What Is Calvinism Exactly?

by David J. Stewart | March 2020

2nd Peter 2:1, “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

       John Calvin (1509-1564) was a French theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva, Switzerland, during the Protestant Reformation. He was a key figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called “Calvinism.” He was also a monster! History documents that John Calvin exiled 76 people and murdered 58 others (including women and children) for merely disagreeing with his religious views (particularly his heresy on Infant Baptism). What a madman!

Tragically, I'd estimate that about 75% of Baptist churches today have succumbed to the Satanic junk theology of John Calvin (many unwittingly, aka, the “be willing to turn from your sins” heresy to be saved). About 30% of Southern Baptist Churches identify themselves as Calvinists, but 60% of the SBC are concerned about the impact of Calvinism on it's organization. I am an Independent Fundamental Baptist myself (not a Calvinist at all), and I hold to a free grace view of the Gospel (which the Bible itself calls: “the simplicity that is in Christ,” 2nd Corinthians 11:3b).

Calvinism is often described by using the helpful acronym, T U L I P:

T - Total Depravity (This heresy claims humans are so depraved as to not be able to even make a choice, total inability to believe. This ends up in teaching that man must be born again BEFORE he believes. I agree with Pastor Harry Ironside that men are totally depraved, and that the Holy Spirit must draw men to Christ, but the Bible is very clear that the Holy Spirit draws “ALL MEN” (John 12:32), not just some whom God chooses. The grace of God that brings salvation appears to “ALL MEN” (Titus 2:13). So, clearly Harry Ironside did not ascribe to the typical Calvinist's misunderstanding of the total depravity of the sinner. Dr. Ironside was no Calvinist!

U - Unconditional Election (Calvinists errantly teach that God has chosen who will be saved and who will go to Hell, because these latter have not been gifted to believe. This is supposedly to the glory of God. Faith gifted to the elect by the Holy Spirit is said to bring true conversions, while personal faith is considered a “work” that produces false conversions. Calvinism says we believe because we were chosen; the truth is that God chose us because we believe.)

L - Limited Atonement (Many Calvinists errantly teach that Jesus Christ died only for those He chose to be saved, and that the Gospel is not for all. Pastor Charles Spurgeon succumbed to this horrible false doctrine, as does Dr. John MacArthur and Moody Bible Institute. In sharp contrast to the heresy of Limited Atonement, the Holy Bible says in 1st John 2:2 that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”)

I - Irresistible Grace (Calvinists errantly believe God only calls some to be saved, and they cannot resist. They will be saved automatically, regardless of whether they want to be or not, while those whom He deems 'reprobates' have no chance of salvation. Is grace truly grace if it cannot be rejected? Throughout the New Testament we find the word “WHOSOEVER,” which is an open free invitation from God for all sinners to come to Christ by faith alone in the Gospel for eternal life.)

P - Perseverance of the Saints (This heresy says those whom God chose will not be lost, and they will continue in faith, love, holiness and righteousness. However since these people do not know who the “elect” are, there is the torment of uncertainty, which results in a works/Lordship salvation in an attempt to prove to themselves they are indeed elect. In sharp contrast, Biblical Christianity teaches the Preservation of the Saints, not the persevering (hanging on for dear life to convince yourself you are really saved). Harry Ironside believed in the perseverance of the Holy Spirit, with which I fully agree. As Dr. Ironside rightly says, if someone who once claimed to be a born-again Christian, now denies Christ as Savior, it just means they were never saved at all. Dr. Ironside did not ascribe to the Calvinist heresy that a person who still lives in willful sin, never repented, so their faith in Jesus is counterfeit. As 1st Corinthians 3:15 proves, not all saints 'persevere' in holiness, because this horrible man received no heavenly rewards, “saved; yet so as by fire.”)

That is Calvinism in a nutshell (and they are nutty in their theology). God has given to every human being a FREEWILL, so that we may CHOOSE to either receive or reject the only begotten Son of God, the Christ. That is why God gave us the Gospel of John, “that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name” (John 20:31b).


“D.L. Moody used to put it very simply the elect are the 'whosoever wills' the non-elect 'whosoever wont's'. This is exactly what scripture teaches, the invitation is to all, those who accept it are the elect. Remember, we are never told that Christ died for the elect.” —Pastor Harry Ironside, a quote from his awesome book: “Full Assurance,” chapter 9

“Is grace truly grace if it cannot be rejected?”
—Dr. Ralph “Yankee” Arnold, “Calvinism And Grace Are Not Compatible” (MP3).

“Can a man who's predestined to salvation really be lost before he is saved? If a man is predestined to salvation, why does he need to hear the Gospel? What would be the point?” —Pastor Ralph “Yankee” Arnold, pastor of Calvary Community Church in Tampa, Florida; "Why Lordship Salvation Is Wrong?"

The 5 Points Of Calvinism Refuted (a great MP3 by Steven L. Anderson)

“Faith is the only righteous thing that I can do!”
—Pastor Jack Hyles, a quote from the MP3 sermon titled: God's Reversal Of Psalm 51

1st Corinthians 16:24, “My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.”

Eternal Security


Confession Is Never A Requirement For Salvation

'The Gospel' In Just One Minute (by Pastor Max D. Younce)

John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

“As a blind man has no idea of colors, so we have no idea of the manner by
which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things.”
—Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

Another Gospel Which Is Not Another (a red-hot MP3 by Dr. Curtis Hutson exposing Lordship Salvation)

Psalm 34:8, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.”

“If you have to look at your life to prove that you are saved, it proves that you're not!”
—Pastor Ralph Yankee Arnold; an excellent quote from the awesome YouTube sermon titled, “Why Lordship Salvation is WRONG! | MP3.”

Ye Must Be Born Again! | You Need HIS Righteousness! | Believe The Gospel