George W. DeHoff
God’s people have always been influenced by those around them. Instead of depending on God and His Word, they spend too little time in learning a “Thus saith the Lord” and depending on that Word. Instead, they watch what others are doing, and imitate them. Nearly every error of the denominations find sits way into the Lord’s church. Indeed, sometimes when denominationalists have found that something will not work, our brethren are just beginning to take it up!
There are two principal sources of error today—Catholicism and Calvinism. Nearly all the errors which we see in the church today are coming from Calvinism. The seminaries which our “scholars” attend are usually filled with Calvinism and many of the new Bible “translations” are Calvinistic in their “translation.” It is not any wonder that our preachers receive this second-handed Calvinism from their teachers and that when they use and recommend “translations” and books saturated with this doctrine, it will be found everywhere.
There are five fundamental errors of Calvinism. We should know every one of them and how to refute them. (1) Election and Foreordination, (2) Limited Atonement, (3) Hereditary Total Depravity, (4) Direct Operation of the Holy Spirit Separate and Apart from the Written Word, and (5) Final Perseverance of the Saints.
(All of these errors are discussed in the DeHoff-Davis and the Woods-Holder Debate, both of which may be ordered from the Firm Foundation Publishing House.)
Election and Foreordination
God has never been a respecter of persons. In every nation they that fear God and work righteousness are accepted by Him. The Calvinistic notion is that before man was born God decided whether he would be saved or lost. He “elected” some to be saved and some to be lost. If you are among the elect you will be saved but if you are one of the non-elect, you will be lost. This false doctrine negates everything the Bible teaches. John 3:16 teaches that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us. God loves the whole world. Jesus died for all. This gift of salvation depends on our accepting it. “God will judge every man according to his works”—not according to a crooked election conducted before the man was born!
Many of our pioneer preachers called attention to the fact that there are three votes to be cast in this election: God votes for you to be saved, the devil votes for you to be lost and when we get your vote, the decision will be made.
Closely connected with the election and foreordination doctrine is the doctrine of limited atonement—that Jesus did not die for all but only for the elect. This is so contrary to the teaching of the New Testament that one is amazed that anyone would take up with this false doctrine.
Hereditary Total Depravity
These words cannot be found in the Bible one in a place, let alone all three together! The idea here is that Adam sinned and that all of his offspring—all mankind—thus inherited sin from Adam. Adam did sin and all have suffered the consequence of his sin, but not the guilt of his sin. Even the Old Testament taught that the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, the father shall not bear the iniquity of the son (Eze. 18:20).
Sin is a transgression of the law. That is not something that we inherit but something that we do. Little children are born into the world pure, holy and innocent. Jesus said, “Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat. 19:14). He certainly did not mean that God’s kingdom is filled with totally depraved individuals. Our Lord told the disciples that to enter the kingdom they must be converted and become as little children—pure, holy, free from sin (Mat. 18:3). Little children who die are not saved—they are safe. “Safe in the arms of Jesus, Safe on his gentle breast.” When our little ones die, we cannot bring them back but we can go to them. How precious, indeed, is this promise!
Direct Operation of The Holy Ghost
In the Bible, God’s Holy Spirit operated only through His Word. The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into all truth (John 16:13). They wrote that truth for us in the Bible (2 Tim. 3:16). “These things are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God; and that believing you might have life through his name” (John 20:30-31). Faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Rom. 10:17). The preaching of our pioneer preachers knocked the mourners bench out of the denominations. Most of them gave it up. No man today knows any truth in religion unless it is in the written Word of God.
Indeed, everything the Bible says that the Holy Spirit does for us on earth, it also says the Word of God does it for us. This simply proves that God’s Holy Spirit operates through God’s written Word. Saints and sinners depend on this Word for God’s message.
The notion that the Holy Spirit is operating in some manner separate and apart from His Word is Calvinism—it is false doctrine. (The famous Hardeman-Bogard Debate—now out of print—is one that every Christian should be familiar with.)
Final Perseverance of the Saints
The doctrine that one of God’s children cannot be lost regardless of what he does is the most amazing of all false doctrines. More than 2,500 times the book of God warns God’s children about being lost, falling away, being rejected. Do these warnings mean nothing? The first religious debate in the history of the world was between God and the devil in the garden of Eden. God told His children that they must not eat the forbidden fruit; that they would die the very day they did. The devil told them they were God’s children and it would not hurt them no matter what they did. They obeyed the devil. Sin entered the world. Paul said he was afraid the same thing that happened to Adam and Eve would happen to Christians today (2 Cor. 11:3). The notion that Christ bore all our sins and we have nothing to fear is rank nonsense. Christ will not forgive our sins unless we repent of them. Every alien sinner must do what Peter told them in Acts 2:38. All the teaching about God imputing our sins to Christ is meaningless unless alien sinners will repent and be baptized like the Lord said. When members of the church—Christians—sin, they must “Repent and pray” to be forgiven (Acts 8:22). We need not attempt to excuse ourselves by saying, “Christ died for me. He bore my sins. God will not impute sin to me.” He will and does unless you repent and pray like He said.
We need sermons on “Can a Child of God Fall From Grace?” The book of God teaches that they certainly can (Gal. 5:4). Example after example may be given from the Bible. “The wages of sin is death… Turn ye, turn ye, why will ye die?”
These five doctrines of Calvinism are false. They are having great influence in the world today. Members of the church—even our preachers—are being influenced by them. One does not need a degree from college nor a knowledge of “Greek and Latin” to expose them. A simple knowledge of the Bible will do the job.