“Predestined” To Hell? The Deal With Calvinism

elaine-huiru asked a question:

Recently, I’ve been reading up on Calvanism and Arminism. I’m from non-denominational church. (You probably have known which side my church leans to). What really bothers me a lot is the “predestination” component in the Calvanist theology. I really feel grieve because other who are not “predestined”(which may/may not include me) are doomed for eternal hell? And Jesus really only dies for people whom God has predestined to follow Him?

Hey my dear friend, please first allow me the grace to point you to these posts.  Please feel free to skip around or skip them.

– Ten Thoughts About Calvinism

– The Troublesome Dilemma of Reformed Calvinism and Romans 9

– God Loves Everyone, Except Esau

While I still technically maintain that I’m a Reformed Calvinist, I’ve long since stopped self-identifying as one, because most of the Calvinists I met are jerks who care more about theology than Jesus and people.  No theology should ever make us a jerk, or we need to start over.

The problem with seeing Predestination as a “qualifier for faith” is that it leaves out the context of, you know, the entire rest of the Bible.  There are at least just as many verses that talk about Free Will, chasing after God, seeking His presence, and waking up to His wooing.  Apostle Paul goes back and forth between Predestination and Free Will in the book of Ephesians, because he’s trying to reconcile two paradoxical truths in utterly incapable human language. Even 2 Thessalonians 2:13 talks about both in the very same verse (seriously, read it).

Somehow these doctrines work together, but if you asked me, my tiny three lb. brain is allergic to paradoxes.  I leave that to God.  Are we okay with that?  To leave some mysteries to Him?  Because if I actually figured it out, my head might catch on fire.

I know this will probably bother both Calvinists and Arminians, but God isn’t going to be monopolized by one particular aspect of our human-concocted theology.  Every tribe and camp has a weakness in their doctrinal systems.  While there are certainly non-negotiables, such as loving Jesus and loving people, there’s a lot of space for these secondary interpretations.  So long as your theology drives you to a greater love of God and people, I think it’s good to go.  If it doesn’t, let’s start from scratch and quit listening to the indoctrinated camps around us.

— J.S.

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8 thoughts on ““Predestined” To Hell? The Deal With Calvinism

  1. My personal opinion is that God’s will prevails in the end. He allows humans to pursue their free will to its’ end and works through the circumstances we create to fulfill his will. There are many verses to explain what God’s will is. The most succinct way I think of it is—to reconcile all of creation to himself (Col 1:20).


  2. I grew up in the Anabaptist tradition, but now I am straight outta Knoxville, and I love Swiss cheese – Zwingli brand from the Genevan cheese factory. I am hardcore Reformed. I believe the Bible teaches predestination, but I also think that many Calvinists are so afraid of “appearing” arminian that they cling to predestination with really sticky fingers and they end with an unloving, hyper-calvinistic, view of salvation. I think predistination both sucks and rocks. It sucks because God’s will supercedes mine, and I want to be in charge, but it rocks because it is so comforting. Comforting because in the end, my faith is not upheld by my weakness, but by His strength. I am not strong enough to turn away from the will of God. But I am responsible for my choices, and my actions…how to reconcile these…HOW!? My brain has caught fire numerous times while trying to figure this out…and it will again I am sure. you are right. Let’s leave some mysteries to God…


    1. You’re still the coolest Reformed Calvinist that I know. That’s also a very balanced view you gave. The thing I like about your doctrinal position is that it’s actually stronger rather than weaker; by affirming predestination all the way, you’ve made God bigger than such a doctrine might confine Him to be. Appreciate you. 🙂


    1. Hey Vanessa! I think Gotquestions is pretty great. I still check them out occasionally. Like anything, even if we don’t always agree eye to eye, the important thing is the willingness to have dialogue.


  3. Great post! Thank you for sharing your heart. Predestination is an interesting concept considering we believe in a just God who stands outside the parameters of time. The idea of predestination not only seems to make free will obsolete but something far worse – the need and gratitude of divine mercy. The Creator’s abundant mercy is given to those who need it most…regardless of a creature’s theology. Shine on!


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