In today’s world of Twitter theology, prosperity “gospel,” and quasi-religious, romanticized feel-good-ism, Reformed theology has been subject to a myriad (indeed, many myriads) of misunderstanding, misrepresentation, and outright slander. Today, I ran across a helpful lecture by Dr. Sam Waldron, a Reformed Baptist minister, explaining and responding to many of these sentiments against Reformed theology. As a biblically-convinced Calvinist, I believe this video is a valuable tool in conversing with people who believe false things about Reformed teaching.
Here is the lecture:
Below are the time stamps of the misunderstandings for ease of reference. Again, keep in mind that each of these statements listed below are misunderstandings of Reformed theology, not assertions of doctrine taught therein.
Misunderstandings Related to Total Depravity
- “Calvinists do not believe in free will” (9:43).
- “Calvinists do not believe in human responsibility” (12:27).
- “[Calvinists believe that] ‘total depravity’ means that men are as bad as they can be” (15:14).
- “[Calvinists believe that] ‘total inability’ [a consequence of ‘total depravity’] means that even though men want to be saved, they cannot be saved or come to Christ” (16:13).
Misunderstandings Related to Unconditional Election
- “Calvinists are fatalists” (18:04).
- “Calvinists believe that the elect will be saved no matter what we or they do” (19:45).
- “Calvinists steal assurance of salvation from God’s people” (21:56).
- “Calvinists teach the damnation of infants” (25:34).
- “Calvinists teach double predestination” (25:58).
- “Calvinists do not believe in missions or in evangelism” (28:21).
- “[Calvinists believe that] it is not the duty of the non-elect to believe in Christ for salvation; Calvinists do not believe in the free offer of the gospel” (30:05).
- “[Calvinists believe that] God does not desire the salvation of the non-elect, but has only holy hatred for them” (31:39).
- “[Calvinists believe that] there is no such thing as common grace” (32:33).
Misunderstandings Related to Limited Atonement
- “Only Calvinists limit the atonement” (35:11).
- “Calvinists limit the value of the atonement” (36:02).
- “Limited atonement contradicts the free and well-meant offer of the gospel” (36:40).
- “Limited atonement means that ‘whosoever will’ may not come” (38:32).
Misunderstandings Related to Irresistible Grace
- “Irresistible grace means that God saves men against their will” (39:27).
- “Irresistible means that men never resist the Holy Spirit” (40:54).
Misunderstandings Related to Perseverance and Preservation
- “‘The perseverance and preservation of the saints’ means that once men are saved it does not matter how they live, they will still go to heaven” (42:43).
- “‘The perseverance and preservation of the saints’ means that God’s people can have no assurance of salvation until after they have persevered” (45:04).