Calvinism is a term used to designate, not the opinions of an individual, but a mode of religious thought, or a system of religious doctrine, of which the person whose name it bears was an eminent expounder.--A.A. Hodge  



John Calvin

"Divine election is the origin and cause of our faith.

They are malicious injurers of God who consider the doctrine of eternal election burdensome and vexatious. For if it is buried out of sight, half the grace of God must vanish with it. 

The will of God is the chief and principal cause of all things.

Adam fell, though not without God’s knowledge and ordination.

The proper and genuine cause of sin is not God’s hidden counsel but the evident will of man.

What is done against His will is not yet done beyond His will; for it would not be done did He not allow, and allow it not unwillingly, but willingly.

God rules not only the whole fabric of the world and its several parts, but also the hearts and the actions of men.

We do not at all imagine that He does anything but with the highest reason.

Who that does not have the persuasion fixed deeply in his mind that God is righteous and all His works are right, can acquiesce simply in His good pleasure?

Certain shameless and illiberal people charge us with calumny by maintaining that God is made the author of sin, if His will is made first cause of all that happens. 

HE (Paul) calls the judgments of God inscrutable—do you mean to scrutinize them? He says His ways are past finding out—do you propose to find them out?

That God directs by His counsel the things that seem most fortuitous, is clearly attested by Scripture….an ax slipping unintentionally from a man’s hand, strike a passerby on the head, Moses testifies that God did it on purpose, because He willed the man to be killed". Ex. 21:13.

[Concerning the Eternal Predestination of God]

St. Augustine

"Nothing is done but what the Almighty wills should be done, either efficiently or permissively.

Man cannot even know truth without Divine help.

Mans will can only be subject to God when God draws man’s will to himself.

Man, even when possessed of grace, needs perseverance to be given to him by God."  

 Summa Theologica

 Martin Luther

"I follow the example of St. Augustine, who was. . .the first and almost the only one who determined to be subject to the Holy Scriptures alone, and independent of the books of all the fathers and saints." 


 "It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ.

For grace and faith are infused without our works.

The love of God does not find, but creates, that which is pleasing to it.

Human works appear attractive outwardly, but within they are filthy.

. . .they appear to the doer and others good and beautiful, yet God does not judge according to appearances but searches "the minds and hearts" [Ps. 7:9]. For without grace and faith it is impossible to have a pure heart.

Humility and fear of God are our entire merit.

For as much as we accuse ourselves, so much God pardons us.

Free will, after the fall, exists in name only."

[Luther's Basic Theological Writings.]

George Whitefield 

"We are all Arminians by nature; and therefore, no wonder that so many natural men embrace that scheme. 

Arminian, being antichristian, principles,  always did, and always will, lead to antichristian practices.

Arminiianism is the back way to popery.

If we deny the doctrine of imputed righteousness, whatever we may style ourselves, we are really  Papists in our hearts.

Beg of God to give you faith; and if the Lord gives you that, you will of that receive Christ, with his righteousness, and his all."

[Select Sermons, Banner of Truth Trust.]

Jerom Zanchius

"It is His free pleasure to permit sin, since, without His permission, neither men nor devils  can do anything. 

Christians want nothing but absolute  resignation to render them perfectly happy in every possible circumstance, and absolute  resignation can only flow  from an absolute belief of, and an absolute  acquiescence  in, God's absolute providence, founded upon absolute predestination."

[The Doctrine of Absolute Predestination.]

Augustus Toplady

(Author of Rock of Ages)

"The new birth and new heart which are the gift of God, and the work of his Spirit. When these take place , sorrow for sin, hatred of sin, war against sin, and renunciation both of sinful self, and of righteous self, are the blest and certain consequences.  No man can spiritually repent until he is born of God: and every man who is born of God repents spiritually. When the Lord turns and looks upon us, in effectual calling, we are then turned, and look with mournings unto Him whom our sins have pierced."

(Joy in heaven over one repenting sinner:  Sermon Oct. 29, 1775)

Charles Spurgeon

"I have my own  private  opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a knickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the Gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the Gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called, and suffers the children of God to be burned in the fires of damnation after having once believed in Jesus. Such a Gospel I abhor."

 [Spurgeon, Autobiography Vol. 1]

John Bunyan

"For the gospel, I say, coming in word only, saveth no man, because of man's impediment; wherefore those that indeed are saved by this gospel, the word comes not to them in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost; is mixed with faith even with the faith of the operation of God, by whose exceeding great and mighty power they are raised from this death of sin, and enabled to embrace the gospel. Doubtless, all men being dead in trespasses and sins, and so captivated under the power of the devil, the curse of the law, and shut up in unbelief; it must be the power of God, yea the exceeding greatness of that power that raiseth the soul from this condition, to receive the holy gospel" (Eph 2:1-3; 1 Thess 1:5,6; Col 2:12; Heb 4:1,2; Eph 1:18,19, &c.). 


Some think that the love of the Father without the blood of the Son will save them; but they are deceived: “For without shedding of blood there is no remission,” Heb. 9:22

Some think that the love of the Father and blood of the Son will do it, without the holiness of the Spirit of God; but they are deceived also: for “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.” And again, “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord,” Rom. 8:9; Heb 7:14.

[Sermon: Saved by Grace]

Stephen Charnock

[The Arminian accuses the Calvinist of attrubiting to  God  the cause of sin. Charnock deals with that absurdity here.] 

"The mind could not contrive, nor the hand act a wickedness, if God did not support the power of the one in designing, and the strength of the other in executing a wicked intention.

Though the natural virtue of doing a sinful action be from God, and supported by him, yet this doth not blemish the holiness of God; while God concurs with them in the act, he instills no evil in men.

This permission of God is not the cause of sin, but the cause of not hindering sin.

In the fall of angels and men, God's act was in leaving them to their own strength. In sins after the fall, is God's giving them up to their own corruption. The first is a pure suspension of grace, the other hath the nature of a punishment.

As nothing can exist, so nothing can operate without Him. 

In regard of God, patience is a submission to His sovereignty. To endure a trial, simply because we cannot avoid or resist it, is not Christian patience. But to humbly submit because it is the will of God to inflict the trial, to be silent because the sovereignty of God orders it - is true godly patience.

Without God's preserving and concurring power, the course of nature would sink.

It is a foolish thing therefore to question that which we cannot comprehend."

[The Existance and Attributes of God.]  

Jonathan Edwards

"Many men cling to a false hope, and embrace it so closely, that they will never let it go till the flames of hell cause their arms to unclench and let go their hold.

"The true worshipers worship the father in spirit and in truth." John 4:24. The truly godly have the spirit of adoption...but hypocrites have nothing of this spirit of adoption: they have not the spirit of children; for this is a gracious and holy spirit, given only in a real work of  regeneration."

[Sermon vii; Hypocrites deficient in the duty of prayer.]

John Donne

"When I concider myself to have been let fall into this world, [in a condemned mass] under the general condemnation of mankind, and yet by the working of God's Spirit, I find at first a desire, and after a modest assurance, that I am delivered from that condemnation, I enquire not what God did in his bed-chamber, in his cabinet council, in his eternal decree, I know that he hath made [the judgment of election] in Christ Jesus: And therefore that I may know, whether I do not deceive myself, in presuming myself to be in that number, I come down, and examine myself whether I can truly tell my conscience , that Jesus Christ died for me, which I cannot do, if I have not a desire and an endeavour to conform myself to him; And if I do that, there I find my predestination.....therefore the judgment of Election, the first separation of vessels of honor and dishonour in Election and Reprobation was in Christ Jesus."   [From a sermon, Jan . 30, 1620] 

John Knox

Scriptures Repeatedly Quoted by John Knox on God’s absolute Sovereignty and Double Predestination.

Psalm 115:3: “But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”

Psalm 135:6: “Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all deep


Proverbs 16:4: “The Lord hath made all things for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Isaiah 45:7: “I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these


Matthew 11:25: “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.”

John 17:9: “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are


Romans 9:13: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

Romans 9:16: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.”

Romans 9:18: “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.”

Romans 9:21-23: “Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour,

and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured

with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches

of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.”

II Corinthians 2:15-16: “For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them

that perish: To the one we are the savour of death unto death; and to the other the savour of life unto life. And

who is sufficient for these things?”

Ephesians 1:11: “In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.”

James 1:17: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights,

with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

"Opposition to divine sovereignty is essentially atheism. 

Men have no objection to a God who is really no God, a God who shall be the subject of caprice, who shall be a servile follower of their will, who shall be under their control. But a God who speaks and it is done, who commands and it stands fast, a God who does as he will among the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of this lower world, such a God as this they cannot endure. And yet, is it not essential to the very being of God that he should be absolute and supreme? Certainly to the scriptural conception of God, sovereignty is an absolute necessity."

--Charles Spurgeon



Election to Salvation

A major point of contention between the Calvinist and freewill Arminian.

The following is the Calvinistic stand on that vital truth.

Salvation resides in the heart, mind, will and purpose of God, not in the corrupt and reprobate mind of fallen man.

God says: "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy and whom I will I will harden." Rom. 9:18 

Salvation does not reside in the free response on the part of the sinner; the sinner is not free, he is Satan's slave from birth, he is unable to free himself by his own power.

We are told in Ephesians that the sinner is dead. The Bible is very clear that the sinner does not seek God, but rather he hates God, avoids God and runs from God as fast as he can.

Salvation, from beginning to end, has to do with God seeking the lost sinner. Those lost ones, he describes as his sheep. He came to seek and to save those lost sheep. 

Listen to what Jesus has to say about lost sheep in John chapter 10: "I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me...I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them (Gentiles) also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd... Jesus said to some of them, you do not believe because you are not my sheep. My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand."

Listen to what Matthew 1:21 says: "She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." Notice, it does not say he will make possible the salvation of his people; It says he will save his people. 

  Salvation is wholly of God’s doing. Christ did not die on the cross to make salvation possible for his people to be saved; he died to completely accomplish their salvation from beginning to end.  

Jesus tells us:  "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him… John 6:39. Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me." John 6:44-45.

God does not elect anyone upon the foresight of his willing response to the Gospel offer. Nor upon his foreknowing that the responder will hold out and be true to him to the very end of his life. 

(That is what the free will Arminian believes and teaches.)

The question is not did you decide for him, the question is: Did God decide that he wanted you?

Salvation does not depend upon our love for God; but rather, it depends alone upon God’s love for and choice of the believer.

Our initial salvation, our continued perseverance in faith, is not left to our power of endurance; rather, it rests upon the saving grasp of  God alone that will not abandon his love for his chosen ones. 

Our safety is forever due to his unchanging love for us, his elect children.

 It is that promised love that assures his chosen ones of his continued care for them. It is that which gives them peace, rest and hope, and that which Peter describes as “an inexpressible and glorious joy." 1 Peter 1:8.

All of this is beautifully explained in the following passage from Romans 8:28-39:

28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 

30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

31 what, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 

32 He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all-how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 

33 Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 

34 Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 

35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 

36 As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered. 

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 

39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

“God so loved the world”, yes; but here he brings it down to a personal level. He loves us, he chose us. He determined to have personal dealings with us. Nothing in all of creation will ever change his mind about loving his elect.

You see, all of our hope and safety depends, not upon us but upon God's eternal love for his chosen ones.

"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will-to the praise of his glorious grace..."Eph. 1:4-6

That, my friend, is the message of Calvinism; a sovereign grip of a sovereign God on poor, miserable, wretched, helpless and sinful creature such as we are.

If that does not make the believer happy and secure, nothing will.

Like the old hymn: “O love that will not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee.”

Of course, the freewill Arminian does not believe what has just been so clearly revealed from Scripture. 

He does not believe in Divine sovereignty in matters of salvation. He is convinced that his own decision is the deciding factor in his soul's salvation. 

He also believes, because of his imagined freewill, that if he doesn't hold up his end of the bargain he can lose his salvation entirely. 

That makes for a very uncomfortable and open-ended salvation.  

That is shaky ground on which to rest one's eternal welfare.