Upon first glance one of the appealing aspects of Calvinism is the doctrine of Eternal Security, or the “P” in TULIP — “Perseverance of the Saints”. This is the concept that if you are one of the elect, you cannot lose your salvation. You will certainly be saved. This concept seems great on the surface, but there are some underlying problems with it.
First, Calvinism discourages the unsaved from seeking God, because Calvinism classifies individuals into one of two categories – the elect, and the non-elect (reprobated). If you believe that you are one of the reprobate you will never seek God’s mercy. Why put your trust in a God who has determined to damn you? This error prevents people from trusting in God, because it distorts God’s character. If you are one of the reprobate, you are without help and without hope, you CANNOT be saved. Or so says Calvinism.
A second concern: you may think you are saved, but actually be damed. You may have the “false hope” spoken of by Edwards, Calvin, and others. It may seem to you that you are saved, and God may even indicate this to your spirit. But God by his inscrutable council has the right to give you false hope and damn you in the end.
A third concern: This doctrine takes away the joy of the believer – a flip side of the “false hope” doctrine. A believer may actually be saved, but think that he is not. This poor believer spends his life in terror of God’s judgment, even though he is covered by the blood of Jesus. The enemy of our souls is more than happy to tell us the lie that God doesn’t accept us. Calvinism lends itself to the lies of the enemy, because we all fail God in some way. If we fail God, Calvinism says we must not have ever been a believer in the first place.
Thus in the Calvinist system there is no security. No one can ever really know if he is saved or not.
Calvin says there are two types of call: The general call (which goes to all) and the special call (which goes for the most part to the elect). According to Calvin even those who have received the “special call” might not be saved in the end. Calvin says that it may well be that God is only giving them temporary illumination, and will justly forsake them at a later point because of their ungratefulness (bold mine):
There are two kinds of call. There is the general call, by which God invites all equally to himself through the outward preaching of the word-even those to whom he holds it out as a savor of death, and as the occasion for severer condemnation. The other kind of call is special, which he deigns for the most part to give to the believers alone, while by the inward illumination of his Spirit he causes the preached Word to dwell in their hearts. Yet sometimes he also causes those whom he illumines only for a time to partake of it; then he justly forsakes them on account of their ungratefulness and strikes them with even greater blindness.
So the general call is worthless. It doesn’t save save anyone. It only provides the “occasion for severer condemnation”. And even the special call provides no security, because God can “justly forsake” those who have received the special call.
Contrast the view of Calvin with what scripture says: The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are Gods children (Romans 8:16). And: if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. (Romans 10:9-10) Scripture teaches that we can be secure. If we believe, we will be saved. And the Holy Spirit testifies to us that this is true.
We can have faith in Jesus, trust that He is good, and trust that He has no hidden agenda. But Calvin says no, you can’t trust God. God -could- just be messing with you and will justly forsake you at a later time.
The end result is that the Calvinist has no security because he cannot trust the heart of God, and cannot discern the council of God. The Calvinist can’t trust the heart of God because God has a secret agenda. The Calvinist can’t discern the council of God, because God might not intend for him to be saved in the end. In fact God may be temporarily illuminating the Calvinist now as “the occasion for severer condemnation” down the road. And this “severer condemnation” is the right of God (so says Calvin).
In conclusion, this Calvinistic doctrine takes away the joy of the Christian, and it takes away the hope of the non-Christian. This system lends itself to the lies of the enemy who wants all to believe that they have no hope, and contradicts scripture which clearly states that God desires all to be saved.