Besides a few other famous names of church history, one in particular stands out: John Calvin, (1509-1564 A.D.). This man, like Martin Luther (1483-1546 A.D.), changed the entire playing field of church history, thereby greatly influencing world history itself. In his shadow came one James Arminius (1560-1609 A.D.), countering Calvin’s influence. Highly intellectually trained from childhood, and skilled in renaissance logic of the ancient pagan Greek and Roman philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle, Calvin one day made a quiet intellectual decision to follow Christ instead. Following that, he put together a sophisticated, ingenious system of Theology based on the sovereignty, foreknowledge, and fore-ordination of God in His creation of the physical universe, including mankind.
That system in it’s purest essence had the effect of conveniently putting the real monkey of responsibily on God’s back and a fake one on ours. How? It simply determined that God foreordained the whole physical scene, start to finish, the good, the bad, and the ugly before He ever even lifted a finger to create anything! We are all just victims of it. No matter what happens, so goes the notion, “God is in control” anyhow, no matter how we behave. No kidding! Why, some of us were created for the express purpose of going to Hell to burn forever, and the rest were created to go to Heaven without a genuine choice in the matter! In fact, the church Calvin founded, the Presbyterian Church, later met together and established a doctrinal confession called THE WESMINSTER CONFESSION, part of which states unequivocally, “God did from all eternity, by the most just and Holy counsel of His own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass.”
Well, strains of that confession drifted over all of Christendom like a heavy fog, becoming a vital part of Christian brain wrinkles. It still goes on today. But original Calvinism was so harsh in its approach, many saw need to modify it to be more universal in it’s scope, making more room for greater numbers to be saved. Besides pure Calvinism, there was Hyper-Calvinism and many other splinters adopting some variation of sublapsarianism, supralapsarianism, and other isms, all crossing Theological swords over the Doctrine of Decrees in creation, all of it crawling with pride of intellectual prowess, while all along the good old image of God in them bit the blood from them because, despite their ramblings, their FREE WILLS were doing whatever they jolly-well pleased anyhow, even as the Lord stood away arms akimbo in the shadows shaking his head. Amazing!
One of the most quoted Scriptures by all Calvinists is Romans 8:28 in making the “God is in control” claim. Many non-Calvinists unknowingly also use the same terminology. What they all seem to always ignore is what that verse states exactly in plain language. The meat of the verse that pleases the Calvinist mind is “…All things work together for good to them that love God…” (KJV).
You see, this entire phrase expresses verbal ACTION, including the word “love.” In the original Koine Greek the word is AGAPOSIN. Please be patient while I explain something technical about this Greek word and the grammar in which it is couched. It is in the Dative Case of the Indirect Object. It is a masculine, plural, Present Participle in the Modal (mode) form, signifying the MANNER in which the action of the Verb is accomplished. For example, “Came John the Baptist preaching (Matthew 3:1), meaning John’s preaching was what his coming accomplished.
Now, these rules of grammar applied to Romans 8:28 tells us love is the manner in which all things work together. But hold it right there: The Greek word for love here is not the noun the Calvinists have made it out to be. No, it is in the verb form, an ACTION word! Put into plain street English of today, the verse says, “Everything in this world work together for those whose love (a verb) has legs!” Friends, simply sitting around IN love (a noun) with God, waiting for Him to work out His sovereign will in spite of your own will, will NEVER get all things to work together for your good. It takes DOING your love. God made His created women to thrive on their husband’s words, backed up by DEEDS to prove it. WORDS only makes her sick; DEEDS only, starves her to death.
And so we Christians at large today PARROT the Calvinists when we do something stupid, but then throw up our hands and sing, “God is in control.” Nonsense! God was NOT in control, WE WERE! That’s exactly why it was stupid. And stupidity is stooped to, not just by individuals, but by churches, cities, and nations. Contrary to Calvinism, the providence of God doesn’t elect evil to office vicariously through our “free” wills, WE do. God doesn’t have some kind of mysterious PURPOSE in mind in ALLOWING wickedness to become law, WE do. God respects every evil our FREE WILLS concoct and put into place by simply stepping back and letting us suffer the consequences for crowding Him aside. No, friends, God is only in control when we exercise sanity and PUT Him in control! Otherwise, His promises, such as He made to Israel to give them “as the Days of Heaven on upon the Earth” (Deut. 11:21) if they would only put Him first, would be absolutely meaningless.
Calvinists can put together a plethora of Scriptures they believe refutes this fact of reality, but the law of free will put there by God Himself bites them like an Adder regardless of their reasoning, with a pure known reality as certain as the law of gravity. No, some were not decreed to be saved; no, once saved does not mean one cannot will to trash it and go to Hell instead; and no, when it comes to the human free will, God is NOT in control unless we put Him there. He Himself guarantees it! That’s why human history is an unbelievable pile of twisted human carnage, and the express reason God will finally say it is enough and catch away His few remaining faithful and judge a whole planet who shakes their rebellious fists in His Divine face. It was the entire human race who purposely abused His holy image within us in order to control our OWN lives, instead of entrusting them into God’s pristine control. It is who we are and where we are FREELY heading, although from the very beginning NONE of it was necessary!
Yes, God did make provision for our redemption through sheer mercy and love for His own. No matter, it is the human race the Lord was talking about when He said, “Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way…and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:14). That is why the cross of Jesus was, is, and ever will be such a heartbreak for God the Father.