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.

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Calvinism and Evolution

Both society and the institutional church help people justify their irresponsible, sinful behavior.

The Bible says we’ve all been given life by our Creator and are accountable to listen to Him. The only ones who can truly listen are those who have been born again and receive divine assistance by coming to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Obedience is the point of salvation. God saved you to obey Him. Ephesians 2:8-10 most succinctly says this. We aren’t saved by obeying; we obey because we are saved, it’s what salvation creates us to do.

Perhaps the leading justification society gives you is based on evolutionary thinking. An unguided, random process brought us all here. We are products of this process and are driven by evolutionarily received genes. We have no choice really, but to obey our genes and drive evolution forward.

“Sin,” for the evolutionist, is anything that thwarts the greater good of evolving the species. “If it’s not hurting anyone, go for it” is the basic morality. But even if it does, quite frankly, it’s all part of the process taking out weaker elements.

I have heard evolutionists say that all the stuff that people do must be there for a reason. Evolution wired it into us and there must be a wise evolutionary reason it’s there. Somehow, and this is all a big mystery, this random process requires the rape of women to further its cause. So sin is really not that big of a deal. Ultimately, we praise evolution because everything that happens advances its process.

Most of the justifications the church gives for our irresponsibility comes out of Calvinism. Calvinism says that God has ordained whatever comes to pass from eternity past. If we sin, it must be because God wired it into us, there must be some reason why its there. Somehow, and this is all a big mystery, God requires the rape of women to further His cause. So sin isn’t really that big of a deal. Ultimately, we praise God because everything that happens advances His glory.

It’s rather startling how similar the takes on reality are in these two systems. Both end up denying free will. Both end up denying accountability and responsibility. Both end up chalking up bad stuff to mystery, not quite sure why it’s there, but suck it up, it must be for our good.

The common defense of the Calvinist is that not all Calvinists act like this. Famous Calvinists will be propped up and defended “They never acted like sin was no big deal.”

True. I find both Calvinists and evolutionists to be inconsistent in fully living out what they say they believe.

Calvinism leads people to believe that sin isn’t that big of a deal. Easy-Believism is not a non-Calvinist invention! I’m not saying that all Calvinists adhere to Easy-Believism, but all consistent ones do!

Calvinism, in many people’s opinion, comes from Greek Philosophy. Calvin based his stuff on Augustine, who based his stuff on the Greek philosophy he grew up in. Calvinism is rooted in philosophy.

Evolution is a philosophical construct as well. Sure, it sneaks in under the guise of science, but its the underlying philosophy that leads people to see evolution in the supposed evidence.

Human philosophy generally downplays sin, personal responsibility, and accountability. No one wants to be held accountable for what they do. But guess what? God is not a human! God’s wisdom is not rooted in human philosophy and guess what God thinks about responsibility and accountability?

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
–2 Corinthians 5:10-11

How The Church Keeps You Irresponsible

The Gospel is God’s way of bringing sinful people who don’t want to be held accountable by their Creator into being people who desire to do, and can do, what their Creator says.

Society does not like the Gospel. The Gospel is a massive downer to our selfish, narcissistic tendencies. You would expect society to be hostile to the Gospel. No one should be shocked that the world does not like the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

What’s more amazing is how the church has become hostile to the Gospel. The Church is supposed to be the one place upholding the word of truth, yet we realize that no one is interested in the truth.

People in the church are just as selfish, narcissistic, and sinful as anyone else. These tendencies don’t magically disappear because you walk into a church building.

Churches want buildings and money and followers and everything else the world has. But in order to get such things, you have to keep unbelievers happy. Therefore, you can’t proclaim the Gospel, which the world thinks is foolish.

The Church, rather than upholding the Gospel and being a place where people can be built up in Christ, has become just another human institution on this earth doing its own selfish, narcissistic thing. The Church is not doing its responsibility. The church may be the most irresponsible institution on the face of the planet at this point.

Instead of proclaiming the Gospel that can rebirth you in Christ Jesus so you can do what God desires, the church has become one more institution telling you why its OK to be irresponsible. The church has come up with the following justifications for irresponsible behavior:

–God is love. He has no problem with anything you do. He just loves you and wants you to be happy.

–The Gospel actually turns Jesus into a magic pocketbook. If you listen to Him, He will give you all the fleshly desires you could imagine.

–Grace covers it all. It doesn’t matter what you do, God forgives you and nothing matters. Desiring to do good, in fact, might be a sign you’ve fallen from grace.

–God is in sovereign control. Every molecule of creation is doing exactly what God wants it to do. Nothing you do is of your own free will, and, somehow, God is glorified by it all.

Perhaps few come out and say it so bluntly, but this is the basic takeaway people get from these doctrinal distortions.

The church needs fleshly stuff, therefore it must keep fleshly people happy. The Gospel will never keep fleshly people happy.

So we’ve invented false gospels. We’ve constructed elaborate doctrinal structures to explain away personal responsibility. We now biblically explain to people why it’s biblical to not listen to the Bible. It’s a truly bizarre situation.

The church is not supposed to be part of the problem. We’re supposed to be upholding the solution: the Gospel of Jesus Christ that rebirths people into new life in Christ Jesus.

Instead we’ve fallen into the world’s trappings. The cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches has choked the life out of the church.

So, even church-goers believe their irresponsibility is OK. That God doesn’t really care what we do. That Judgment Day will be a judgment based on happy thoughts, rather than on deeds done in the body.

And we like it this way. But this will not work out well in The End.

Justification by Faith Alone and John 8

John 8 is one of the more fascinating chapters concerning justification by faith.

John 8:30 says “many believed on Him,” the “Him” being Jesus Christ. If you believe that we are justified by faith alone, you would conclude that these people are saved.

Jesus Christ, who does not believe people are justified by faith alone, says, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed” (John 8:31).

Jesus Christ, the judge of peoples’ hearts, knows the true test is not whether you momentarily believed something, but whether you continue to hear everything He says.

Jesus Christ continues to talk to this same group who said they believed on Him. Although they liked the first three minutes of what He said, they argue everything He says for the rest of the chapter. He eventually tells them their father is the Devil because God’s word is not in them and they do the works of their father.

Jesus Christ, the judge, does not base His judgment of their faith on what they say, but on what they do. He accuses them of wanting to kill Him. If God were your Father, you would not want to kill Christ.

They deny all along that they want to kill Him. But guess what they do at the end of the chapter in verse 59? “Then took they up stones to cast at Him

Jesus Christ was right in His judgment all along! Surprise, surprise.

Again, this is the same group of people who said they believed on Him. The audience did not shift at all.

If you believe people are justified by faith alone, you would conclude that these people who want to stone the Christ are saved. You would be wrong.

This is not losing salvation. Genuine, saving faith continues in God’s Word. It keeps hearing and obeying and doing what God says. It would not decide to stone Jesus Christ!

Every judgment in the Bible is based on works. God does not judge you based on a momentary word of faith out of your mouth, but on a pattern of belief. Was there any change after your professed belief?

What about the thief on the cross?

After his confession, he told the other guy to knock off ridiculing Jesus Christ. he confessed his sin and his need of a Savior. Christ knows our hearts. He knows that if the thief on the cross had a longer life, he would live it serving Christ.

God is the judge. He tells us what His judgment is based on: not a momentary faith-like deed, not happy thoughts and words, but rather on the character of the life lived.

The Gospel brings new life. If there is no new life then you don’t believe the Gospel. Many profess to know God, but in deeds they deny Him.

Jesus bases salvation on whether you continue in His word, not whether you said you wanted to start one time.

This is a devastating message to modern Christian doctrine if you will hear it. Judgment Day is coming. Now is the time to get ready.

Easy Believism and Guilt

The basic attempt by people who hold to justification by faith alone is to eliminate personal responsibility in doing what God says.

The temptation of making salvation dependent upon merely nodding your head to the Gospel and then continuing on in your old life is great.

Everyone wants to think that sin isn’t bad. I can still do it and get to heaven. I don’t need to change anything. God loves me just the way I am.

It sounds great and certainly it will result in an easier life! But every attempt at eliminating the responsibility to listen to God will be shown to be foolishness.

Since there’s no reason you should listen to me, I’ll quote Jesus Christ Himself.

At the end of The Sermon on the Mount, a list of impossible commands for anyone in the flesh to possibly follow, Jesus Christ says this:

 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

If you do not do what Jesus commands you are a fool. The storms of life will knock you and all you’ve ever built over. Nothing but destruction.

I really am amazed at the number of Christians who try to convince me I don’t have to listen to God’s Word. Loopholes come fast and furious when specific commands get brought up.

No one wants to have to obey. No one certainly wants anything important riding on whether they obey or not.

Why so much skittishness there? Why do people feel the need to convince others they don’t have to listen?

If you are one who goes around telling others they don’t have to listen to God’s commands, it’s because of your own guilt. I see no other motivation–perhaps the exception of people trying to get you to listen to them.

But I don’t think most Christians are trying to get followers or start a cult. Most are just covering their own guilt. Doing what is right makes people doing wrong feel bad.

People are not content to just sin. They have to flaunt their sin. They desire societal approval of their chosen sin. They do this because of a nagging sense of guilt eating away at them.

At the heart of all the versions of an Easy Gospel is a lack of responsibility and tremendous guilt.

Instead of legitimately believing the Gospel and obeying God’s commands through the new Spiritual Nature we’ve been given, people wallow in their man-made Gospel that sounds easy, but never truly answers the guilt problem.

The only way to not feel guilt is to not do things that make you feel guilty.

It’s quite simple in theory! Through the power of God in you, it can be a reality too. The Gospel delivers people from bondage to sin. It really does.

If yours doesn’t, it’s because you have the wrong Gospel.

Salvation Is Hard

Many years ago I was talking to an older guy about fixing a broken something or other. He was a handyman type, knew how to fix everything. I’m a waste of space at fixing things.

He was telling me how simple it was to do this repair. To emphasize how simple it was he said, “It’s as easy as getting saved.”

I was stunned by his statement. I remember laughing and saying something like, “Hm, I never thought getting saved was all that easy.” He was then stunned by my statement!

There are many who think “getting saved” is easy. If you view justification by faith alone the way most do–nodding your head yes at the appropriate time of the emotional Gospel presentation–then yeah, getting saved is easy.

Easy Salvation agrees to the facts of the Gospel and you’re good to go.

What amazes me is watching Jesus Christ talk to people about salvation. He drove so many away. In fact, Jesus always seemed to make salvation harder than people thought.

The classic example is the Rich Young Ruler, “Go and sell all your stuff and give to the poor, come, and follow me.” Can you imagine explaining to the Rich Young Ruler that making a repair was “as easy as getting saved?”

It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. That sounds hard to me.

The gate is strait and the way is narrow; few there be who find it. Sounds pretty hard to me.

If you don’t hate mother, father, son, and daughter you cannot be my disciple. Sounds pretty hard to me.

Anyone who desires to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. Sounds pretty hard to me.

Take up your cross, deny yourself, and follow me. Sounds pretty tough.

I think you get the idea.

Salvation is not mental assent to facts about Jesus. Salvation is a new way of life, one that must be thought about carefully. You sure you want to do that? You sure it’s worth it to lose your money, your family peace, your friendships, your cares of this world, and your carefully constructed reputation that will become dung?

You sure?

Yet most people will say, “Pssh, I’ve never had to do any of that, and I’m saved. It was easy for me.”

Judgment Day is going to be a real shocker to many people. Don’t be one of them. Wake up today. Read the Word. Realize that salvation is the hardest decision you’ll ever make and it might possibly ruin your life.

For many in the Great Cloud of Witnesses, salvation didn’t pay off until they were dead and finally inherited the Better Country.

Until then, salvation kind of stunk. Don’t rush people into making a decision. Particularly don’t push kids into it; they have no idea what the implications are. So much of our Gospel is wrong and so many of our Gospel presentations are wrong.

Read the Parable of the Sower. 3 out of 4 didn’t get in. If words mean what they say, salvation is not easy.

If you think it is, more than likely it comes from your warped, man-made view of justification by faith alone.

You’re Probably Deceived About Your Righteousness

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

That’s 1 John 3:7, a verse in your Bible.

There’s a reason John warns us not to be deceived on this issue. It’s because he knows we’re going to be deceived on this issue.

The issue is that righteousness is real. If you are righteous, you will do righteous things. In fact, doing righteous things is what makes you qualified to be called “righteous.”

Don’t be deceived into thinking you can live in sin and yet call yourself “righteous.”

Yet living in sin and calling yourself “righteous” is fairly standard Evangelical Christian doctrine at this point.

We’ve been taught, and our flesh has desperately grabbed onto, the lie that we are righteous in Jesus Christ, therefore I can still sin and it’s no big deal.

We are deceived into thinking that God only sees Christ; He doesn’t see me.

The official doctrinal name for this teaching is Imputed Righteousness:

Christ obeyed the law. His law-keeping is added to my account, so even though I don’t keep the law, Jesus did for me. When God sees me; He sees the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ.

This is standard evangelical doctrine.

It is also insane.

Seriously, insanity is thinking things are one way when they are clearly another.

The idea that you can borrow someone else’s righteousness is never taught anywhere in Scripture, and, in fact, is explicitly refuted in Scripture (read Ezekiel 14 for one).

The Bible is also clear that we are not saved by works of the Law. Not by your works of the Law, nor even Christ’s! Think about it: if I’m saved by Christ’s law keeping added to my account, then I am saved by deeds of the law and Christ died in vain! A teaching the Bible repeatedly shoots down.

Calling someone righteous only happens if that someone is actually righteous.

To call someone who is unrighteous “righteous” would be lying. Deceit. Be not deceived.

Yet explaining this to people now, after hundreds of years of having it drummed into our heads, does not go over well. I will be the heretic for maintaining this very obvious, Scriptural, and common sensical idea.

It is explicitly stated in 1 John 3:7. It can’t be said any clearer.

So, instead of taking those clear words, we come up with reasons to explain why we don’t have to listen to John, or how John was talking about some other such doctrinal thing that way more educated people can confuse you about.

Nope. John, one of the best authors in Scripture at keeping things simple, is simply telling you that only righteous people alone are actually, get this, righteous.

None of us are naturally righteous. We are sinners. Jesus Christ died for our sins and rose again to bring deliverance from sin. We, as placed into the Body of Christ, are now servants of righteousness. We do righteousness. A thing we never did before salvation.

The ability and power to do righteousness is a gift of the Gospel. God grants that power and His Spirit indwells us to mortify the deeds of the body and wake us up to an active, real righteousness in our lives.

If this new righteousness has not shown up in your life; you are not saved. You are not righteous.

You are not saved by working righteousness out of your own power. You are saved by working out the righteousness that Christ has worked in you through the power of the Gospel.

If that righteousness does not show up; you are not righteous and Christ is not in you and you are not in Christ.

We have reached the age where saying this is the oddball, heretical thing.

The deception is real. It’s already at work. Don’t fall for it. Wake up. Hear the clear words of Scripture. The Judgment is coming.