that I would like to kill again the man I have destroyed. Not only am I indifferent to their comments, but I rejoice in the fact that they spit in my face."
Preface to Commentaries, July 22, 1557. "To these irreligious characters. and despisers of the heavenly doctrineŠ. I think that there is scarcely any of the weapons which are forged in the workshop of Satan, which has not been employed by them in order to obtain their object. And at length matters had come to such a state, that an end could be put to their machinations in no other way than cutting them off by an ignominious death; which was indeed a painful and pitiable spectacle to me. They no doubt deserved the severest punishment, but I always rather desired that they might live in prosperity, and continue safe and untouched; which would have been the case had they not been altogether incorrigible, and obstinately refused to listen to wholesome admonition."
Comments on Ex. 22:20, Lev. 24:16, Deut. 13:5-15, 17:2-5. "Moreover, God Himself has explicitly instructed us to kill heretics, to smite with the sword any city that abandons the worship of the true faith revealed by Him."
Letter to the Marquis Paet, chamberlain to the King of Navarre, 1561. "Honour, glory, and riches shall be the reward of your pains; but above all, do not fail to rid the country of those scoundrels [Anabaptists and others], who stir up the people to revolt against us. Such monsters should be exterminated, as I have exterminated Michael Servetus the Spaniard."

PERSECUTIONS AT CALVIN'S GENEVA

The Minutes Book of the Geneva City Council, 1541-59 (translated by Stefan Zweig, Erasmus: The Right to Heresy):
"During the ravages of the pestilence in 1545 more than twenty men and women were burnt alive for witchcraft.
From 1542 to 1546 fifty-eight judgements of death and seventy-six decrees of banishment were passed.
During the years 1558 and 1559 the cases of various punishments for all sorts of offences amounted to four hundred and fourteen.
One burgher smiled while attending a baptism: three days imprisonment.
Another, tired out on a hot summer day, went to sleep during a sermon: prison.
Some workingmen ate pastry at breakfast: three days on bread and water.
Two burghers played skittles: prison.
Two others diced for a quarter bottle of wine: prison.
A blind fiddler played a dance: expelled from the city.
Another praised Castellio's translation of the Bible: expelled from Geneva.
A girl was caught skating, a widow threw herself on the grave of her husband, a burgher offered his neighbour a pinch of snuff during divine service: they were summoned before the Consistory, exhorted, and ordered to do penance.
Some cheerful fellows at Epiphany stuck a bean into the cake: four-and-twenty hours on bread and water.
A couple of peasants talked about business matters on coming out of church: prison.
A man played cards: he was pilloried with the pack of cards hung around his neck.
Another sang riotously in the street: was told 'they could go and sing elsewhere,' this meaning he was banished from the city.
Two bargees had a brawl: executed.
A man who publicly protested against the reformer's doctrine of predestination was flogged at all the crossways of the city and then expelled.
A book printer who in his cups [columns] had railed at Calvin, was sentenced to have his tongue perforated with a red-hot iron before being expelled from the city.
Jacques Gruent was racked and then executed for calling Calvin a hypocrite.
Each offence, even the most paltry, was carefully entered in the record of the Consistory, so that the private life of every citizen could unfailingly be held up against him in evidence." (See Pike, pp. 61-63).

Sources quoted in Philip Schaff's History of the Christian Church, vol. 8:

"The death penalty against heresy, idolatry and blasphemy and barbarous customs of torture were retained. Attendance at public worship was commanded on penalty of three sols. Watchmen were appointed to see that people went to church. The members of the Consistory visited every house once a year to examine the faith and morals of the family. Every unseemly word and act on the street was reported, and the offenders were cited before the Consistory to be either censured and warned, or to be handed over to the Council for severer punishment."
Several women, among them the wife of Ami Perrin, the captain-general, were imprisoned for dancing.
A man was banished from the city for three months because on hearing an ass bray, he said jestingly 'He prays a beautiful psalm.'
A young man was punished because he gave his bride a book on housekeeping with the remark: 'This is the best Psalter.'
Three men who laughed during a sermon were imprisoned for three days.
Three children were punished because they remained outside of the church during the sermon to eat cakes.
A man who swore by the 'body and blood of Christ' was fined and condemned to stand for an hour in the pillory on the public square.
A child was whipped for calling his mother a thief and a she-devil.
A girl was beheaded for striking her parents.
A banker was executed for repeated adultery.
A person named Chapuis was imprisoned for four days because he persisted in calling his child Claude (a Roman Catholic saint) instead of Abraham.
Men and women were burnt to death for witchcraft. (See Pike, pp. 55,56).

From Other Sources:

Belot, an Anabaptist was arrested for passing out tracts in Geneva and also accusing Calvin of excessive use of wine. With his books and tracts burned, he was banished from the city and told not to return on pain of hanging (J.L. Adams, The Radical Reformation, pp. 597-598).
Martin Luther said of Calvin's actions in Geneva, "With a death sentence they solve all argumentation" (Juergan L. Neve, A History of Christian Thought, vol. I, p. 285).

"About the month of January 1546, a member of the Little Council, Pierre Ameaux, asserted that Calvin was nothing but a wicked man - who was preaching false doctrine. Calvin felt that his authority as an interpreter of the Word of God was being attacked: he so completely identified his own ministry with the will of God that he considered Ameaux's words as an insult to the honour of Christ. The Magistrates offered to make the culprit beg Calvin's pardon on bended knees before the Council of the Two Hundred, but Calvin found this insufficient. On April 8, Ameaux was sentenced to walk all round the town, dressed only in a shirt, bareheaded and carrying a lighted torch in his hand, and after that to present himself before the tribunal and cry to God for mercy" (F. Wendel, Calvin, pp. 85, 86).
Compiled by Jack Moorman {4}

How anyone would want to be associated with the name of Calvin after becoming acquainted with the history is staggering! Calvinism, whether Five Point Calvinism (TULIP), New Calvinism, Partial Calvinism, or whatever "ism" it is known by, is not based on the Holy Scriptures. (Galatians 5:9).

I have spent some time reading the material of former five point Calvinist, Dr Leighton Flowers, and also watching some of the exchanges between Flowers and his adversaries on YouTube. {5}

Flowers puts forward a compelling view of what he calls the "traditional" approach as against Calvinism, and he exegetes some of the scriptural passages very well. While I agree with Flowers technically, I have a huge problem with his excessive forbearance towards leaders who are aggressively pushing the Calvinist agenda. Sometimes it seems that Flowers would rather condemn those who call out false teachers than the false teachers themselves! A number of people involved in apologetics are called to.. contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. (Jude 1:3). "Winning the argument", in human terms, as Flowers puts it, is the last thing they are interested in doing! I find Flowers reductionism and his condemnation of those speaking out against apostasy highly offensive! Perhaps more attention to the damage being done to the flock might be in order! (Matthew 7:15; 2 Peter 2:1-2; 2 Timothy 4:3). The practice of "Stealth Calvinism" is particularly despicable i.e. the Founders Ministries advice to Calvinistic pastors to avoid full disclosure while interviewing in order to gain leadership positions! {6}

Flowers advice to those finding themselves under the authority of a Calvinist pastor who has insidiously taken over leadership of a "traditional" church: ".. bear with the pastor and pray for him ... ask questions, be patient, serve him, support him and to speak to him.." {7}. This counsel seems very tolerant and loving, but is it? Paul warned about the problem of false teachers who creep in unnoticed. (2 Peter 2:1). If a man has hidden his Calvinism prior to taking up a position as a pastor, then his personal integrity comes into grave question. (Luke 16:10). An elder should be above reproach and an example to the flock. (1 Timothy 4:12). ..to hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. (Titus 1:6-9 cf. James 3:1). The new pastor has created the problem, not those who are upset by his teaching. Not everyone is strong (Romans 14:1); and yet all will be obliged to come under the authority of, and be subject to, false teaching.. actually a different gospel. (Galatians 1:6; 2 Corinthians 11:4). Must a whole congregation suffer and be sacrificed because of one man's dishonesty? (1 Corinthians 5:7-8). I thought that shepherds were supposed to lay down their lives for the flock, not the reverse! (John 10:12-13). I do not think that Flowers would have got on very well with some of the advice the apostle Paul gave at times! (Romans 16:17; 2 Corinthians 11:13). My advice is to politely ask questions, at the beginning, and obviously to pray. After patiently exhausting the possibility of a resolution, failure to act decisively is tantamount to putting up with another gospel. (2 Corinthians 11:4). The sad fact is that Calvinism does split churches, and there comes a time when separation becomes inevitable. (2 Corinthians 6:17).

One teacher I highly recommend is Pastor Kevin G. Thompson: Beyond The Fundamenals. {8} Thompson takes a very strong position and calls out Calvinism for exactly what it is - philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition.. (Colossians 2:8). It is disappointing that Thompson has not applied the same rigorous exegesis to the pre-trib rapture debate. I am sure he would change his mind to embrace the pre-wrath position if he did.

{1} http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.v.xxii.html
{2} https://bjorkbloggen.com/2012/05/08/quotes-from-old-church-fathers-supporting-free-will-and-objecting-to-the-sinful-nature/
{3} http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom34.xii.vii.html
{4} http://www.a-voice.org/tidbits/calvinp.htm
{5} https://soteriology101.com/
{5} https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPRJ7X3hyFvm-3Jo8rVWYOw
{6} https://player.fm/series/soteriology-101-former-calvinistic-professor-discusses-doctrines-of-salvation/stealth-calvinism-and-pastor-search-committees
{7} https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RxcEGCh_Hc
{8} http://beyondthefundamentals.com/calvinism-defeated.html