Is Calvinism or Reformed Doctrine Taking Over Your Church?

Many pastors are closet Calvinists who know that their congregations are not yet ready to understand Reformed doctrine, that is, until they can instill certain half-truths that must be accepted before a church becomes Calvinistic.

It is certainly inevitable that any pastor who reads theology, who has connections, who has a theological degree, will have become aware of Calvinism at some point along the way. At the very least every pastor will be asked at some time, by someone, somewhere, “What is Calvinism?”or will be given a little booklet by an advocate for Calvinism. In fact, any pastor or elder who is unfamiliar with the threat of Calvinism is dangerously ignorant and is not adequate to defend the flock against error.

Calvinism or Reformed theology is very popular. All popular systematic theologies and commentaries on Romans are written by Calvinists.

Here are some signs that your pastor or church is adopting Reformed doctrines regarding salvation.

An emphasis is made in the preaching and teaching on:

  • sinners are not able to believe unless God first causes it
  • faith is a gift from God, in the sense that God causes people to have faith
  • the grace of God is the gospel
  • people are unable to hear God’s Word
  • God is not God unless His will is done/ God cannot fail to save all that He purposes to save
  • the church needs to avoid a man-centered gospel and “to return” to a God-centered gospel
  • the marvel is that God loved Jacob, not that He hated Esau
  • the ultimate purpose of God is to glorify Himself or the greatest attribute is His sovereignty
  • quotes from John Calvin, Martin Luther, and contemporaries like John Piper

There is the neglect of the following from the pulpit. The pastor avoids saying specifically to the congregation:

  • “God loves you”
  • “Jesus died for you”
  • “Believe in Jesus and you will become born again”
  • “Calvinism is wrong” – Beware that many Calvinists will preach against Hyper-Calvinism, but that is not enough. It is easy to burn a straw man!

Useless Shepherds who intentionally sit on the fence, so as to not offend the Reformed in their church, will say, “The emphasis the Calvinist makes on the Sovereignty of God is not a bad thing is it?” Quite the contrary! The Reformed understanding of the Sovereignty of God is that what is is the will of God. They worship a god who wills the existence of evil for his glory. The Lord’s prayer makes it clear that God’s will is not being done on earth and that we are to pray that it will be done [Matthew 6:10]. The Scripture says that the sins of men are not the will of God, nor did it enter into the mind of God that they should do such things [Jeremiah 32:35].

Ask these questions:

Why Are Good Pastors Getting Caught Up in Reformed Doctrine?

  • They are presented with arguments that seem to be Scriptural [Calvinism Says it is Scriptural]
  • The most popular Systematic Theologies and Commentaries are Reformed [See an example in: Calvinism Says Faith is a Work]
  • They go to seminaries, and to week-end seminars and retreats, where popular Reformed teachers introduce them to a teaching that results in the following:
  • There is a simple answer why people are not saved, which answers a deep-seated question about our generation
  • There is an organized effort by Reformed churches to plant like-minded churches and to spread this message that is counted more profound than the gospel promise itself!

This web site is by a former Calvinist, Steven L. Hitchcock, who is passionate about equipping Christians against the error of Calvinism. [About Steven]

I have written a book entitled Recanting Calvinism, which provides numerous counter arguments to the Reformed position. My most recent book Take Up Your Cross: Our Only Power to Live and Walk by the Spirit is a fruition of coming out of Calvinism.

Here are some helpful links on this web site: