Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Taz.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Do Calvinists Think Only Calvinists Go To Heaven?

The short answer is emphatically "NO!" Now, a little more detail.

Calvinism does not save you. No system of theology saves a person. What saves a person is personal, life changing faith in the Person and work of the God-man, the Lord Jesus Christ. That means that faith in who Jesus is and what he did for each sinner personally is what determines who is saved and who is lost. Most people who come to Christ for salvation know no theology at all. They may not know more than the few Bible passages that were used to lead them to faith in Jesus. Therefore, salvation transcends any system of theology. There are saved Arminians and saved Calvinists.

Let me go further. A person may know they are a sinner in need of a savior and yet (for a variety of reasons) not believe in total depravity. They may know that they cannot contribute anything to their salvation and yet not believe in unconditional election. They may believe that Jesus died for them personally and yet not believe in limited atonement (or particular redemption, if you will). They may believe that they chose to come to Christ for salvation and not understand that they were brought to Christ by God. They may think salvation can be given back (and lost) and not know that God is working in them to keep them. In short, a person may not understand any of the historic five points of Calvinism and yet still be clinging to Christ as their only hope of salvation.

So, a person may ask, "If all that is true, then what good is being a Calvinist?" Well, we Baptists have a saying, "Right belief leads to right living." The better your doctrine the more holy will be your life as a Christian. Calvinism is the highest theology (in this writer's humble opinion) that is available to men. Learning Calvinistic theology will lead one to a better, more godly, more God glorifying Christian walk. The better our theology the better we will live as Christians. If Calvinism is the best theology, then we ought to learn it and embrace it.

However, let me say again that if one is not a Calvinist it does not mean they are lost. To me, it means they hold to a lesser theological system. But a person is not saved by good or perfect theology. Let it be shouted from the housetops "Jesus saves!" and Jesus alone.

Charles Spurgeon believed that Arminian divine John Wesley would be in heaven. Once he was asked if he expected to see Wesley at the Eternal Throne. Spurgeon's answer (paraphrased slightly) was this, "No, I don't. I expect that Wesley will be so much closer to the throne of God than I that I do not expect to see him."

And remember, no matter what a person's theological system, if we believe they are a Christian, hear me here, a Christian, then we are bound by Christ's command to love our brother and sister as Christ loved us. We may not like what they believe but if they are indeed a Christian then they are one of Christ's elect and precious sheep (whether they believe that or not) and one of our brother's and sister's in the Body of Christ.

The Calvinist-Arminian debate will be argued till Christ returns to settle it for us. But, by and large it is an "in the family" debate. Let's try to behave like it. Do Calvinists believe that only Calvinists go to heaven? No, not at all.