Italian Trulli


The Parable of Misrepresenting Calvinism Making Calvinism’s TULIP More Intellectually Honest
Understanding Language To Understand Calvinism Calvinism - Simple Math – And Voluntary Free Will
Peter Van Inwagen's Consequence Argument And Calvinism Calvnism – And The Bear In The Woods
The Uncertain Sound of Calvinist Language The Tightrope of Calvinism – A Theology of Good-Evil
Angels of Light in Calvinism?

The parable of Misrepresenting Calvinism

Once upon a time, an automobile manufacture designed a luxury car with expectations of record-breaking sales.  But the car was not without controversy.  At highway speeds, the hood assembly would flip up and smash into the windshield.  Newspapers ran stories, jokingly calling it the “flying hood car”. 

Auto dealers found customers asking: “is this the flying hood car?”  Salespersons were instructed to say: “You must be thinking of a different car, because this unit doesn’t have a hood. What it has is an upper engine cover.”

One day a potential customer instantly recognized the car. The salesman corrected him saying: “You must be thinking of a different car because this unit doesn’t have a hood, what it has is an upper engine cover.”   But the customer insisted he saw the car in the newspapers. The salesman now frustrated insisted: “I’m sorry sir you must be mistaken”.   But still the customer would not relent.   At that point the unhappy salesman accused him of misrepresenting the car and politely asked him to leave.

The moral of the story:
Yes, it is possible to misrepresent Calvinism. But perhaps it is more truthful to say you are not representing it the way Calvinists want it to be represented?

In 1536 John Calvin revived Augustinian theology, which from its inception has survived under a dark cloud of controversy within Christianity.  Decades of unrelenting scrutiny have shaped Calvinism as a society.  And nowhere more can this be observed than with Calvinism’s unique language.  As you read articles here, you will soon discover that Calvinist language is heavily reliant upon highly evolved talking points, strategically designed to present Calvinism in a certain light.  An extremely hyper reliance upon euphemistic and misleading language, sets Calvinism apart from all other forms of Christianity.  And most Calvinists are simply not aware of this aspect of their belief system.   So please consider what happens in the Calvinist’s mind when he hears you unpackaging Calvinism without using a select library of highly evolved talking points through which he has always heard it, and with which it is always carefully presented. 

It’s not a hood, it’s an upper engine cover.   When you don’t say it the way Calvinists are taught to say it, in their minds you are misrepresenting the product. 


Every adult consumer should know what cosmetics are designed for. They represent constituents designed to enhance an appearance. They are placed over, or cover over underlying attributes deemed less desirable.  One cosmetic advertisement states it this way:

“What does red lipstick say to you? It’s vampish, powerful and aspirational!   Just putting it on is empowering!”

Cosmetics are therefore applied, in order to maximize a desired appearance.  Similarly, in the world of advertising, cosmetic language is marketing language designed to present a product with a certain appearance.

John Calvin released his first draft of his doctrines - the Institutes - in March 1536.  But the five points of Calvinism, remembered by the mnemonic TULIP, evolved some 80 years later by the Synod of Dort, and was subsequently publisized with a booklet.

Upon comparing the underlying foundation of Calvin’s doctrine: Universal Divine Causal Determinism, do we find the TULIP as a maximally accurate representation?  Or does the TULIP function to hide certain core underlying attributes of the doctrine?   To what degree is it more truthful, to recognize the TULIP as a cosmetic representation?

Let’s take a look!

"T"   Totally Predestined Nature:
The underlying foundation of the doctrine stipulates that whatsoever comes to pass concerning nature (i.e., all created things and all movements of nature at any instance in time) are infallibly decreed prior to creation.  Whatever the state of man’s nature is at any instance in time, is therefore totally determined before any man is ever created.  Since on this view, 100% of whatsoever comes to pass is exclusively up to a divine mind, it goes without saying that absolutely nothing about the condition of man’s nature at any instance in time, is ever up to any man.   And this would be the case for Adam, who is created late within the sequence of created things.  So, it would be more forthcoming or truth-telling, for the “T” in TULIP to stand for “Totally Predestined Nature”.

“T” Totally Predestined Nature:
The state of man’s nature at any instance in time is totally predestined prior to creation, and therefore absolutely nothing about any part of man’s nature (or anything else for that matter) is ever up to any man.

"U"   Unconditional Destiny and Design:
The underlying foundation of the doctrine stipulates that each human being is specifically designed to be a vessel of honor or a vessel of wrath.  Every aspect of man’s design, disposition, and destiny is exclusively determined by a divine and secret will.  And nothing about those determinations are contingent on or based on the condition of any man.  And this would make sense, since the condition of man is itself exclusively determined, and nothing about it is ever up to any man.  Therefore, it would be more forthcoming or truth-telling, for the “U” in the TULIP to stand for “Unconditional Destiny and Design”.

“U” Unconditional Destiny and Design:
Every aspect of man’s design and destiny is in total-abject-absolute unconditional subjection to an external divine and secret will.  Nothing about man’s past, present, or future is ever up to man.  And nothing about man’s design or destiny is conditioned upon anything having to do with man.

"L"   Limited Possibilities and Human Illusions:
According to the underlying doctrine, God foreknows and has infallible certainty of every unique event, by virtue of decreeing that event as a "rendered-certain" future.   Since that event represents the event that is rendered-certain, then no alternative events in lieu of that event are possible.  For example, God foreknows a human will have an inclination to walk to the left vs. walking to the right, by predestining that specific inclination to infallibly come to pass.    God cannot leave that inclination undetermined, leaving whatsoever comes to pass up to any man.  And since it is logically impossible for a human to be predestined to walk to the left and walk to the right at the same time, this limits God to predestine one option or the other.  Thus, limiting every event to one single physically possible "rendered-certain" predestined future.  As soon as that one unique option has been rendered certain, any alternative options are automatically excluded.  And their exclusion is also rendered-certain.

That which is excluded, is not actualizable.  And that which is not actualizable, is not available to the human.   Whatever option is not predestined, is therefore not available, and its perceived availability exists only as an illusion.  It represents that which could have been predestined but was not.  In this process, humans are given the perception of having the function of choice, and also the perception of being the determiner of that choice.  However, the instance in which a human has the perception of multiple options (i.e., alternatives of that which was predestined) as open and available to select from, constitutes a divinely predestined false perception, because alternatives from that which was rendered-certain do not exist for a human to select.  And the event of a human selecting them cannot exist.  We humans conceive the function of choice, in its normative sense, as entailing a decision between alternative options, all of which are available to us from which to select.   But in a predestined world, in which every selection can only resolve to one single predestined option, only one option is ever available to select.   And the human is given no choice in what that option will be.   Therefore there is never any actual decision between alternative options, because alternative options don't exist.  And thus any instance in which a human perceives himself as having the function of choice, is also a predestined illusion.

As Peter Van Inwagen states:
Determinism may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future. - Oxford Handbook on Free Will

“L” Limited Possibilities and Human Illusions
All human impulses, perceptions, inclinations, and desires, are exclusively predetermined in every part for each human at the foundation of the world.  And any perception of the function of choice, based on perceived alternative possibilities, exist only as divinely predestined illusions.  Illusions of non-predestined events, which as such never had any possibility of ever coming to pass, at pain of falsifying that which was predestined.

“I”   Irresistible Human Functionality:
According to the underlying doctrine, all things which come to pass – including all human impulses – do so infallibly.  It is a logical impossibility for any human to resist an impulse which comes to pass infallibly within the brain.  Since all human functionality, including morally significant functionality, is the consequence of predestined impulses and perceptions, it follows that all human functions come to pass infallibly.  And it is humanly impossible to resist that which comes to pass infallibly.  So, it would be more forthcoming, or truth-telling for the “I” in the TULIP to stand for irresistible human functionality.

“I” Irresistible Human Functionality
All human functionality, including morally significant functionality, is produced by impulses and perceptions infallibly actualized within the human brain which occur as irresistible.

“P”   Possibility of Election:
According to the underlying doctrine, an individual’s election is either infallibly/immutably true or infallibly/immutably false.  And it is a logical impossibility for something that is infallibly/immutably true to ever be false.  Therefore, the notion that something infallibly/immutably true needs to “Persevere” in order to keep itself from becoming false is no more rational than a married bachelor.  The idea of apostasy or falling away in this context is an illusion, and the typical resolve concerning an individual in that situation, is that he was never really elect in the first place.  And that individual’s perception of election and salvation as infallibly/immutably true, would have been a predestined illusion.

“P” Possibility of Election
Any human certainty of election in this lifetime is a predestined illusion.  Each believer is promised only the possibility of election.

So a more intellectually honest version of the TULIP would be:
“T” Totally Predestined Nature
“U” Unconditional Destiny by Design
“L” Limited Possibilities and Human Illusions
“I” Irresistible Human Functionality
“P” Possibility of Election

If it is true that the TULIP as crafted by the Synod of Dort, is essentially cosmetic in nature, then what appearance is it designed to produce, and what underlying attributes is it designed to cover up?  I would submit that the TULIP was designed to represent observable constituents found within the New Testament having to do with salvation, while covering up Calvinism’s underlying foundation of Determinism.

For the purpose of successfully marketing a product, one needs to bear in mind the demographics and interests of one’s potential customer-base.   In the case of Calvinism, as a marketed product, born-again Christians represent the preponderance of its potential consumers.  So, in order to enhance the appearance of the product for a scripturally oriented customer-base, one would want to make the product appear as Biblically centric as possible.    To minimize Calvinism’s appearance as simply a form of Stoic/NeoPlatonic Determinism, the TULIP would make a strategic marketing tool, to help give the product a more scripturally centric appearance, while hiding its underlying core, which Christian consumers would find unappealing.


The good, the bad, and the ugly
Let us say there is a fellow who performs inspections at various manufacturing plants. Each plant is given 6 months notification of the scheduled event.  Inspections involve looking at every room, including workspace cubicles and personal offices.  And for each room, the agent fills out an inspection form divided into three columns: The good - the bad - the ugly.

Company supervisors instruct workers well in advance, warning them to prepare their workspaces.  And being prepared simply means maximizing the good, minimizing the bad, and hiding the ugly.

Maximizing the good, minimizing the bad, and hiding the ugly is a very real characteristic of human behavior, and a critical aspect of Calvinism, which one needs to understand.  If one does not appreciate its importance, one is doomed to misunderstand Calvinism from the onset. 

Women wear all kinds of lipstick and facial colorings.  And lipsticks come in all different shades, including many shades of red.  A woman can be readily seen wearing a lipstick that in no way represents her true color.  And the same holds true for eye and facial cosmetics.  Most of these products are not designed to represent the wearer’s true attributes – but rather to produce an artificial representation while hiding intrinsic attributes deemed unappealing.  One cosmetic advertisement states this: "What does red lipstick say to you? It’s vampish, powerful and aspirational! Just putting it on is empowering!”

What I wish the reader to understand is that in many ways, Calvinist language facilitates the same ends.  This is a bold statement – but I will tell you that Calvinist language is not designed to be a truth-telling language.  It is not a language designed to represent its true underlying attributes - but rather to produce an embellished appearance.  Calvinist language is very much euphemistic in nature.  But when you examine it closely, I’m certain you will eventually agree, it clearly goes beyond simply being euphemistic. 

When we think of cosmetics, we understand the good, the bad and the ugly.  And in Calvinism’s language, there are certain words or phrases one will occasionally find a Calvinist holding in disdain.  Take for example the disdain John Calvin expressed for what he calls “mere” permission in regard to the divine will.  The term “permit,” derived from the Latin permettere is defined as: To let pass, to let go, to let loose, to give up, to hand over, to allow, or to grant.   Calvin’s conception of God has as a unique characteristic – that God does not do any of these things.  For Calvin, conceptions of God letting something pass, letting something go, letting something loose, or handing over something, is simply anathema.

Calvin described this concept of divine permission as “odious”, which in his vernacular means “revolting.”   The concept that God would “merely” permit a person to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved, is repulsive to many Calvinists.  Calvin would insist – God does not “merely” permit anything, for that would render God feeble, and in some way dependent upon the creature.  He would most emphatically insist that God is not dependent upon man in any way or for any thing!  God is nothing less than absolutely and totally sovereign!

So for the Calvinist’s conception of the divine will, the standardized and commonly understood meaning of “permit” has no application.  Interestingly enough, they are consistently inclined to use this term. And whenever they do, it introduces confusion.  John Calvin further compounds the confusion by creating an altered definition.  Consequently, within Calvinist language “permission” carries two very radically different meanings. 

For Calvin, divine permission means to cause – to bring about – or in Reformed vernacular to “render-certain.”  Thus, for the Calvinist, the term “permission” as it pertains to the divine will, always equates to “renders-certain.”  Whatever God renders-certain at the foundation of the world, He permits.  Whatever He does not render-certain at the foundation of the world, He does not permit. 

Take for example, the statement: “The mother permitted her child to swim in the pool.”  In the common English language, one would hardly mean to infer “The mother caused her child to swim in the pool.”  So for the non-Calvinist, equating permission with causation represents a bizarre and totally unanticipated meaning.  Calvin himself assumed ownership of the term, accusing its standardized meaning within the language of being deviant.  His altered definition, making permission mean causation, was in his mind an authoritative correction. 

We will find this is where Calvinism creates its own separate and distinct culture.  We should note also that Calvinism puts a very high premium on ascribing to itself the authority over definitions for words, terms, and phrases within language.  And I think we will see, that one of Calvinism’s premier powers is in fact its prowess in the use of language. 

The practice of creating altered definitions for terms already having standardized meanings introduces confusion.  The Calvinist already has the word “cause” available to him from the common English language.  He can state: “God causes every evil” or “God renders-certain every evil” any time he wants, without misleading anyone. Why appeal to “permit” – a word, which for him has the wrong meaning.  Appealing to terms, which have duplicitous meanings, only introduces unnecessary equivocation.  Why would one do this?  Perhaps equivocation is in fact the intended effect.  At a minimum we have a clear indicator that Calvinism’s language incorporates equivocal terms.  And I hope to show the reader, that this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Jesus teaches:  Let your communications be yea yea or nay nay – for anything else comes of evil”.  And the Apostle Paul teaches: “If the watchman makes an uncertain sound, who is going to discern what sound the watchman actually made”.  Equivocation is a logical fallacy that relies on implicitly alternating between the different meanings a single word can have within different contexts.  When the shifting of meaning is made obvious, the result is often humorous, and this is a common practice for comedians.  But the comedian has no intent to mislead people.  However, when shifted meanings are done quietly, the result becomes a “yea nay” language where so many statements become uncertain sounds.  What reason would one have for introducing amphibolies, ambiguities, and equivocations into one’s language? 

In presenting the evidence we need to recognize Calvinism’s language as a cosmetic rather than a truth-telling language, we start with its equivocal use of permission.   

Calvin is convinced that God, at the foundation of the world, first conceives and then renders-certain every event that will ever occur within the human timeline.  Whatever God does not render-certain does not come to pass.  Whatever God conceives and renders-certain, will infallibly come to pass exactly as He conceived it.  So, there is no such thing as God allowing, granting, letting go, or handing over anything.  So for example, the statement; “God permits one to believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ unto salvation,” is language the Calvinist will strictly avoid, because it might be misconstrued as God passively handing over (i.e., deferring) this choice to a human.  For Calvin, God actively conceives and renders-certain every choice every human will ever make before He brings humanity into existence.  So “mere” permission in Calvinism represents an insult to divine sovereignty. 

Now if the Calvinist’s language were a truth-telling language, he would avoid the statement “God permits evil” the same exact way because it just as readily instantiates “mere” permission, with equal insult to divine sovereignty.  And yet Calvinists are fully content to do so.  Why does the Calvinist place such a critical importance on avoiding a misrepresentation with one statement, while perennially guaranteeing it with the other?  Interestingly, insulting divine sovereignty is unacceptable in one context, but fully acceptable in the other, making it obvious that reverence for divine sovereignty is of secondary concern.  In the context of evil events, the Calvinist presents permission statements, readily construed as “mere” permission – allowing a false representation – and yet he is comfortable doing so.  

The fact that he could easily use the word “cause” in this context and thereby avoid speaking confusion, but instead continues to use permission language in such an equivocal way, makes it obvious this mode is intentional.  The motivation here is simple to understand: maximize the good, minimize the bad, hide the ugly.  This is cosmetic language, where - figuratively speaking - a shade of lipstick called “permission” is applied to hide the underlying color with something more appealing.  Apparently “mere” permission is both adamantly rejected and yet effectively convenient.

Linguists often classify this type of language as “insider” language.  Insiders within a guild, group, or association, know what is meant by the altered meanings they create for words and phrases within their statements.  Meanings are obscured, and sentence framing guarantees the recipient’s focus is diverted from seeing something that would raise an alarm.  For group members, misleading people with insider language is a pragmatic effectual way to promote and defend one’s vested interest in a product, guild, or association. 

Let us compare these two statements: (1) God rendered-certain Adam’s choice.  (2) God permitted Adam’s choice; It should be easy to see which of these two statements would raise an alarm in the mind of the average Christian.  But for the Calvinist, statement (2) functions as “insider” language, because for him “permission” and “rendered-certain” carry the same meaning.  So, for the Calvinist, statement (2) is just another way of communicating statement (1).  But the “outsider” who is unaware of an altered meaning, is led to assume “mere” permission is what is meant.  This language avoids raising an alarm the Calvinist would prefer not to raise.  It is a pragmatic use of language. But it results in a “yea nay” and an “uncertain sound,” of which both Jesus and Paul would disapprove.

What I wish the reader to see is this slight of words tactic is a repeating pattern within Calvinist language.  Calvinist statements regarding God knowing, permitting, altering, or restraining future events - as well as statements regarding God responding with mercy or wrath; are all designed to produce the same equivocal, cosmetic, misleading effect.  They function as lipstick, mascara, and rouge, in the form of highly scripted talking points.  They mislead because the focus is on producing an acceptable appearance.  Using language that is strategically misleading becomes a necessary evil, because the first and foremost rule is to maximize the good, minimize the bad, and hide the ugly. 

This model of language is as normal to the Calvinist as any form of gentle euphemistic language you or I would ever enunciate.  And Calvinists do not perceive themselves as purposefully misleading others. They’ve simply evolved a library of strategically scripted talking points, which have become highly effectual in promoting and defending the doctrine.  And the empowerment one derives from reciting highly refined – and often braggadocios - talking points, becomes a cherished part of the system.  On an occasion when the misleading nature of the language becomes visible, an unflinching patriotism disallows its recognition, even when Jesus and scripture teach otherwise.  Words have power.  And everyone knows the power of cosmetics.  So power increases with one’s skill in the use of cosmetic language.

If you’ve ever heard a Christian admit he doesn’t understand Calvinism, or a Calvinist claim the doctrine is misrepresented, let me assure you, this aspect of the language is a predominant underlying reason. 

Appeals to “divine knowledge” will follow the same pattern as “permission” language - where foreknowledge also has a duplicitous meaning, and therefore becomes equivocal.  As it was with the term “permit” Calvin has a similar disdain for ascribing foreknowledge to God where the meaning carried is “knowledge by observation.”  To say that God looks into the future and observes Adam will disobey, and God thereby “knows” Adam will disobey can again be revolting.  God does not simply look into the future, and thereby learn Adam will disobey.  Such a meaning of divine knowledge would again compromise God’s sovereignty, and Calvin himself would harshly reprimand it. 

Again, just as “permission” language carries Calvinism’s hidden “insider” meaning of “rendered-certain,” so does divine knowledge.  Every proposition that God knows as true – is true because God renders-certain that proposition as true.  Every proposition that God knows as false - is false because God rendered-certain that proposition as false.  Whatever proposition God does not render-certain as true – is therefore false.  

Similarly, whatever event God foreknows will have existence – has existence because God rendered-certain that event have existence.  Whatever event God foreknows will not have existence – does not have existence because God did not render-certain that event’s existence. 

Thus, divine knowledge, just like divine permission, equates to rendered-certain.  Therefore, in Calvinism statement (1) God knows what Adam will choose - is equivalent to statement (2) God rendered-certain what Adam would choose.  But you will have to wait long and hard to ever hear a Calvinist state: “God rendered-certain Adam’s choice to disobey,” even though that is exactly what the doctrine stipulates. 

The statements I have just enunciated concerning the meaning of divine knowledge within Calvinism are “truth-telling” statements for the Calvinist.  Yet he will invariably not be comfortable making many of those statements.  Instead he will say: “God knew Adam would disobey.” And again, he does so knowing the recipient is guaranteed to misconstrue divine knowledge as via observation. The statement portrays a misleading depiction of a God standing next to Adam merely observing Adam’s disobedience.  When the truth-telling depiction is a God who determines what choice Adam will be allowed to make, and thereby renders-certain his disobedience.  Making it the case that Adam’s choice was fated and determined by factors outside of Adam’s control. 

And again, this model of misleading language is not only perfectly normal to the Calvinist, it is fully expected of him, and becomes an integral part of his personal efficacy in promoting and defending the doctrine.  It also serves as a sign of his loyalty and commitment.

So we see the Calvinist will refrain from enunciating a truth-telling statement, which would minimize misconstrual – and opt instead to enunciate a statement he knows is guaranteed to mislead.   He avoids presenting the true color of divine knowledge consistent with the doctrine.  He instead applies a false color masking the underlying color, even though doing so abrogates truth-telling in favor of appearance.  So we observe the Calvinist totally comfortable making statements guaranteed to mislead.  And again, the motivation is simple to understand:  maximize the good, minimize the bad, hide the ugly.

At this point, I hope the reader is starting to see a repeating pattern.  Calvinism’s use of “restraining” language again follows the same template – it is designed to mislead by presenting a false appearance.  

Per Calvin’s doctrine of the decree - which is again rendered-certain – it is said to be immutable.  In other words, at the foundation of the world, once an event has been rendered-certain, God knows that event will come to pass because He rendered-certain that event come to pass.  Consequently, anything that would alter or prevent that event from coming to pass would therefore falsify or negate what God knows.  And this result is unacceptable because it would falsify divine omniscience.  Suffice to say, not even God himself can at any point in the human timeline, falsify or negate what He at the foundation of the world knows to be true concerning a future event He rendered-certain.

Therefore, in Calvinism we can see two categories of future events.  Those that are rendered-certain, and those that are not.  Those events that are rendered-certain are events, which God knows will come to pass exactly as He rendered-certain – and nothing can alter or prevent them from doing so without compromising divine knowledge and falsifying divine omniscience.  Therefore, in Calvinism it is logically impossible for God to alter or prevent events, which are rendered-certain.  Even if He wanted to prevent or alter such an event, He couldn’t.  And thus, in Calvinism, the idea that God would seek to restrain events - borders on the edge of laughable absurdity. 

If God – at the foundation of the world - wants an event in the future to come to pass in a specific way, manner or sequence, He has only to render-certain it do so.  What rational reason would He have, after having rendered-certain a very specific way, specific manner, and specific sequence of a given event – to then restrain it?   A perfect being like God would not be like the unfortunate man who unwittingly takes a chainsaw to a tree only to watch it fall down on his house.  Everything a perfect being renders-certain would be rendered-certain perfectly.

Now this leaves us with events not rendered-certain.  And these are events, which according to Calvin, by their very nature, are not going to come to pass anyway, simply because they were not rendered-certain.  So, what divine rational would there be for a perfect being like God to seek to restrain an event He knows is not going to come to pass?  Is God silly enough to want to restrain something – when He knows there is nothing to restrain?  We should be able to see why this line of reasoning is farcical.

In Calvinism, the only rational reason we are left with for God wanting to restrain an event is that He desired to choreograph Himself interacting with man, in such a way as to present a false appearance of having not rendered-certain every microsecond.  What rational reason would God want to lead humans to believe He had not already rendered-certain all of their thoughts and choices - when He knows that is false?  The answer is simple.  Again, the Calvinist wants to present a cosmetic presentation of God restraining man from some sin or evil, producing a cosmetic color designed to hide the underlying true color – that God did in fact render-certain every twist and turn of every minute aspect of every part of every event.  It’s no wonder then that non-Calvinists look at this picture, and readily see a theater or a puppet show.  So, we can see how “restraining” language serves the same cosmetic purpose.

In the Greek New Testament, the word for “God” is THEOS.  Theological Determinism is the thesis that a THEOS determines everything, which comes to pass, everything that has existence, and everything that does not have existence.  Natural Determinism is a similar thesis – except Nature is the determiner rather than a THEOS.

Again, in Calvinism, we will find the same pattern with “Determinism” language we’ve seen with the others.  When it comes to good events such as salvation – the Calvinist has an urgency to ensure his statements are not misconstrued.  He will go out of his way to insist clearly and unambiguously – God is the determiner of one’s salvation – not man.  However, when it comes to sinful or evil events, where the same exact truth-telling should be at play – he will invariably appeal to Natural Determinism and omit all references to the THEOS as the controlling determiner of nature.  His statements will exclude any reference to nature being explicitly and exclusively determined in every part by the THEOS.  These statements are crafted to attribute events to nature, giving the cosmetic appearance of nature being the sole determiner – which the Calvinist knows is false.  Again, he is comfortable applying a false color over the true underlying color.

When you reject this language, he will insist that Calvinism holds both the THEOS and nature accountable.  But he knows that nature doesn’t have the power to render-certain anything, or make any event come to pass infalliby.  He knows that nature doesn’t have the power to determine what it will be or what it will do – only the THEOS has such power.  And he knows that Natural Determinism and Theological Determinism mutually exclude one another - if one is true, the other is false.  And yet he presents a cosmetic representation where the true determiner -the THEOS – is conspicuously hidden behind the eye shadow of Natural Determinism.  And nature is thus presented as the sole determiner of the event. This is nothing more than a deflection strategy.  And the motivation is again the same: maximize the good, minimize the bad, hide the ugly. 

And when you see through the ruse, don’t be surprised if he interprets this as your inability to understand or represent his theology.  What you are not accurately representing is the euphemistic, equivocal, cosmetic language with which he enunciates it.    Again, I remind the reader that this cosmetic language is for the Calvinist, a highly empowering and cherished part of the whole system.  It is a critical part of the tradition.  When you don’t enunciate his doctrine using the same misleading semantics and language patterns – in his mind you are misrepresenting the doctrine. The truth is you simply refuse to accept a library of self-contradicting talking points.

Statements like this are common within Calvinist language.  But again, when we examine the underlying construct, we find the common understanding of mercy and wrath within the English language are understood to be responses.  And for Calvin, God does not “merely” permit man to do something and then respond to it.  For Calvin, God “causes” – “renders-certain” man to do this or that.  So what is God in this case actually responding to?   In Calvin’s system, things which men and angels do are exactly what God Himself conceived and choreographed them to do.  Nothing more, and nothing less than what is rendered-certain is permitted or made available to the creature.

John Calvin makes this clear, in the Institutes:
The devil, and the whole train of the ungodly....can neither conceive any mischief, nor plan what they have conceived, nor how they may have planned, move a single finger to perpetrate, unless in so far as He... commands...they are not only bound by His fetters but are even forced to do Him service.

“[The] wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined.”

“The hand of God rules the interior affections….[they can do nothing] unless he worked in their hearts to make them will before they acted.”

“Men can deliberately do nothing unless He inspire it

It is obvious here that whatever men or angels do is first conceived and then rendered-certain at the foundation of the world before men and angels exist.  Since men and angels don’t exist at that point, they obviously have no say in the matter of what they will be or do.  Therefore, it is God Himself who first conceives and establishes what things they will be and do. It logically follows, any response God would have in this case, would be a response to the very things He himself conceived and rendered-certain.  If His response is mercy, then He is simply applying mercy to what He conceived and rendered-certain.  If His response is wrath, then He is simply applying wrath to what He himself conceived and rendered-certain.  So divine mercy and wrath in this case is simply God responding to Himself.

And yet Calvinist appeals to divine mercy and divine wrath consistently paint a picture of creaturely autonomy that doesn’t exist in Calvin’s world.  So again, any appeals to divine mercy and divine wrath simply constitute cosmetic language designed to present an appearance that for the Calvinist is false yet deemed acceptable, while hiding the underlying true color.  In this case, a lipstick called mercy, and an eye shadow called wrath.

Dr. Bella Depaulo Social Scientist, in her book: The Hows and Whys of Lies writes:
“Altruistic dishonesty occurs when a person is working to protect a ‘target’. A high percentage of people who rationalize the use of dishonest language, experience some sub-level degree of discomfort, but which is effectively outweighed by rationalizations.  And they generally do not regard their lies as lies.  And this is especially true with people who are working to protect a ‘target’.”

These are called “other-oriented” or “altruistic” dishonesties. Protecting the ‘target’ allows them to perceive themselves as honest rather than dishonest. For the sake of protecting the ‘target,’ a high percentage report they would have felt worse if they had been honest, because honesty would have revealed things about the “target” they do not want people to see.”

I think Dr. Depaulo is helping us connect some critical dots.  Altruism is in fact an excellent way to understand Calvinism’s euphemistic, equivocal, and cosmetic language.  A battered wife may choose to restrain herself from communicating anything that may paint her husband in a bad light – even if she knows what she is communicating is false rather than truth-telling.   She is simply protecting the ‘target.’  How much more would a Calvinist refrain from communicating anything that would in any way reflect badly on God or the Gospel.  He would feel worse if his language were truth-telling - because it would reveal things about the ‘target’ he doesn’t want people to see.


Peter Van Inwagen in The Oxford Handbook of Free Will writes:
“Determinism may now be defined: it is the thesis that there is at any instant exactly one physically possible future.”

John Calvin in the Institutes (Vol. i. p.193) writes:
“All future things being uncertain to us, we hold them in suspense, AS THOUGH they might happen either one way or another.”

John Calvin in Concerning the eternal predestination of God writes:
“Hence as to future time, because the issue of all things is hidden from us, each ought to so to apply himself to his office, AS THOUGH nothing were determined about any part.”

Firstly, we understand absolutely and unambiguously that for Calvin absolutely nothing comes to pass or comes into existence without being rendered-certain. 

Calvinist R.C. Sproul in Chosen by God writes:
“If there is one single molecule in this universe running around loose, God is not God.”

Calvinist Paul Helm’s in The Providence of God writes:
“Not only is every atom and molecule, every thought and desire, kept in being by God, but every twist and turn of each of these is under the direct control of God.”

Since we know that Calvin holds it as absolutely true, that the THEOS determines everything in every part – why is Calvin instructing his disciples to apply themselves to their office as though that is false?  We assume Calvin, in accordance to his scheme, is logical enough to deduce that a predestined event can only resolve to one physically possible future.  Why then is he compelled to instruct his disciples to treat this “divine truthAS-IF it were false? 

In my examination of Calvinist thinking, I have come to see this also as a consistent pattern.  From Calvin’s very wording, I call this pattern AS-IF thinking.  The THEOS determines everything, about everything, and in every part, AS-IF He doesn’t.   And the proposition that every event represents one physically possible future is true AS-IF it is false.

With this thinking pattern, what we end up with is: Theological Determinism AS-IF Natural Determinism.  Humans have absolutely no autonomy AS-IF they do.  Every twist and turn of every human thought and action is under the direct control of God AS-IF they aren’t.  Libertarian freewill does not exist AS-IF it does.  Mere permission does not exist AS-IF it does.  Adam’s choice to obey was not permitted AS-IF it was.  Divine knowledge of Adam’s disobedience is AS-IF by observation.  And the Calvinist has no real certainty of his election AS-IF he does.  Thus, we have as a consistent language pattern: True AS-IF false, and false AS-IF true. 

I believe when you’ve analyzed Calvinist language long enough, you will clearly see AS-IF thinking is ubiquitous.  What does Calvin use to justify AS-IF thinking?  He justifies it based on the fact that the Calvinist doesn’t have foreknowledge and therefore doesn’t know what his next thought will be.

What kind of emotional or psychological state will he be left with, when he considers that his very next thought is determined by factors outside his control, his every neurological impulse rendered-certain before he is born, and everything he knows about himself may not be a real reflection of himself.   Will he not get the sense that he was designed to function like a puppet or a robot?

Jesus said: “I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”

And yet vast populations of people think and believe falsehoods.  Obviously for the Calvinist, vast populations of people are rendered-certain to have false thoughts and false beliefs.  How then can the disciple of Calvin know what is truth, if his every neurological impulse is rendered-certain before he is born, each appearing in his brain occurring outside of his control?  He can’t believe the gospel is true by weighing the evidence and coming to his own conclusion, because that would require a degree of mental autonomy that doesn’t exist for him.  His thoughts and beliefs were never his to determine but were fully predestined before he was born.  Is it true that he is elect, standing on the side of truth with Jesus?  He doesn’t know, because that knowledge is held behind the veil of the secret council of God. 

The bottom line here becomes evident.  No one can live out this type of belief system with rational coherence.  Every determinist who believes he has no degree of autonomy has to live AS-IF he does.  Every determinist has to at some level make-believe he can think for himself.  Every determinist has to at some level make-believe when he approaches a fork in the garden path; the ability to go in either direction is truly available to him.   Every determinist Christian has to at some level make-believe that when God commanded Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit, God in fact made choosing obedience an available option to Adam – and not simply present it as an illusion that didn’t really exist, because whatever is not rendered-certain does not exist. 


Immanuel Kant in Critique of Practical Reason writes:
“Compatibilism is a wretched subterfuge with which some persons still let themselves be put off, and so think they have solved lives problems with petty word-jugglery.”

Dr. William James in The Dilemma of Determinism writes:
“Compatibilism is a quagmire of evasion.  The Compatibilists strategy relies upon stealing the name of freedom to mask their underlying determinism.  They make a pretense of restoring the caged bird to liberty with one hand, while with the other they anxiously tie a string to its leg to make sure it can’t get beyond determinism’s grasp.”

Dr. Ravi Zacharias, in one of his talks, relates a story of a presentation given by Stephen Hawking, which Ravi attended.  Hawking, a staunch determinist, was asked what he concluded and how he resolved believing in determinism.  He decided after looking at the matter for many years that he still believed.  But he then proceeded to shock his audience by stating that he had resolved his need to live AS-IF determinism were false.

So, we ought to be able to see why Calvin instructs his disciples to make-believe nothing is determined in any part.  It’s a matter of psychology and maintaining a daily semblance of mental normalcy.  This may be fine for an Atheist, but the burden it puts on anyone who believes in God is compounded, because it requires a state of double-mindedness. And it presents a reflection of a God who is the author of evil. 

In order to avoid this consequence, the unfortunate solution for the Calvinist has become AS-IF thinking.  And the outward expression of AS-IF thinking is a “yea nay” language in which things are explicitly asserted as true one minute and presented AS-IF false the next.  Or things explicitly asserted as false one minute are the next minute presented AS-IF true.  It is language, which communicates an “uncertain sound”.  What Immanuel Kant and William James would call “word- jugglery,” and a “quagmire of evasion.”


William Lutz, an American linguist, in an interview on CSPAN concerning his book DoubleSpeak states:
“Doublespeak is language designed to make the unpleasant appear pleasant, the unattractive appear attractive, or at least tolerable.  Basically, it’s language that pretends to communicate, but really doesn't.  It is language designed to mislead, while pretending not to.  Doublespeak is not a slip of the tongue or a mistake in use of language.  It’s exactly the opposite.  It is language used by people who are very intelligent, and very sophisticated in the use of language.  And know that you can do an awful lot with language.

Doublespeak is not a matter of subjects and verbs agreeing; it is a matter of words and facts agreeing.  Basic to doublespeak is incongruity, the incongruity between what is said or left unsaid, and what really is. It is the incongruity between the word and the referent, between seem and be, between the essential function of language—communication — and what doublespeak does — mislead, distort, inflate, circumvent, obfuscate.

Double-speak works by taking advantage of the inherent implicitness of meaning conveyed through everyday language.

It takes advantage of the fact that normal everyday language use is fundamentally cooperative.   Doublespeak exploits these principles to do just the opposite: to appear like honest communication while actually hiding incriminating facts. “


Dr. Depaulo in her book The Many Faces of Lies writes:
“We define deception as a deliberate attempt to mislead others.  Falsehoods communicated by people who are mistaken or self-deceived are not lies, but for the deceived person they are literal truths.  However, literal truths that are designed to mislead others are in fact lies.”

I have asked numerous ex-Calvinists whether during the time they were Calvinists they ever had a conscious awareness of using deceptive language.  All have insisted never having done so.  And it is not their perception that current Calvinists today use language with the intent to deceive.  But this does not diminish the fact that the language is in fact misleading.   And nothing prevents this aspect of Calvinist language from being regularly noted.

For example:

The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy – in its article on Theological Determinism writes this concerning the language used by Calvinist Paul Helm:
“Paul Helm, another staunch theological determinist of the Calvinist variety, simply says that God’s providence is ‘extended to all that He has created’ (1993, p. 39). The problem with such characterizations is that they are subject to multiple interpretations, some of whom would be affirmed by theological indeterminists.”

Dr. William Lane Craig, in his interactions with Calvinist Paul Kjoss Helseth, in the authoring of the book Four Views on Divine Providence writes:
“A A. Hodge's six-point summary of the classical Reformed view of divine providence, quoted by Paul Kjoss Helseth under ‘The True View of Providence Summarized’ falls short of expressing the radical distinctives of the Reformed position that Helseth defends.”

Dr. Jerry Walls, in his presentation What’s wrong with Calvinism states:
"If Calvinists didn’t rely so heavily on misleading rhetoric, their theology would lose all credibility within two years.”

Norman Geisler in his book Chosen but Free writes:
“Some Calvinists use smoke-and-mirror tactics to avoid the harsh implications of their view” (pg 104)
“This is done by redefining terms and Theological Doublespeak” (pg 261)

Laurence M. Vance in The Other Side of Calvinism writes about:
“The confusing labyrinth of Calvinist terminology” (pg 556)

Micah Coate in his book The Cultish side of Calvinism writes:
“Calvinists arguments are buried in theological and grammatical doublespeak.”

Ronnie W. Rogers, in his book Reflections of a Disenchanted Calvinist writes:
As mentioned in several places throughout this book, within Calvinism there is a problem of what I call doubletalk. But I am not implying immoral or clandestine trickery.  Nor am I suggesting conspiratorial deceit.  I must admit that upon reflection on my time being a Calvinist, I did the same thing.  I did not do this out ill motive or intent to deceive, or because of a lack of desire to be faithful to the scripture.  Nor do I ascribe this to my Calvinist brothers.  As a matter of fact, I did it because I believed Calvinism and the Scripture; and this brought about conflicts, or at least unconscious responses to the conflicts, which I now see as doubletalk.  This doubletalk obscured the harsh realities of Calvinism and the inconsistencies between Scripture and Calvinism. ”

Authors David L. Allen, Eric Hankins, and Adam Harwood in their book Anyone Can Be Saved: A Defense of "Traditional" Southern Baptist Soteriology write:
“This is a clear example of what I call Calvinism's double-talk. By double-talk, I specifically and only mean thinking....speaking in such a way that obscures the disquieting realities of Calvinism.  If a person accepts these realities, then he can be a knowledgeable and consistent Calvinist.  But if one is unwilling to face them and accept them, he cannot be a consistent Calvinist.  Additionally, I am not calling anyone a double-talker nor is my use of this term intended in any sense to be a pejorative.”

Gilbert VanOrder Jr in his book Calvinism's Conflicts: An Examination of the Problems in Reformed Theology writes:
“Calvinists then have to resort to double-talk in order to explain how human responsibility is still involved even though it isn’t.  If a man can do nothing to change his condition, then he cannot be held responsible for changing his condition”.

Ex-Calvinist Daniel Gracely in his book Calvinism a closer look writes:
"Calvinist and Non-Calvinist do not share the same meaning of words.....   Remember, Calvinism is merely the invoking of associative meaning, not real meaning.  By ‘not real’ I mean that the meaning is destroyed in the overall thought of the clause or sentence.  For, of course, at one level the Calvinist understands the general meaning of words.  But when he strings them together in such a way that it forms an idea that is false...   
This is what I used to do as a Calvinist. I liken these non-sense statements, or propositions, to the riding of a rocking horse..... Thus, I would go back and forth in seesaw motion, lest on the one hand I find myself accusing God of insufficient sovereignty, or on the other hand find myself accusing God of authoring sin.  All the while, there remained an illusion of movement towards truth, when in fact there was no real movement at all.  At length I would allow the springs of dialectical tension to rest the rocking horse in the center, and then I would declare as harmonious propositions, which in fact, were totally contradictory to each other.  Calvinist riders still ride out this scenario.”

Francis Hodgson in his book The Calvinistic Doctrine of Predestination Examined and Refuted, 1855 writes:
“The apology for this gross misapplication of language… found in their distressing emergency.
In no other way can they, with any plausibility, meet their opponents.”

We have a theology, which robs its adherents of “mere” permission, all creaturely autonomy, and divine knowledge via observation.  The Calvinist instinctively realizes that genuine responsibility is directly proportional to genuine autonomy.  A man cannot be held responsible for how the earth turns or when the moon rises, because these things are utterly out of his control.  And the Calvinist internally observes this principle throughout the general narrative of scripture. 

Does the master commend his slave for doing the very thing he commanded him to do?  I think not! Luke 17:9

Thus, an element of his doctrine which he desperately seeks to escape, is the fact that when taken to its logical conclusions, every aspect of man including his every neurological impulse, are determined by factors outside his control.

So what is this poor soul to do, except craft semantic masquerades of what he finds wanting.  Thus, his language serves as a red flag that the Calvinist himself internally recognizes certain things are missing in his theology.  It is missing patterns he finds consistently weaved throughout the entire fabric of scripture.  He becomes like a barren woman, who speaks AS-IF she is not, in order to manufacture in mental imagery, what she lacks in real life.  Credibility and plausible-deniability otherwise lacking, are carefully crafted in the form of semantic illusions.

I hope my readers have found this informative.  As has already been stated, I am convinced that at the most fundamental level, one must first understand the nature of Calvinism’s cosmetic language.  Understanding its language helps one to understand its psychology.  And from there, to understand why Calvinists often complain their system is misunderstood or misrepresented.   Misunderstanding a theology should be fully expected when misrepresentation is built into its language. 

Calvinists and non-Calvinists attempting to communicate with each other are often speaking two different languages, like two ships attempting to exchange cargo in the dark of night while passing each other.  Calvinism is its own unique culture, having its own unique “insider” language, where many words, terms and phrases have duplicitous, illusory, and/or amorphous meanings.  When a Calvinist communicates, he often presents by inference, conceptions that are the logical inverse of what he explicitly believes.  

Eventually this Doublespeak language becomes his normalcy, and he speaks it without even thinking.  Unless the non-Calvinist understands these aspects of the language, and understands the underlying psychology which drives them, he is ill equipped to ever truly understand Calvinism.


Calvinist student to Math Teacher:
Teacher, I’m having some trouble figuring out percentages, can you help me?

Math teacher:
Sure – let’s take an example you will be familiar with.
According to Calvinism, what percentage of whatsoever comes to pass is determined at the foundation of the world before people are created? 

Calvinist Student:
100% of whatsoever comes to pass is determined at the foundation of the world exclusively by God before people are created.

Math teacher:
Ok now
Since 100% of whatsoever comes to pass - is exclusively determined before people are created – what percentage does that leave left over for any person to determine?

Calvinist Student:
Well – we would subtract 100% from whatsoever comes to pass.
And that mathematically would leave zero percent left over for any person to determine.

Math teacher:
Very good!
So, in Calvinism - numerically speaking - what percentage of things in life are up to you to determine?

Calvinist Student:
Well – I guess these numbers tell me that zero things are up to me.

Math teacher:
Very Good!
So let me also ask you a question.
Is it possible for you to volunteer something that is not up to you to volunteer?

Calvinist Student:
No – I guess not!

Math teacher:
So simple math tells you - that you cannot volunteer your will – because 100% of everything having to do with your will – was already determined before you were ever created.   Therefore nothing about your will is up to you.

So, learning how to calculate percentages has empowerd you to understand that zero percent of your will - is the amount left over which is up to you to volunteer.
Are you feeling more confident about calculating percentages now?

Calvinist student:
Yes thank you for helping me figure that out!
Math is very empowering!


If Universal Divine Causal Determinism is true:

1) Our every perception, impulse, choice, desire, and action, are the consequences of divine decrees which occurred at the foundation of the world - having been determined at a point in which we do not yet exist. 

2) Additionally, those perceptions, impulses, thoughts, choices, desires and actions, are all framed within the boundaries of nature, which exist at the time in which they are actualized in our lives.

3) But then it is not UP TO US what immutable decrees were established at the foundation of the world before we were born. 

4) And neither is it UP TO US what attributes of nature - including our own - were infallibly decreed to exist at any instance in time.

5) Therefore, the consequences of these things are not UP TO US.


Anyone who has taken courses in critical, logical, or rational thinking, may eventually hear the story about the bear in the woods who loved to debate.

One day he was challenged by the birds, on the question of what creature in the woods could travel the fastest. The birds argued they did because they could fly.

Now the bear happened to be the most subtlest beast in the field. So he couldn’t allow himself to be seen losing a debate. And faced with the bird’s argument, knowing logic was not on his side, he needed to concoct a way to win. So, putting paw on chin, he began to think about an invention that might work.

A-HAH! He said to himself.

Then He climbed up onto a tall rock and announced he would prove that he could fly.   He jumped off the rock, and while falling waved his paws in the air mimicking the birds.

There!....He said with satisfaction – I can fly also!
Unfortunately the birds were not savvy enough to see through the ruse.

You see the bear did not present a logical argument – what he presented was a semantic argument.
He altered the meaning of the term “fly” so that it applied to waving the arms while falling.
The birds went away believing they had lost the debate – but the bear had simply tricked them.

The moral of the story:
When you’re engaged with a Calvinist – don’t be like the un-savvy birds. Scrutinize every term the Calvinist uses. More often than not – you will find he doesn’t have logic on his side – and a vast amount of the time he’s simply deploying a semantic maneuver – in which he equivocates on the meaning of a term or two.

In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird!


Why are there standards for weights and measures:
There once was a certain money changer who worked in the Temple at Jerusalem.   Israelites visiting from afar were required to exchange their foreign coins for the silver coin minted by the Temple, to prevent the Temple from being defiled by images of idols. The Temple coin was necessary to purchase sacrificial animals and pay the Temple tax.

Now this money changer had two weights, both marked exactly the same, which he used to weigh coins on his balancing scales. While selling Temple coin, he would use one weight marked as 25 Shekel (i.e., 10oz) to weigh foreign coins. Unbeknownst to the customer however, it actually weighed a little more. Thus, the customer was unknowingly over-charged. But when buying back Temple coin, he would use a different weight which looked exactly the same, but which weighed a little less than what it was marked. Thus, a customer unknowingly received less than he should have, when selling Temple coins back to the money changer. These two weights looked exactly the same and were marked exactly the same. And customers never knew they were being misled.

Thus, the money changer gained an advantage in every exchange. That is, until Jesus walked by one day, and the Spirit revealed to Jesus what each money changer was doing. Jesus came straight to his table, angrily reached into his box and pulled out both weights. Two identical looking weights, marked exactly the same. But two weights which did not weigh the same. Jesus smashed them both, making them unusable, and then quickly turned away to flip over other tables and release animals from cages.

What is our primary currency of exchange:
Human societies exchange goods. But we also exchange ideas, concepts, and knowledge. And we use words as the coinage for these exchanges. The spelling of a word functions as a label. And that label describes persons, places, things, and actions. So, every word functions like the weight on a balancing scale, where the meaning or definition applied to it functions as that words weight. Thus, words and terms are the coinage we present and exchange with one another. And words are what God himself uses to inform mankind. Words within the book of Genesis inform us of how the earth, and all of nature were created. God uses words to communicate with Adam and Eve. And we also find a certain serpent in the garden who has the power of communicating using words.

However, no matter what we use to exchange with, whether goods or services, whether coins, or words - in order for these exchanges to be honest, weights and measures and words must all conform to a commonly agreed upon standard. The values of words we use, just like the values of coins, just like the values of weights on a balancing scale, must conform to a commonly agreed upon, and trustworthy standard. Our money changer gained an advantage over others and did so by not conforming the weights he used on his balancing scales to a commonly agreed upon standard.

Conformity to a Standard Minimizes Dishonesty:
The process of presenting a word with an ambiguous or modified meaning, functions the same as presenting a weight on a balancing scale which does not conform to a commonly agreed upon standard. People can take advantage of each other the same way the money changer does, by using words with misleading meanings. Let me provide a classic example.

A young man takes a girl up to lover’s lane and she soon discovers his intent. As he reaches for her, she puts up her hand making a Stop motion. “Before we do this I need to know if you love me” she says sternly.

The young man knows what the girl’s definition of the word love is. He knows she defines love as monogamous commitment. If he speaks honestly, and answers her question using her definition for the word love, his answer will be “no”. In such case, his quest will be foiled. So, he reasons within himself, that he must mislead her. “Of course, I love you” he says. But he doesn’t tell her what type of love he has in mind. He knows what her definition for the word love is. But he creates an ad-hoc definition for the word. And he retains his definition as insider information. Thus, this strategy is often called insider language.

Calvinism’s non-conformance to commonly agreed upon standard meanings for words:
Dr. Jerry Walls, a Scholar and Professor of Philosophy, gives a video presentation, titled: “What’s wrong with Calvinism”. During the presentation Dr. Walls relates a situation in which young Calvinist pastors have asked an older Calvinist theologian and professor, if it would be honest for them to tell people that God loves them.

This theologian’s response is illuminating, because it follows the same model of language used by the young man at lover’s lane. He assured them: “Of-course you can tell them God loves them”.    But the caveat is; you can’t tell them what type of love God has for them.

How would people respond to the Gospel message, if you told them that the type of love God has for them, is the type of love that will throw them into a lake of fire for his good pleasure?    It would be nice to tell them; the type of love God has for them is the type of love that is full of benevolence for them. But for a sovereignty honoring Calvinist, telling people that, would be highly dishonest. So, they are counseled instead towards the lesser of two evils. They are counseled to use misleading language.

We understand these young pastors have what they perceive as honest justifications for not presenting the whole truth to people in this context. But that still does not evade the fact that they are misleading people by their use of the word love. The people these young pastors are communicating with, like the moneychanger’s customers, are unaware of any altered meaning in the word. They assume these Calvinist pastors are conforming themselves to the commonly agreed upon standard meaning for the word, and they are thereby misled, in the same way the moneychangers’ customers, are misled.

Dr. Nelson R. Price, Pastor Emeritus in Baptist Church of New Orleans Louisiana writes in his online blog concerning what he classifies as Covert tactics used by Calvinist pastors. He writes: “My appeal to any Calvinist among Southern Baptist is to be open, honest, and above board. Don’t be subversive. Have the courage of your convictions and in being considered by a church, acknowledge from the beginning exactly what you believe.”

The online forum “Strange Baptist Fire” also has a page dedicated to a concern over dishonesty with Calvinists. There it is stated: Dr. Frank Page, pastor of First Baptist Church of Talors, South Carolina….was quoted by Baptist Press as making these comments: “We must have honesty about this issue. There are churches splitting across the convention because pastors are coming in quietly trying to teach Calvinism or Reformed theology without telling the pastor search committees where they stand.”

On that same blog – a Calvinist seeking to defend himself responds with this statement: “If a man tries to introduce a biblical ministry into such a situation does it not stand to reason that there might indeed be some controversy along the way?”

But what does this Calvinist pastor mean by the term biblical ministry?   Is he willing to tell the whole truth when he communicates the phrase biblical ministry to the pastoral search committee? Or is he, like the young man at lover’s lane, presenting this term with a cloaked meaning, which he can’t reveal because if he does, his quest for becoming pastor of this church will be foiled. So, like the young man at lover’s lane, he uses the term biblical ministry as insider language. And his new congregation, just like the young girl at lover’s lane, doesn’t find out what he means, until after it’s too late.

Next: We have the Calvinist interpretation of Paul’s phrase: “Vessels of Wrath” within the book of Romans. According to the Calvinist interpretation, at the foundation of the world, before people are created, God first conceives each unique person, and conceives a specific purpose and design for each person. On this view “Vessels of Wrath” constitute that population of people specifically designed for eternal torment in a lake of fire. Calvinist pastor John Piper is occasionally asked how one is to understand the ethics of a God who designs the vast majority of his creatures specifically for eternal torment.

Dr. Piper’s occasional answer to this question is that whatever God does, we know he always does what is right. But are we supposed to use the commonly agreed upon meaning of the word right in this context?    Wouldn’t that constitute using an earthly judgement in our considerations of what God does? But without our earthly understanding of what the word right means, what meaning are we supposed to give it?

What Dr. Piper is doing here with the word right is to use it as an associated inference. We are to infer the standard meaning of right in this context. This is the equivalent of applying the label “HONEY” on the front of a water glass. We simply apply the label of right to whatever God does. Even when what God does, fits the standardized definition of the word evil according to our earthly understanding of scriptural ethics.

What we understand as the underlying context, is that people are to accept that God can do whatever he desires, and we are to simply accept it and call it right. This means, God could decree Israelite parents to infalliby and irresistibly throw their babies into the fire of Moloch.   And we are to proclaim his doing so as right. And this behooves us to ask the question, are we, being dishonest with our use of words, like the money changer is dishonest with his use of weights?

In the book of Job we find the doctrine of Eliphaz the Temanite, as expounded by his counsel to Job. And later we find God disagreeing with the doctrine of Elephaz, because his doctrine attributes certain actions to God, which God himself rejects as right.

Job 42:7 “It came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has. Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and My servant Job will pray for you. For I will accept him so that I may not do with you according to your folly, because you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has.”

Eliphaz attempts to reconcile Job to God and induce him to repent.   In Eliphaz' second speech he belittles Job’s self-justifications by attributing uncaring transcendence as an attribute of God.  In Eliphaz' third and last speech, he reflects the old Hebrew idea that suffering always functions as a sign or consequence of sinful actions by accusing Job of specific unethical deeds.  It would seem, Eliphaz' second speech represents a doctrine about the nature and character of God, which God himself rejects.

If God were to infalliby decree it come to pass, that Israelite parents throw their babies into the fire of Moloch, does God not know that such a decree mandates Israelite parents to infalliby and irresistibly do that which is infalliby decreed?   Doesn't God know that it is impossible for a fallible human-being to resist a divine supernatural infallible decree?   By virtue of His divine supernatural decree being infallible, does God not know that this is the only option He is permitting, and making available to the Israelite parents?   Does God not know that for Israelite parents to not commit this act, would be to falsify an infallible decree?   What human being has the power to falsify an infallible decree?   Wouldn’t such a decree be a manifestation of Eliphaz' doctrine of uncaring transcendence?

Would God himself consider decreeing this as their only option, something that He himself would call right?   Is decreeing Israelite parents to infalliby throw their babies into a fire, the only option that God has?    Does God anywhere in scripture tell us that he infalliby decreed such a thing come to pass?   And so finally, doesn't all of this beg the question; does Calvinism's use of the word right in this context become like the money changer's weight which has a shifted meaning?    If in fact God did decree the Israelite parents to infalliby throw their babies into the fire of Moloch, couldn’t the Calvinist simply be content to call such a decree inscrutable?   But to call such a decree right, aren’t we making evil right, and in the process calling good evil, and evil good?

John Macarthur in a presentation asks the audience: “Who lives your Christian life? If you say God does - then I don’t know if you could convince everybody who knows you”.

But are those who know you supposed to be using earthly judgment to judge God for what he infallibly decrees you to think say and do?   Shouldn’t we apply Dr. Piper’s answer to this as well and say God infallibly decreed everything that I think, say and do. And since whatever God does is right, then whatever God infallibly decreed I think say and do must be right. If God doesn’t want me to think, say and do something, then he simply decrees I think say and do something else. But whatever he decrees me to think say and do, must be right.

I remember a certain Calvinist pastor who having been caught in adultery declared God must have infallibly decreed it, or it wouldn’t have come to pass, and what God does is always right, therefore the adultery that was decreed must have been right. How is that pastor to declare that what God infallibly decreed he do was not right?   And how could that pastor do otherwise than obey the infallible decree? God works all things according to the power of his will. And what man can stay the hand of God or counter his will?

Now the Calvinist might say that what God does through people – as secondary means - is not necessarily right. But what God does to people is always right.   But wait a minute, If I don’t say that what God decreed me to think, say, and do is right, aren’t I disrespecting God’s will, God’s sovereignty, and God’s infallible decree?

Also, I am not the author of what God infallbly decreed me to do.    So what part of what God infalliby decreed me to do was ever up to me?   Why again am I supposed to attribute to myself, that which God made come to pass?    Just because that’s the way it is?   And who established the fact that that is the way it is?   Is it the way it is, because scripture says so?    Or because Calvinism is supposed to represent the least fallible interpretation of what scripture says?    But what about all of the ethical conundrums the Calvinist interpretation creates?    Perhaps they serve as warning signs that something is wrong?    Perhaps I’ve become so personally invested in Calvinism that I’ve just become willing to live with a mountain of ethical problems?   Perhaps I’ve even learned to live with, and justify a virtual library of semantic dishonesties?

Jesus teaches us: “Be ye holy as your heavenly father is holy”.   But in Calvinism, what does holy look like?   Are we supposed to mislead people with deceptive language, because we've learned that is what holy looks like?

We should be able to see, there are many words which have commonly agreed upon meanings within our language, and Calvinism’s use of these words becomes ethically troubling.    And in many cases the words they select simply function as masquerades.   Psalms 115:8 teaches us that the image we have of the deity we worship, will result in our becoming like unto that image.    Perhaps, the reason we observe misleading language as a consistent characteristic of Calvinist language, is because misleading language is an integral part of the Calvinist's image of God?

Next: How are we to understand the phrase human-choice in Calvinism?   Let us say a hypnotist has a young volunteer on his stage. The young man is commanded to stand before 10 different soft drinks and the hypnotist decrees which drink the young man will choose. Without hesitation the young man chooses the soft drink the hypnotist decreed him to choose. The hypnotist can argue that the young man did in fact make a choice, which the hypnotist is not responsible for. But was the young man really the author of his own choice? Or was the hypnotist the real author of that choice?

If we replace the young man with a robot having an internal program which decrees it to choose a specific soft drink, isn’t it true that the robot made just as legitimate a choice as the young man did?    When a self-driving automobile comes to a 4-way stop, and in calculating the best route to its destination it chooses to turn left in order to get on the highway, isn’t it true that that computerized automobile made a choice to turn left at that 4-way stop?   Yes I know the computerized car is not a sentient being like our young hypnotized man. But that doesn't make any difference in his choice making functionality. Our young hypnotized man simply functioned as an instrument performing a choice that was authored by the external mind of the hypnotist. The computerized car functioned as an instrument performing a choice that was authored by the external mind of a programmer.    And in Calvinism humans function as instruments performing choices authored by the external mind of a THEOS.

The Calvinist is going to say that God is the author of every person’s choice by virtue of infallibly decreeing whatsoever comes to pass, which would obviously include every human choice. But the Calvinist is going to tell us the scripture doesn’t reveal how God accomplishes that. It could be some form of divine computer program, or it could be some form of supernatural hypnosis. But we just don’t know because the scripture doesn’t tell us. The doctrine stipulates that every event which comes to pass does so infallibly by an infallible decree. And we know that as fallible human beings, our minds don’t have the power to resist neurological impulses which come to pass infallibly within our brains.

The Calvinist is also going to assert that God does not use force. But how can they claim that when the scripture is silent on that as well? And what Calvinist in his right mind is going to argue that God’s decrees are forceless! How are events enforced by the force of supernatural decrees, without any actual force?

Next, let us say that our hypnotist selects a young man and a young woman at random out of his audience.  These two young people do not know each other.  With the young man now under hypnosis, his mind is to accept whatever the young woman decrees.   Whatever she decrees - will be his reality.  Next, the hypnotist instructs the woman to decree that he love her.   Without hesitation, and exactly as she has decreed, the young man now ardently loves her, and describes his earnest love for her.

But what value does she ascribe to the love this young man has for her?  She has not forced him to love her.  She has not held a gun to his head, or twisted his arm, or bribed him.  She has simply decreed what his reality will be.

But he could not do otherwise than obey her decree.   The decree does not permit him to do otherwise – at pain of resisting the decree, which he is powerless to do.  So, he is not free to have any other reality than what she decrees.   And thus, he is not free love anyone else but her.   He doesn’t love her because he values her above any other woman, because he has no option to value or love any other woman.

The scripture tells us that God is Agape love, and that God desired to make man in his image and likeness.   Doesn’t that imply that the love God has for his creatures is Agape love, and the love that he would like to have reflected back to himself is also Agape love?   But if he causally determines whatsoever comes to pass – this would include whatever love people would have for him.   In such case he is causally determining creatures to love him, and the creature cannot do otherwise at pain of falsifying his decree.   The creature doesn’t love or value God because of any attribute God has that makes Him worth loving more than any other.   The creature loves God because God doesn’t permit the creature to do otherwise.

Now technically the creature does make a choice to love him, just as the self-driving car makes a choice to get on the highway.   But in both cases, choice was built into a program.   So, in such case people who are causally determined by infallible decree to love God, are not permitted any other choice, at pain of falsifying an infallible decree.   Is that the kind of love God really values and desires to have reflected back to himself?

So now we have another word: choice strategically framed within Calvinist statements to masquerade as libertarian in nature, in order to avoid the obvious deterministic implications. And thus, we have another word that is being used in a less than honest manner.

Next: in Calvinism what is the well-meant offer? The underlying doctrine stipulates that election is not offered to all, and thus salvation is not offered to all. So, what in fact is being offered? What is being offered is the communication of the good news that Jesus was sent to die for the sins of the world. But do Calvinists tell people the whole truth, when they communicate what is for them the Gospel? Do they inform every man and woman that God may have designed him/her specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire?    And if not, why not?   Isn’t God’s sovereignty of election the most critical aspect of the Calvinist’s Gospel?    Why would they withhold from people, what is for them, the most sacred and supreme aspect of the Gospel?    Isn’t their interpretation of the Gospel the most “biblical” interpretation?    Why hide the truth from people?

Perhaps Calvinists know it’s easier to catch a fly with honey than with vinegar.   Perhaps they know, if they tell a man or woman that God may have designed him/her specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire, that man/woman will go out and broadcast what they were told by that Calvinist church.   Perhaps the Calvinist is concerned about developing a negative reputation within the local community.    But why should they care about any of that if in fact they are more purely honoring God’s divine sovereignty?    Do they worry that God will not return their faithfulness with blessings?    Perhaps the church will not be able to sustain an overwhelming wave of anti-Calvinist sentiment and God will not sovereignly defend them?   Therefore, they conclude it safer to simply not tell the whole truth.

But for those whom God does not in any way mean to offer salvation, what then is well-meant? Perhaps when the Calvinist tells someone about salvation, he secretly hopes God has elected that person. And by virtue of the fact that he has that hope, he presumes that constitutes his presentation of salvation as well-meant. But are outsiders of Calvinism misled into believing that what the Calvinist means by well-meant is God personally offering salvation to that individual?    Do Calvinists conveniently allow people to be misled into interpreting well-meant-offer as God himself giving an offer for salvation that is well-meant?   Would the Calvinist be willing to mislead people that way?    It seems like Calvinists have learned and are willing to use a lot of misleading langauge.

We should be able to understand why the Calvinist would learn to conveniently conceal such things.

Next: We have the advertising slogan: Doctrines of Grace.  But with this slogan, are we speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?    Is this slogan designed to hide the dark side of the system?    Wouldn't a more truthful slogan be: Doctrines of Good-Evil?

This whole topic should be making something very apparent about Reformed doctrine.    A certain attribute of Calvinist doctrine, which stands out as unique to Calvinism alone.   There is a characteristic element of Good-Evil we find inherent within its conceptions.  When you start to look for it, you start to become aware of just how many conceptions appear in the form of Good-Evil pairs.   And many words used in Calvinist statements, which by their standardized meaning, infere some form of good, when enunciated in Calvinist statements end up infering Good-Evil.  It should also be apparent, that Calvinists are very inventive and expend a lot of careful ingenuity, in developing language designed to hide this very attribute.    Do you not observe, that many words are carefully selected and framed within Calvinist statements, for the express purpose of making malevalent conceptions appear benevolent?  And many statements, designed to make determinism appear indeterministic?  All of which begs the question: Why would the Holy Spirit require the declaration of truth which sets you free, to be expressed through strategically evasive, cloaked, obfuscating language?

It starts to become obvious, that there are many aspects of Calvinism which raise ethical flags. Calvinists are very aware of this. And over many years, the social structure of Calvinism has developed a whole library of terms, phrases, and statements, having all sorts of good-evil, cloaked, oxymoronic meanings.  All designed to hide underlying dark implications, and if possible to masquerade them as something else. All for the sake of keeping ethical flags from being raised.  One has to ask if we don’t have a theology which requires a high degree of human maintenance, which entails people learning the subtle art of using misleading language.

We need to recognize that the Calvinist's language itself, serves as the best indicator, that he secretly and intuitively seeks to escape certain dark constituents of the very doctrines he espouses.


The process of walking a tightrope involves maintaining a constant balance. At one instance, the rope will shift to the left threatening one’s fall.   This requires a counter compensating movement, of shifting one’s body weight.

However, if one’s compensating movement is excessive, the rope will naturally respond by shifting in the opposite direction.   And this will require another counter compensating movement, in order to retain balance.   And so, back and forth it goes.

Calvinist language is readily observed as having this characteristic.   The shifting back and forth in this case, is the shifting between conceptions of good and conceptions of evil.   Between divine malevolence, and divine benevolence.

This is because – in Calvinism, good and evil are co-equal, co-necessary, and co-complimentary.
Just as the back and forth movements of the tightrope in two antithetical directions are co-equal, co-necessary, and co-complimentary.

Augustine asserts the good-evil dualism, where he writes: “And because this orderly arrangement maintains the harmony of the universe by this very contrast, it comes about that evil things must need be. In this way, the beauty of all things is in a manner configured, as it were, from antitheses, that is, from opposites: this is pleasing to us even in discourse”. (ord 1.7.19)

Jonathon Edwards asserts the good-evil dualism, where he writes: “Thus it is necessary that God’s awful majesty, his authority, and dreadful greatness, justice and holiness should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of Gods glory would be very imperfect, both because those parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all” (The Works of President Edwards)

Austin Farrer (1904) an Anglican theologian and philosopher, in Faith and Speculation warns that every time man attempts to frame God’s providential activity into causal terms, placing God into a chain of sequential causalities, he risks degrading God to the creaturely level, ultimately creating a monstrosity and confusion.

When the delineating line between good and evil is breached, and one morphs into the other, making the two almost indistinguishable within the nature and character of God, the expounder is forced to forward his assertions while reflecting benevolence—and confusion is guaranteed.

This is the reason why Calvinist language is so characterized by equivocations, obfuscations, semantic illusions, semantic masquerades, half-truths presented as the whole truth, eulogizations, amphibolies, and amorphisms.

This is back and forth motion between divine good and divine evil, divine benevolence and divine malevolence unique to Calvinism.

So, this is the characteristic nature of Calvinist language.  It is every serious Calvinist's tightrope.   A theology of Good-Evil.
It makes perfect sense – why observers of Calvinist language – have perennially labeled it a langauge of Double-Speak.


It is interesting to note, when we carefully scrutinize Calvinist language, what we find is a consistent strategic selection of terms designed to function in some form of disguise.  How does one achieve, making something appear to exist, which logic shows as impossible?  This is often done by semantics.  And there are certain things which logic tells us, cannot exist within a 100% pre-determined world.  So what an approprate degree of scrutiny will allow us to recognize, is a consistent equivocation of select terms which predominates almost every statement a Calvinist makes.  But why is this the case? 

Because a contradiction is defined as something that is declared both true and false - at the same time - and in the same sense.

The more you understand what exhaustive determinism logically eradicates from the believer's world, the more you can understand the desperate need the Calvinist has for things which his belief system eradicates.  Many things that do not exist for him, yet he desperately needs to have, in order for his belief system to be palatable. Consequently, he ends up needing many things to be true in his belief system which are in fact false.  And many things in his belief system which are false, he needs to be true.  And sometimes he needs something to be true in one statement, and false in the next.  And this is why so many things within Calvinism tend to appear as both true and false at the same time.  Now anyone who is familiar with with the conflicts which orbit Calvinism, knows how frequently contradictions appear.

Now the Calvinist knows, the degree to which he presents obviosly recognizable contradictions, is the degree to which he loses credibility.   So, he learns to be very strategic with his choice of words.  He learns to search for words with which an equivocation can be produced without detection.  Contradictions can thus be cloaked behind the smoke screen of semantics.

Take the word "choice" for example.  Is a human "choice" logically coherent in Calvinism? 

According to its normative definition, "choice" entails the process of selecting from at least 2 possible options.  Option [A] vs. option [B].  Or options [A] vs. [NOT A].  The problem for the Calvinist, is that it is a logical impossibility for alternative options to be RENDERED-CERTAIN (i.e. predestined).

Exhaustive determinism eradicates PAP (Principle of Alternative Possibilities), making multiple options logically impossible.    This leaves the Calvinist with a form of choice that does not meet its normative definition.    And in order to make his belief system acceptable, he must somehow make it appear normative.  So, he ends up fabricating a human act, disquised as meeting the normative definition of "choice". 
But this process further leads him down a dark road.  Because at the same time, he also needs to hide things that are true.   In exhaustive determinism every impulse and every perception which comes to pass within the human brain does so infallibly.  And since Alternative Possibilities from what is infallibly decreed do not exist, it is logically impossible for an alternative impulse or perception to come to pass within his brain.  So even his brain's act of acceptance of what is infallibly decreed, is itself infallibly decree.  And he has absolutly no "choice" in the matter of what is infallibly decreed. 

Whatever "choice" his brain has the illusion of making, was made for him at the foundation of the world, before he ever existed.  And even if he did exist, his brain is still not permitted to do otherwise than what it is infallibly decreed to do.  His brain simply functions as a container for impulses authored by an external mind.   Impulses infallibly decreed to come to pass by factors completely outside of his control.

Divine sovereignty in the form of exhaustive determinism, eradicates more human personhood than the Calvinist can accept.  He needs to somehow rescue some of that missing personhood, and bring it back into his system, to at least to some minimal degree, in order for his belief system to be palatable.  It's either that or give up the belief system, which he is not prepared to do.  

And so, he must come up with some strategy to disguise human "choice" as normative within his belief system.  And he is easily able to accomplish this through the use of subtle semantics.  What he ends up doing however as a consistent practice, is presenting masquerades of things which do not really exist in his belief system.  He claims they are "real".  But now the term "real" must take on a non-normative meaning.

The Calvinist has no more "choice" about his election, than he has about what color his eyes will be before he is born.  And he has no more "choice" about what sins he is infallibly decreed to commit, than he has about the moment of his birth.  Because every impulse that will come to pass within his brain, is meticulously determined to be there at the exact microsecond, by supernatural factors which are outside of his control.

As a reponse to many things, both people and scripture take as normative in life, which do not exist in his system, a certain semantic expertise has evolved over time within the Calvinist guild.  And the Calvinist art of manufacturing facades of things which don't exist, through the use of a strategically equivocal language, becomes a consistent identifiable pattern. 

And when you know what signs to look for, you can actually observe how Calvinists pride themselves in their ability to manufacture semantic masquarades.  It has become an artform for them, in which some are more adept and proficient than others.  An expertise in manufacturing facades through ingenious equivocations, thus serves for many a Calvinist, to produce a sense of personal efficacy, the same way the pickpocket derives a sense of personal efficacy, from his ability to slip his hand into your back pocket and pull out your wallet without being detected.
The Apostle identifies the pattern of presenting things disguised as something they are not.  It is called "Angel of light". 

For even Lucifer is able to disguise himself as something he is not.  

So, we should be able to see, it is not the spirit of Christ that is behind this highly evolved expertise.  Making things appear to be what they are not through subtle language tricks, is not a manifestation of a Holy Spirit.  This experties is aquired from a different source. 

And a man cannot serve two masters. He will eventually be required to cleave to one and compromise the other.  Where Calvinism is compromised, is with its degree of intellectual honesty. 

When you learn to scrutinize every word in his statements, you will learn to recognize his language is strategically designed to function as an "Uncertain Sound", where many terms are carefully selected to appear as things they are not. 

Things that are designed to appear as "Angels of light".