Two Ditches Of Calvinistic Ideologues

Some biblical truths are undisputed and held by all theologians, pastors, and/or believers.  Historic orthodox Christianity has indisputably maintained that our sin separates us from our Creator, that salvation is by grace alone, that it is through faith alone, that is through the work of Jesus alone, that Jesus was God come in the flesh, etc.   Typically, they are called the fundamentals of the faith. [1]

However, other theological beliefs, positions, or ideologies have been seriously questioned for centuries, and extreme positions have been held on both sides.  Arminism vs. Calvinism is one example where both sides have driven into the left and right ditches and sought to convince others that they are the ones who are on the main road.

In today’s circles, there are few who take the extreme Arminian position and reject the truth that God does call believers to Himself (if not at least through His foreknowledge).  In contrast, there are many who propagate an extreme Calvinism.  One of the causes is the uncritical acceptance of John Piper’s teachings which has permeated theological circles through his magazine articles, books, conferences, college, and seminary. [2]


Here are two indicators that mark the most extreme Calvinists, the ditch riders of today’s ministries and churches.

#1 – “Perseverance of the Saints”

One marker is the belief that “the perseverance of the saints” means that some “believers” might not persevere to the end and, therefore, in the end, they may be lost.  The double talk that surrounds this position is, at times, confusing and, at times, duplicitous!   While some may speak about “eternal security” in Christ, they muddle and artfully deny such in the same paragraph or pulpit! If you doubt that, decide for yourself — link!

In the end, a “works salvation” is subtly suggested because a believer may do something, or fail to do something before you die — such as repent! [3]

Their position denies that believers are, through the provision of their saving faith, overcomers in Christ, through His work for them on Calvary.  That they are overcomers because His righteousness has been placed onto their account.  We are in Christ, the finisher of our faith, who endured the cross and is set down (it’s over)  on the right hand of God the Father.


#2 – “Faith Is A Gift”

Likewise, another marker is the teaching that not only is God’s grace a gift, but the faith needed to accept that gift is also a gift!  This is how theological-ideologies work their way into a ditch.  “It’s all of Him” is how they frame it, and such framing seems innocuous because who doesn’t want to say “Amen” — that our salvation is all of Him.

However, when most say “Amen,” typically, they are confirming their belief that . . . .

  • it was Jesus who came into the world seeking mankind, and
  • our good works would never be sufficient for the forgiveness of our sins, and
  • it was His love that spoke to our hearts, and that
  • it was through the work of the Word of God and the working of the Holy Spirit that we were convicted of sin, righteousness, and judgment

They are not consciously saying “Amen” to the position that. . . .

  • they did not make a personal decision
  • their will was over-ruled by the Spirit
  • they did not choose Christ as their Saviour
  • they did not exercise saving faith,
  • they did not confess Him with their mouth as their Saviour
  • they did not believe in their hearts that God had raised Him from the dead,
  • they did not seek Him, and/or that
  • they did not willfully call upon Him as their personal Saviour.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. [6]

They made a decision, and that decision was a choice among choices.  Why would the Lord speak about making choices if the choice was determined by Him and not the individual?

Why would anyone be held accountable for their decision or choice, if it was the Lord who gave them the will or faith to make this-or-that choice?

God has freely offered salvation to all people.  One chooses to believe by personally putting one’s faith in the person and work of Jesus. The intellect is necessary, but it is not sufficient.  It is a personal and willful commitment to the truths of the Gospel.  Even Satan knows and understands the truths of the Gospel.  Faith is a free-will, personal decision, resulting from hearing & knowing the Gospel message, intellectually believing, and a heartfelt commitment to trust in the person and work of Jesus.  It involves the mind, heart, and will.

“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say,
Come. And let him that is athirst come.
And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness;
but is longsuffering to us-ward,
not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Who will have all men to be saved,
and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

No one will end up in Hell because God didn’t give them the “faith” to believe in the free grace offered through Calvary’s work!

All who perish do so only because they refuse the truth of the Gospel message, and they could have done otherwise!

God can make the rocks cry out, and therefore He could MAKE men and women cry out in saving faith, but He doesn’t because He wants genuine relationships. [7]


One’s theological-ideologies matter!  Though often buried and blended with other well-established biblical truths [5], they form a subtle and unhealthy (if not spiritually damaging) ministry environment. [8]

God’s people live with the unsettling feeling that God’s love is suspect, that they can do little-to-nothing in and of themselves that matters, and that His compassion for His people is often tentative.

If you are finding your children, and/or yourself more and more uncertain and shaken in your personal faith in the person and work of Jesus, it may be coming from a subtle propagation of extreme Calvinistic teaching that is often purposefully fogged, but practically felt.

Feeling secure in marriage, family, and God’s love is foundational to life and living!


1 – A 12-volume set called “The Fundamentals” was written in the first decade of the 1900s in response to the unorthodox liberal drift of biblical Christianity —

Ministry leaders, pastors, and Bible teachers are even willing to promote Bible teachers who hold doctrinal positions that directly contradict their ministry’s statement of faith because they support their theological-ideology.

One such example is blatantly evident when it comes to promoting and endorsing present-day reformed theologians who repudiate the premillennial & pre-tribulation rapture, as does John Piper.  Regardless of their reformed positions concerning the return of Jesus for His church, such men are hailed as worthy to be followed, read, promoted, and recommended because they promote the same extreme positions — because they hold to the same theological extremes.

“I recalled how stunned I was when I was around 23 years old and I saw for the first time that the word meet — “caught up to meet the Lord in the air” — is used two other times in the New Testament: Matthew 25:6 and Acts 28:15.

In both of these places, it is a group of people going out to meet someone and accompanying them back into the place you just went out from. All my thoughts about this being a rising to meet the Lord in the air and then returning to heaven for seven years evaporated. That’s just not the intention of that verse.

It’s a rapture in that sense that we rise to meet the Lord in the air, and then like a great band of welcoming, we come back with him for his established judgment and rule.

My answer is that there is one great, glorious second coming of the Lord in our future. He will come once more to give relief to his church and judgment to his adversaries and to establish his kingdom. And I say, as I’m sure we all do with the early church, the next-to-last verse of the Bible: “Come, Lord Jesus.” — John Piper

Note how Piper confuses and blurs the issues again by making reference to a rapture before the establishment of God’s kingdom and rule while still saying that He gives “relief to his church” — rather than saying to all believers in general who are still alive on earth.

2 – Interestingly, there are those who are willing to ignore Pastor John Piper’s long-time and continued connection with the well-known liberal Baptist General Conference (also referred to as “Converge”), of which Bethel Baptist College & Seminary are part and parcel.  The General Conference is also known for holding to the teaching of “Open Theism” (circa 2000), which indicates where they are theologically.   Tellingly, Piper’s response to the GBC position on “Open Theism” is titled “WE” — .

Please note that the Baptist General Conference was liberal long before they assumed this position!   Years ago (in the 1970s), I refused a position at Bethel College because of its liberal stance on a host of issues.  Piper has been part of that liberal convention for decades with little-to-no questioning as to why he stayed in it!

3 – Some present-day pastors and ministry leaders ought to be thankful that they did not die before their immorality was revealed and their final “repenting.”
I would like to suggest that if they had died, Jesus also paid for that sinful failure!  Jesus paid for it all!

4 – Those who hold to this position are ideologically driven!  The word “that” (that not of yourselves, “it” the gift of God) – is in the neuter case.  The antecedent cannot be established since “faith” and “grace” are in the feminine case. If Scripture interprets Scripture, taking the position that even faith is not of yourself, but is the gift of God is contradictory to any and all passages which speak of resisting, seeking, deciding, man’s choosing, or God’s desire for all men to be saved.
Building a doctrine with this clearly uncertain language usage is ideologically driven.  It is not a grammatical exposition!  Those who cite this passage as support are at best duplicitous in that they fail to inform their listeners that it is their personal opinion and not supported grammatically by the passage.

The Pharaoh of the Exodus and Judas are typical examples used to support such a twisted position.  While I cannot logically or intellectually resolve all the issues, I find comfort in knowing that there are “divine mysteries” that are far above my pay grade!  I suggest that both men (and many others since) are to blame for their decisions, not God.

5 – Too often, those who hold and preach theological-ideologies are subtle in their teachings. They blend and blur various biblical truths together in a way that the audience is led to accept what is being promulgated.  They do not realize what is actually being taught.  Other pastors and teachers grasp what is actually being said and/or left unsaid!

6 – Just do a simple biblical word search for “seek.”  It is impossible to argue that the Scriptures do not speak about men and women seeking Him. Of course, the seeking was first initiated by God in Genesis 3, then throughout the years of Israel’s waywardness through the words of the prophets who called them back to seek the Lord, and ultimately through His son Jesus who sought out all mankind through the incarnation and Calvary’s sacrifice.  Nevertheless, wise men still seek Him as the Spirit of God convicts the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment.

To glibly quote, “No man seeks after God, no not one,” is a simplistic statement that lacks biblical perspective and historical context!  The Fall and our sinful nature are our human condition.  Nevertheless, that does not preclude the fact that we can be and are moved by the Spirit of God, life’s events, and the words and prayers of others to seek Him.

God seeks men, and men and women are called upon to seek God.  Both are true, and at times they are difficult to grasp as they work together.

God first sought us does not preclude us from seeking Him subsequently.  God has placed eternity in our hearts, and while we may seek Him in many of the wrong places, men and women still seek and find Him!

We are called upon to seek Him — unless such verses are only addressed to believers — “Seek ye first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these other things will be added unto you.”

7 – Likewise, there are those who teach that it is God who grants repentance — II Timothy 2:25.  Such a position rends the passage out of context and stands in contradiction to the other teaching of Scripture!  They use this passage to preach and teach that men and women are granted the opportunity to repent unto eternal life.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

In II Timothy, it is by patience, meekness, and instruction that men are persuaded.  God uses such to open the eyes of those who hold positions that are to their own detriment.  “Profane and vain babblings” subvert the hearers and make it more difficult for the Spirit of God to work in them and for them to acknowledge the truth and repent.

Nevertheless, some are ideologically driven into that extreme ditch where it is God who is the cause for their lack of repentance.

NOTE: The idea of “passive sanctification” also springs from this same ideology —  “Any sanctification is only because of His working in you, not of any willful decisions you might think you are making!”  It is all part of the same ditch!

8 – Those in ministry, who can so manipulate the Scripture to make it teach that people have no accountability for their decisions, that there is no human instrumentality that exists alongside of God’s sovereignty, are not trustworthy to handle the truths of the Word.  If they can ignore the truths of the Scriptures that are there to balance out Bible truth, they can make the Scriptures teach what they will.   As Alistair Begg states, such men are biblical conjures!

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