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Calvinist Shell Games


1. Redefining terms - say one thing and think another.

Redefining Biblical terms to fit Calvinist doctrine is a very common approach used in Calvinism. A good example of this is found in their use of the word "world" (Greek: kosmos) in the Gospel of John. Calvinists love to quote John 17:9 where Jesus is shown to praying for his chosen disciples and not for the world. Here Calvinists take the word "world" to mean "all those who are NOT the elect." However, if we turn the pages back to John 1:29 and John 3:16, in the very same gospel written by the very same person, suddenly the Calvinist will tell you that the very same word now means "only those who ARE the elect" since he does not want to believe that Christ came to die for every person on this earth. And so we have a case where the Calvinist would have it that the very same word, in both the original Greek and English, is given diametrically opposed and opposite meanings.

This type of thing is very common among Calvinists. They think that when they have a situation such as this, they simply define the word however they like in order to suit Calvinism. If you just think about this for a moment, we could have the Bible say pretty well anything we want it to say by simply defining the words how we like. Just add whatever concept you like to the word in question and when you see that word just think that concept.

2. Definition Splitting

Another shell game employed by Calvinists is something I call "definition splitting." This is something like redefining the terms, but it has a distinct purpose to it. In this scheme, words are not redefined but claimed to have two meanings. The object of this trick is to claim there are two definitions to a word and then choose the one which you like the best.

A good example of definition splitting is found at 2 Timothy 2:4 where we find Paul telling us that it is God's will that all men would be saved. Calvinists have two different ways of approaching this passage and one of them is to split the definition (the other is to claim "all" does not mean all men but all classes of men). So, they claim God has two kinds of wills.

The first will God is claimed to have is the kind of will that accomplishes things to be done. The second kind of will God is claimed to have is the kind where we are talking about what God wishes could happen. In this case, the Calvinist opts for the latter because this definition pleases his belief system. So now he claims the passage actually says that God really wishes in his heart that all men could be saved but golly geez, it just can't happen because he already decided that not all men would be saved

Now it should be obvious to most that such descriptions of God make him out to be a psychologically troubled being. First he wills that only some men would be saved and then he turns right around and wishes that all men could be saved but they just can't be saved because his first will got the best of him on that one.

So much for the Sovereignty of God.

3. Using Calvinism as the Context - Eisegesis

Calvinists love to tell you that one should always check the context when reading any given passage. They are quite right in saying so. It is just too bad they didn't really practice what they preach.

This is something you will have to observe for yourself. Just watch the Calvinist in action next time you talk to him about any given passage. He will read things into passages and tell you that he is "interpreting in light of the context."

For example, he reads Ephesians 1:4 and then interprets it for himself to mean God predetermined who would be saved and then he takes that passage and reads his interpretation of it into Romans 8:29. Voila! The desired intepretation is achieved!

Sometimes it gets even worse. There are times that the Calvinist will just throw his whole belief system at you when you discuss any given passage. While you want to carefully review the immediate context to see what the author is really talking about, his only desire is to promote Calvinism and force the passage into a Calvinistic interpretation. You will have to see this for yourself and watch him carefully when he does it. His desire is not to take out of Scripture what it really says, but to read Calvinism into it.

4. Idol Building - Create your own belief system to serve.

Calvinists are not the only guilty parties when it comes to this one but they are champions at it. What they do here is pile up passages from the Bible, as they themselves intepret these passages, in order to create a belief system of their liking. The object here is to collect all the passages from the Bible which they perceive to demonstrate Calvinism and avoid the obvious implications of those passages which do not. To do this, it is not necessary to try and figure out how any given passage fits into the whole scheme of the Bible. The only thing one needs to do is gather up the passages he likes and then use them to build his belief system which he will serve at all costs. Other passages which seem to contradict his created belief system are then reinterpreted to conform to the desires of this new idol he had created for himself.

Having learned this from other Calvinists, he will attempt to teach you to do the same. Rather than trying to fit all the pieces of Scripture together like a puzzle in order to see the whole, he first tells you what the whole must look like and then sets out to build it for himself so that both you and he may serve it.