John Piper: “No Christian Can Be Sure He’s a True Believer”

John Piper, perhaps the de facto articulator of Calvinist doctrine today stated at the Ligonier National Conference in 2000, “No Christian can be sure he is a true believer. Hence, there’s an ongoing need to be dedicated to the Lord and deny ourselves so that we might make it.” I find it amazing that and no one corrected Piper that per Calvinist doctrines, it is God does the choosing unto salvation from the foundation of the world and that salvation is unconditionally’ wherein actions and behaviors have nothing to do with it?

What a horrible aspect of Piper’s Calvinism – being unsure of one’s salvation, sensing God dangling the “carrot” of salvation only to pull the rug out from under you just before you depart to eternal destruction because you failed to deny yourself sufficiently that you “might make it”! Please! Is this Piper’s actual belief? Is Piper expressing concern as to the assurance of his own salvation?

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God’s Total Control = Pointless Prayer

I’m currently re-reading John Piper’s book, A Sweet and Bitter Providence and am reminded that Piper is a hard determinist. I’ll likely be posting some thoughts on something Piper calls “the sovereign bullet’ in the near future. In any event, Piper has previously made deterministic statements including:

  • God [has predetermined] every tiny detail in the universe such as dust particles in the air and all of our besetting sins [because] the Bible says, “The dice are thrown in the lap, and every decision is from the Lord.
  • [Everything] including evil is ordained by an infinitely holy and all-wise God to make the glory of Christ shine more brightly.
  • God [ensures that everyone] does what God ordains – even if it involves evil.
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Additional Thoughts on Unconditional Election

Calvinists often site Eph 1:4 as “proof” that God chosen certain individuals from “the foundation of the world”. As I looked at the wording of the verse, it occurred to me that if the prepositions are removed, then the verse essentially distills down to God deciding that we were to be holy and blameless before he created the world. Calvinists often site Eph 1:4 as “proof” that God chosen certain individuals from “the foundation of the world”. As I looked at the wording of the verse, it occurred to me that if the prepositions are removed, then the verse essentially distills down to God deciding that we were to be holy and blameless before he created the world.

Well, it didn’t take long before I was chided (albeit, gently) with the following comment: “Ummm, [the word] ‘to’ is also a preposition [and] if you remove all the prepositional phrases, [then there’s] no verse left! The idea that there is an end-result to God’s choice does not define in any way how God made the choice, or why God made the choice. [T]he basic facts we are left with are that 1) God chooses, and 2) those chosen will be made holy. [Eph 1:4] supports “Calvinistic” election more than it does not.”

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A Dozen Reasons People Leave Calvinism in Particular and Christian Faith in General

Just an observation … but in a Calvinistically leaning church I used to attend, the Sunday population has dwindled from around 500 (in two services) to less than 200 over the last seven or eight years. No doubt there are a number of reasons that people leave one church to start attending another. Or they stop going to church altogether.

COVID has certainly played a part in many people no longer attending church. Those people who left and haven’t returned due to COVID are perhaps the weakest of Christians.

I suspect many people stop going to church for ‘physical’ reasons such as being dissatisfied with the preaching, the music, the overall stage presence, the seating, children’s programs, how fresh the coffee is, the drive-time to church, how welcome they’re made to feel or any number of other similar reasons.

But I suspect that churches are primarily concerned with the ‘spiritual’ reasons as to why folks are leaving. And that’s what I’ve tried to compile below.

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Ardent Calvinist Arthur Pink Disowns Calvinistic Doctrines – John Calvin Turning Over in His Grave

Repent or Perish? Really? You actually said this?

After listening to the audio (noted below) … I’m calling this for what it is – “B as in B, S as in S” with respect to Calvinistic doctrines. If anything, Arthur Pink’s wording demonstrates absolutely nothing regarding Calvinist doctrine. Rather, this audio devotional presents the rightness of Arminianism as to one’s sin and the responsibility in owning up to one’s sin and asking God for forgiveness. If anything, Arthur Pink just made a mockery of Calvinistic doctrines!

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Salvation: It’s Our Choice – Just Not Our Doing

I am often frustrated with the Calvinistic overview that people bring nothing to the table as to salvation because no one disagrees with this concept. I have long used the analogy that we have to get ourselves to the table, but it is God who has prepared and will serve the feast. People have to be willing to be saved … at least that is my contention. Calvinists, on the other hand, are adamant that people can’t ‘locate’ the table much less realize that everything we need is on that table due to total depravity and unconditional election. That is, Calvinists believe people are so depraved that they are unable to seek out God. And therefore, Calvinists believe that it is God who must decide who will sit at the table and subsequently steer people toward the table.

I saw the below post on a FB forum. It makes so much logical sense and, to me, ties the apparently discordant scriptural references together into a cohesive and persuasive argument.

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Sometimes, It’s All That Makes Sense

There are times when I’m more confused and troubled as to what I believe with respect to Christian faith. Variance of thought amongst Christians as to beliefs, statements of faith, doctrines, creeds, tenants and constructs can lead to frustration and alienation. If nothing else, I find the simplicity of faith as indicated through the Apostles’ Creed refreshing.

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The Will of God Will Never Take You Where the Grace of God Will Not Protect You – Part 2

Per WordPress statistics, the most popular post I’ve written – by far – was, The Will of God Will Never Take You Where the Grace of God Will Not Protect You (noted below). This would seem to show a huge interest within Christian faith as to God’s will – what it is, how do we know it and what can be expected when we follow the will of God.

Nicole states one can know whether something is the will of God by way of:

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What Is the Ultimate Aim of Calvinism?

Dave Hunt and James White, in a heated back and forth exchange, cobbled together one of the best books to understand the variance of thought as to Reformed Theology. Hunt is very anti-Calvinism. White is very pro-Calvinism. I readily admit my difficulties with Calvinist doctrine – especially unconditional election and this book has been an eye-opener to understand both sides of the equation.

I’m struck by a statement of Hunt, “Never forget that the ultimate aim of Calvinism is to prove that God does not love everyone, is not merciful to all, and is pleased to damn billions. If that is the God of the Bible, Calvinism is true. If that is not the God of the Bible who is love (1 John 4:8), then Calvinism is false. The central issue is God’s love and character in relation to mankind, as presented in Scripture.” (Debating Calvinism, pg.21)

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The Logic of Free Will vs Determinism

As much as I’m troubled by the doctrine of unconditional election, I think I’m even more bothered with the belief that God not only controls but brings to pass everything, anywhere, and at any time with whomever. To believe that God desires abortion … because, after all, it is legal in the United States (and elsewhere) is something I can’t accept. To me, I can only conclude that yes, we as individuals are free to make decisions and carry out actions of our own free will and volition. I recently came across a Facebook forum in which determinism was being discussed and one individual put forth some rather cogent questions and answers.

Q. How did we get free will?

A. God sovereignly decreed that humanity would have the freedom to choose.

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