It seems I have spent most of my blogging life revealing how un-biblical the doctrines of those who claim "the Bible as the sole rule of faith and pracice" are. Every honest researcher must conclude that Reformation tradition is the highest rule of faith and practice for such churches, which I will sum up as "evangelical." The Bible is merely justification for Reformation/Calvinist tradition where it agrees or can be twisted into agreement.
When I am directly addressing the unscriptural nature of Reformation/Calvinist tradition, I will label my posts "The Apostles vs. John Calvin" and add a number so you can read them in order, if you are so led.
Don't misunderstand. Such posts will probably not address predestination or TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the Saints), but the very basics of repentance, faith, grace, the atonement, the "remission" (Gr. aphesis) of sins, and the judgment.
I will begin with two posts I put on Facebook today.
Someone posted a quote from Clement of Alexandria about imitating God. In response, an evangelical posted Ephesians 2:8-9 (leaving out v. 10), emphasizing that we are saved by grace, not works. I commented the following:
Titus 2:11-12: The grace of God that brings salvation to all men has appeared, teaching us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, godly, and righteously in this present age.
Jude 1:4: For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord.
The point I was making is that the grace of God enables us to be imitators of God—"of Christ" is better, 1 Cor. 11:1—which is why Clement of Alexandria was able to urge us to imitate him. The evangelical response, that every time we are exhorted to do good, we should point out that we are not saved by works, is unbiblical. In fact, it is much more like the gnostic teaching denounced in Jude 1:4
We have to learn what grace is, what Jesus was saving us for (Tit. 2:13-14), how important this is (Tit. 2:15; 3:8), and that a good, merciful. and kind God will be judging us, not the insane, bloodthirsty God of the Calvinists (Ezek. 18:20-30; Matt. 25:31-46). Those who practice righteousness, love mercy, and walk humbly with God (Mic. 6:8) can expect a favorable judgment (Rom. 2:6-7). The God who demands death for even one sin does not exist except in our worst nightmares.
The first part of Romans lets you know that those who do evil deserve death (Rom. 1:32) and that the righteous are rewarded with eternal life (Rom. 2:6-7). This does not change in the rest of Romans. Jesus died to make you one of the righteous who receive the reward, the gift, of eternal life. [This involves walking by the Holy Spirit--Rom. 8:1-13; Gal. 5:16-25.] He did not die so we could circumvent the judgment, but so that we could face it confidently.
Jesus died so we could be the kind of people who would receive eternal life at the judgment. Romans 4 explains that God offers a blameless righteousness, a sinless righteousness to those with the faith of Abraham. Romans 5-8 explains that Abraham-like faith, now that Jesus has died and risen, produces real, practical, active, and ongoing righteousness. This is all you need to receive eternal life, according to Romans 2:7 and Galatians 6:8-9). You will be among those blessed men and women whose sin is not counted against them.
Paul analyzed this over the first 8 chapters of Romans, allowing Reformation theologians to pick out and misrepresent the verses they need to defend their doctrines, but John refutes them with one verse: "Do not be deceived, little children, the one who practices (NASB) righteousness is righteous as he (Jesus) is righteous" (1 Jn. 3:7).
Don't be deceived by the Reformed! Heed John's warning!!
I should point out that Paul gave at least three similar "don't be deceived" warnings:
Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption. But he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. Let’s not be weary in doing good, for we will reap in due season, if we don’t give up. (Gal. 6:7-9)
Know this for sure, that no sexually immoral person, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words. For because of these things, the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. Therefore don’t be partakers with them. (Eph. 5:5-7)
Or don’t you know that the unrighteous will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Don’t be deceived. Neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor male prostitutes, nor homosexuals, 10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor slanderers, nor extortionists, will inherit God’s Kingdom. 11 Some of you were such, but you were washed. But you were sanctified. But you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and in the Spirit of our God. (1 Cor. 6:9-11)
Near the end of Paul's life, he gave a brief explanation of grace and atonement. It is not the Calvinist explanation accepted by most evangelicals:
"For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds. These things speak and exhort and reprove with all authority. Let no one disregard you."
Choose ye this day whom you will believe: the Apostles or John Calvin.