I have often thought that John Calvin was a Catholic plant. His works are not original as most of them have come from Augustine. Rome relishes the fact that Augustine belongs to them, one of their 4 main "Doctors of the Church". He may not have been a Catholic plant, but he certainly is not of God. Read on as I make my case.
In the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, Augustine is a saint and pre-eminent Doctor of the Church, and the patron of the Augustinian religious order; his memorial is celebrated 28 August, the day of his death. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. Many Protestants, especially Calvinists, consider him to be one of the theological fathers of Reformation due to his teaching on salvation and divine grace.
The Calvinists are not the only ones who appeal to Augustine for their system of theology, for as one historian said: "There is scarcely a single Roman Catholic dogma which is historically intelligible without reference to his teaching." The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, "Augustine," vol 1, p. 368
The Roman Catholic Church are experts at creating systems of theology and Calvin was no exception. They have both taken the simplicity of salvation, and "wresting" the Scriptures, have developed "another Gospel", which is accursed and anathema according to the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul.
So what it all comes down to is this: Are men elected to salvation or are they not? That is the issue among Christians. The issue is not as Warfield says, that "there are fundamentally only two doctrines of salvation: that salvation is from God, and that salvation is from ourselves." Benjamin B. Warfield, The Plan of Salvation, p. 27
No Christian disagrees with that, although that is how a Calvinist will shift the issue to make his system look like it alone teaches salvation by grace. Wilson is even more subtle. "What is the decisive factor as to whether or not one is a sovereign gracer or an Arminian as to salvation? It is this: The sovereign gracer teaches that the final decisive factor as to whether or not one is saved is the will and work of God, while the Arminian teaches that the final decisive factor as to whether or not one is saved is the will and/or work of man." Wilson, Sovereign Grace View, p. 8.
Now, no true Christian believes that works have any part in his salvation; however, the role of the will of man is a separate issue. By combining the two, the Calvinist once again implies that only his system teaches salvation by grace.
The issue is" election to salvation. All Calvinists, whether they be Presbyterian or Reformed, Primitive Baptist or Sovereign Grace Baptist; all Calvinists, whether they be premillenial or amillenial, dispensational or covenant theologist; all Calvinists, whether they go by the name or not; all Calvinists have one thing in common: God, by a sovereign, eternal decree, has determined before the foundation of the world who shall be saved and who shall be lost.
To obscure the real issue, a vocabulary has been invented to confuse and confound the Christian. The arguments about supralapsarianism and infralapsarianism, total depravity and total inability, reprobation and preterition, synergism and monergism, free will and free agency, common grace and special grace, general calling and effectual calling, perseverance and preservation, and the sovereignty of God are all immaterial.
The stumbling block for the Calvinist is this, a system has to be constructed whereby salvation is made a mysterious, arcane, incomprehensible, decree of God. Thus, the basic error of Calvinism is confounding election and predestination with salvation, which they never are in the Bible, but only in the philosophical speculations and theological implications of Calvinism: the other side of Calvinism. Laurence M. Vance, pp. 34-35
The doctrines of Calvinism, if really believed and consistently practiced are detrimental to evangelism, personal soul winning, prayer, preaching, and practical Christianity in general. This is even unintentionally admitted by a Calvinistic Baptist: "The doctrines taught in the Bible relating to the sovereignty of God, referred to in religious circles as "Calvinism", also as "the doctrines of grace", are doctrines of the Book that are the occasion for many people "choking" on the Word. The misues and abuse of these doctrines will deaden and kill."
Bob L. Ross, The Killing Effects of Calvinism, p. 1
Calvinism, without a doubt is the greatest "Christian" heresy that has ever plagued the Church. And why do people still write about and try to prove that Calvinism is heresy? Because of how it is held up identical to the Scriptures.
So, how do Calvinists describe Calvinism?
Calvinism is Religion at the height of it conception. Calvanism is evangelicalism in its purest and only stable expression. Warfield, Calvin, p. 497.
The central thought of Calvinism is, therefore, the great thought of God. H. Henry Meeter, The Basic Ideas of Calvinism, p. 17.
Calvinistic Theology is the greatest subject that has ever exercised the mind of man. Boettner, Predestination, p. 335.
Calvinism thus emerges to our sight as nothing more or less than the hope of the world. Warfield, Calvin, p. 507.
Calvinism is a system of pure Biblical belief which stands firmly on the Word of God. Seaton, The Five Points of Calvinism, pp. 17-18.
It has been correctly said that Calvinism is pure biblical Christianity in its clearest and purest expression. Leonard J. Coppes, Are Five Points Enough? The Ten Points of Calvinism, p. xi.
Calvinism is an attempt to express all the Bible and only the Bible. Edwin H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism, p. 5.
We believe the Calvinistic system to be the only one set forth in the Scriptures and vindicated by reason. Boettner, Predestination, p. 352.
Calvinism is the only system which is true to the Word of God. Talbot and Crampton, Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism and Armeniaism, p. 78.
It is questionable whether a dogmatic theology which is not Calvinistic is truly Christian. Arthur C. Custance, The Sovereignty of Grace, p. 302.
Can Calvinists be a little more specific?
Calvinism is just a full exposition of and development of the sum and substance of what is represented in Scripture as done for the salvation of sinners by the three persons of the Godhead. Cunningham, Reformers, p. 338.
What Calvinism particularly asserts is the supernaturalism of salvation, as the immediate work of God the Holy Spirit in the soul, by virtue of which we are made new creatures in Christ our Redeemer, and framed into the sons of God the Father. Warfield, Calvin, p. 506.
Calvinism, in the soteriological aspect of it, is just the perception and expression and defence of the utter dependence of the soul on the free grace of God for salvation. Warfield, Calvin, p. 499
All of these men are basically saying the same thing: Calvinism is to be equated with the system and doctrine of salvation found in the Bible. Some Calvinist, however narrow these soteriological explanations down even further and identify Calvinism with the Gospel itself:
Calvinism is the Gospel and to teach Calvinism is in fact to preach the Gospel. Arthur C. Custance, The Sovereignty of Grace, p. 302.
Calvinism is the Gospel. Its outstanding doctrines are simply the truths that make up the Gospel. Engelsma, Defence of Calvinism, p. 4.
Even the Baptist Charles Spurgeon declared: "It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else." Charles Spurgeon, Spurgeon's Sovereign Grace Sermons, p. 129.
It is not unusual to hear glowing characterizations of Calvinism since they come from the mouths of Calvinists themselves. However, others could not disagree more:
Calvinism, or the belief in election, is not simply blasphemy, but the superfetation of blasphemy. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, quoted in Eugene E. Brussel, ed., Webster's New World Dictionary of Quotable Definitions, p. 66.
The doctrine that an infinite God made millions of people knowing that they would be damned. Robert G. Ingersoll, quoted in Brussell, p. 66.
Calvinism is, in many of its facets, a human philosophical system. It is a constantly divisive element in the church. Kent Kelly, Inside the tulip controversy: Calvinism rebuked & revisited, p. 8.
Calvinism is not accidentally but essentially immoral, since it makes the distinction between right and wrong a matter of positive enactment, and thereby makes it possible to assert that what is immoral of man is moral for God, because He is above morality. Aubrey Moore, quoted in Alan P. F. Sell, The Great Debate, p. 21.
But if it is the Gospel, then it should line up with the Gospel. Let's compare the Gospel of Paul the Apostle to the gospel of John Calvin.
Word of God
Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: 1 Cor. 15:1-4
We call predestination God's eternal decree, by which he compacted with himself what he willed to become of each man. For all are not created in equal condition; rather, eternal life is foreordained for some, eternal damnation for others. Therefore, as any man has been created to one or the other of these ends, we speak of him as predestinated to life or death. John Calvin, Institutes of Christian Religion, p. 926.
Now, how do you have a passion for the lost and the Great Commission with that kind of mindset?
The biblical Gospel is the good news about what Jesus Christ has done on the cross respecting our sins. The gospel of Calvinism is likewise good news - but only if you are one of the "elect." This is confirmed by Engelsma: "Calvinism is good news! It is Gospel glad tidings! As the message of grace, it comforts us and all those who, by the grace of the Spirit, believe in Christ."
To the non-elect, Calvinism is not good news at all - it is an eternal death sentence.. Laurence M. Vance, The Other Side of Calvinism, p. 5.
"For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them" Acts 20:30.