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Response to Calvinist's E-Mail

Several years ago (2004, 2005), a certain Calvinist visited the 'Cures for Calvinism' section of this website, and sent a caustic e-mail that denigrated me for my anti-Calvinistic views. While his sentiment is not reflective of all Calvinists, it was certainly in line with what I have encountered from ardent Calvinists who equate the Five Points of Calvinism with the Gospel itself. In their minds, a rejection of Calvinism is tantamount to a rejection of Christ himself. Such skewed thinking borders on a cult mentality.

After several e-mail exchanges, in which he was unable to win an argument and repeatedly called me a LIAR, he called my home. My wife answered the phone. He feigned to be someone else and requested to speak with me. When my wife passed off the phone, he identified himself. When I asked him why he misrepresented who he was, he said: "I wanted to talk to you, and thought that, if you knew who I really was, you wouldn't speak with me." I responded: "Well, I guess that makes you the LIAR, doesn't it?" With that comment, I hung up the phone. I do not tolerate intellectually dishonesty in any form!

Several years passed without another word from this man...until August 10, 2011. On that date, out of the blue clear sky, I received the following e-mail message.

His E-mail

"Mr. Roberts:

"But we are bound to give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to (EIS, to, into) salvation through (EN, through) sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth."

I am curious...are you still dumb enough to think His choosing the elect was conditioned on their receiving Christ? Do you still HATE the truth, as it is in Jesus? Are you still the HIRELING that you were some 6-7 years ago?"

My Response

"Mr. Smith:

Wow, you must really have a heart problem to send such a vitriolic e-mail to me after all these years. As I recall, you are the guy that LIED to my wife by feigning to be someone else in order to get me on the phone. If you had humbled yourself, and sought God’s forgiveness for your deception, you would have called back (as you) and asked forgiveness from my wife and me. Moreover, you would have NEVER sent such a message.

Normally I would have deleted your e-mail without responding. But I decided to include some expository-exegetical comments. Perhaps you can derive some benefit from reading a treatment of the truth that is both accurate and intellectually honest.

Regarding 2 Thessalonians 2:13, here are the expository facts:

  1. The reference to “salvation” in the context has in view deliverance from the Day of the Lord (Tribulation). It has nothing to do with justification. Paul was addressing folk who had been justified by faith, and, because of God’s elective purpose, were NOT to be concerned about enduring the Tribulation. One of the flaws inherent in Calvinism is reading into this verse what the context disallows. Election in scripture has to do with privileges bestowed upon believers by virtue of their union with Christ, who Himself is the Elect One (1 Peter 2:6). Men who are IN Christ are elected (Ephesians 1:4). Lost elect men do not exist! Missing this fundamental truth leads to intellectual dishonesty and ultimately the bastardization of the Word of God. Calvinism is guilty of both.

  2. God’s election (choosing) is “through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” The Greek preposition ‘en’ is used in connection with two objects in dative case. The two possible senses are dative of instrument and dative of sphere. If we allow the first sense, which the KJV translators did, it means that both sanctification and faith were instrumental in (served as a means to) the elective act. Without conviction and persuasion, there is no election. It’s as simple as saying that a traveler passed through Memphis (conviction) and Nashville (belief) before he arrived in Knoxville (election). If we allow the second sense, it signifies that election took place within the sphere of sanctification and faith. If either or both are missing, election cannot take place. In either case, proper exegesis demands that both conviction and persuasion be seen as prerequisites to election, which takes place in an historical context.

  3. The phrase “from the beginning” has two primary usages in scripture. The first refers to the beginning of time, the creation of all things. The second usage has to do with historical beginnings. Of its 38 usages, it’s roughly a 50-50 split between the two. So, to which did Paul refer to in our text? Well, since faith is one of the two prerequisites to election, it can have ONLY ONE meaning: The beginning of Paul’s ministry among the Thessalonians.

Mr. Smith, keep in mind that embracing Calvinism has no relationship whatsoever to the embrace of Jesus Christ. Moreover, it’s entirely possible to please God while rejecting the tenets of Calvinism as pure philosophical speculation."

A Few Thoughts

I'll admit I was a little tough on this guy, but he was deserving of some stern-straight talk. As I said, the manner in which this man reacted to me is not representative of Calvinists at large. But he does represent a significant number in that movement who equate Calvinism to the Gospel. In that respect, there is little difference between a die-hard Calvinist and a member of the Masonic Lodge. When the scriptures are handled aright in their context, no expository or exegetical treatment of the truth will ever render a meaning that supports the tenets of Calvinism.


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