One way to start an unbiblical Christian church is to identify a niche in the Bible, then run with it as new theology. You may ask, why would anyone do such a thing? Financial profiting from donations; it's a business; has nothing to do with truly seeking God. From public records: "Calvin separated from the Catholic church..." Stop right there. This explains everything. Seeing the multi-billionaire status of the known-corrupt Vatican in the 16th century, and he was a 27-year old without a job, Calvin set out to build his own church empire. He had good business sense; it had nothing to do with seeking God. The Calvinist church is just another donation-generating social club. Just like the Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Mormon, and the rest of unbiblical churches. But take heart. It's not all bad. I was born to a Catholic family. Which triggered my interest in God, then got me seeking and searching for the whole truth. Consistent with the Bible message of they meant it for bad, but God meant it for good: Genesis 50:20 As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept [spiritually] alive, as they are today. This also applies to those who crucified Jesus, btw.
Predestination verses in the Bible were identified and discussed years before Calvin, but Calvin around the 16th century forcefully brought it back to the forefront. And a new doctrine was born. The concept of "God is in complete control of everything, including deciding our eternal destiny, mysteriously picking and choosing from the humans to grant them salvation", is completely misunderstood!
This subject is highly debated. Many so-called scholars wrote books about it. Most of these books are filled with big complicated words; you always have to look up in the dictionary. The Calvinist / reformed-Calvinist church refers their people to read those books instead of the Bible.
God foreknew those who decided to choose Him by faith. Then He predestined them based on this knowledge. God is "I AM"; He sits outside our time/space continuum. He sees eternity past and eternity future at the same time.
There is no before and after for God. Which is a concept that may be difficult for most people to comprehend. Then the likes of Calvin and their followers took advantage of this niche to rob the innocent lost sheep; rob them both financially and spiritually. People will follow, and will donate to that church. And the book-authors will profit from selling their books. It's a business! It is acceptable to receive donations but only when teaching the correct word of God in the Bible, not when misleading people!!
I will give you my "truly seeking God; not seeking credit or financial gains" perspective here in a half a page, and you don't even have to look up any words in the dictionary.
Here are some verses that point to: "people didn't care about God; He had to do it all":
God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
I looked, but there was no one to help; I was appalled that no one assisted. So My arm brought Me salvation, and My own wrath upheld Me.
You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit— fruit that will remain— so that whatever you ask the Father in My name, He will give you.
Notes: This is actually evidence against the Calvinist doctrine. This confirms that God created us with free-will; freedom to chose our destiny, and those people chose to reject God. The fact that all people were not good, and not interested in God is also a result of being created in the image of God. They all wanted to be Gods themselves. No one wants to submit to anybody. Right? Look around you.
So God, seeing this, decided to provide salvation using His own Self, without help from people. Obviously an infinitely loving God finding ways to reconcile us to Him so we don't perish, but no "predestination" or "elect" here; He did this for all people, not selectively. So He drew His redemption plans before the creation of the world. Starting with provisional sacrifices before Christ. And ending with the final and ultimate sacrifice of Jesus. A perfect redemption plan for all mankind. All we have to do is see it in the scriptures, believe it, and accept it. So our role in this whole redemption plan is to say yes. That's all; no added works of the flesh required.
So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.
But the Calvinist doctrine says, we didn't really say yes, God made us say yes because He chose us. Which makes us nothing but robots. Now if you were God, would you do this? Of course not. A grand universe creation of this scale, with all the intelligence given to humans, then we're reduced to mere robots?! Does not even fit with any human's personality, much less with God's. So if you show the above verse to a Calvinist, they'll say: "God made you hear it and believe it. And He made others not hear it". Not quite!! It is complicated, yes. But not as it seems on the surface; keep reading.
God wants our own initiated interest! This then would truly result in a meaningful relationship with Him.
Here are some misunderstood verses about predestination that The Calvinist church latch on to:
For He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in His presence. In love He predestined us for adoption as His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His will.
What Israel was seeking, it failed to obtain, but the elect did. The others were hardened, as it is written: “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that could not see, and ears that could not hear, to this very day.”
And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. “For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
“In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
...I loved Jacob, but Esau I hated.
Notes: So terms like "predestined... for His good pleasure", "the non-elect were hardened by God", "God gave them eyes that can't see, ears that can't hear...", and "God gave them a spirit of stupor", can sound like God is doing mysterious picking and choosing. And this is exactly what Calvin and his bunch dwelled on. But look below; detailed elaborating explanations from the Bible clearly demystifying the above!
In the old-testament God approached Abraham, and talked to him. Yes, in those days the scripture showed a selective approach from God, example, Abraham and the Jewish were God's chosen people. But later, God opened it up to the whole world in the new-testament. And that is not the whole world of "only the Elect!" It was different in Abraham's days - God in His wisdom saw that He could achieve His final objective by focusing on one group of people initially. Then later open it up to the whole world.
Let's put this in a different perspective. God created humans with free-will, but He didn't just leave them alone and let their free-will destroy them. He provided His redemption plan, and made it known to all people through the scripture. Then let them in their free-will become interested in Him. He has the ability to foresee all this on His drawing-board before creation, and predestine / help-along those who expressed interest. Look at the undisputable Bible references below on this very key point.
In the same way, we ourselves (created in God's image) don't bring children into this world and abandon them. We help them along on the right path until they grow up. And we don't do that selectively; we don't choose 2 of our babies and help them grow on the right path, and throw the 3rd baby over a cliff! This is the Human parallel. But God's perspective has far more to it. He is outside of time, and can accomplish the same objective as us, but with an added element - foreknowledge.
Here Is The Explanation That Clarifies It All
The scripture explains how God chose and predestined people; nothing mysterious about it. We are the ones to accept His grace or reject it. God being outside our time dimension, foresaw our saying yes all the way back to before creation. And the "for His pleasure" is not that we'll be providing amusement or entertainment to Him. It is His pleasure in creating humans, and the resulting meaningful relationship, which was the main purpose of His creation in the first place.
God did not reject his people, whom he foreknew.
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son
Notes: Self explanatory; needs no explanation, right?. All you had to do was find these verses, then you would have left the Calvinist church long ago. But who's reading the Bible?
If you give these verses to a Calvinist, he'll say: "'Foreknew them' does not mean they chose God". So a debate with a Calvinist is always futile. They'll tell you you have eyes that can't see and ears that can't hear, when in reality they themselves are the ones with those eyes and ears.
More clear explanations from the Bible:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit
Then he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’ “‘Sir,’ the man replied, ‘leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig around it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.’”
Notes: God gives people a chance to truly seek Him, or be cut down, as in become spiritually dead, which leads to becoming unsaved and sent to hell after death. "Fruit" here means spiritual growth. So similar to the "talents" parable below; bear fruits or risk becoming rejected by God. It is clear from this parable that God is waiting on our action or else cut the fig tree. This parable says the ball is in our court now; so it's our action, our decision, our free-will, to produce fruit by seeking God and grow spiritually, or else. Note, He did not make us do or not-do anything, and there is no works of the flesh here!
Now what would the Calvinist say to this? He may say "that's not what it means; you're doing your own explanation." Which puts the Calvinist at the edge of their doctrine and about to fall off a cliff. Keep reading below.
“For it is just like a man about to go on a journey. He called his own servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two talents, and to another one talent, depending on each one’s ability. Then he went on a journey. Immediately the man who had received five talents went, put them to work, and earned five more. In the same way the man with two earned two more. But the man who had received one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground, and hid his master’s money.
“After a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five talents approached, presented five more talents, and said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I’ve earned five more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’ “The man with two talents also approached. He said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I’ve earned two more talents.’ “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You were faithful over a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Share your master’s joy.’
“The man who had received one talent also approached and said, ‘Master, I know you. You’re a harsh man, reaping where you haven’t sown and gathering where you haven’t scattered seed. So I was afraid and went off and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.’ “His master replied to him, ‘You evil, lazy servant! If you knew that I reap where I haven’t sown and gather where I haven’t scattered, then you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and I would have received my money back with interest when I returned.
“‘So take the talent from him and give it to the one who has ten talents. For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Notes: This is an example of how God foreknew the people He wanted, and Elected and Predestined them. "Talent" here is spiritual growth. They all started on relatively equal ground. The servant who did not multiply his talent in the parable, was called "evil & lazy", and was cast out - "became unsaved". And here's the biggest key part:
"For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have more than enough. But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him. And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
This part: "For to everyone who has, more will be given" means, as we seek God and grow spiritually, God reveals more of Himself to us, exactly the same as in James 4:8 below. (Who said the Bible is not consistent?!)
This part: "But from the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away from him." is equivalent to: "God then gave them eyes that can't see and ears that can't hear"; He starves them out of all scripture. These are the type of people God foresaw before creation, and rejected them. That is, as a result of their free-will action as clear in this parable, God decided to take away the little they knew about Him, and replaced it with eyes that can't see and ears that can't hear. In other words, He knew they were hopeless, and knowing the ending He did not let it drag on to the end, He ended it early. And planned it all before creation.
And this part: "And throw this good-for-nothing servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." explains how God rejected those that He did not Elect or Predestine, He did not grant salvation to, and instead cast them to Hell. And it was based on their action! God did not make the servant with one talent mess-up! The servant made his own wrong decisions and failed.
And this was not a one-off parable from Matthew. Luke 19:11-27 has a very similar parable. And the rest of the new-testament is full of similarly supporting parables. Note, from our lifetime perspective, these events above unfold in real time for us. But for God, He made those spiritual adjustments before the creation of the world.
He is a loving God. He loves us in ways we don't even understand. He did not leave us in the dark on this! He gave us the explanation; it's in the Bible. All you have to do is seek God by reading the Scripture. And you will "multiply your talent" and "grow and ripen your fruits". It's not an overnight accomplishment; it's a life long growing relationship with God:
Come near to God and he will come near to you.
And the opposite is true; move away from God and He will move away from you. It is our decision, our free-will.
The subject of "Elect" and "Predestination" should have been left alone, as presented in the Bible. It was a big mistake to go build a whole theology around it and confuse people. As you can see on his page, it's complicated to explain to people, just as God is not a simple God to understand. God in His infinite wisdom decided to only give us some hints about it. It should have been left as hints. As it stands today, we have millions of people confused, and their children are likely to become lost because, "why bother, God already decided."
What then should the Calvinist people do?
Simply become a Christian. No denomination.
Read the Bible and Research Online. You can either leave the church and do this, or stay and supplement with this.
Pray the Lord's Prayer once a day. This is what Jesus said to do.
Be loyal to God, not to churches, humans, ancestors, or false doctrines.
Get on the right path with God and watch your life transform in amazing ways; God's blessings will pour out on you. But as you stand today, believing the "mysterious predestination doctrine" as in we don't know how God Elects people, you are on the wrong track in God's eyes. You don't know God, and therefore unless you change your ways, you are at risk of becoming spiritually dead / rejected by God. But God desperately wants you to see clearly and reconcile with Him:
In the same way, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels over one sinner who repents.
Don't become a protestant. Don't become a Baptist or Evangelical, or a Catholic. You don't have to become anything other than a "Christian". God never intended for us to have denominations.
Supplement with your own reading of the Bible. And pray the Lord's Prayer daily as Jesus commanded.
And what should the Calvinist church do?
Close their doors and go home? Not necessarily; they can reform, again, based on the references on this page. And start preaching the correct Bible truths. Expand into those biblical areas they avoided until now because those areas did not fit their doctrine.