Calvinism Denies the Gospel’s Power

Ron Cosby

Regrettably, most religious folks are inclined to believe the insidious teaching of “irresistible grace.” By making God totally accountable for man’s salvation, this doctrine relieves lost men of any responsibility for being lost. After all—according to its advocates—sinful man cannot do what God commanded.

In an internet article, entitled, “God’s Irresistible Grace,” Jacob Moseley defines this ungodly belief:

The doctrine of irresistible grace, or effectual calling, may be defined as the most gracious work of God by which He, according to His eternal purpose and electing grace, does sovereignly and powerfully conquer the sinner’s rebellion, thereby enabling him to turn to Christ in genuine repentance and saving faith. (

The Canons of Dort (1618-19) also advocated the doctrine of irresistible grace:

Faith is therefore to be considered as the gift of God, not on account of its being offered by God to man, to be accepted or rejected at his pleasure, but because it is in reality conferred upon him, breathed and infused into him; nor even because God bestows the power or ability to believe, and then expects that man should by the exercise of his own free will consent to the terms of salvation and actually believe in Christ, but because He who works in man both to will and to work, and indeed all things in all, produces both the will to believe and the act of believing also (Third and Fourth Head, Article 14).

Like most Calvinistic writers, Moseley offers John 6:44 as proof of his false assertion, saying, “In one of the most definitive (with regard to irresistible grace) verses in the Bible Jesus himself says: No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day’ (John 6:44).”

Moseley’s “most definitive” verse actually refutes irresistible grace. Note that the Holy Spirit is not even mentioned in John 6. But more important, the text tells us how the Father draws men. Verse 45 says, “…they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.”

Couple this being “taught” and having “learned” with Paul’s clear declaration of the power of the gospel to save all, and one sees exactly how God works in the hearts of men. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (Rom. 1:16). In light of these verses, irresistible grace goes down in flames.

Though John 6:44-45 and Romans 1:16 forever remove the dark cloud of Calvinistic doctrine of irresistible grace, its advocates offer an excuse to buttress this unholy doctrine. They claim that the Holy Spirit directly aids only “the elect” to understand the Bible, thus enabling them to obey God. This concept needs closer scrutiny.

According to surveys which asked why people neglect reading the Bible, 75 percent answered that they could not understand the King James. Apparently, the Holy Spirit’s aid in comprehension does not extend to the King James Version. The inconsistencies and fallacies of the Spirit’s direct enabling are made clear in the following situation:

The audiences of The 700 Club believe and teach the doctrine of the inward, direct working on the Holy Spirit. In one episode, while he was advocating the use of modern translations of the Bible, the host asked those in attendance what translation they read. Each acknowledged that he used a modern version. Whey he asked them, “Why”?, they replied, “Because I can’t understand the King James. Hmmm. So, they couldn’t understand the Bible, even when “aided” by the Holy Spirit!

Dear reader, do you see a problem with this? A viewer of The 700 Club did. As a believer in the direct enabling of the Holy Spirit, she saw the inconsistencies of what the audience, the host, and the guest panelists were saying and asked, “If God gives us understanding of the Bible, why are you saying we need further assistance from modern translations?” The host’s answer missed the point. However, we too ask, “If the enabling of the Holy Spirit illuminates the modern versions, why not the King James?” Indeed, why not the Greek text?

God so wrote that the thinking man whom He created can understand His revealed conditions of salvation. Bible students need not, ought not, and must not, rely on the false doctrine of direct illumination of the Spirit. When we seek the meaning of the Scriptures, a diligent, honest search for the truth will yield nuggets of spiritual gold. And, when discovered, man can obey his Maker. The problem is, obviously, not with the King James version or the nature of man, but with the doctrine of “irresistible grace.”

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Author: Editor

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