Calvinism and Westboro Baptist Church: Predestination Exposed

Posted by Capn Coconuts On Monday, January 23, 2012 0 comments
In the last post of Calvinism and Westboro Baptist Church, we went through a brief history of Calvin and his theology and some of its tenets. In particular, I described the Five Points of Calvinism, also known as TULIP:
  • T: Total Depravity. Due to the Fall of Man caused by Adam and Eve, mankind is totally enslaved in sin. Because of this, man is inclined to serve his own lusts and desires instead of the God to the point of being morally unable to follow God without His intervention. (Total here means that sin affects every part of man--it doesn't mean that every man is as evil as possible.)
  • U: Unconditional Election. God has chosen from the beginning who he will reconcile to himself--not based on their virtue, merit, or faith, but grounded in his mercy alone. God chooses to extend mercy to those he chooses and refuses mercy to those he hasn't chosen.
  • L: Limited Atonement. The sacrifice of Jesus Christ is meant to atone for only the elect God has chosen, and no one else. It is limited in scope, not in power.
  • I: Irresistable Grace. God's grace to the elect will, at some point in their lives, forcibly overcome all their resistance to accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior.
  • P: Perseverance of the Saints. As God is the sovereign predestinator of the fate of all mankind, none of the elect can cease to be the elect and lose their salvation. Christians that fall away were either not saved to begin with or will return to Christianity.
In this post, I intend to show just how ugly the U, L, and I are.

Unconditional Arbitration 

The latter four are parts of a doctrine known as predestination. In a general sense, predestination is God wills (at a certain point in time, or before "time" ever began) something to happen (after that point). In the Calvinist sense, it's God putting a select few into the Unconditional Elect based on His grace alone and not on the works or faith of the man.

The particulars need attention here. Predestination based on foreknowledge of faith is different from predestination based on God's grace. The former implies that God's grace encompasses all of mankind, even though God goes along and picks the elect before they get saved. The latter implies that God simply refused to offer grace to everyone and may as well have treated each soul as a lottery ticket.

Odds of getting God's grace: YOU ALREADY LOST

I can only therefore conclude that the Unconditional Election, and by extension God's grace, is arbitrary.

Limited Logic

If God's grace is arbitrary, than God's atonement, love, and hatred must be arbitrary. To the Calvinist, John 3:16 might as well be:
For God so loved the elect (and only the elect), that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever is part of His elect (and only the elect) should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
WBC's excuse (which is also used by many other Calvinists) for believing this is that the word κοσμος (pronounced "kahs-mahs") never means all of mankind, or that it at least doesn't have that meaning there.
No. You are probably thinking of John 3:16, which says no such thing. The word translated "world" in that verse (kosmos) NEVER means every individual of mankind who has ever lived (see, e.g., John 17:9)
I fail to see how Jesus not currently praying for the whole human race logically extends to "never loving the human race ever", but an in-depth tearing into the FAQ will have to wait for later. Right now, my point is that they don't believe it ever means "all of mankind". Ever. Not even in early church writings or secular Greek literature.

The Thayer's and Strong's dictionaries tell a different story. Here's an abridged Thayer's definition of that word.
1) an apt and harmonious arrangement or constitution, order, government
2) ornament, decoration, adornment, i.e. the arrangement of the stars, ‘the heavenly hosts’, as the ornament of the heavens.
3) the world, the universe
4) the circle of the earth, the earth
5) the inhabitants of the earth, men, the human family
6) the ungodly multitude; the whole mass of men alienated from God, and therefore hostile to the cause of Christ
7) world affairs, the aggregate of things earthly
     7a) the whole circle of earthly goods, endowments riches, advantages, pleasures, etc, which although hollow and frail and fleeting, stir desire, seduce from God and are obstacles to the cause of Christ
8) any aggregate or general collection of particulars of any sort
     8a) the Gentiles as contrasted to the Jews
     8b) of believers only
WBC just believes that definition doesn't exist because it doesn't suit their beliefs. But, for a second, let's just assume WBC is right and God doesn't really love everyone on the planet. He just hates all workers of iniquity 24/7, teeth clenched, itching to damn those miserable little piles of secrets.

Then we read this.
I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.
--1 Timothy 2:1-6
I rest my case, though love and hatred will have to be further discussed in a later post.

Irresistible Implications

Remember the lottery ticket illustration I used above? I used it for a reason. When you have a lottery ticket, you have no idea what you'll win, or if you'll win anything at all. And once you scratch away the outer layers, you find out whether you won or lost.

A friend gave me some lottery tickets once. Now I wouldn't have bought them because the lottery isn't exactly a charity, but he already did, so I saw no harm in using them.

I lost. Every. Single. Time. It wasn't my fault I had lost on all of those tickets. My friend didn't know what was on the tickets either, so it couldn't be his fault.

But what if he did know? What if he knew that every ticket would have no prize and deliberately gave the losing tickets to me? Either he's just messing with me, or he's a total jerk. But then, I didn't really have anything to lose with those tickets. It's not like I'd be cast into hell for losing.

But that's how the Unconditional Election Lottery works.

Is it your fault if you lose God's Super Ultra Mega Million Unconditional Elect Lottery? Is it your fault if God deliberately gave the winning tickets to people who weren't you? Is it primarily your fault if you are doomed to a life of sin and eternal torment in the lake of fire because you lost?

Is it your fault that God lied when he had Paul and Peter write down that he wasn't a respecter of persons, let alone an arbitrary, nonsensical respecter of persons?!

But enough about losing. This section is about WINNING.


You see, not only is the Unconditional Elect Lottery rigged against most people, but it's rigged in favor of a select few. And they didn't do or believe anything to win.

It's not right to expect God to give salvation by grace through works. God's too incorruptible for corrupted men to satisfy. That's why Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins--something incorruptible had to pay the price of the corrupted so that the corrupted could be made incorruptible. It doesn't matter how many good things you do--one slip up and you've fallen short. Indulgences, mass, confessions before corrupted men, doing more good than bad, etc. can't earn you any merit in the eyes of an all-holy God.

Salvation by grace through faith, on the other hand, indicates that one realizes he can't just pay back for burning down an orphanage by building a new one, and instead pleads for mercy based on what the Incorruptible Christ did for him. There is no merit. Only belief, confession, repentance, and acceptance exist.

Salvation by grace through Unconditional Election just gives the elect a reason to be puffed up, because they're arbitrarily better than everyone else. God arbitrarily respected them and arbitrarily hated everyone else.

Several times in the Bible, FAITH/BELIEF is the requirement for salvation. Acts, Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, and more contain evidence that BELIEF is the key. If our belief isn't what saves us and being in the arbitrary elect is, what's the point of mentioning BELIEF so many times? Why not leave it out of the Bible and put references to the elect God predestined before time started instead?

Because Calvinist predestination is wrong.


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