Calvin’s Rhetoric vs Biblical Vocabulary


  • To a Calvinist, this means God’s CONTROL over all things.  It is brought up as a contradiction to free will.  In fact, many books have been written by Calvinists to try to figure out and explain how God can be sovereign and man still make choices.
  • The word sovereignty never shows up in the Bible.  The phrase “sovereignty of God” never shows up in the Bible.  The idea that God controls everything never shows up in the Bible.
  • As we’ve said so many times before, God does not need to control everything because God is the Judge of all things.  And that is the Biblical view of God’s “sovereignty” if we should even call it that.


  • In a Calvinist’s terminology, dead means incapable of making a decision to trust Jesus Christ.  And they cite Ephesians 2:1.  They say, Well, a dead man can’t make a choice.  A lifeless body can’t make a choice, but neither can a living body make a choice, the choices were made by the soul.  But that’s another subject.  Let’s see how God uses the word dead.
  • First of all he’s talking about in relationship to the law, dead in trespasses.  That has nothing to do with you presently making decisions, it means you’re a condemned man.  Anybody ever watched a movie and you say, “Oh man, that guy’s dead” when he was still walking around, making decisions?  You say “dead” the same way God says “dead” in relationship to a sentence against him.  Keep reading in Ephesians 2:2-3 and Paul explains why you’re a dead man walking.  Because you walked according to the course of this world, walking in the flesh, and were by nature children of wrath.  So he describes the sentence against you.  Your natural course was contrary to God and because you walked in your natural course you became children of wrath – dead.
  • So dead has nothing to do with man’s inability.
  • Dead is man’s relationship to God under His law.  (Again, we are led to the Judgment of God, not the CONTROL of God)


  • This word, like many others, Calvinists simply define as salvation.  In John 6:44, Calvinists say this is the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit of God irresistibly forcing unwilling people to accept Jesus Christ.
  • However, draw is defined in John 12:32 as the lifting up of Jesus Christ which is the crucifixion according to the next verse.
  • In this case a Calvinist would complain about the word “all men” and say “men” isn’t in the Greek.  They would go on to say that “all men” should really say “all the children of God”.  Except “the children of God” isn’t even close to being in their Greek either.  So they’ll run around trying to justify why “all men” doesn’t mean “all men.”

Ears to hear

  • Calvinists will say that God has to give people he wants to save “ears to hear.”  What God has to do is renew a sinner from death to life so that person can have a free will and be able to hear God’s voice.  Once that person has been regenerated by God, he can now hear God and be able to choose God so that person can become born again.  He’s got to be born again so he can be born again.  So using John 8:47 Calvinists say people can’t hear because God didn’t choose them so they are not of God.
    • Matthew 11:15, 13:9 – ears to hear, a Calvinist defines a person that has ears to hear as saved.  But that’s not true, look at Ezekiel 12:2.
    • John 8:42-45 – If God were your Father (How does God become your Father?  John 1:12).  Because I tell you the truth (Their problem is their relationship to the truth.)

Promise (Romans 9)

  • Following chapter eight and Paul’s exposition of the love of God in Christ the question arises so what happened to Israel?  Does God no longer love the nation?  Is he done with Israel?  In the next three chapters (9-11) the Holy Spirit through Paul will explain the dispensational program.  First of all how God used and will use Israel again in the future.  He is absolutely not done with Israel.  Second, how God is using Gentiles and the current “body of Christ” until such a time as God sees fit to resume his determination with Israel.
  • Election is God’s choice of people through which he would reveal himself.  Election has nothing to do with individual salvation.  Nor does election have anything to do with God overriding anyone’s will to force them to choose individual salvation.
  • Promise is rejected by Israel (vss 1-5)
    • Isaiah 45:4 For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
    • The failure of many Israelis to believe God, though God had elected the nation.
    • Paul’s Christlike love towards his unfaithful brethren according to the flesh.
    • God chose Israel as the visible national representative of himself on this earth to the world.  However, Israel as a nation rejected God.
    • Paul is going to make such an outrageous statement in 9:3 that he prefaces it by saying he is not trying to be dramatic or to be manipulative with his comments.  In other words, I’m not saying this for effect, I love my brethren.  But you talk about loving people.  That is the attitude the Lord Jesus Christ had for sinners.  Can you imagine such a perspective, such a love?
    • In verses 4-5 Paul records the benefits of being God’s chosen nation.  God provided the parameters by which he would bless his nation.  Individuals who responded to these correctly to these things would receive the blessing associated with them, but as a nation
      • Adoption
      • Glory
      • Covenants
      • Law
      • Ministry
      • Promises
      • Heritage
      • Genealogy of Jesus Christ
  • Promise required a favored nation (vss 14-21)
    • If God chooses one nation over another through which to reveal himself, does that make him unrighteous?  Furthermore, what if the nation he uses is just as wicked as any other nation?
    • Paul quotes Exodus 33:19 speaking of God displaying His goodness
    • God’s righteousness questioned because he chooses to be good to one nation versus another nation.  Again, this has nothing to do with God making an individual choice for anyone.  Remember we are dealing with nations and groups of people, not individuals.
    • Paul sites Pharaoh and Egypt and their relation to Israel.
      • Hardening Pharaoh’s heart was done with the signs and wonders.  Exodus 7-10.  Exodus 11:10 And Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh: and the LORD hardened Pharaoh’s heart, so that he would not let the children of Israel go out of his land.
      • Pharaoh hardened his own heart, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, both are true: Exodus 8:32, 10:20, and others.
      • What was Pharaoh hardened to?  Let my people go.  That is the specific command that Pharaoh disobeyed.  Not believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
      • So God displayed his power in the nation of Israel out of their bondage from Egypt.  But personally, what ended up happening to those Israelites after they left Egypt and went into the wilderness?  The entire generation died in the wilderness because of their complaining.
  • Election is about God’s representation (vss 22-29)
    • Patience of God not executing judgment for the sole purpose of allowing the riches of his glory to be revealed.
    • Prepared vessels – 2 Timothy 2:20-21 – condition on being a useful vessel
    • Verse 27 you see that Israel as a nation was elect of God, but very few are actually saved.  First time the word salvation has appeared in the entire chapter.  This salvation has to do with the rescuing of a nation otherwise it would be wiped out.
  • Conditional Election (vss 30-33)
    • Gentiles have been included in election and now you see the conditions of election.  It is based on what people do, including Israel, with God’s chosen seed of promise.
    • Specifically, the condition of election is expressed faith in the words of God.