Exposing The Presbyterian Church (Part 1)
By: Brian A. Yeager
Like most denominations, the Presbyterian Church has many different sects among them. They are divided on various issues, but are in agreement on their main false doctrines. In fairness, I am aiming to only address the beliefs that are held most often among all of those divisions. In the Presbyterian Church there are Evangelical Presbyterian Churches (http://www.epc.org/), Orthodox Presbyterian Churches (http://www.opc.org/), First Presbyterian Churches (http://www.fpcf.org/), and the list could go on. If you research all of these sects of this denomination they have more in common than just the term “Presbyterian”. John Calvin is one common thread among all the sects of the Presbyterian Church.
The New Oxford American Dictionary says this: “Presbyterianism was first introduced in Geneva in 1541 under John Calvin, in the belief that it best represented the pattern of the early church. There are now many Presbyterian Churches (often called Reformed Churches) worldwide, notably in the Netherlands and Scotland and in countries with which they have historic links (including the U.S. and Northern Ireland)”. The official United States Presbyterian Church website says this: “Presbyterians trace their history to the 16th century and the Protestant Reformation. Our heritage, and much of what we believe, began with John Calvin (1509-1564), whose writings crystallized much of the Reformed thinking that came before him” (http://www.pcusa.org/navigation/whoweare.htm). Since John Calvin is the common thread that links Presbyterian Churches, we shall spend some time examining the doctrines he lead this denomination into.
The Five Points Of Calvinism
You’ve likely heard the acronym “TULIP”. Each point within the framework of this doctrine of John Calvin is false. Let’s allow the Presbyterians to tell us about the TULIP false doctrine:
“The Five Points are often referred to by the acronym TULIP
Total Depravity-After Adam sinned, the nature of humanity was changed. There are no morally neutral people seeking truth for its own sake. The natural state of a man or woman is to hide and pretend. The holiness of God is fearful for it exposes our own wickedness, something that we desperately want to avoid. Therefore, this doctrine teaches that every inclination of a person will be to run and hide from God. It does not say that a person is as depraved as possible, rather that depravity is the state of every aspect of a person when they are born.
Unconditional Election-Every one of Adam and Eve's natural descendants has chosen to rebel against and hate God, but God chose some, from the beginning of time, to work in their lives in a special way to bring them to a state of humility and repentance. We uphold that a person must choose Christ. We adamantly claim that the door is closed to none. Any who truly repent will be forgiven. We are merely saying that without a supernatural act of God, none could do so. God has chosen, because of his great love, to save some. If you have (or will now) repented in humility and thrown yourself to Christ's mercy, knowing that nothing other than God Himself dying for you could save you, then know that this means God loved you with an everlasting love before time began. This love is not conditioned upon your actions. We do not earn it. It is given to His chosen ones for no reason we may discern. This doctrine causes a Christian to have a deep humility, for there is nothing about a Christian that makes him or her better than any other human, and yet also to have immense worth seeing that God set His love on him or her from all of eternity.
Limited Atonement-This doctrine teaches that Christ died only for those that God gave to Him. The Bible teaches that a person is adopted by God, becoming a son or daughter of God and a brother to Jesus, at the moment of conversion. The orphan does not choose the parents, the parents choose the orphan. Jesus came into this world to claim and rescue His own, not to make it possible for us to work our way into His family.
Irresistible Grace-One whom God has chosen, may not resist His grace, try though they might. My favorite explanation of this is the metaphor of a lion in a zoo. If for a hundred straight days the zoo keeper offered the lion cabbage or steak for dinner, for a hundred straight days the lion, in his own free will, would choose to eat the steak and leave the cabbage. The nature of the lion is to love the one and despise the other. We have free will, but our nature is such that apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, we will find God detestable and darkness desirable. In the conversion process, a person is wooed and seduced by God and her or his nature changed, so that which was once abhorrent, now becomes life itself and that which was loved is now cast aside.
Perseverance of the Saints-Those who are chosen by God and changed by the Spirit will be held by Christ. He will guard us through life. This gives us great peace, that our relationship with God depends on Him and not on us. Many perceive God as the father in the recliner reading his newspaper with the TV on in the background. In this mindset, God is reticent to relate to us apart from our efforts to engage Him. In reality, God is the Father that desires us with a burning passion and He uses all of His energy to guard His relationship with us” (http://www.e-providence.org/fivepoints.htm).
Since the Presbyterian Church bases all of their actions upon the five points of Calvinism, we will primarily deal with these in this series of articles. We will refute each of the points above with the Scriptures. Each of the points in the TULIP doctrine are false doctrines. Before we begin exposing each of these points, I want to start with some obvious things we should see about the Presbyterian Church in their holding of this TULIP doctrine.
Before Digging, You Can Already See The Holes
We do not even have to answer the five points of Calvinism to see they’re false (we will answer them though). They are called the five points of Calvinism for a reason. They are not the five points of the Bible. The Presbyterians say: “We believe the doctrines taught in the Five Points are the biblical teaching on salvation. Calvinism is a label with a variety of meanings. We claim to be Calvinists, but in saying this we are merely saying that much of what John Calvin taught was biblical Christianity” (http://www.e-providence.org/fivepoints.htm).
John Calvin is not the source of truth. God the Father is a source of truth (Psalms 31:5, Psalms 86:15, Zechariah 8:8, and Romans 15:8). Jesus Christ is a source of truth (John 1:1-5; 1:14; 1:17, John 14:6, and Ephesians 4:21). The Holy Spirit is a source of truth (John 14:17, John 15:26, and I John 5:6). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have worked to share the truth with us. The truth is made known through God’s revealed word that we know as the Scriptures, the Bible, God’s Law, the Gospel, etc. (Psalms 119:142, John 17:17, Colossians 1:5, and I Thessalonians 2:13).
Read this text and then we will make an application: “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13-16). When a demon knows that the name of Jesus and the Apostles carried authority but the names of men do not, how could anyone think John Calvin is any different than those vagabond Jews? There is only one name in which salvation is offered. Please notice: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:10-12). Before you even begin to expose the errors of these five points of Calvinism, just knowing that a man is the source of them should be enough!
When one sees that John Calvin is not the source of truth, they should realize that his five points are not the truth either. John Calvin’s name appears nowhere in the Bible. The Bible carries many warnings about false teachers (Jeremiah 23:32, Matthew 7:15-20, II Corinthians 11:12-15, Galatians 1:6-12, Colossians 2:8; 18-23, II Peter 2:1-3, I John 4:1, II John 9-11, Jude 3-4, Revelation 2:14-16, etc.). There is one particular warning of old I’d like us to consider: “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it? Behold, a whirlwind of the LORD is gone forth in fury, even a grievous whirlwind: it shall fall grievously upon the head of the wicked. The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly. I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jeremiah 23:16-22). Calvinism has not turned people back to God; it has kept them from God. This doctrine is not of the Lord! We should warn others not to obey it.
When you search the Scriptures, you find that God wants all of mankind to be saved rather than some elected few (I Timothy 2:4 and II Peter 3:9-10). God’s promise to Abraham was, that through his seed (Genesis 18:18, Genesis 22:18, and Galatians 3:8), salvation would be offered to all people of all nations (Galatians 3:8-29). Jesus commanded His disciples to take the message of salvation to everyone in every nation (Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15-16). That command was fulfilled before the first century even ended (Colossians 1:23). Calvinism paints God as a creator that planned His people for failure. Folks, we ought to detest a message that makes such a charge against our God! God does not control your eternal destiny, you do (Acts 2:40).
God did not create mankind flawed so that we would all be lost. He created us in His image, pure, and with a choice to do right or wrong (Genesis 1:24-26; 2:8-3:24). If you or I commit a sin, it is our fault. It is here that we shall end this article and we will pick up with this point next week as we deal with the error of Total Hereditary Depravity. If we have space to cover more than that in the next article, we will. Please keep reading as we expose the false points we introduced in this article.
Volume 10 – Issue 20 - February 7th, 2010