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1. Double Predestination. Simply put, they believe that a small group of people are predestined, even before the Creation, for heaven, and that the vast majority of the world is predestined, even created for, hell.
2. Not all babies who die go to heaven. They do not say outright that "non-elect babies who die go to hell." They simply say that they leave such issues to the sovereignty of God. This raises the issue of the very nature of God, doesn’t it? Thankfully, most theologians through the centuries have denied this teaching.
3. God’s "love for mankind" must be redefined. Yes, they will say, God does love the world, but His love is a matter of degrees. He can love a person and still predestine them for hell. Citations such as John 3:16, II Peter 3:9, and others, are redefined or reassigned to some other topic, such as eschatology. They do not believe that God wants a relationship with everyone. That would go against their system and theology.
4. Invitations are an insult to the sovereignty of God. Disturbing as this may sound, some ministers of this stripe have stopped giving invitations in their services.
5. Calvinism is the only Gospel. Simply put, when a person holds this narrow view, they become exclusivists. They believe that Calvinism, and only Calvinism, is the preaching of the Gospel. One historian wrote, "Calvinism is just another name for Christianity."1 If that is true, what does that say about the myriad of preachers throughout Church history who were not Calvinists? Were they even saved?
We have all encountered that person in our church, or in a seminary class, who greets us with the question: "Do you believe in the ‘Doctrines of Grace’?" I often remind them that the name they have chosen for their position is only half-right. They may believe in the "Doctrines of Grace" for themselves, but they hold to the "Doctrines of Damnation" for most people, unless they view the damnation of souls to hell as a work of grace.
Neither Calvinist nor Arminian, but Baptist
Since my salvation, I have been a Baptist. Since coming to Liberty University, my wife and I have been members of Thomas Road Baptist Church, which has an amazing history and a 50-year trail of miracles. Yet, being a Baptist goes back even further than a building. In the 16th century, our Anabaptist forefathers were not so mingled with the Reformed movement in Geneva. In fact, they were hunted in virtually every country in continental Europe. Men such as Michael Sattler and Balthasar Hubmaier suffered at the hands of all of the Magisterial Reform movements, including the Calvinists.
That is the core historical issue. In our history, Free Church believers have never been adherents to one particular system or philosophy. We certainly have not been locked to a scholastic movement that was formed by men. We are Biblicists. We believe the Bible is inerrant, not because a particular creed forces us to do so, but because we see Scripture as plain on that issue. We are adamant that Jesus Christ — virgin-born, living a sinless life, crucified, buried, physically resurrected and soon returning — is the only Savior because the Bible states it, regardless of the whims and wishes of men.
Assumptions of the New Breed
So then, why should I address this issue now? Do I not have more important issues at hand, as the president of the seminary? In the last month, Liberty Seminary has announced the advent of ten new Master’s degrees (see sidebar). In the last year, we have grown almost 50 percent in resident students. Truly, my hands are full.
However, the implications of this struggle are vast. As churches and seminaries become more enamored with these teachings, many leaders have stood by silently, or simply grumbled under their breath. Following the lead of Chancellor Falwell, I felt someone needed to challenge the assumptions of this new breed. So, let it be known: I believe Jesus Christ died to save mankind and offers salvation to every living soul. I believe in the "whosoever will." I believe that His love and salvation are extended to every person who will repent of sin and trust in Him.
Consider me predestined not to be a Hyper Calvinist.