In 2012, Pastor and author Wes McAdams wrote an article titled “7 Reasons Why I am not a Calvinist”. In it, McAdams lists 7 opinions as to why he cannot adhere to Calvinism, which ignores almost every fact of Calvinism and shows a purposeful misunderstanding of Calvinist theology. I would compare the article to a woman writing an article about why she is not a man. It’s ignorant, pompous and caters to his specific audience with more feeling than fact. Below is my rebuttal to his article.
- “I am a Christian” – His first presupposition is that Calvinists are somehow not Christian or that somehow we consider ourselves Calvinists first. This presupposition is not only incorrect, it’s divisive. I’ve never met a Calvinist who would outright demand you know them as a follower of Calvin over being a follower of Christ. Any person educated in theology would know that adhering to a certain theology never takes away from your identity in Christ. He uses 1 Corinthians 1 as his example, when Paul says “did so-and-so die for you” (insert Calvin’s name). Yet Paul explicitly states to “follow my example as I follow Christ” 1 Cor 11:1.
- “Man is not totally depraved” – This paragraph causes me to question whether or not McAdams adheres to the doctrine of Original Sin. If not, then our argument is over because denying the doctrine of Original Sin is considered heresy among the church as a whole. If he does affirm Original Sin then how can anyone possibly deny total depravity? We are either born into sin or we aren’t. If we aren’t born into sin, then it’s possible for us to live sinless making the scripture “all have sinned” (Rom 3:23) a lie.
- “The Church was predestined” – McAdams performs a fallacious argument based on his own presuppositions on the meaning of predestination. He then contradicts himself by saying that when Paul refers to those predestined, that he is referring to a group of people (the church) and not individuals. The issue is that he is right for the wrong reason. In his scenario of predestination he uses Israel and then presumes that because God chose Israel that He deals with the church in the same manner. This leaves us open to the idea that all Israel is saved regardless of a regenerated heart. We can then assume that when God says all in His love for the world, that Jesus died and everyone is saved.
- “Jesus died for everyone” – McAdams then states the hardest thing for him to understand is the limited atonement portion of Calvinism. For most people, limited atonement is tough, but if we are to believe that God elected those He foreknew and predestined, isn’t the logical conclusion that He only atoned for the elect? Why would he atone for the non-elect if He wasn’t going to save them?
- “Grace is resistible” – The audacity of this point almost overwhelms me. McAdams refers to King Agrippa as resisting God’s grace referring to Paul on trial in the book of Acts. There is not one mention at all of Agrippa resisting God’s grace. This is an example of text book eisegesis. McAdams makes a bold assumption about what Agrippa thought or did when scripture mentions nothing of the sort. Then McAdams makes the statement that if grace were irresistible then evangelism is unnecessary. There is no logical reason to come to this conclusion. Evangelism is essential because it’s commanded by Jesus Himself. Who are we as man to question the vehicle in which God uses to promote the Holy Spirit. It’s likely because God doesn’t need evangelists, but uses evangelism as a mode for His children to become humble servants as Christ was.
- “Christians can fall from Grace” – In attempt to explain why he believes people can lose their salvation, he references Gal 5:4 in that it says
“You who are trying to be justified by the law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace.”
There isn’t one mention of this being salvific. The verse is referring to people who think that the law will save them, that because of this mindset, they will not receive grace. This passage in context is referring to those who are being told by others that they must be circumcised in order to follow Christ. If McAdams had read the rest of the chapter he would understand you can’t make a doctrine based on an idea without legitimate context.
His final point is that the Bible is his standard and that he believes in a simple Gospel. There is no argument on either of these points and it’s quite offensive that a man who would call himself a Pastor would make such bold and ignorant statements about a theology he knows nothing about. Calvinists don’t make up Bible verses in order to support their theology, our theology is wrought with systemic proof and validation for why we affirm what we affirm.
I don’t intend to go into any more depth to explain this fallacious article. There is much to know about many of the well adhered to theologies and why people believe what they believe.