But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. – Acts 1:8
In this post I want to focus on the primary aspect of Calvinism that I find appealing. By the way, this is personal reflection. My reason might be motivation for some who have become Calvinists, but I’m not implying that it necessarily is.
It boils down to this: For me Calvinism would provide a release from the guilt for the reason why others are lost. Instead of it being my fault, it is God’s plan.
You see, I have largely been a failure in preaching the good news of Jesus. It grieves me greatly that some will go to hell because I have not cared enough to share that Jesus loves them and desires a relationship with them. My brothers will spend eternity in darkness because I was too selfish to share the light of Jesus.
On the other hand, Calvinism teaches that the lost are lost because God has foreordained it. The reprobate are in fact lost because Jesus does not love them, and has not made a provision for them. The Westminster confession (Chapter III) states that:
“God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass…”
“By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life; and others foreordained to everlasting death.”
“These angels and men, thus predestinated, and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.”
“As God has appointed the elect unto glory, so has He, by the eternal and most free purpose of His will, foreordained all the means thereunto.”
So Calvinism says people go to hell because God has ordained it, NOT because I have kept the light of Jesus under a bushel. It further states that the number of people going to hell can’t be increased or diminished. Additionally it states that God has already foreordained the means for the elect to be saved. The elect are good to go, without my obedience. The reprobate are certainly lost, without regards to my witness (or lack thereof).
Essentially Calvinism states that all my failures are designed by God’s plan. Now that would be a relief to know. But…I don’t believe this. My failures are not ordained by God. He certainly forgives them, and can account for them ahead of time, but they are not preferred by him.
An argument that I frequently hear from Calvinists is that Arminian theology comes from a rebellious desire to promote free will at the expense of God’s (deterministic) sovereignty. Personally, I find the opposite to be true. I would jump at the chance to attribute my failures to divine providence. But my conscience will not allow it.