There are certain beliefs that can hinder a person from sharing the gospel with someone. First, what is the difference between “doctrine” and “dogma?” Has your doctrine changed over the years since you became a Christian? In other words: You don’t believe something you used to because you’ve grown as a Christian, or you believe something after years of maturing that you didn’t use to.
Doctrine by its literal definition never changes. The word “doctrine” comes from two Greek words: “Didaskalos”; “Doctor”; either that which is taught or the act of teaching. Doctrine means “the masters teaching and the master’s teaching never changes. But our understanding of the master’s teaching changes.
Dogma is a belief. Dogma is where we get our word “Dogmatic.”
A lot of Christians say they believe in “Calvinism,” so what do they believe? They have five points in their belief system.
(1) Total Depravity
What many believe this means is that we are so depraved and have such a fallen sin nature, that we can’t even choose Christ on our own. That God just kind of “Zaps” us and we get saved one day.
I totally disagree with that! I believe what it means is that we are born with a sin nature and yet God still gives us the ability to choose. Eternity is our choice! God is a merciful and just God and gives every person a chance to accept God. Whatever belief we have has to be consistent with the nature of God. A God that would give His own Son to the world for their sin, gives everyone an opportunity to choose. But we all are born with a sin nature: Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Simple question: Did you have to teach your children to be bad or, did it just come naturally to them?
(2) Unconditional Election
This belief is that God chose some people to go to heaven and chose some to go to hell. I do not believe that is true! If our salvation is our individual choice, how could God have already chosen for us?
The truth is God wants everyone to come to Jesus Christ! There are way too many Scriptures that tell us to “Take the gospel to the whole world.” If God has already chosen who will go to heaven or who will be saved, why waste our time telling someone about Christ?
Matthew 24:14 – “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all nations, and then the end will come.”
What kind of God would allow the gospel to be preached and then not allow but only certain people to receive it? Doesn’t make sense, does it? Mark 16:15 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.”
John 1:29 – The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”
All through Scripture, we can see that God wants the whole world, not just the elect, to be reconciled to Christ! Jesus has already paid for everyone’s sin in the whole world. Jesus has already paid for the whole world to be saved. This is why it should be easy to witness to others. Their sins have been paid for, they just need to accept and believe.
People don’t go to hell because of their sin. They go to hell because of “Unbelief!” Jesus did not say that the ones that don’t sin go to heaven and the ones that sin go to hell. John 3:36 – “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”
When we believe by faith, all of our sins are paid for in full and the righteousness is deposited into our account! But it’s up to the individual to choose.
(3) Limited Atonement
This basically means that Jesus died only for the “elect.” Again, I don’t believe this. There are too, too, many Scriptures that Jesus died for the whole world. Look at these two Scriptures that have a phrase, “Once for all.”
Hebrews 7:27 – who does not need daily, as those high priest, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
Hebrews 9:12 – Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
If certain people are already chosen that they are going to heaven, why witness, why tell anyone about Christ? Why even pray for the lost? The truth is that we are to compel people to come to Christ!
(4) Irresistible Grace
What this means in Calvinism teaching is that those who are chosen cannot resist the grace of God. They will accept Christ because it’s just irresistible. I totally disagree with that. I believe that a person can, and will and does resist God. God gave us free will. If this teaching is true, then God created “robots!” We would have to have no will or a choice. Our belief determines where we will spend eternity. Our behavior determines “how’ we will spend our eternity.
Acts 7:51 – “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.”
Matthew 7:24 – “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:” (Verse 26) “Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand:” Matthew 10:32 – “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven.” Does that sound like everyone has a choice? Yes, it does!
(5) Perseverance of the Saints
This means to the Calvinist that, if you are one of the chosen, you will persevere to the end no matter what. This takes personal responsibility out of our choice. I believe in the “Preservation” of the Saints. In other words: I believe that God preserves those whom He loves and who calls on His name.
Psalm 31:23 – Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful.
Psalm 37:28 – For the LORD loves justice, and does not forsake His saints; they are preserved forever…
Psalm 97:10 – You who love the LORD, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints…
God is able to keep that which I have committed to Him! I’ve committed my faith in the substitutionary death of the Lord Jesus Christ!
Matthew 16:25 – “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake shall find it.”