Calvinism and Easy-Believism

“Easy Believism,” to define terms, is the belief that the Gospel is a set of facts you agree with that matter nothing at all once they are believed.

Practically, Easy Believism  looks like this:

You are presented with the Gospel, that Jesus Christ died for your sins and rose again. If you believe this, you say the sinner’s prayer, or get baptized, or do some other initiation rite, and then carry on. No strings attached. No obligation. No accountability. Nothing really matters now; you’re saved! And, once saved always saved, so live it up! Believing the Gospel makes sin OK. Anyone who tells you you’re supposed to stop sinning and do good instead, is a legalist and should be avoided.

That is what Easy-Believism is. The vast majority of Christians are in this camp in one form or another. Many may not express these words, but they live as though these words are true.

Easy-Believism is not biblical. It’s based entirely on human ideas, wishes, and philosophy. The underlying theological system behind it is Calvinism.

Calvinism’s main tenet of faith is Substitutionary Atonement. This is the idea that our sins were imputed to Christ who died on the cross and rose again. Christ’s righteous deeds were then imputed to us. Therefore, we have swapped out our sins for Christ’s good deeds. This is expressed by saying “Christ kept the law for us.” Or, “God doesn’t see what I do; He only sees what Christ did for me.”

Substitutionary Atonement has problems.

If Christ died in place of each believer, then atonement becomes limited. Christ could have only died for eventual believers. Therefore Christ did not die for the sins of the world as the Bible states, but only for the sins of the elect. The offer of forgiveness to whosoever may come is disingenuous at best, and deceptive at worst.

The idea that we were saved by Christ keeping the law for us, means we are saved by works and not by Christ’s death and resurrection, which makes the Gospel essentially vain.

If God only sees Christ’s good deeds credited to me and not my own deeds, then all warnings in the Bible about not sinning and giving an account for every deed done in the body, seem pointless. God would then be the worst judge possible because He can’t see who it is He’s judging. Judgment all seems rather ridiculous anyway, because God ordains everything we do, so why bust us for doing what God ordained for us to do?

Substitutionary Atonement is the ground of Calvinism. They stand and fall together. Substitutionary Atonement is also the ground of Easy-Believism. Throw Calvinism’s warped concept of predestination on top of it–you are saved by God’s sovereign choice and there’s nothing you can do about it–and Easy-Believism is sealed up in a nice, tight package.

According to Calvinism, I can’t believe anyway unless God saves me first. This is the easiest of Easy-Believisms. We are not even accountable to believe under this system!

I am fully aware that every Calvinist who would read this would say I’ve constructed straw man arguments and that I don’t understand Calvinism.

I would disagree. I’ve read Calvin’s Institutes and wrote a paper on each chapter. I’ve studied extensively Calvinist writings and sermons. I’ve had the argument hundreds of times. Calvinism is wrong. Substitutionary Atonement is wrong.

You are accountable to believe the Gospel and you will give an account before God for every deed done in the body.

I’m aware that no one likes this message, but it is the message of Scripture. The fact that you can find humans who have an established theology that contradicts this and makes you feel better about things, does not mean you’re hearing truth!

It is appointed unto man once to die and after that the judgment. It’s coming. Don’t play games.

5 thoughts on “Calvinism and Easy-Believism”

  1. Every fiber of my being screams out that you’re wrong and I shouldn’t listen to such orthodoxy/heresy. My grandfather preached substitutionary atonement, 2+ centuries of ancestors believed it, my parents believed it. Every pastor, besides you, I’ve ever heard taught it.

    But I tell you what. I’ll carefully read the ESV New Testament without study notes (using CSB and KJV for comparison) and see what it says. I guess I was so used to agreeing with whatever the pastor said that whether he agreed with the Bible was secondary.

    This time I want to rely on whatever the truth is.

  2. They kept saying that Lutheran doctrine is Biblical doctrine. I thought it strange when I realized that few, if any, Lutheran pastor seemed familiar with the Bible.

  3. Substitutionary Atonement is a theory. It’s a human attempt to summarize biblical truth. It gets some things right, but the whole thing skips some stuff and invents some other stuff, especially the Calvinist warping of it leading to Limited Atonement, which is so contrary to the Bible, it borders on, if not crosses over into, blasphemy.

    Substitutionary Atonement is just some people’s attempt to explain the Gospel. I think it misses the mark. It’s certainly not “what the Bible says.” I think the originators of it were trying to be helpful, and in some ways they were, but again, it’s just people words. People words are not inspired and your entrance into heaven is not based on how well you keep people words.

  4. Ruth said: “I’ll carefully read the ESV New Testament without study notes (using CSB and KJV for comparison) and see what it says.”

    Very good decision.
    It’s surprising (and sad) how few people are willing to do that.

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