Determinism & God’s Nature and Character

A Calvinist recently asked me why I have such antipathy towards the Doctrines of Grace. I responded how I find the teachings of determinism and unconditional election problematic such that they affect the very nature and character of God. I elaborated how it’s beyond me that a Calvinist can realistically say, ‘Well, it may be that God has chosen you to be reprobate. But don’t feel bad. God has intentionally doomed you for his glory.’

I went on to explain that years ago, and without realizing it, I’d been attending a Calvinist church. I’d gotten involved in a men’s Bible study where one of the books we went through was Jerry Bridges’ Is God Really in Control? I read through each page and continually said to myself, “That can’t be right” or “I don’t think so!” if only because theistic determinism is (to me) so incompatible with the entirety of Scripture. Why would God see the need to give us Proverbs if he’s determining everything that will happen?

At one point in this Bible study, I finally “lost it” and asked, “Why is there so much angst against abortion within this faith-based Bible-believing Church? Wouldn’t it be accurate, within Calvinistic determinism, to say that God intended for abortion to become the law of the land in 1973 and since then God has deterministically decreed that >40M infants be killed? Why am I not hearing a bunch of hallelujahs as to the next aborted fetus? Can it not be accurately stated, per Calvinistic determinism, that God has brought about all sorts of specific diseases, heartaches, disappointments, financial difficulties, divorce, crime … and all for his glory, of course! Wouldn’t any attempt to alleviate or cure that “God-given condition” be in direct violation of God’s deterministic intent?”

After a bit of a pause, I was told that I’d obviously not come to understand compatibilism – how it is that God can bring about sin without sinning. I thought this was little more than BS. I immediately felt like an outcast and left that church. To this day it’s difficult to accept things said as to matters of faith. I’m in what I can only call a state of ‘faith-tension’. In my opinion, the doctrinal inconsistencies of Calvinism lead not just to bad theology but also have a direct impact as to faulty spiritual applications in one’s life. Nevertheless, I find it frustrating that so many people sincerely accept, believe and pronounce the Doctrines of Grace – aka Reformed Theology – aka Calvinism as not just the truth – but the gospel! How do Calvinists see their doctrines as something beautiful while I see them as ugly? I hate Calvinism. I hate the thought that Calvinism represents an assault on the nature and character of God. If Calvinism is true, then I want not nothing to do with Christianity. But consider that if Calvinism is true, then all of my reactions are exactly as God intended and there’s not a damn thing that I can do about it.


Author: Bob

I’m an upper Midwestern guy who has recently entered the "Buick stage" of life and decided to migrate to Florida. This blog is an attempt to rectify discordant aspects within my Christian faith ... or what often feels like my lack of Christian faith. Things which make life more enjoyable include strong black coffee, charcoal grilling anytime of the year, putz'ing at a table saw, playing chess, a good orthopedic surgeon and an occasional IPA. Please feel free to poke around and comment as you wish. I welcome discussion and the insights of others.

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