The Other Side of Calvinism
The Complete Preface
The philosophical speculations of Calvinism, although they have been debated
for hundreds of years, have masqueraded as sound Bible doctrine for much
too long. The resultant theological implications, under pretense of orthodoxy,
have been the dominant influence in all facets of theology. They have been
accepted as authoritative, but only to the detriment of the Scriptures. The
subject of Calvinism has also been fiercely debated since the time of the
Reformation more than any other topic. Unlike baptism, which was the main
bone of contention between the Baptists and other groups, the bitter
controversy about Calvinism has infected all the various denominations at
one time or another. This leavening is part of the other side of Calvinism.
So why another work on Calvinism? Although there exists an abundance of
material on the subject, the overwhelming majority is from the Reformed
viewpoint, which is inherently Calvinistic. The Baptist contribution to the
debate comes chiefly from the Calvinistic groups. This leaves a definite void
as far as a balanced treatment of the issue is concerned. The result is a
disproportionate, intimidating presentation of one side which is then equated
with orthodoxy. So mainly because of the sheer volume of the supporting
apparatus alone, Calvinism has established a foothold on theology. This is
another facet of the other side of Calvinism.
The stream of books currently available in defense of Calvinism is seemingly
without end. And although it was stated a century ago by a Calvinistic
theologian that "much more has been published" in opposition to than in
defense of Calvinism,1 such is certainly not the case now. Regarding the
material published opposing the Calvinistic system, whether in whole or in
part, three types can be distinguished. Most of the available literature consists
of small pamphlets that are inherently limited in their effectiveness.2 There
are also some small books available from a variety of viewpoints that provide
some helpful information.3 Concerning what could be termed the major books
against Calvinism, there are at present but a few.4 There still exists the need
for a definitive work which addresses and sufficiently answers all of the
philosophical speculations and theological implications of the other side of
A shortage of works against Calvinism is not an adequate reason to begin an
undertaking of this magnitude unless there be an important underlying cause.
The salient determinant is the tremendously damaging nature of the
Calvinistic system. The doctrines of Calvinism, if really believed and
consistently practiced, are detrimental to evangelism, personal soul winning,
prayer, preaching, and practical Christianity in general. This is even
unintentionally admitted by a Calvinistic Baptist: "The doctrines taught in
the Bible relating to the sovereignty of God, referred to in religious circles as
'Calvinism,' also as 'the doctrines of grace,' are doctrines of the Book that are
the occasion for many people 'choking' on the Word. The misuse and abuse of
these doctrines will deaden and kill."5 Calvinism is therefore the greatest
"Christian" heresy that has ever plagued the Church. This being the case, the
thesis of this book is that Calvinism is not only Reformed doctrine, and
therefore something that Baptists should not be connected with, but that it is
wrong doctrine. But because of its controversial nature, there exists a
tremendous ignorance of the true nature of Calvinism. Some schools deem the
subject so controversial that they even forbid discussion of the subject.6 The
long and manifold influence of Calvinism on all areas of theology necessitates
this examination of the other side of Calvinism.
Because of its underlying thesis, this book is not written from a neutral
perspective. But then again, neither is any book written by a Calvinist. One of
the most popular Calvinistic authors, Loraine Boettner, in his book on
Calvinism, starts out thus: "The purpose of this book is to show that
Calvinism is beyond all doubt the teaching of the Bible and of reason."7 Let
me unequivocally assert that the purpose of this book is to show that
Calvinism is beyond all doubt not the teaching of the Bible nor of reason. One
Calvinist boldly proclaims: "The perspective from which I have written is
decidedly Calvinistic. That is not an apology. It is a warning. I want the
reader to know from the beginning what I hope to accomplish. I have written
with an agenda."8 But if Calvinists can write with the express purpose of
defending their views, then it stands to reason that their critics should be
afforded this same privilege as well. Another Calvinist says: "It is our hope
that the material contained in this survey will help to promote the spread of
Calvinism and that many will thus be led to understand, to believe, and to
propagate this Biblical system of doctrine."9 But contrariwise, it is my hope
that the material contained in this survey will help to prevent the spread of
Calvinism and that many will thus be led to understand, to not believe, and to
cease to propagate this anti-biblical system of doctrine. Still another Calvinist
claims that his book was "written in the hope that much of the abuse that is
hurled at the Calvinistic system of theology will be withdrawn."10 But once
again, this book was written in the hope that much of the abuse that is hurled
at the Calvinistic system of theology will be sustained. And finally, another
Calvinist states: "The purpose of this monograph is not to attack men
personally. Rather, it is to protect the church from the heretical doctrines of
anti-Calvinistic teachings."11 Likewise, the purpose of this monograph is not
to attack men personally. Rather, it is to protect the church from the heretical
doctrines of Calvinistic teachings. So, although one Calvinist maintains that
"the denial of Calvinism is a very grave mistake,"12 it will be maintained
throughout this work that the acceptance of Calvinism is a very grave
mistake. This perspective is necessary in order to present the other side of
The first and only recourse, as well as the final authority for everything said
herein, is of course the Holy Bible. Not only will the Bible be used to answer
the philosophical speculations and theological implications of Calvinism, but
it will be believed as written. And because they form such an intrinsic part of
the book, most Scripture citations will be given in full. Since this is a biblical
defense, the emphasis will be on what the Bible actually says, not what it has
commonly been interpreted to teach. "The word of God is not bound" (2 Tim.
2:9) by the opinions of the Church Fathers, commentators, scholars, creeds,
confessions, or any man's opinions or system of interpretation. Since only the
Scripture is infallible, it is quite able to correct both the writer and reader, as
well as the philosophical speculations and theological implications of the
other side of Calvinism.
The structure of the book is rather straightforward and is naturally divided
into two parts: a historical examination and a biblical analysis. The origin,
development, and claims of Calvinism, as well as its namesake and chief
antagonist, will be investigated in the light of history. Once this essential
foundation is laid, the actual doctrines of Calvinism will be examined, both
doctrinally and theologically, and analyzed in the light of Scripture by
comparing Scripture with Scripture. Because of this logical format, a
disparity in content will exist between the two parts as well as the individual
chapters. But this is a necessary evil in order to preserve the unity of each
subject and bring to light the even greater evil contained in the other side of
The format of the book is exactly as the Calvinists have desired. One Calvinist
says: "It is high time that we open our hearts and minds to an honest
appraisal of Calvin and Calvinism."13 Exactly. And the only way to make an
honest appraisal of Calvin and Calvinism is to, in the words of another
Calvinist, "let Calvinism speak for itself."14 Therefore, the amassing of
statements by non-Calvinists against Calvinism as proof that Calvinism is
false will not be found in this work. In order to let Calvinism speak for itself,
the procedure to be followed will be a simple one, and one employed by the
Calvinists themselves. Just as one Calvinist says he has quoted his opponents
"at length that there might be no mistake about what they believe,"15 so the
Calvinists themselves will be extensively and eclectically cited that there
might be no mistake about what they believe. This is both to prevent the cry
of misrepresentation and to demonstrate the numerous contradictions that
exist among the Calvinists themselves. Anything that could possibly be
damaging to Calvinism will be documented from Calvinist or neutral
sources. All quotations, including the use of bold, italics, and capitals, as well
as spelling, grammar, and punctuation, appear exactly as in the original
source. The bibliography is limited to works cited or mentioned and does not
include all works consulted in this examination of the other side of Calvinism.
Readers of the first edition of this work (originally published in 1991) will
notice that the same basic format and structure have been followed.
Nevertheless, this is where the similarity between the two books ends.
Although their basic thesis is the same, this edition is an entirely new work.
Not only have the deficiencies of the first edition been corrected and some
material omitted, but much new material has been added. Besides the original
work being completely rewritten, the historical section has been greatly
expanded with a much greater emphasis on primary sources. The reception of
the first edition by the Calvinists was just as expected and predicated in the
epilogue of that work. And since the literature espousing Calvinism did not
suddenly cease with the publication of the first edition of this work, it was
deemed necessary to significantly enhance this biblical defense against the
philosophical speculations and theological implications of Calvinism: the
other side of Calvinism.
1. William Cunningham, The Reformers and the Theology of the Reformation (Edinburgh: The
Banner of Truth Trust, 1967), p. 313.
2. Robert L. Sumner, An Examination of Tulip (Brownsburg: Biblical Evangelism, 1972); Peter S.
Ruckman, Hyper-Calvinism (Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1984); John R. Rice,
Hyper-Calvinism: a False Doctrine (Murfreesboro: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1970); Curtis
Hutson, Why I Disagree With All Five Points of Calvinism (Murfreesboro: Sword of the Lord
Publishers, 1980); James Moffat, Predestination (Lancaster: Charles W. Duty & Sons, n.d.);
Donald A. Waite, Calvin's Error of Limited Atonement (Collingswood: The Bible For Today, 1978);
Alger Fitch, Pick the Brighter Tulip (Joplin: College Press Publishing Co., 1993); L. S. Ballard,
Election Made Plain, 2nd ed. (n.p., n.d.).
3. J. R. Alexander, The Tulip Doctrine (Texarkana: Bogard Press, 1992); John R. Rice,
Predestinated for Hell? NO! (Murfreesboro: Sword of the Lord Publishers, 1958); Peter S.
Ruckman, Why I Am Not a Calvinist (Pensacola: Bible Baptist Bookstore, 1997); George L. Bryson,
The Five Points of Calvinism (Costa Mesa: The Word for Today, 1996); O. Glenn McKinley, Where
Two Creeds Meet (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1959); Max Younce, Not Chosen to Salvation
(Madison: by the author, n.d.); James Wilkins, Foreknowledge, Election, Predestination in the Light
of Soul-Winning (Mansfield: New Testament Ministries, 1985); Andrew Telford, Subjects of
Sovereignty (Boca Raton: by the author, 1948); Robert P. Lightner, The Death Christ Died (Des
Plains: Regular Baptist Press, 1967); Cornelius R. Stam, Divine Election and Human Responsibility
(Chicago: Berean Bible Society, 1994).
4. Archer C. Wilcox, Messianic Credentials of Jesus the Christ (Burlington: Crown Publications,
1986); Samuel Fisk, Divine Sovereignty and Human Freedom (Neptune: Loizeaux Brothers, 1973);
Samuel Fisk, Calvinistic Paths Retraced (Murfreesboro: Biblical Evangelism Press, 1985); Clark H.
Pinnock, ed., The Grace of God, The Will of Man (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House,
1989); Clark H. Pinnock, ed., Grace Unlimited (Minneapolis: Bethany House Publishers, 1975);
Kent Kelly, Inside the Tulip Controversy (Southern Pines: Calvary Press, 1986); Robert L. Shank,
Elect in the Son (Springfield: Westcott Publishers, 1970); Robert L. Shank, Life in the Son, 2nd ed.
(Springfield: Westcott Publishers, 1961); Roger T. Forster and V. Paul Marston, God's Strategy in
Human History (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, 1974); William W. Klein, The New Chosen
People (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1990).
5. Bob L. Ross, The Killing Effects of Calvinism (Pasadena: Pilgrim Publications, n.d.), p. 1.
6. Ohio Baptist College, 19921994 Catalog, p. 8; Norris Bible Baptist Institute, 19851986 Catalog,
7. Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and
Reformed Publishing Co., 1932), p. 1.
8. C. Samuel Storms, Chosen for Life (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1987), p. 11.
9. David N. Steele and Curtis C. Thomas, The Five Points of Calvinism (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian
and Reformed Publishing Co., 1963), p. 10.
10. W. J. Seaton, The Five Points of Calvinism (Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1970), p. 5.
11. Kenneth G. Talbot and W. Gary Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Arminianism
(Edmonton: Still Waters Revival Books, 1990), p. 5.
12. John H. Gerstner, Wrongly Dividing the Word of Truth (Brentwood: Wolgemuth & Hyatt,
Publishers, 1991), p. 107.
13. Bastian Kruithof, The High Points of Calvinism (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1949), p.
14. David J. Engelsma, A Defense of Calvinism as the Gospel (South Holland: The Evangelism
Committee, Protestant Reformed Church, n.d.), p. 18.
15. Storms, Chosen for Life, p. 22.