The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
Pastor John Reaves, Sr.
Romans 8:27-32, “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?”
There are some strange things going on among Baptists today - head coverings for women, liquor in the Lord’s Supper, and Baptist calling themselves Calvinist.
Calvin and his followers burned Anabaptists at the stake. They made laws against them; they mocked and lied about them, and yet we have Baptists calling themselves Calvinist. You might as well call yourself Romanist or Protestant.
Oh, I can hear it now, “Pastor Reaves must be an Arminianist; he must practice Arminianism.” Not on your life. I am not an Arminianist nor a Calvinist, I am a Baptist, and I can trace my roots back to the time of the Apostles, and to that first Baptist.
In this message I would like to speak of what Calvinism and Arminianism are, and to answer two questions pertaining to Calvinism and Arminianism. The first question will be, are Calvinism and Arminianism Baptist doctrines? And the second, should Baptists be aligned with Calvinists?
Where Did They Begin?
Many believe that Calvinism began with John Calvin when he wrote, The Institutes of the Christian Religion in 1535, of which brought about the spread of Calvinism all over Western Europe. Many believe this book was the most influential work of the Protestant Reformation. And yet even in their own writings Calvin tells us, “It (Calvinism) might with equal justice be called ‘Augustinianism.’” After no other than St. Augustine, a Romanist Priest, and no church father of mine.
The one who Arminianism was named after was Jacobus Arminius, born in Holland in 1560. By this time, the majority of the Protestants in the Netherlands were Calvinists.
Later in life:
“Arminius went to Geneva, where he was greatly influenced by Beza. After Calvin’s death, Beza assumed Calvin’s mantle and took full leadership of the Academy at Geneva. It was Beza who developed the doctrine of predestination a step further than Calvin. Arminius came to doubt the whole doctrine of unconditional predestination and to ascribe to man a freedom which, however congenial to Melanchthon (a disciple of Martin Luther) had no place in pure Calvinism.
“The essential dispute that Arminius had with Calvin was regarding the doctrine of predestination. He did not deny predestination altogether, but denied that predestination was unconditional. A bitter controversy sprang up between Arminius and his supralapsarian colleague at the University of Leyden, Franz Gomarus, who was later the leading spokesman for the Calvinists at the Synod of Dort. The conflict between the two men resulted in a schism affecting the whole church of Holland.”
What do the Calvinists and the Arminianists believe?
In the book, The History of the Reformation, 1720, by Gerard Brandt, states:
“The difference between these two Professors consisted briefly in the following points, that Arminius was of the opinion, that God being a righteous judge, and at the same time a merciful Father, had from all eternity made this distinction between the fallen offspring of man, that those who should forsake their sins and put their trust in Christ, should be absolved from their evil actions and should enjoy everlasting life; but that the obdurate and impenitent should be punished. Besides, that it was pleasing to God, that all men should forsake their sins, and having attained to the knowledge of the truth, continue steadfast in it, but that he compelled no man.
“On the other hand Gomarus maintained, that it was appointed by an Eternal Decree of God, who among mankind should be saved, and who should be damned. From whence resulted, that some men were drawn to righteousness, and being so drawn, were preserved from falling; but that God suffered all the rest to remain on the common corruption of humane nature, and in their own iniquities.
“In consequence of these positions, Arminius charged Gomarus with making God the author of sin, and with hardening men in their rebellion, by infusing into their minds the notion of Fatal Necessity.”
The Five Points of Arminianism
Many are not aware, that the Arminians have 5 points of which are called Arminian Articles of Remonstrance and actually the five points of Calvinism were given to answer the Remonstrants in a document known as The Canon of Dort.
The five points of Arminianism are as follows:
1) God has decreed to save through Jesus Christ those of the fallen and sinful race who through the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in him, but leaves in sin the incorrigible and unbelieving. (In other words predestination is said to be conditioned by God’s foreknowledge of who would respond to the gospel.)
2) Christ died for all men (not just for the elect), but no one except the believer has remission of sin.
3) Man can neither of himself nor of his free will do anything truly good until he is born again of God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. (Though accused of such, Arminius and his followers were not Pelagians)
4) All good deeds or movements in the regenerate must be ascribed to the grace of God but his grace in not irresistible.
5) Those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith have power given them through the assisting grace of the Holy Spirit to persevere in the faith, but it is possible for a believer to fall from grace.
The Five Points of Calvinism
1) That fallen man was totally unable to save himself. (Total Depravity)
2) That God’s electing purpose was not conditioned by anything in man. (Unconditional Election)
3) That Christ’s atoning death was sufficient to save all men, but efficient only for the elect. (Limited Atonement)
4) That the gift of faith, sovereignly given by God’s Holy Spirit, cannot be resisted by the elect.
5) That those who are regenerated and justified will persevere in the faith. (Perseverance of the saints)
Is Calvinism and Arminianism, Baptist Doctrine?
Again, taken out of the book entitled, The History of the Reformation, 1720, we read:
“Though Gellius does not agree with us in every respect, (concerning Predestination) yet, Paul says, I Cor. 14:29, Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. And again, verse 32, The Spirits of the Prophets are subject to the Prophets.
“To which rule I make no doubt but all Ministers of Jesus Christ will readily submit themselves, since we are all of us men, and may err; that so we may give no occasion to schisms and divisions on this account, like our adversaries, (meaning the Anabaptists) who, being hurried on by the spirit of discord and quarrels, do daily and for small causes rend and separate themselves more and more from each other; and with unheard of tyranny, mutually deliver one another to Satan.”
Notice it says Gellius an Arminianist, “does not agree with us” (Calvinists), and on down in the paragraph it says, “like our [both] adversaries,” [meaning the Anabaptists]. They are the ones who practice separation and church discipline, I Cor. Ch. 5.
So really what we just read was, that the Anabaptists were the adversaries of both. They were neither Arminianist nor Calvinist; they were Baptists.
Neither Calvinism and Arminianism, are Baptist doctrine, even Spurgeon says of Calvinism, “the old truths that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, is the truth that I preach today, or else I would be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox’s gospel is my gospel. And the gospel which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again.” Simply, even Spurgeon said that what Calvin preached was from a Romanist priest, and that John Knox, a Protestant, a Scottish Presbyterian preached it.
Spurgeon on speaking of the term Calvinism said, “We only use the term “Calvinism” for shortness. That doctrine which is called “Calvinism” did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth. Perhaps Calvin himself derived it mainly from the writings of Augustine.”
No, I don’t believe Calvinism is a Baptist doctrine, and neither is Arminianism, even the Calvinists say that Arminianism goes back to Rome.
Gerald Brandt, a Calvinist, writes in The History of the Reformation, 1720:
“But it may be amiss, in order to illustrate matters, to trace this affair a little higher, and to show what the Primitive Christians and the first Reformers thought and taught concerning it, together with the rise of the disputes about it.
“’Tis well known to those who have studied the writings of the Ancients, that all the Greek Fathers, and among the Latins, all such as lived before St. Austin, were of opinion, that all those which God foresaw would lead good and godly lives, were ordained to eternal life; or, as others have it, which God foresaw would believe and persevere. From those writings likewise it appears, that the Primitive Christians ascribed free-will to men.”
The Primitive Christians were not Calvinist; they were Baptist. Does believing that mankind has a choice make one an Arminianist? I think not, I don’t believe we can fall from grace, according to John 10:27-29, this is impossible.
Arminianism at Its Worst
Arminianism at it’s worst is found in Hammond, Indiana. A recent letter from one of its missionaries in Mexico reads, “God blessed us in many ways this month. We have a new soul winner in (our) clan,... my five year old son, won his first sixteen souls to the Lord this month. We broke a few other records this month. In personal soul winning: I won ninety-nine people to Christ, (my wife) won seven, (and daughter) won fifty-five, and (daughter) won twenty-five, and (son) won thirty-six. That is a record of 238 people saved with twenty-two baptisms.”
Lord help us. A five year-old supposedly winning 16 souls to the Lord. That is the ultimate of Arminianism, just “say this prayer after me” gang. They go all over the country closing the doors to those who are seeking to truly bring others to Christ. They never mention repentance, even though we are told by our Lord in Luke 24:47, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Luke 13:3 says, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” I was recently told by a missionary, who went to school in Hammond, that while they were out visiting on their bus route, they pulled into an area and as soon as they got out of the bus kids came running up to them and said we want to get saved. He could not believe his ears. But then they started arguing who was to be saved first. One said, “I want to be saved first, you were saved first last time.” My, oh my, what a mockery of salvation. This my friend is the ultimate of Arminianism.
Neither are Baptist
What I am saying is that neither, Arminianism nor Calvinism belong to the Baptist; they are not Baptist; they are Protestant in nature. It was strange when I was doing my research for this message, I found it with all kinds of Presbyterians, and the Reformed, and they used other versions, and used verses out of context. These are Protestants. Baptists are not Protestants. If any of their doctrine is good, they got it from Baptists including the Calvinists in the matter of closed communion, but you can count on it. They didn’t get their ideas of Baptism from us. We will talk about that later.
True Baptists have never believed a little prayer can save anyone. We believe as Jesus said in John 6:44, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The Father has to draw, has to work in the heart of man and bring them to salvation.
But here’s the difference, we believe that God wants and desires all to be saved as found in II Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
We believe as John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Whosoever, and that sure doesn’t mean they all will, few there be that find it.
If all cannot be saved and there is a limited atonement, why then are we told in Mark 16:15, “...Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Why, if they don’t have a choice?
If Irresistible Grace is so, then why did my father-in-law shake in his boots, literally, under deep conviction and walk out of church without being saved (as we have seen many others also do in our services at the Bible Baptist Church in Brandon)?
Calvinism, Baptist doctrine? I think not.
Was Spurgeon Calvinist?
Many like to claim Spurgeon as a staunch Calvinist, all the way through, but listen to what he said concerning free-will, and I quote:
“I do not think I differ from any of my Hyper-Calvinistic brethren in what I do believe, but I differ from them in what they do not believe. I do not hold any less than they do, but I hold a little more, and I think, a little more of the truth revealed in the Scriptures.
“Not only are there a few cardinal doctrines, by which we can steer our ship North, South, East, or West, but as we study the Word, we shall begin to learn something about the North-west and North-east, and all else that lies between the four cardinal points. The system of truth revealed in the Scriptures is not simply one straight line, but two; and no man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once.
“For instance, I read in one Book of the Bible, “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely.” Yet I am taught, in another part of the same inspired Word, that “it is not of him that willeth, or of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” I see, in one place, God in providence presiding over all, and yet I see, and I cannot help seeing, that man acts as he pleases, and that God has left his actions, in a great measure, to his own free-will.
“Now, if I were to declare that man was so free to act that there was no control of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I should declare that God so over-rules all things that man is not free enough to be responsible, I should be driven at once to Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestines, and yet that man is responsible, are two facts that few can see clearly. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory to each other.
“If, then, I find in one part of the Bible that everything is foreordained, that is true; and I find, in another Scripture, that man is responsible for all his actions, that is true; and it is only my folly that leads me to imagine that these two truths can ever contradict each other. I do not believe they can ever be welded into one upon any earthly anvil, but they certainly shall be one in eternity.
“They are two lines that are so nearly parallel, that the human mind which pursues them farthest will never discover that they converge, but they do converge, and they will meet somewhere in eternity, close to the throne of God, whence all truth doth spring.”
Should Baptists Align Themselves with Calvinists? Or Should They Say They are Calvinists?
Most Calvinists focus on predestination even though the word predestinate only appears twice and the word predestinate twice. Also the word foreknew once, and foreknow once. And yet the Calvinist like to hold to John Calvin as being a great learned scholar.
My problem is that you can’t just pick and choose, you take all or nothing. Do you know what else John Calvin and other Calvinist believe? In section 9 of Institutes of the Christian Religion, by John Calvin, Calvin declares that those who despise the baptism of infants under the new covenant would have despised circumcision under the old, since they accomplish the same thing. He reminds us of the precious benefits of paedobaptism which, like circumcision, ratifies and confirms the promise given to the pious parent, declaring that the Lord will be a God, not only to him, but also to his seed, and that he is determined to exercise his goodness and grace, not only towards him, but towards his posterity even to a thousand generations.
He argues that the mere promise of eternal life is insufficient for us: because of our weakness God has given Christian parents a sign, which will “Animate their minds to a stronger confidence, when they actually see the covenant of the Lord engraven on the bodies of their children.” Moreover, it assists the children who, when they come to years, will be stimulated thereby to worship; and it will warn them of the penalties of departing from their God.
Baby baptism, that’s not Baptist; that’s Protestant. And also along the line of babies, what did Calvin believe concerning where do babies go when they die?
“That not only the adult, who believe in Christ, and walk worthily according to the Gospel, are to be deemed the Elect Children of God, but likewise all the children of the covenant, as long as they do not actually show the contrary; therefore believing parents have no cause to doubt of the salvation of their children who die in their infancy” (Book 20, page 3, volume II, The History of the Reformation).
But what about those babies who are not of the elect? Some, who believe in God’s sovereign election of the ‘few,’ also believe that non-elect babies who die will spend eternity suffering in hell. John Calvin said, “there are babies a span long in hell.”
Babies in hell? To me that makes a Just God into an unjust God, or as one notes Calvinist said concerning this matter, and I quote:
“Apparently, many Christians believe that there is a magical split-second in time before which a child, if they die, will go to heaven, and after which, if they die will spend eternity suffering in hell. They call this the ‘age of account-ability.’
“If I believed this nonsense I would take a gun into the largest maternity ward in Toronto and, before the police arrived, kill every infant who had just been born. This would cause an enormous amount of suffering to the parents, but this wouldn’t matter much in the long run, because probably most of them (according to evangelical theology) are destined to suffer forever in hell anyway. So why not save their babies from the same fate?”
What a sick way of looking at things.
Well, Calvinist, if you believe Calvin is so right, I guess you will have to be a baby baptizer. And by the way, you had better throw out your musical instruments in the church, too, because Calvin taught, “to sing the praises of God upon the harp and psaltery unquestionably formed a part of the training of the law and of the service of God under that dispensation of shadows and figures, but they are not now to be used in public thanksgiving.
He says again:
“With respect to the tabret, harp, and psaltery, we have formerly observed, and will find it necessary afterwards to repeat the same remark, that the Levites, under the law, were justified in making use of instrumental music in the worship of God; it having been his will to train his people, while they were yet tender and like children, by such rudiments until the coming of Christ. But now, when the clear light of the gospel has dissipated the shadows of the law and taught us that God is to be served in a simpler form, it would be to act a foolish and mistaken part to imitate that which the prophet enjoined only upon those of his own time.”
And what is the conclusion of the whole matter? Calvinism and Arminianism, neither are Baptist. Their roots come from Protestantism and Romanism. I am not Reformed nor Presbyterian. I am Baptist and what I believe can be traced back to the Primitive Christians - not some popish priest. Is Calvinism Baptist? No, and we should not align with it.