Calvinism’s Inconsistency and Incoherence

Calvinists will typically bring up Grandma dying from cancer or not getting a promotion as an example of God’s sovereignty and hence determination of all things for the sake of his glory. But why not be consistent and completely candid and declare that God also predestined every act of adultery and divorce for the sake of his glory? But herein is exactly where most Calvinists start to fudge on their own theology and begin dodging, ducking and evading the most obvious of conclusions that are derived from their own beliefs.

For if one is going to insist that God predestines all events for the purpose of his own glory, then that would necessarily mean that God has predestined every act of adultery and divorce for his own glory! It all gets quite confusing when we understand that “God hates divorce” (Malachi 2:16). Consequently Calvinism unveils a God who is found to predestine what he hates and abhors—for his own glory.

Whether or not they can admit it the reason Calvinists project great hesitancy and discomfort in conveying their true beliefs is that even they cannot completely disassociate themselves from an intrinsic conviction that something is tragically amiss if God is declared to be the determiner of their evil choices—such that they could not have chosen against God’s decree.

Just ponder the following scenario: A man named Harry walks into his Calvinist pastor’s office for grief counseling over his beloved grandmother’s death. The pastor comforts him with the following words: “Your grandmother’s death on the one hand is unfortunate but it is also comforting to realize that her death was ultimately a result of God’s sovereign decree for the sake of his glory.”

The next month Harry again walks into his pastor’s office and vents great disappointment and despair over losing his job and having to declare bankruptcy. As with grandma’s unfortunate passing the pastor again attempts to offer consolation to Harry by saying, “We know nothing happens outside God’s ordained decree. Comfort yourself in knowing that God’s sovereignty ordained for you to lose your job for his own purposes and the praise of his glory.”

Finally a month later Harry again walks into his pastor’s office and confesses that he committed adultery with his neighbor’s 18 year-old daughter. And while on the one hand he is torn up with guilt, on the other hand he doesn’t want the love affair to end, and thinks it’s God’s will for them to be together—so he has chosen to divorce his wife.

If the pastor were to be consistent with his Calvinist theology there is no reason to fault him if he were to say, “Harry, comfort yourself in knowing that God sovereignly determined that you would cheat on your wife before you were born. Nothing happens outside God’s sovereign decree and while many people will have questions about your adulterous actions the fact is your choice to be unfaithful to your wife was ultimately God’s will and choice that he foreordained for you to make for the sake of his glory. And if you do indeed go on to divorce your wife and elope with this young girl that too would be God’s decreed will for you—otherwise you would not have been able to have chosen it.”

Of course we all know that no Calvinist pastor would say such a horrific thing! It goes without saying that he would rebuke Harry for his marital unfaithfulness and selfishness and insist that it was not God’s will for him to commit adultery and it is not God’s will for him to divorce his wife and elope with his 18 year-old neighbor. But how can the Calvinist have any theological conviction to say such a thing? On what basis does the Calvinist justify his gross inconsistency? For there is no escape clause within Calvinism that allows for God to decree everything that happens like grandmothers dying, job losses and bankruptcy—but not adultery. The brute fact is that Calvinism is horrific theology!

Alas it is only by a sheer act of the will that a Calvinist pastor can wholly disregard and ignore the logical demands placed upon him by own theology and refuse to see his own incoherence when he departs from it.

About StriderMTB

Hi, I'm Matt. "Strider" from Lord of the Rings is my favorite literary character of all time and for various reasons I write under the pseudonym "StriderMTB. As my blog suggests I seek to live out both the excitement and tension of a Christian walk with Christ in the 3rd world context of Asia. I am unmarried yet blessed to oversee an orphanage of amazing children in South-East Asia. I hate lima beans and love to pour milk over my ice-cream. I try to stay active in both reading and writing and this blog is a smattering of my many thoughts. I see the Kingdom of God as Jesus preached it and lived to be the only hope for a broken world and an even more broken and apathetic church.
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