Month 9:10, Week 2:2 (Shanee/Matzah), Year:Day 5940:246 AM|
2Exodus 3/40, Yovel - Year 50/50
Gregorian Calendar: Friday 9 December 2016
Confessions of a Hyper-Calvinist
Who was Charles Haddon Spurgeon?
I own, I think, a copy of every published sermon or writing that came from the mouth or pen of the famous late 19th century Baptist preacher from London, Charles Haddon Spurgeon. I have read, not all, but quite a lot of his materials. I have a whole shelf of his books. Why? Principally because of the enthusiastic recommendation of fellow Christians over the years, both those who tutored me into believing that he was one of the greatest preachers ever to have lived in modern times and quite simply because of his reputation in general. And it is true - I, like many others, love to quote him, because he had many good things to say. No one can doubt the zeal and passion he had for the cause he espoused.
Uncritically Believing Preachers
But here was my problem, and I suggest it is the problem of most, if not all, of us. We tend to accept uncritically the teachings of preachers and teachers based on their reputation rather than on what they actually taught and preached. The reason we often do so is laziness - we don't want to investigate them carefully. We assume we have discernment when often we don't. And when do we lose discernment? When we become to passive. Rather:
No Casual Calvinist
- "Be on guard! Be alert!" (Mark 13:33, NIV).
- "Be alert and always keep on praying" (Eph.6:18, NIV)
- "Be alert and self-controlled" (1 Thess.5:6, NIV).
- "Be self-controlled and alert" (1 Peter 5:8, NIV).
Spurgeon was a Calvinist and by no means a casual one. Of his spiritual tutor he said in an as unambiguous way as anyone could:
Some Calvinists I Admire
"It is no novelty, then, that I am preaching; no new doctrine. I love to proclaim these strong old doctrines that are called by nickname Calvinism..." 
Now here's the real problem: Calvinism is rank heresy - it's false and blasphemes the character of Elohim (God). Yet here is reputably one of the greatest ministers openly avowing it. Not just him, mind you, but plenty of other teachers, including many modern ones whom I have looked up to and consult frequently in different areas of ministry - James R.White (one of my favourite apologists), John MacArthur (one of my favourite Bible commentators) and John Piper (one of my favourite preachers). So what am I, an Arminian, doing consulting these 'greats' in modern Evangelicalism?
A Range of Calvinists
Well, for one thing, I turn to James White (who is a Reformed Baptist) because he is a Bible manuscript expert and scholar. I turn to John MacArthur (in particular) because he has an accurate understanding of what first century Christian tongues were even though he is a cessationist and I am a continuationist. I listen to popular motivational preachers like John Piper because there can be no doubt that he has a lot of inspiring things to say. I read Albert Mohler because he has much sound pastoral counsel to give. So does it matter whether someone is a Calvinist or not? Are there degrees of Calvinism, from radical to moderate? Or is it possible, as I have maintained so many times, that not all of these people are Calvinists in their hearts are not even if they profess Calvinism in their theological heads?
Unpacking the French Reformer
I doubt these questions can be answered fully. One thing I have noticed is that the more I read Spurgeon now, the more I seem to get spiritually repelled by him. I'm detecting a spirit I do not like. I have come across the same spirit amongst certain modern Calvinists and I feel an urgency to unpack this French theologian's and Reformer's teaching more throughly so that all can see how dangerous it really is. If you have not read my two most recent articles on Calvinism, you might like to start with them before I dig deeper into today's material:
Cognitive Dissonance in Many Calvinists
My address today is primarily to Calvinists who think they are Calvinists but who in their hearts which forces them into a kind of cognitive dissonance. I want them to see what raw Calvinism, which claims Elohim (God) controls even the minutest apparent 'choices' in life (Bruce Milne maintains this), actually teaches and why the 'heroes' of Calvinism like Spurgeon, in spite of their incredible gifts of oratory (there is no doubt he was a very engaging speaker), were very, very wrong in some very, very important areas. The central issue that I have with Calvinism, as we shall see, is that it claims, on the one hand, that Elohiom (God) controls and causes everything and yet man, who has no choice in the anything, is blamed for the sin that Elohim (God) caused him to commit.
No Calvinists For the First 300 Years
The doctrines of 'Calvinism' were unknown to the early Messianic Community and were never preached until as late as the 5th century by the Catholic theologian Augustine. Many Calvinists actually admit this. The apostles had been dead 300 years before anything like the ideas now chiefly ascribed to John Calvin (1509-64) started surfacing in what was to become the 'Church'. Calvinists maintain these first believers were in ignorance until a Catholic theologian explained the truth and a Protestant one brought the theology to completion over a thousand years after the Catholic one.
No Room For Misunderstanding Spurgeon
For Spurgeon, the Besorah (Gospel) was Calvinism, and Calvinism was the Besorah (Gospel), and those of you who know Spurgeon's style, he is pretty pithy and direct, so there is no room for doubt as to his meaning:
Spurgeon Saved as a Methodist
"I have my own opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God (Elohim) in His dispensation of grace; not unless we exalt the electing unchangeable, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah (sic); nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought upon the cross" .
This means - and it is bourne out by his writings - that he was a Five-Point Calvinist, accepting the Total depravity of man, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistable grace and the Perseverence of the saints (TULIP). In some ways it is ironic that Spurgeon was saved in the Methodist Church which, like us, was, and still is, Arminian (the modern liberal degeneration and apostacy of that denomination notwithstanding). Whoever was preaching to Spurgeon and converted him was not preaching Calvinism! He was not brought to salvation by any Calvinist doctrine. That was added later on top of the work Yahweh undoubtedly originally did in the man.
An Anti-Biblical 'Gospel'
Calvinism, which teaches that Messiah did not die for all, that Elohim (God) doesn't want everyone to be saved and not perish, that salvation is forced upon the sinner (making them 'willing' against their will) and that some will be saved at the end no matter how wicked they become, is - to put it bluntly - a false 'gospel'. It's a disgusting, outrageous 'gospel', anti-Biblical 'gospel'! But Spurgeon said that all of Calvinism is the 'gospel'! Accordingly, if you preach contrary to these Calvinistic tenets, then in Spurgeon's mind you're preaching a false gospel and aren't saved.
I have had Calvinists tell me that I am not saved because I am not a Calvinist and I am quite sure Spurgeon would have said the same. Let's see what Spurgeon had to say about free will:
What Love is This?
"...I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, 'If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he had noth learnt Jesus Christ (Yah'shua the Messiah) aright.' It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free will turn to God (Elohim), cannot have been taught of God (Elohim), for that is one of the first principles taught us when God (Elohim) begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that He gives both; that he is 'Alpha and Omega' in the salvation of men." 
If you believe that the Besorah (Gospel) must be brought to you first, that you must be convicted of righteousness, sin and judgment by the power of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) through hearing the words of emet (truth) - and if as a result of these things you are in any way turning to Yahweh of your own free will, then according to Spurgeon and Calvin, you are entirely ignorant of - knowing nothing about - grace! Indeed, you know nothing of even the first principles of Elohim (God). These are Spurgeon's own words and they are what he would have said to you if you had been sitting in one of his Baptist Church services in England back in the 1850's. To which I would emphatically reply, echoing Dave Hunt, in the form of a question to the old preacher, "WHAT LOVE IS THIS?" 
Calvinist From the Founder of All Truth?
Though, as I have already mentioned, I believe Calvinism had its antecedents in Augustine of Hippo, as a full-fledged TULIP doctrine Calvin was undoubtedly its creator. Though I cannot say for sure whether there were others who shared similar views before the venerated Catholic theologian and author of City of God  (which I first read in 1977 upon the recommendation of a very devoted if somewhat stuffy 'High' Anglican lady in Oxford during my stduent days), I can find no evidence of anyone teaching anything remotely connected to TULIP in either the writings of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament) or of the post-apostolic fathers. Spurgeon went even further:
And yet the doctrine was unheard of in the first 400 years of the Messianic era, meaning those first apostles were preaching in ignorance of the 'gospel', if we are to believe Spurgeon's definition of it.
"Calvinism did not spring from Calvin. We believe that it sprang from the great Founder of all truth" .
The Bible Alone Does Not Make Calvinists
In my experience with most Calvinists, they did not learn Calvinism directly from private Bible reading but from Calvinist preachers who taught it to them or directed them to books written by Calvinists. The Bible did not convert them to Calvinism - Calvinist preachers did. And as a result of these preachers and writers, they began to see the Scriptures in a different way. Indeed, if you have been taught Calvinism, I would like to make this challenge to you: stop reading the books written by Calvinists like Spurgeon and read the Scriptures 'as-is' - I can predict you will have a hard time doing so. And if that doesn't alert you to there being a problem, then I am not sure what will, because I am absolutely convinced that Calvinism is a doctrine taught not by the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) but by other spirits.
Depravity is a Very Strong World
Of the ten words making up the acronym 'TULIP', four aren't even found in the Bible. These are total, depravity, unconditional and irresistable. You'd think, given how important they are to the Calvinist's 'gospel', that if they were true they would have found there way in some form into the Davar Elohim (Word of God). Listening to a typical Calvinist like Spurgeon you would suppose that there was only one nature in man, and not two:
Depravity and Total Depravity
"We declare on scriptural authority that the human will is so desperately set on mischief, so depraved, so inclined to everything that is evil, and so disinclined to everything that is good, that without the powerful, supernatural, irresistable influence of the Holy Spirit (Ruach haQodesh), no human will ever be constrained toward Christ" .
Are all believers really so depraved? Remember, Calvinists say all unbelievers are TOTALLY depraved. There isn't an ounce of goodness in them. I can point to some ISIS murderers, torturers and rapists and call them 'depraved' without much hestitation, because that's a pretty strong word meaning total moral corruption where there is no sympathy, empathy or decency of any kind left. I can think of many unbelievers who, while obviously not saved, are basically 'decent' whom one would feel safe around.
The Main Reason People Aren't Saved is Unwillingness to Be
In my experience the commonest reason for people not coming to Messiah and to salvation is their unwillingness to do so. They 'believe' but they refuse to exercise saving emunah (faith) (which is proactive) just like the demons (Jas.2:19). But for Spurgeon and Calvin, all are unable to believe the Besorah (Gospel) unless Elohim (God) effectively forces him because, according to Calvinism, they have no choice in the matter. Elohim (God) predestined  (as opposed to simply knowing beforehand who would choose salvation and who would not) the Calvinist like an automaton and then (in order to make sense of the rest of Scripture) conveyed to the one thus pre-elected the fruit of one having exercised free agency that is inconsistent actual predestination. Clearly if the saved are predestined, then Scriptures such as "all men everywhere" (Ac.17:30) are called to repent and accept the Good News make no sense whatsoever.
An Irrational Religion
Calvinism, like Mormonism, is irrational which is why you cannot usually reason with Calvinists. "Come now, let us reason together" (Isa.1:18, NIV) over the unreasonableness of Calvinism is opposed by them because the spirit of unreason is what drives this spiritual movement. You only reason with someone if your purpose is to convince them of what you teach or believe and it assumes that the one you are reasoning with actually has a choice. Calvinism denies that choice when it comes to salvation. So if you are not a Calvinist, then a Calvinist believes you are unsaved even if you are bringing forth the fruit of the Ruach (Spirit) which is the evidence of salvation! That is how insane Calvinism is for it is neither rational, scientific nor spiritual. Indeed it possesses the character markings of cultism in my estimation. In a minute you'll see how Spurgeon tries to 'explain' how unsaved, fruit-bearing 'Christians' who exercise free will are actually unsaved, reminding me of the time a KJV-Onlyer said I was unsaved because I didn't believe the King James Bible was the only perfect one and was essential to salvation. Since I proclaimed Yah'shua (Jesus) using another version (like, God forbid, the NIV), I was still unsaved because I didn't use the correct Jacobean English!
Influence, Not Compulsion
For a person to be saved does not mean that there cannot be an influence of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). Were there is no Ruach (Spirit) then, no doubt, few if any would want to be saved, for they would prefer the inclination of the fallen, carnal, fleshy, Adamic nature, having nothing to compare with. The Ruach (Spirit) provides that contrast, giving us a foretaste of salvation, rather like food-tasting. That is the grace or undeserved loving-kindness that draws and wooes us but we can still resist it - we can refuse salvation. Indeed, before anything else, I have always believed that free agency or choice is one of the cardinal laws set up in the Universe, because without it there cannot be authentic ahavah (love). 'Those convinced against their will remain unconvinced still' is a truism learned by mankind through millennia of observation. Those forced to be saved...well, you get my drift.
The Oxymoron of Irresistable Grace
Spurgeon does not believe in just the 'influence' of the Ruach (Spirit) as we do which leads me to suspect he is playing word games, as one is inevitably forced to do in the defence of any false doctrine. Spurgeon believes in causation of his 'Holy Spirit' - there is a fundamental difference between this and 'influence'. 'Influence' means you can choose to give in to the influence or resist it. But when Calvinists believe in 'irresistable grace' - to me, that is an oxymoron or utter contradiction in terms, rather like 'mortal immortality' - they're saying you can't say 'yes' or 'no' because no free will is involved.
Resisting Divine Influence
Scripture teaches the principle of weighing things up and then making a decision. People do resist influence, even if it is 'extreme influence' such as when someone puts a gun to your head and orders you to renounce your faith. People get shot resisting 'extreme influence'. If man is depraved it is because he has chosen to be so which is why we find degrees of depravity, from the white collar thief to the brutal ISIS killer. But in the Calvinist view of things it is 'either/or' - saved or unsaved, full of grace or full of depravity. Such a notion runs contrary to the witness of life itself. Indeed, Scripture speaks of peoples 'ripening in iniquity' for whom salvation is no longer possible because they have crossed a certain line, having chosen to sin more and more over time to the point where they are openly defying the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), knowing full well what they are doing. If the Calvinist model were correct, such would make no sense at all. We might all as well be ISIS killers before being forced to be saved against our will because an arbitrary decision had been made in Heaven by Elohim (God) to save us. 'You will be saved, don't argue!'
The Punishment Must Fit the Crime
Have you ever expressed the thought that all sin is equally bad? If you have, you might have been reflecting Calvinist thinking rather than Biblical thought. Torah does not have the same penalty for all sin. There are different punishments because sin is categories, some being worse (meriting the death penalty) and some not so bad (meriting a fine). We all recognise and accept a justice of a penal system which has a range of penalties - 'let the punishment fit the crime' is something nearly all agree with. Yet not Calvinism. That is why there are different degrees of glory in the afterlife, based on what we chose, or chose not to do, here. It is the Calvinists who invented the 'heaven' where everyone is rewarded the same way even though Scripture says otherwise.
Yahweh's True Character Revealed
The evidence of life tells us that we have the ability to corrupt ourselves and go astray to whatever degree we choose. People halt at certain points, choosing to go no further. 'Oh, I'd never go that far!' you might have heard someone say, or perhaps even say it yourself, because your conscience (accusing you when you do wrong, and excusing you when you do right) would not allow you . And what is your conscience? It is, in part, the accumulation of free-will choices to do good or evil which filters the Light of Messiah which everyone entering this world is born with, "that was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world" (John 1:9, NKJV). Paul even tells us that those who never get to hear the Besorah (Gospel) will be judged according to the 'torah' they lived while on earth, Yahweh foreknowing what they would have chosen if they had heard it. (Of course, it's a different matter if we hear it and reject it - Rom.10:17). All of this reveals the character of Elohim (God), His ahavah (love) and his justice, a very different kind of Elohim (God) to the god of the Calvinists.
Calvin's Christ Did Not Die for Everyone
Spurgeon, like Calvin, did not believe that Yah'shua (Jesus) came to die for the sins of all men:
Pieces in the Doctrinal Jigsaw
"If Christ on His cross intended to save every man, then He intended to save those who were lost before He died. If the doctrine be true, that He died for all men, then He died for some who were in Hell before He came into this world, for doubtless there were even then myriads there who had been cast away because of their sins...That seems to me a conception a thousand times more repulsive than any of those consequences which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of special and particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men who were or are in Hell, seems a supposition too horrible for me to entertain" .
The jigsaw puzzle that is our dotrinal belief system consists of many pieces which, if any be in error, will inevitably discolour or disfigure all the rest as we try to force them into the divine scheme. Given Spurgeon's beliefs about hell, little wonder he was appalled at the false picture he had painted before himself. Indeed, he must have been baffled (though there does tend to be a thick veil over the eyes of those who read Scriptures under the influence of false spirits) when he considered how His Messiah had gone to hell to set free those captives who had died in the days of Noah:
Did Christ Thumn His Nose at Those in Prison?
"For Messiah died for sins once for all [people], the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to Elohim (God). He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Ruach (Spirit), through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when Elohim (God) waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built" (1 Peter 3:18-20, NIV).
Why would He go there, to the spirit prison (hell), if there was no hope for anyone - was it merely to thumb His nose at them and tell them that He had died for the saved only and that they would be remaining there for all eternity? No wonder Calvinists are baffled by this passage for they do not understand at all the doctrine of universal graded salvation which reveals even more of the grace of our Elohim (God)! But that is not something I have time to get into here.
John MacArthur is Baffled
Of course, Calvinists like John MacArthur have their 'explanations' (as they must, for we all are driven seek a comprehensive system of belief that holds together) though admits that "this passage proves to be one of the most difficult texts in the New Testament to translate and interpret" . According to MacArthur, Yah'shua (Jesus) went down to hell to "proclaim His victory" though, as I have said, I cannot imagine for what possible righteous reason other than to rub their proverbial noses in the muck, which I don't, of course, believe He ever would, or could, because that would be out of character. But, then, that's just the point - Calvinists have fundamentally misunderstood the character of Elohim (God), worshipping, to me, a strange and highly unattractive being whom I would never wish to follow. And that was the being Spurgeon followed, or at least some part of him.
An Irrational Fear of Wasted Blood
For Spurgeon, then, it was more horrible that Messiah died for all men for all time - who wants all to genuinely be saved, having been given the opportunity to be so saved whether they were born and lived before His incarnation or afterwards - than Messiah not dying for everybody. Did He think that the saving blood would be wasted?
The Passover Illustration
"I would rather believe a limited atonement that is efficacious for all men for whom it was intended, than a universal atonement that is not efficacious for anybody, except the will of men be added to it" .
This is a typical example of Calvinistic twisting to make their doctrine look good by deliberately making the opposite of what they believe look bad. But this just isn't how Yahweh works. In the story of Pesach (Passover) it is the passover lamb that saves them from the destroying malak (angel) provided certain conditions are adhered to, of which there are two:
Conditional Atonement Revealed
- 1. The blood must be applied to the doorposts of each house; and
- 2. The family must remain indoors in the house on which the blood as been applied during the night the malak (angel) passes by.
The blood is efficacious only if the two conditions are met. If someone failed to put the blood on the doorposts, or decided to wander outside their home when the destroying malak (angel) went by bearing the tenth plague, the blood would not work for him. Likewise, the Blood of Messiah is efficiacious for all provided the conditions are met and the one to whom salvation is being offered accepts the conditions on which the atonement is being made for them. If they won't trust in Messiah and repent of their sins (the two conditions for salvation) then the universal blood of atonement cannot be applied to them, they cannot be saved (delivered) and they must perish in their sins.
The Insanity of Calvinism
Yet using Spurgeon's twisted logic, it is a terrible thought that blood might be provided on such terms, worse than man might have a choice in applying it or not! This is the insanity of Calvinism. What Spurgeon and Calvin are in effect saying is that the Passover Blood should only have been offered to a few households which have been locked from the outside so that the families couldn't get out even if they wanted to! Spurgeon would rather have that scenario than the Passover Blood be offered to all households. That is non-sensical.
Knowing He is Elect is the Calvinist's Priority
Yahweh wants all to be saved. His ahavah (love) is sent to all mankind because He wants all to come to repentance and none perish. Just because some choose not to be saved doesn't mean we have to invent a crazy doctrine insisting they never, in fact, chose for themselves. For a Calvinist, the question is not whether one has believed the Besorah (Gospel) but whether you, from eternity past, were predestined by Elohim (God) among the elect. What is therefore important for Calvinists is not whether you have emunah (faith) but whether you are, or not, the elect. That is what serious (as opposed to casual) Calvinists lose their sleep over and the problem is they can never know, anymore than a Jehovah's Witness can know whether he's one of the 144,000
Spurgeon further said:
"I question whether we have preached the whole counsel of God (Elohim), unless predestination with all its solemnity and sureness be continually declared" .
This is 'good' counsel for Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses too who never preach the whole of their doctrine either. How many Mormon missionaries tell their investigators that Adam is their god (they believe God was once a human being ), that one day they will become gods too , that 'Jesus' and Satan are brothers, or that you must shed your own blood to be saved if you murder someone (the Doctrine of 'Blood Atonement' ). Of course, most of them don't even now know that this is what their Church believes and you'll only hear these doctrines openly preached by Fundamentalist Mormons nowadays.
Sneaking in TULIP
The Calvinists are little different. They don't proclaim the whole counsel of Elohim (God) in their witnessing. Rather, their beliefs about TULIP are sneaked in over time. Here's a question they need to answer: if Elohim (God) is irresistably drawing people, then surely He can not only irresistably draw them to salvation but to Calvinism (His supposedly true doctrine) as well! They have that one 'covered' too as this self-contradictory quote of Spurgeon perfectly illustrates:
The Corrupt Saint, Another Oxymoron
A 'saint' or qadosh is a 'holy' or 'set-apart' person. When you say that corruption is to be found in a 'saint', what you are saying is that there is such a species as a 'sinful saint' or a 'saintly sinner' or ' a blind man who can see' or 'a deaf man who can hear', which biblically doesn't exist. It is impossible. You can only call yourself one of the qadoshim (saints) when you aren't sinning. Spurgeon is fundamentally denying the testimony of the apostle John who said:
The Elect are Saved No Matter What They Subsequently Do
"But if we walk in the light, as He (Yahweh) is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus), his Son, purifies us from all sin" (1 John 1:7, NIV).
The implication here is that we do sin, and when we are sinning, we are not in the light and we temporarily lose fellowship with Yah'shua (Jesus) until we have put things right. When we genuinely repent and walk in the light again, the blood of Yah'shua (Jesus) purifies us from sin, from all that we confessed, major or minor sins. Indeed if we repent fully then that same blood does what? It "purifies us from all sin", but it's our choice, and Calvinism denies that we have such a choice. To Spurgeon and his ilk we are saved no matter what we do because of election. You can't square Scripture with such nonsense. It becomes even wilder:
The Word and Common Sense Reality
"Free-will doctrine - what does it [do]? It magnifies man into God (Elohim). It declares God's (Elohim's) purposes a nullity, since they cannot be carried out unless men are willing. It makes God's (Elohim's) will a waiting servant of the will of man" .
Yahweh set things up the biblical way according to His will whether we like it of not. We may want to be pampered teacher's pets who can do no wrong and escape all punishment for actual wrong-doing, but that's not really the issue - the issue is, how did Yahweh set things up in reality? What does the Davar (Word) tell us and what does common sense reality tell us?
A Question for Calvinists on Sovereignty
Here is another question for Calvinists, who believe in the absolute sovereignty of Yahweh, to answer:
"Could Elohim (God), in His sovereignty, choose to allow man to have free will to repent or not and to believe the Besorah (Gospel) or not? Can a sovereign Elohim (God) choose to do that?"
They would, of course, say 'no' because that's not how they choose to define 'sovereignty' yet in so defining Him by mere human fiat they are limiting Elohim (God). What we are asking, in a round about sort of way, is this: could the sovereign Elohim (God) have chosen what we, for convenience, call 'Arminianism' as His method of salvation if He wanted to? If you believe in Sovereignty, you have to say 'yes', whether for Arminianism or Calvinism. Then the question becomes: which of these (or any other) doctrines harmonies with what Yahweh has said about Himself in Scripture?
The Chosen Method
I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that the Bible screams out the message, loud and clear, from Genesis to Revelation, that Yahweh has set up free will as an essential component and governing force of life. If Elohim (God) has chosen His method, does that make man 'God', as Spurgeon claims, by asserting free will? Our assertion as non-Calvinists is that He has indeed chosen this method, so how does proclaiming it mean we are setting ourselves up as Elohim (God)? We're simply agreeing with Him, which is submission, not setting ourselves up as 'God'. It's His system, not ours, and no man has any business complaining how He set it all up.
No First Step For Spurgeon
Arminianism Still Makes Yahweh First
"If God (Elohim) requires of the sinner, dead in sin, that he should take the first step, then He requries just that which renders salvation as impossible under the gospel as it was under the law, since man is as unable to believe as he is to obey" .
First of all, Elohim (God) doesn't require man to take the first step. When it comes to salvation, Yahweh is always the first mover, because He brings the Besorah (Gospel) to the sinner who must first hear it in order to be saved. How He does so - through a missionary, preacher, reading a tract, watching a video, listening to a CD, having a malak (angel) visit and teach him in the flesh or through a dream or vision, or reading the Bible - doesn't matter. The important thing is you have to hear the Good News in order to be saved - it doesn't come from within themselves. They have to hear it or read it in some way or another. Thus, indisputably, Elohim (God) is always 'first', since it's His Davar (Word). Yahweh requires that man submit himself to emet (truth), believe and obey the Besorah (Gospel). Thus man must believe, of his own free will, in order to be saved, because Yahweh forces no-one to believe or obey.
Calvinism's 'God' Does Your believing and Obeying For You
Yet, listening to Spurgeon, you would be forced to conclude that Elohim (God) is doing the believing and obeying for you because Calvinists believe you have no ability to! Or else you have to be converted and regenerated first so that you are able to believe and obey. Doesn't this all sound a bit like putting the cart before the horse?
Spurgeon's Vision of the Very Beginning
It gets better:
Arbitrarily Chosen to Be Damned
"God (Elohim) from the beginning chose His people; when the unnavigated ether was yet unfanned by the wing of a single angel (malak), when space was shoreless, or else unborn, when universal silence reigned, and not a voice or whisper shocked the solemnity of silence, then there was no being, and no motion, no time, and naught but God (Elohim) Himself, alone in His eternity" .
So here is Spurgeon's Calvinistic god deciding who He will choose and whom He will damn long before He created anything or anyone. Yes, He chose to damn people not based on any sinning and rebelling they may have done (or would do), and chose to save people not based on any emunah (faith) or teshuvah (repentance). In other words, it was a straight divine choice, rather like a Roman Caesar like Calligula, or the Commandant Amon Göth of the Kraków-Płaszów Concentration Camp in Poland  deciding upon whim who would live and who would die. In other words, the decision was entirely arbitrary, almost like roulette. Spurgeon's god has chosen to damn some and save others not based on anything else but His own choice - sin doesn't even factor in because no one has yet been created to sin yet! Yet Calvin's god chose to damn them. And I have to say again, this is not the Elohim (God) I know, love and serve. In fact, this kind of behaviour reminds me a lot of some of the character traits of my mortal Enemy.
We are dealing with an alternative reality here and so explanations have to be invented to make sense of it, as in any false religion. So Spurgeon comes to this conclusion:
Like the Two Mormon Plans of Salvation
"Let me tell you, the reason why many of our churches are declining is just because this doctrine [of unconditional election] has not been preached" .
Calvinism actually removes the need for a creation or earth life at all. If no choosing is involved, then what is the point of even being born? Why even bother having churches and preachers? Why even bother to create human beings? If the Calvinist creation is for their god's pleasure and glory without any free will on the part of man, then we are forced to conclude that He takes pleasure and glory from seeing both those whom he has chosen to be saved, be saved, and those he has chosen to be damned, be damned and suffer in eternity. Did you know that Mormonism has a doctrine which teaches that Satan was not only their Jesus' 'brother' but that each offered different plans of salvation, Satan guaranteeing that human soul would be lost because they would be forced to be saved! How is that different from Calvinism? Having in my youth spent three years as a Mormon I can testify that the spirit of these two religions is frighteningly similar because both are based on compulsion, and there is no ahavah (love) in compulsion, and certainly no spiritual growth.
When people Fall Away
Churches decline and people turn away from Messiah because they choose to sin and stop believing...or the leaders do...or both. Think about it. Spurgeon is saying that the reason churches are declining is because people are not hearing the teaching that in eternity past Elohim (God) chose who would be saved and who would be damned. That doesn't even make sense! Why would anyone respond to such preaching anyway? If Elohim (God) is going to save you, He's going to do it no matter what you do. All that people falling away from a Calvinist Church would prove is that they were never saved in the first place, so why bother to admonish them? Let them go on their merry way!
A Recipe for Insecurity
Worse, this will create in those who are genuine believers a sense of eternal INsecurity because they don't know whether they are elect or not. They will then conclude that wonderful people who seemed like Christians, having the fruit of the Ruach (Spirit) over many long and faithful years of service, who, when they fall away from a Calvinist Church, will turn out to have never been Christian in the first place! Not only that, but there would be no incentive to try and win them back! They would conclude that they were never saved in the first place, contrary to all the Scriptural evidence describing what true believers look like.
Charles Finney and the Calvinists
Charles Finney (1792-1875), who was an American contemporary of Charles Spurgeon in England and a great Presbyterian revivalist preacher during the Second Great Awakening, was a former Calvinist himself. He would tell people that they needed to repent and get saved and started one of America's greatest revivals ever. He would go to Calvinist Churches where he found people sitting around waiting for Elohim (God) to save and regenerate them against their own will because, they believed, they couldn't do it themselves. He came and told them, 'No, you've got to do it! You've got to repent, you've got to believe'. And Calvinists started getting saved in droves!
Calvinism Breeds Pride
Unconditional election does not generate action, it doesn't make people want to be saved or read the Bible because in their minds it is all their god's doing. Indeed, the only reason that would even make such people want to keep on coming to their churches anymore would be their PRIDE because of their belief that they were one of the 'elect'. CALVINISM PRODUCES PRIDE but Yahweh says He "hate[s] pride and arrogance" (Prov.8:13, NIV).
Some Reformed Baptists
Not so long ago I was watching an informal video made by some Reformed Baptist leaders (who are Calvinists) talking amongst themselves and I was shocked by the pride I heard. They sounded just like the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses puffed up by a belief in their own exclusiveness. Why wouldn't the doctrine of unconditional election create a sense of superiority and spawn pride? It certainly doesn't breed humility. The arrogance and conceit made me sick. Without realising it, they were boasting that they were the elect, their god's special pets.
Cocky and Smug
No, no, no, this is not the true Besorah (Gospel), it is the very opposite of it. If you have ever heard Independent Fundamentalist KJV-Only Calvinist Steven Anderson preach, you will know what kind of spirit I am talking about. And though I have learned some historical and scriptural truths from him (he is not fooled by Zionism to his credit), as I have from James R. White, both of whom are Reformed Calvinist Baptists and gifted orators like Spurgeon himself (though White is anti-KJV-Only and I have learned a lot from him intellectually too), I have been repulsed by that cocky, smug and arrogant spirit that every now and then breaks out in the Calvinist clan.
Declaring the Truth to Be a Great Lie
So do you still believe, along with Spurgeon, that "he that is saved is saved because God (Elohim) has chosen to save him" ? I don't. And I don't believe Spurgeon when he calls the doctrine that you have to believe to be saved "a great lie":
The Real Reason Men are Damned
"Some insist that Christ died for everybody. Why, then, are not all men saved? Because all men will not believe? That is to say that believing is necessary in order to make the blood of Christ efficacious for redemption. We hold that to be a great lie" .
No. The only reason men are guilty and damnable is because they could have repented, believed and obeyed and thus chosen a different life and eternity. Indeed, how there even be such a thing as 'guilt' if Yahweh has already decided? You have to reinvent the English language to make sense out of Calvinism and even then it still doesn't make sense.
Extreme Calvinist Antinomianism
It should come as no surprise to learn that Calvinists are amongst the most extreme antinomians there are. They positively hate the Torah (Law)! I can guess why (apart from the standard Protestant excuses). The Torah generates guilt when we choose to sin, because sinning is breaking the mitzvot (commandments) of the Law (Torah). Since there can be no repentance for sin (because of election) the Torah becomes a stumbling-block to them. It reminds them of the emet (truth) so they have to 'nail it to the cross' (as opposed to its penalty, which was what was really nailed there) so as not to have a troubled conscience.
Law-Breaking and Guilt
Since guilt is the fact or state of having done wrong through breaking a law, moral or otherwise, and rises within our souls when we acknowledge our responsibility mentally and emotionally, and demands a response through an act of will in terms of acceptance or denial, it can have no existential part in the one elected to salvation, because in the Calvinist system you cannot repent, believe and obey to be saved because you already are saved by divine fiat. That makes Calvinism the great lie, not Arminianism.
Spurgeon's Limited Atonement
That, of course, is all based in the Calvinistic 'limited atonement' doctrine, one of the five inseparable doctrinal links that is TULIP, that cannot be proved from Scripture.
"Christ came into this world with the intention of saving 'a multitude which no man can number'; and we believe that as a result of this, every person for whom He died must, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be cleansed from sin, and stand, washed in the blood, before the Father's throne...Jesus (Yah'shua) did not die in vain, for none whom Christ died will ever perish in hell" .
Summarising the Basic Gospel
The 'Good News' that is the Besorah (Gospel), which Calvinism entirely misses, may be summarised thus:
No Delusion of Human Pride
Messiah died for you. He loves you so much that He came all the way from Heaven, incarnated as a lowly human servant, in order to pay the full penalty for your sins so that He could rescue you from hell. If you had been the only person on earth, He would still have died for you!
That is the Good News which we offer to our family, friends and acquaintances. It is not, as the Calvinists claim, a delusion of human pride to think that anyone can say 'yes' or 'no' to Yahweh. It was not decided an eternity ago - who would be saved and who would not, however eloquently modern, popular 'moderate' Calvinistic preachers like John Piper now try to argue in defence of a sadistic doctrine.
Calvin's God's Deception and Mental Torture
Indeed, Calvin himself taught that Elohim (God) practiced deception and mental torture:
In other words, on occasion (for reasons known only to themselves, but which Calvin is forced to acknowledge from his personal experience of saved Christians whom he considers unsaved because they reject his doctrine) he gives to some of those elected to damnation that sense of His ahavah (love) and shalom (peace) which only the truely saved know, and then throws them into hell anyway to be tortured for all eternity. This is absolutely monstrous and more reminiscent of Stalin than the true Creator, all because observation doesn't fit preconceived doctrine.
"...the Lord [sometimes]...leave[s] them (those chosen to be damned) without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of His goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption" .
Desperate Attempts to Save TULIP
In truth, Calvinists are forced to hold to 'limited atonement' doctrine, not because it is scriptural, but because without it, the other four links in TULIP would not adhere. Spurgeon offers his own illustration to try and explain:
The Twisted Logic of Two Separate Calls
"The general call of the gospel is like the common 'cluck' of the hen which she is always giving when her chickens are around her. But if there is any danger impending, then she gives a very peculiar call, quite different from the ordinary one, and the little chicks come running as fast as they can, and hide for safety under her wings. That is what we want, God's (Elohim's) peculiar and effectual call to His own" .
Here Spurgeon is making a distinction between the call sent out to everyone and the special one designed only for those who are elected to salvation, one they cannot miss or refuse any more than a chick can its mother's alarm call. In other words, it's all programmed behaviour, both the message and the response, with no chance of anything going wrong for the elect. No such diffentiation exists in Scripture, of course, but has to be conjured like a rabbit from the proverbial magician's hat to make sense of why the witness is sent out to those who are predestined to salvation and don't stand a chance of repenting and being saved because Calvin's god has decided they can't anyway. Only one call is acknowledged and given in Scripture so that everyone listening to it has a genuine choice to accept it and be saved or reject it and remain damned.
Forced to be Willing
Now for another piece of gobbledegook from Spurgeon:
Spurgeon Plays Semantic Games
"A man is not saved against his will, but is made willing by the operation of the Holy Ghost. A mighty grace which he does not wish to resist enters into the man, disarms him, makes a new creature of him, and he is saved" .
A man is not saved against his will but is made willing... What on earth does that mean? This is playing with words and they talk this gobbledegook because they know that so many people believe in free will. Indeed, there are modern Calvinists like John MacArthur who call authentic Calvinism 'Hyper-Calvinism' and try to strike a compromise...which is, of course, impossible.
MacArthur in his book, The Love of God, attempts to reconcile soverign election with Elohim's (God's) love for the world, that is, everyone. But how can you claim you love everyone when you arbitrary condemn millions to burning hell for a choice they did not make? This 'moderate Calvinism' is as non-sensical as 'moderate Islam', and whilst there are indeed 'moderate Moslems' as there are 'moderate Calvinists' like MacArthur, their moderation, which comes of making a choice for goodness, directly conflicts with their avowed Calvinistic doctrine which says they cannot choose...when they have chosen.
A Comparison With Radical and Moderate Moslems
I have more respect for radical Moslems than I do moderate Moslems not because I like the demented radical religionists and their vile behaviour but because they are at least more intellectually honest - they attept to live out what their Quran and Haddiths tell them. 'Moderate Moslems' really aren't Moslems at all, any more than 'moderate Calvinists' are Calvinists. When MacArthur insists that Yahweh "has a sincere desire for everyone to be saved", he is speaking the emet (truth) but not as a Calvinist. You cannot have a 'sincere desire' to save someone you have predestined to eternity in the Lake of Fire.
The 'Different Kinds of Love' Cop-Out
Another so-called 'moderate Calvinist' tries to get around the dilemma by positing that the Calvinist god has different kinds of 'love' for those predestined to salvation and those predestined to destruction though he is at least honest enough to admit that "the universal love of God (Elohim) is hard to reconcile with the doctrine of election" . It's not 'hard', it's impossible, and deep down they know it. They just refuse to abandon Calvinism, for whatever personal reasons people hang onto lies when the emet (truth) is staring them in the face.
Reasons People Cling onto Lies
One of the commonest reasons is the fear of a loss of ministry, reputation, friends and family. But you have to be prepared to lose both of these, and possibly fat salaries, for the sake of emet (truth). We certainly have in this ministry. The good news is, once you've lost both, you can't lose them again, leaving you free to preach the emet (truth) without restraint. That is a freedom I wholly relish.
Sneaky and Treacherous Explanations
"A man is not saved against his will, but is made willing..." is sneaky, treacherous and wicked, because it describes the character of the devil more than it does that of the true Elohim (God). We don't need to play word games to teach and preach the emet (truth). And once you start doing that you know you've lost your way. You're in the wilderness and won't come out of it until you have repented and acknowledged and declared the emet (truth).
Calvinism is a short-cut to maturity and responsibility that doesn't work - and cannot ever work - because it isn't of Yahweh. It's adherents end up blaspheming His character. Just look at the Spurgeonite connundrum - "a man is not saved against his will, but is made willing..." So did he 'choose' to be made willing? Or was that 'choosing' also done against his will? And if that was done against his will, then he is openly saved against his will, because according to the Calvinists they are so depraved, so unable to choose, that the influence of Elohim (God) is wholly irresistable, what one commentator rightly calls 'virtual spiritual rape'.
An Example of a Powerful Influence
There are accounts in Scripture of powerful influences of Elohim (God) on man. Take Paul on the Damascus Road - he is blinded by light, hears a voice from Heaven, and has to wait for Ananias to come and give him healing. But Paul could have refused the offer of salvation. He could have walked around the rest of his life denying he had that experience, being blind, never getting his sight back, never following Yah'shua (Jesus), never writing a third of the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament), never evangelising the gentiles. He could have refused.
An Actual Example of Someone Who Refused and Walked Away
'Impossible' some of you may insist. No, not at all. I know one lady who was dying in hospital, a drug addict, who called upon Yahweh for help in her desperation. Yah'shua (Jesus) physically manifested Himslf to her in her hospital room while she was awake, completely healed her of her drug dependency, and spiritually regenerated her. Would you be envious of such a testimony? I know a lot who would be, who have had nothing as spectacular as that. But do you know what? After a few years of service in the Kingdom, for reasons known only to herself, she disowned Yah'shua (Jesus) and converted to Judaism, calling all the previous work of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) in her life 'witchcraft'!
Paul Testifies of Free Agency
Yes, brethren and sisters, it is possible to resist and say no, very definitely, both in refusing initial salvation and later in openly and defiantly denying it. It happens. Calvinists would say she was never saved and disregard all that had happened to her in the hospital. Do you see the problem? For Paul himself testified that he did have free will: "I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision" (Acts 26:19, NKJV)...which tells us he could have been disobedient if he wanted to be. Otherwise it is a meaningless statement (from the Calvinist perspective).
No Responsible Choice Allowed for the Calvinist
No such responsible choice is, alas, allowed for for the Calvinist:
Saving the Worst of Sinners
"The swearing reprobate, whose mouth is blackened with profanity, whose heart is a very hell, and his life looks like the reeking flames of the bottomless pit - such a man, if the Lord but looks on him and makes bare His arm of irresistable grace, shall yet praise God (Elohim) and bless His name and live to His honour" .
I believe that Yahweh can save sinners such as the reprobate man Spurgeon describes - of course. He can turn them completely, plucking them out of hellish darkness and misery and lift them up into the joyous Heavenly Light. Elohim (God) can, and does, save the worst of sinners. But not by spiritual rape - not by forcing someone against his will, not by flexing His muscles of 'irresistable grace'. There is a grace, totally, but it is resistable and is probably the most resisted thing in the whole world because most people reject Yah'shua (Jesus).
The Big Question for Calvinists
I must here ask the 'BIG QUESTION' again: if Yahweh can save the worst of sinners by 'irresistable grace', WHY DOESN'T HE DO IT FOR EVERYONE? What possible reason could there be? If you as a feeling, caring parent had the power to save all of your children from a life of misery, pain and suffering and could give them lives of joy and happiness, would you not choose to give the best possible life to all of them? I would! How come love-filled believers can be more loving than Calvin's god of fate??! There is no answer to that question, in spite of the vaccuous and senseless answers that some hyper-Calvinists give you, hiding as they do, because they are forced to, behind the 'mystery' of the Almighty.
Mystery? No sir, no ma'am, there is no 'mystery' here! Yah'shua (Jesus) Himself revealed what the true Elohim (God) is like, one very different from the Calvinist entity:
Yahweh's Extraordinary Care
"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matt.10:29-31, NIV).
That is the level of care that Yahweh-Elohim exercises over the tiniest creatures, yet Calvin's god is willing to torture millions in hell for eternity, people have been given no ability to choose salvation and righteousness, whose only crime is some deity's 'inscrutible will', an intellectual cop-out if ever there was one.
The Reality But Not Eternity of Hell
Now I am not denying the existence of hell, punishment and justice. Far from it. This is not primarily or even secondarily an emotional response on my part but first Scriptural and and then spiritual. Inevitably one has emotions when Elohim's (God's) character is maligned but are not given first place. I do question an eternal hell but that is a separate discussion altogether.
Calvin's God Could Not Care Less About the Damned
I question the implied Calvinistic doctrine that Elohim (God) doesn't love or care for those millions which He arbitrarily condemns to an eternity of misery, unleashing His uncontainable wrath on them, something you have to accept if you believe in limited atonement.
Calvanists Burned Those Who Disagreed With Them at the Stake
Perhaps that is why the early Calvinists in Geneva had no qualms about burning doctrinal opponents at the stake, just like their Lutheran opposite numbers and just like their mutual Catholic opponents. You can try and blame the 'age' for such behaviour if you like but to me that is a cop-out too. We are seeing such behaviour in the ISIS lands today, and worse behaviour than those 'heretic'-burning pseudo-Christians, but good people will always renounce and condemn such wicked behaviour. Executing opponents is what comes of rejecting free will because it forces you to show no respect for those who exercise it. If 'god' is going to unconditionally damn them, then where's the harm in burning them at the stake? Why leave them around to cause more dissent when their predestined fate is eternal fire anyway?
A Doctrine of Compulsion Made in Hell
Spurgeon, like all the genuine hyper-Calvinists believed, in my estimation, in a sick, warped doctrine that can only have been concocted in hell itself. He said:
A Forced Marriage
"When He first came to me, did I not spurn Him? When he knocked at the door, and asked for entrance, did I not drive Him away, and do despite His grace? Ah! I can remember that I full often did so until, at last, by the power of His effectual grace, He said, 'I must, I will come in;' and then He turned my heart, and made me love Him" .
Does he even know what he is saying? "'I must, I will come in;' and then He turned my heart, and made me love Him" is a truly shocking thing to say. Doesn't ahavah-, agapé-love demand free will? Is love that is forced really 'love' at all? If there was a woman a man wanted to marry, but she didn't want to marry the man, and he could push a button on the back of her neck that would make her love him and marry him, wouldn't he second-guess himself the rest of his life and wonder, 'Does this woman really love me? Or did I force her to love me?'
A Kind of Witchcraft
"I must, I will come in" almost sounds like a rapist or a pedophile! 'I must do it! I will do it!' and then overpowers his victim. Obviously this god is more powerful, overpowering someone not as powerful as himself. "He turned my heart, and made me love Him." This is obscene, it is not divine ahavah (love), this sounds more like a spell of witchcraft.
A True Romance
How different the man who loves a woman and wants to marry her but waits for her, prays for her and continues to live a qadosh (holy, set-apart) life as he waits patiently for her, without force, to respond. He serves with her in the vineyard of the Master's Kingdom and both learn about the other's personality in the kind of life that matters, and in the end she is attracted by the man's character. Then maybe they have some chaparoned dates and she begins to love the man.
How Yahweh Courted Israel
Is that not how it is supposed to be? Is this not the picture we get of Yahweh's courtship of Israel in the Book of Hosea? Do you see the difference between this and Calvanism's forced love? True love is an influence for good, not an irresistable power. It isn't pushing a button on someone's neck so that one second there is hate and the next passionate love! True ahavah (love) grows steadily and strongly from a little seed into a great tree by a divine process. This is biblical tavnith (pattern).
The Nature of True Conversion
So how does true conversion work? Whilst it isn't identical in everyone, there are some general principles that we see at work when the true, non-compulsive Ruach (Spirit) is present. Yahweh is constantly trying to influence you and elicit a response. Typically, we will spurn His Besorah (Gospel) for some time until we realise the frailty of life. And then, as we look upon the Cross, see Yah'shua's (Jesus') great ahavah (love) for us and realise we don't deserve it - rather deserving judgment and punishment for our rebelliousness - and that the only proper response is to give our life to Him...to love Him back. Other sinners see the same thing and they spurn it. Sometimes they believe it and then later spurn that ahavah (love), returning to their sins. Yah'shua (Jesus) does not keep us a helpless prisoner because that is not true ahavah (love).
The Forced Gospel of Spurgeon
How so, so different is Spurgeon's view!
Moslem Sword and Calvinist Sword
"You yourselves say, 'we won't come'; God (Elohim) says, 'You shall come.' Yes! There are some here who are laughing at [Calvinist] salvation, who can scoff at Christ, and mock at the gospel; but I tell you some of you shall come yet. 'What!' you say, 'can God (Elohim) make (force) me become a Christian?' I tell you yes, for herein rests the power of the gospel. It does not ask your consent; but it gets it. It does not say, will you have it? But it makes you willing in the day of God's (Elohim's) power" .
Beyond a shadow of doubt Spurgeon taught that Calvinism which teaches that Elohim (God) saves man against his will. Is it any wonder that un unbeliever would mock and scoff such a 'gospel'? Perhaps it might appeal to a radical Moslem heart which believes in forced conversions - the difference is simply in the difference between the swords, one physical and one spiritual, though no doubt the Genevan Calvinists may have offered to save the lives of those they had fastened to stakes for burning if they would but recant by saying something equivalent to, 'Calvin's (or Spurgeon's) god is great!'
The Good Things Spurgeon Said
'But Spurgeon had good things to say too!' I hear people tell me. Yes, of course he did. Most people who teach false doctrines - doctrines that are seriously in error - won't be teaching 100 per cent falsehood. They will also speak emet (truth), which is one of the deceptions of the Calvinistic movement. I was drawn to Spurgeon, and decided to buy his library, because of the many fine quotations that I saw from him. Isn't that how it often works? There are good things in Mormon and Jehovah's Witness literature, true things in the Quran, true things even in atheistic humanism and communism (which borrowed heavily from Christianity and then subtracted God). There is no dispute about that. In fact, the Spurgeon book that persuaded me to get my nose down into his own books was a short biography of the man by a 'moderate' Calvinist, John Piper  which led me to another with some of his most famous exerpts . Suitably enthused, I obtained his entire collection of sermons and other writings and plunged in. Only then did my enthusiasm start to dry up as I realised just how hyper-Calvinist he was and how he was driven by a 'gospel' radically different from the one I knew from the Bible.
Sensing the Hyper Spirit in Other Calvinists
I have had the same problem with so many radical Calvinist writers. James White was a hero of mine for a while, his book on the King James Version of the Bible being undoubtedly the best study there is . But as I started getting into other books of his, where his Calvinism comes to the fore, I began to draw back, in spite of there being undoubtedly sound scholastic material which I benefitted from too . The 'love affair' was passionate but brief as I sensed the spirit in operation. Moderate Calvinists I have more time for because I think in their heart-of-hearts they are not really Calvinists but in their heads believe they are.
One of these would be moderate Calvinist Albert Mohler, head of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary who a few years ago had a close brush with death. He said that his Calvinistic faith saved him and claimed that "everyone is a Calvinist in praying before surgery". However, in reading up his experience, I realised he was not talking about Elohim's (God's) sovereignty in deciding who is saved and who is not (with which I heartily disagree) but His sovereignty in the life of the believer in all situations , something obviously Arminians have no problem with. Having voluntarily surrendered my life to Him in an act of free will, I yielded sovereignty of my life to him too. He is free to do as He pleases as my Sovereign Master even if my flesh may alas, more than occasionally, rise up in protest. I have many of Mohler's books, showing the esteem I hold him in.
Spurgeon the Gifted Speaker
One of Spurgeon's great attractions was his fiery preaching. He could grab people's attention, a great gift to be sure. But fiery, passionate people, when they get the wrong end of the stick, can become a spiritual hazzard:
Preservation of the Saints or OSAS
"They shall come! And nought in heaven, not on earth, nor in hell, can stop them from coming!" .
"I think few doctrines more vital than that of the perseverance of the saints, for if ever one child of God (Elohim) did perish, or if I knew it were possible that bone could, I should conclude at once that I must, and I suppose each of you would do the same" .
In this the fifth and last of the five heresies of Calvinism - the persevering of the saints or the preservation of the saints - it is not the believer doing the persevering but Elohim (God), which today, outside of Calvinism, we call the Once Saved, Always Saved doctrine. In other words, if you have been elected to salvation, you can never fall away and cease being a child of Elohim (God) no matter if you become a child-sacrificing devil-worshipper and openly disavow Christ and His salvation. That's an extreme example but that is what the doctrine amounts to.
A False Heavenly Insureance Policy
What is particularly dangerous about this 'heavenly insurance policy' is that it makes Calvinists careless and they do not feel the need to live their lives as qadosh (holy, set-apart) as Yahweh demands of His talmidim (disciples). Why should they? They 'know', because of their Calvinist brainwashing, that it doesn't matter what they do, because they are 'eternally secure'.
Careless With Holiness
Can you see what attitude is bred by the thinking that we are all utterly depraved sinners and that we can do nothing about it, that sinning doesn't matter because we are elected to salvation no matter what we do after we are saved? The doctrine of the Perseverence of the Saints thus becomes a vitally important teaching because without it they would be exposed as frauds and hypocrites for living lives of sin. Spurgeon found this particularly attractive personally:
Safe Forever No Matter What?
The fact that a doctrine is appealing, attractive, charming, beguiling or fascinating doesn't necessarily make it true, particularly if you are living in sin in which case its charm is irrelevent. Only if you are living a qadosh, holy or set-apart life, with your eyes firmly fixed on Yah'shua (Jesus) and His emet (truth), guarding His mitzvot (commandments), can you trust what entices you. Even then you could be tempted to sin.
The Necessity of Free-Will Repentance
"I thought it was a sort of life insurance - an insurance of my character, an insurance of my soul, an insurance of my eternal destiny. I knew that I could not keep myself, but if Christ promised to keep me, then I should be safe for ever; and I longed and prayed to find Christ, because I knew that, if I found Him, He would not give me a temporary and trumpery salvation, such as some preach, but eternal life which could never be lost" .
Well, that depends on what you do and how you live. There is no ambiguity about this in Scripture. If you sin and refuse to repent, you will perish. If you sin and repent, you will find life again:
Proactive Chosing While Leaning on Yah's Power and Strength
"If a righteous man turns from his righteousness and does evil, he will die for it. And if a wicked man turns away from his wickedness and does what is just and right, he will live by doing so" (Ezek.33:17-19, NIV).
The believer must persevere and endure to the end, meaning he must do it himself, by actively choosing righteousness, not in his own power, but by trusting in the power of Elohim (God). It isn't done for him while he sits back on the couch and watches TV. He must be proactive in his emunah (faith):
Doing Your Own Enduring in Messiah
"I can do all things through Messiah who strengthens me" (Phil.4:13, NKJV).
"He who endures to the end shall be saved" (Mark 13:13, NKJV).
The believer has to do the enduring which he can do through Yah'shua (Jesus) who gives him the strength. He isn't given a blank cheque (check) to do whatever he wants, he doesn't have an insurance policy that allows him to be spiritually wreckless and still be compensated for the losses he incurs through sin. Calvinism's universe just isn't real. Therefore:
"Walk (proactively) in the Ruach (Spirit), and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gal.5:16, NKJV).
Yet, in spite of the clear scriptural teaching, Spurgeon and the Calvinists don't get it for they are afflicted by spiritual blindness:
Outrageous Logic and Fear-Mongering
"The doctrine of the final perseverance of believers seems to me to be written as with a beam of sunlight throughout the whole of Scripture. If that is not true, there is nothing at all in the Bible that is true. It is impossible to understand the Bible at all if it is not so" .
The more false a doctrine it, the stronger, the more exaggerated and the more outrageous the words the apologist of that false doctrine uses, as this last quotation of Spurgeon shows. If the doctrine of persevernce is not true, the Bible is false - is that what he would have us believe? That is quite an intimidating statement, veritably fear-mongering. When there is no evidence to back up an exaggerated statement, threats and fear have to be employed instead. The Calvinist Doctrine of Perseverence is actually the weakest of the five key doctrines of this movement, and the easiest to dismantle, as there are almost no proof texts than can be summonsed in its defence.
Spurgeon's use of Fatalism
To disprove it would then, according to Spurgeon's own words, be to dismantle his entire religious faith. There is plenty of Scripture that testifies you can fall away from the emunah (faith) and lose your salvation. This one is totally unambiguous in this regard:
The Possibilty of Permanent Loss of Salvation Even While Alive
"It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), who have tasted the goodness of the Davar Elohim (Word of God) and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of Elohim (God) all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace" (Heb.6:4-6, NIV).
Not only does this Scripture testify that you can lose your salvation but, under certain circumstances, even while you are still alive, you can lose it permanently with no hope of ever regaining it. Calvinism has no straight answer to this leading to 'moderate' Calvinist, John MacArthur, to suggest that passages like this have "interpretive challenges" . Not really - the only challenge is to false doctrine like Calvinism's unconditional preservation of the saints. So let's understand this: you can be cut off, you can lose your emunah (faith), you can lose your salvation, you are not unconditionally secure.
The Prince of Preachers in Fundamental Error
How can Spurgeon, eulogised as the 'Prince of Preachers' by so many, get it so wrong for 40 years in the same church? How come nobody spotted his errors?
Stop Promoting This Man's False Doctrine
"If there is anything taught in Scripture for certain, it is the doctrine of the final perseverance of the saints. I am as sure that doctrine is as plainly taught as the doctrine of the deity of Christ" .
Since Calvinism was, to Spurgeon, the Gospel of Christ, then, seemingly, he viewed it as important as the deity of Christ too. Do we really want to promote this man's doctrine? Do you want to drive people to his books? I certainly do not. Why would anyone want to read the books of a man who says these incredible and patently false things to then equate them in importance with the deity of Messiah?? We have seen some of the harsh words he has had to say of those who do not believe in Calvinism. You are frankly better off without him.
YAH'SHUA'S TRUE GOSPEL DECLARED
Yah'shua (Jesus) said, "Come to me..." (Matt.11:28, NIV), not, 'I will force you to come to Me' - it's something you have to choose to do and then actually do it. The Besorah (Gospel) is, "Believe in the Master Yah'shua (Jesus), and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31, NIV) - you have to choose to believe before you can be saved - Yahweh won't do it for you. And this is what the Davar (Word) promises those who make these conscious choices:
Saved By Simply Exercising Faith Using Our Free Will
- 1. "Elohim's (God's) elect, strangers in the world...who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of Elohim (God) the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Ruach (Spirit), for obedience to Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and shalom (peace) be yours in abundance" (1 Peter 1:1-2, NIV);
- 2. "Live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in ahavah (love). Make every effort to keep the unity of the Ruach (Spirit) through the bond of shalom (peace). There is one body and one Ruach (Spirit) - just as you were called to one tiqveh (hope) when you were called - one Master (Lord), one emunah (faith), one baptism (immersion); one Elohim (God) and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all. But to each one of us grace has been given as Messiah apportioned it" (Eph.4:1-7, NIV);
- 3. "For those Elohim (God) foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, he also justified; those He justified, He also glorified" (Rom.8:29-30, NIV);
- 4. "Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of Elohim (God) - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of Elohim (God)" (John 1:12-13, NIV);
- 5. "For Elohim (God) did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him. Whoever believes in Him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because He has not believed in the name of Elohim's (God's) one and only Son...Whoever believes in the Son has eternal chayim (life), but whoever rejects the Son will not see chayim (life), for Elohim's (God's) wrath remains on him" (John 3:17-18,36, NIV);
- 6. "This is the testimony: Elohim (God) has given us eternal chayim (life), and this chayim (life) is in his Son. He who has the Son has chayim (life); he who does not have the Son of Elohim (God) does not have chayim (life). I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of Elohim (God) so that you may know that you have eternal chayim (life)" (1 John 5:11-13, NIV); and
- 7. "I tell you the emet (truth), whoever hears My Davar (Word) and believes Him who sent Me has eternal chayim (life) and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to chayim (life)" (John 5:24, NIV).
These, then, are Yahweh's conditions, based on your choices, and His assurances of your security in Him. We believed, were saved "according to the promise of chayim (life) that is in Messiah Yah'shua (Jesus)" (2 Tim.1:1, NIV), and are simply resting in shalom (peace) in His abundant promises that "whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal chayim (life)" (John 3:16, NIV). By simple emunah (faith) in Yahweh's promise (the Elohim/God who cannot lie), the believer knows that he has passed from death into chayim (life) and will never perish - and he has been given the witness of the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit) within - "he who believes in the Son of Elohim (God) has the witness in himself" (1 John 5:10, NKJV). And "the Ruach (Spirit)...testifies with our spirit that we are Elohim's (God's) children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs - heirs of Elohim (God) and co-heirs with Messiah, if indeed we share in His sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory" (Rom.8:16-17, NIV).
The Guaranteed Inheritance of the Faithful
Having "heard the word of emet (truth), the Besorah (Gospel) of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are Elohim's (God's) possession" (Eph.1:13-14, NIV). Those who believe on Yah'shua (Jesus) know they are saved and will never perish, so long as they keep on demonstrating that emunah (faith) by living the Torah lifestyle as He commanded, because Elohim (God) cannot lie. Our trust is in Him for now and in eternity.
The Guarded Treasure
Paul said, "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him for that day" (2 Tim.1:12, NIV). We, too, have believed and know the One in whom we are eternally secure. We, too, are fully persuaded by "the Elohim (God) and Father of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ)! In his great mercy He has given us new birth into a living tiqveh (hope) through the resurrection of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade - kept in heaven for you, who through emunah (faith) are shielded by Elohim's (God's) power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5, NIV).
The Many Infallible Proofs
We have the many infallible proofs of those Tanakh (Old Testament) prophecies fulfilled in the life, death and resurrection of our Master Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) . We have the historical proofs, the archaeological proofs, the scientific proofs, and the internal proofs that the Bible is Yahweh's Davar (Word). The Bible offers a true and infallible testimony of the creation of this earth, the fall of Adam and Eve, the redemption through Messiah's blood poured out in death on the cross, of His soon return for His Bride in His Second Coming to establish His Millennial Kingdom, when He will rule with a rod of iron over the nations from His throne in the New Jerusalem - and of the coming new heavens and new earth.
We simply believe the Davar Elohim (Word of God) in all things, and we are therefore certain that we are saved and that He is coming back to take us to His Father's house of many mansions to fulfill His promise "where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3, NKJV). As Paul said, "and so we will be with the Master forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thess.4:17-18, NIV). Amen.
Dedicated to my youngest daughter Liv on the occasion of her 18th birthday
 Charles Spurgeon, Election (Spurgeon's Sermons Volumes 1-2, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts: 2014), Vol.2, p.69
 Charles Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol.1 (1586)
 Charles Spurgeon, Free Will a Slave Sermon (1855)
 I highly recommend Dave Hunt's book of the same title, What Love is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God (The Berean Call, Bend, Oregon: 2006)
 Ed. David Knowles, Augustine, City of God (Penguin Books, Hammondsworth, Middlesex, England: 1972)
 Charles Spurgeon, Sermons, Vol.7, p.298
 Charles Spurgeon, Sermons, Vol.4, p.139
 A word which unfortunatelly appears in so many Calvinism-influenced English translations at Romans 8:29-30 and Ephesians 1:5,11 in contradistinction to other versions with use, for example, "foreordained" (ASV), or the more accurate "knew...previously" (AENT), "foreknew" (KNT, NRSV, ESV, Amp.V, CLNT), "knew in advance" (JNT, CJB), "knew beforehand" (ISRV-2009)
 The exercise of conscience figures around 30 times in the Scriptures from Genesis 20:5 to 1 Peter 3:21
 Charles Spurgeon, Autobiography: 1. The Early Years, p.172
 John MacArthur, The MacArthur Bible Commentary (Thomas Nelson, Nashville, Tennessee: 2005), p.1916
 Charles Spurgeon, Sermons, Vol.4, p.70
 Charles Spurgeon, Sermons, Vol.6, p.26
 Officially repudiated now though their founders, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, taught it as essential doctrine for exaltation
 They still hold to this teaching
 Also now repudiated but central to LDS beliefs in Brigham Young's day and taught in their Temple ceremonies until removed a few years ago
 Quoted in Steven J. Lawson, The Gospel Focus of Charles Spurgeon - there are several similar quotations by Spurgeon: "There is no beast in wolf or lion or serpent that is so brutish as the beast in man" and "As the salt flavors every drop in the Atlantic, so does sin affect every atom of our nature"
 Portrayed in the movie, Schindler's List
 Steven J. Lawson, op.cit.
 Calvin, Institutes III:ii,11-12
 Steven J. Lawson, op.cit.
 John MacArthur, The Love of God (Word Publishing, Dallas, Texas: 1996), p.110
 Steven J. Lawson, op.cit.
 John Piper, Charles Spurgeon: Preaching Through Adversity (Desiring God Publishers, Minneapolis, MN: 2015)
 Spurgeon's Gems: Brilliant Passages From the Discourses of the Rev. C.H.Spurgeon (Lightning Source UK Ltd.,Milton Keynes, England: 2011)
 James R. White, The King James Only Controversy: Can You Trust Modern Translations? (Bethany House, Miienapolis, MN: 2009)
 James R. White, Scripture Alone: Exploring the Bible's Accuracy, Authority and Authenticity (Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN: 2004) and The Roman Catholic Controversy: Catholics and Protestants, Do the Differences Still Matter? (Bethany House, Minneapolis, MN: 1996)
 David Van Biema, A Calvinist Faces Death
 Steven J. Lawson, op.cit.
 John MacArthur, op.cit., p.1850
 Steven J. Lawson, op.cit.
 See Messianic Prophecies and Their Fulfilment Arranged Chronologically in Biblical Evidences for Talmudic Jews
 Kerrigan Skelly, The Calvinism of Charles Spurgeon: Why Do Non-Calvinists Like Him?
Essential Reading on Calvinism
 Dave Hunt, What Love is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God (The Berean Call, Bend, Oregon: 2006)
Comments From Readers
 "I like the article overall. It is informative and nails the inconsistencies of Calvinists. But the author should have familiarized himself better with the supra and infra schisms within Calvinism. He calls Spurgeon a hyper-Calvinist (and I really think all Calvinists are that in reality) but the author continually points out the 'gobbledygook' of Spurgeon's statements. The gobbledygook is there because it represents the inconsistent Calvinism of the Infralaps position which Supras (hyper-Calvinists) regard as 'Arminian blasphemy'. Spurgeon is more like Sproul, teaching double-predestination but there are again different types of double-predestination. Spurgeon's is Asymmetrical. It is Infra. We get this from his statements that Salvation is by electing grace and not from free will, while he holds that God does nothing but to leave the rest in their sins without ACTIVELY doing anything. To simplify: Salvation by irresistible grace, damnation the sinner's own fault and free-will choice. I realize the view is stupid and inconsistent, because it simply is. UNFORTUNATELY, Calvinists don't want people generally to know that there is a schism within their ranks, that way when somebody like the author of the article points out that Spurgeon was a hyper-Calvinist, then either sect who knows the distinction can retort with 'that's a misrepresentation'. To get past that, anyone who wants to really refute Calvinism in a fine-tuned manner NEEDS to understand the distinction between the supra and infra positions. Even though there is no difference between them. The distinction is in the jargon only and it is like trying to kill a zombie with two heads.
Calvin adds: 'At this point in particular the flesh rages when it hears that the predestination to death of those who perish is referred to the will of God.' (Calvin's New Testament Commentaries: Romans and Thessalonians, p.208) And this indicts Spurgeon who said: 'If any of you want to know what I preach every day, and any stranger should say, 'Give me a summary of his doctrine,' say this, 'He preaches salvation all of grace, and damnation all of sin. He gives God all the glory for every soul that is saved, but he won't have it that God is to blame for any man that is damned.' That teaching I cannot understand. My soul revolts at the idea of a doctrine that lays the blood of man's soul at God's door. I cannot conceive how any human mind, at least any Christian mind, can hold any such blasphemy as that.' (Jacob and Esau)" (AP,USA, 12 December 2016)