Author’s introductory note: I have spent much time thinking about how to make the material unmistakably clear, and how to avoid giving shocks that the reader could not endure. There has been a need for a comprehensive statement of the grim realities of Calvinistic theology in a simple and concise form, so that our people could gain an understanding of the real nature of the issues between Calvinism and Adventism without reading a large number of books.
The book The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination by Lorraine Boettner was written as a defense of the doctrines of Calvinism with statements from recognized leaders in Calvinistic thought. The author has granted permission to anyone to make use of the materials he gathered.
All statements by Boettner himself, that appear in this article, are identified by the letter “B” and a page number. Statements by other theologians that are quoted in his book are identified by that theologian’s name, plus a “B” and a page number indicating the place in Boettner’s book where the statement is found. All emphasis is mine.
Without making any comparisons between Seventh-day Adventist theology and Calvinistic theology we will limit ourselves to taking a clear hard look at the central pillars of Calvinistic theology. Prepare yourself for a series of shocks. May the righteous God add His blessing to this attempt to defend His character and honor His Name.
– Ralph Larson
What is the hellish torch of Satan? How can we recognize it, and how can we recognize the torches of false prophecy that are kindled from it? This is surely an urgent need, and fortunately we need not be in doubt. An abundance of information has been supplied to us. What could be more hellish than to ascribe to a righteous and holy God the very attributes of Satan? Nothing, of course. That would be the supreme evil, which nothing could possibly surpass. But has such a thing happened? Indeed it has. Satan’s hellish torch has been set before us with unmistakable clarity, both in the inspired writings, and in the bold and brazen declarations of those who are holding the hellish torch aloft.
As our first package of evidence, our first unit of thought, we ask you to consider what Ellen White has to say about Satan’s attempt to create a rebellion that would drive God from His throne. Madness? Yes—but this entire article is about madness.
“Satan’s method of misrepresenting the character of God is to attribute to Him his own characteristics.” 1888 Materials, 1062.
“Satan has misrepresented the character of God. Our good and gracious Lord has been presented before the people clothed with the attributes of Satan.” 1888 Materials, 386.
By whom has this been done? Who has presented God in this manner to the people? Not Satan himself. He does not preach to the people personally—he has to use human agents. Who have these human agents been? Please be patient. The answer will become clear as we go along.
“Satan has misrepresented the character of God. He has clothed Him with his own attributes. He has represented Him as a being of inflexible sternness.” Signs of the Times, April 15, 1889.
“The Creator has been presented to [men’s] minds as clothed with the attributes of the prince of evil himself—as arbitrary, severe, and unforgiving—that He might be feared, shunned, and even hated by men.” In Heavenly Places, 8.
“The cruelty inherent in [Satan’s] own character is attributed to the Creator; it is embodied in systems of religion.” Great Controversy, 569.
“Satan had declared that God knew nothing of self-denial, of mercy, of love, but that He was stern, exacting, and unforgiving.” Review and Herald, March 9, 1897.
“By the same misrepresentation of the character of God as he had practiced in heaven, causing Him to be regarded as severe and tyrannical, Satan induced man to sin.” Great Controversy, 500.
So Satan has represented God as a Satanic god who is:
· Knowing nothing of self-denial, mercy, or love.
All of these are the attributes of Satan himself! But these are only accusations. How could Satan prove them? What evidence could he set forth in support of these accusations against God? Again we ask you to be patient. This question will be clearly answered before we are through. But we must recognize that some have already accepted as true these accusations against God, because these horrible teachings are described as having been “embodied in systems of religion.” Can it be true? Could there actually be churches that have accepted as true, Satan’s accusations against God, that He is arbitrary, cruel, unforgiving, tyrannical, and so on? Keep those words in mind as we go on to our next package of evidence, our next unit of thought. This will consist of a series of statements from Calvinistic theologians about the arbitrary decrees of the God whom they worship. (Arbitrary means for no reason other than one’s own will.)
The Satanic God of Calvinism
All things happen because he makes them happen.
1. “God did from eternity . . . ordain whatever comes to pass.” Westminster Confession, B, 13.
2. “He hath foreordained whatever comes to pass.” The Shorter Catechism, B, 17. (To ordain something means to order it. This is not at all the same as to permit. That which is ordained is ordered and established as an act of one’s will. Notice the all-inclusive language as we go on.)
3. “Nothing can come to pass apart from His sovereign will.” B, 30.
4. “Nothing can come to pass contrary to what He expressly decrees.” B, 14.
5. “God has an eternal plan in which is predetermined every event that comes to pass.” B, 23.
6. “His decree . . . extends . . . to every event in human history.” B, 13.
7. “All things, without exception, indeed, are disposed by Him.” B, 31. (You are probably already gasping and thinking, ” Surely this means only good things,” but this is not the case. It includes bad things as well.)
8. “He gives peace and fruitful seasons, prosperity and happiness, or He sends the desolations of war, famine, drought, and pestilence.” B, 37.
Is this staggering? It should be. The Satanic god of Calvinism orders, ordains, foreordains, decrees, expressly decrees, and predetermines everything that happens, whether it be good or whether it be evil. As we struggle to comprehend the enormity of these statements, let us remember that these words express the desire, the intention, the purpose, the will of the Calvinistic god. It is not that he permits or allows them. They happen because he wants them to happen and makes them happen.
And what has he wanted to happen? Everything that has happened. Satan’s rebellion in heaven. All of the wars that have brought death to hundreds of millions. All of the plagues that have devastated nations. All of the religious persecutions with their torturing of innocent people. All of the floods. All of the earthquakes. All of the hurricanes and typhoons. All of the famines. The slaughter of several million Jews in Europe. All of the world’s false religions. All of the human sacrifices of paganism. All of the vices in all of the world. All of the crime in all of the world. He wanted them all to happen and ordered them all to happen. The above listings are not just words. They are unspeakably gruesome experiences, such as people being herded into a deep trench, machine gunned, and then buried by a bulldozer; people standing in line to be hanged and then burned in a gas oven, people being stretched on the rack, burned at the stake, fed to wild animals in the Roman arena, and so on. And as we think about these horrifying things, we must remember that according to the Calvinistic doctrines that we have just read, each individual incident of torture was ordained and decreed by the Satanic god of Calvinism.
Does this mean that every individual robbery, every kidnapping, every murder, every rape, every fraud, every deception, every lie, every broken promise, every ruined marriage,—each was individually caused to happen by the Satanic god of Calvinism? That is precisely what it means.
We do not Overstate the Case
In our next package of evidence, our next unit of thought, we will see that the Satanic god of Calvinism is not content with causing huge catastrophes that bring suffering and death to millions. He also personally supervises every individual crime on earth. His attention is given to creating suffering on the smallest scale as well as on the largest scale.
“The foreordination of God extending to all events both great and small.” B, 17.
10. “God is seen as the great and mighty King who . . . directs the course of history even down to its minutest details.” B, 13.
11. “A divine ordering of the whole course of history to the veriest detail.” B, 14.
12. “History in all its details, even the most minute, is but the unfolding of the eternal purposes of God.” B, 25.
13. “God’s providential control extends to all events, even the most minute.” B, 21.
14. “Minute enough to concern itself with the smallest details . . . nothing, however small, however strange, occurs without His ordering.” Warfield, B, 23.
15. “His all-wise providence hath before appointed what bough (the sparrow) shall perch upon; what grains it shall pick up; where it shall lodge and where it shall build; on what it shall live and where it shall die.” Toplady, B, 37.
So this Calvinistic god orders, directs, purposes, and controls every human action, whether it be good or whether it be evil. We remind the reader again that this is not permission. He does not just permit these things to happen. He makes them happen. Human beings perform incredibly cruel, vile, and evil actions because this god wants them to, and orders them to. They have no choice. They must do what he ordains, commands, and controls. We have been reading thus far about human actions, but the picture of the Calvinistic god is not yet complete. His will controls the inner being as well as the outer being. This will be our next package of evidence, our next unit of thought. According to Calvinistic doctrines:
He Controls all Thoughts, Feelings and Impulses
16.”Not only the works we do outwardly, but even the thoughts we think inwardly . . . there is no such thing as chance or fortune.” Melancthon, B, 15.
17. “God is the Sovereign Ruler who governs even the intimate thoughts and feelings and impulses of men.” B, 342.
18. “It is He that . . .creates the very thoughts and intents of the soul.” B, 31.
This Includes Even Sinful Thoughts and Sinful Actions
19. “Plainly the fall of Adam and all other sins . . . were in [His] plan.” B, 24.
20. “Even the fall of Adam, and through him the fall of the race, was not by chance or accident, but was so ordained in the secret counsels of God.” B, 234.
21. “Even the sinful acts of men are included in [His] plan.” B, 24.
22. “That the sinful acts of men have their place and a necessary place in [His] plan is plainly seen in the course of history.” B, 252.
23. “He also perfectly controls all the depraved and impious affections of the wicked, and turns them as He pleases.” B, 230.
24. “When we get the larger view we see that even the sinful acts of men have their place in the divine plan.” B, 239.
25. “All evil forces are under His absolute control.” B, 239.
26. “The murderer is kept in life and is indebted to God for the strength to kill his victim, and also for the opportunity.” B, 239.
27. “Unless sin occurs according to the divine purpose and permission of God, it occurs by chance.” B, 240. (The possibility of sin occurring by chance is here introduced only to be firmly rejected, for we read on the next page:)
28. “Over sin as over all else, God reigns supreme.” B, 241.
Thus there is no escape from the hideous reality that these statements place before us. The god of Calvinism is the god of sin. He is a Satanic god who causes, creates, and perfectly controls every thought, every feeling, every impulse, and every action of every man and every woman, even including the most sinful, degenerate, depraved and degraded. Do you worship the god of Calvinism? I do not.
According to this theology, or this demonology, if you prefer, you may have thought that you decided what church you would attend this week, but you didn’t. The Calvinistic god decided that for you, by creating the thoughts and impulses of your mind. While he was making that decision for you, he was also placing in the drunkard’s mind the impulse to seek more strong drink; he was putting into the dope peddler’s mind the impulse to seek more victims for his drugs; he was putting into the murderer’s mind the impulse to kill again, he was guiding the murderer in the choice of a victim and the choice of weapons, and was providing him the opportunity to strike, because he wanted it to happen. It was part of his decree, part of his plan.
Think of this when you read in the newspaper that a man in another state has raped a teenage girl, then took an ax and chopped off both of her arms below the elbow; or that a woman has shut her two small children into a car and run the car into a lake so that they were drowned. And then remember that according to Calvinistic theology both the man and the woman did these things because the Satanic god of Calvinism ordered and decreed it, putting the thoughts and the impulses into their minds. They had no choice.
I question whether we can really internalize all of these unbelievable things in a single attempt, so I am going to ask you to please turn back and read again the above statements of Calvinistic theology, beginning with number 16.
Although this is getting ahead of the logical progression of our case, we pause here to set forth a spin-off from this horrible doctrine as presented by Dr. Edward Heppenstall in a class for ministers conducted at the Southeastern California Conference office in December, l962. He provided copies of his notes to the ministers, in which we find on page 3:
“It is by the wisdom, not by the impotence of God, that no believer is ever perfect here below. The Lord so conducts the saints in this life that there should always remain something to either freely give them when they ask, or to pardon them mercifully when they confess to Him.”
Consider carefully: The Lord so conducts our lives that there will always be something to forgive us for. We are never perfect here below because He is too wise to let us be perfect. Therefore we sin because He wants us to sin.
Where do these ideas come from? From the Satanic god of Calvinism. But we haven’t seen the entire picture yet. It gets much, much worse as we proceed. Here is our next package of evidence, our next unit of thought.
The Satanic God and the Non-Elect
According to Calvinistic theology, the Satanic god decided before the world was created that some persons would never be permitted to repent and be saved. These are called the non-elect. We have seen, in the previous section, that the Satanic god makes these persons sin. They have no choice in the matter. We will now see that the Satanic god sternly judges and condemns them for the very sins that he has made them commit.
1. “Eternal life is foreordained for some and eternal death for others.” Calvin, B, 15.
2. “It was foreordained . . . who should be condemned.” Luther, B, 15.
3. “The Reformed faith has held to the existence of an eternal, divine decree which . . . separates the human race into two portions and ordains one to everlasting life and the other to everlasting death.” B, 83.
4. “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestined to everlasting life, and others are foreordained to everlasting death.” B, 84.
5. “In matters pertaining to his salvation, the unregenerate man is not at liberty to choose between good and evil.” B, 62.
6. “He at the same time, and by the same means, or ordination, withholds from them the opportunity and power of believing and being saved.” Cunningham, B, 91.
7. “The doctrine of absolute Predestination of course logically holds that some are foreordained to death as truly as some are foreordained to life.” B, 104.
8. “We believe that from all eternity God has intended to leave some of Adam’s posterity in their sins.” B, 104.
So Calvinism’s Satanic god predestines the non-elect to be lost, giving them no choice, creates their sinful thoughts and sinful actions, giving them no freedom, judges and condemns them for the sin that he has forced them to commit, permitting them no repentance, then punishes them for the sin that he has forced them to commit.
And what of the punishment? This is our next package of evidence, our next unit of thought.
Calvinism’s Satanic God Tortures the Non-Elect Forever
1. “[Predestination] brings us into contact, on the one side, with a subject so awful and overwhelming as the everlasting misery of an innumerable multitude of our fellow men.” Cunningham, B, 7.
2. “[Predestination] extends . . . to every event in human history from the creation to the judgment, and includes all the activities of saints and angels in heaven and of reprobates and demons in hell.” B, 13.
3. “The final torments of the wicked . . . are indescribably awful . . . In the next world the wicked, with all restraint removed, will go headlong into sin, blaspheming and cursing God, growing worse and worse as they sink deeper and deeper into the bottomless pit.” B, 79. (Remember that they curse and blaspheme because the Satanic god makes them do it. They have no freedom and no choice. Even the Calvinists admit the awfulness of this doctrine.)
4. “Calvin admits that this doctrine arouses very perplexing questions in the minds of some, for, says he, ‘they consider nothing more unreasonable than that of the common mass of mankind, some should be predestined to salvation, and others to destruction.’ ” B, 85.
5. “It may seem absurd to human wisdom that God should harden, blind, and deliver up some men to a reprobate sense; that he should first deliver them over to evil, and (then) condemn them for that evil; but the believing, spiritual man sees no absurdity at all in this.” Luther, B, 106. (This has to be one of Luther’s most utterly incomprehensible statements.)
6. “It is hard for us to realize that many of those right around us (in some cases our close friends and relatives) are probably foreordained to eternal punishment.” B, 125.
7. “Yet Calvinism is nearer to the facts, however harsh and forbidding those facts may seem.” B, 49.
8. “This doctrine of the total inability of man is terribly stern, severe, forbidding.” B, 80.
9. “This is admittedly an unpleasant doctrine.” B, 108.
10. “Calvinists do not shrink from discussing (this doctrine); yet naturally, because of its awful character, they find no satisfaction in dwelling upon it.” B, 124.
11. “It may be asked, Why does God save some and not others? But that belongs to His secret counsels.” B, 96.
12. “His reasons for saving particular ones while passing by others have not been revealed to us.” B, 97.
13. “Let it be remembered that we are under no obligation to explain all the mysteries connected with these doctrines.” B, 124.
14. “The condemnation of the non-elect is designed primarily to furnish an eternal exhibition, before men and angels, of God’s hatred for sin, or in other words, it is to be an eternal manifestation of the justice of God.” B, 121.
We must remember that the decree of the Satanic (Calvinistic) god, made before the world began, was that some would be foreordained to eternal torture. This would include persons of all ages, from infancy to maturity. Their torturing will never cease, but will go on forever and forever and forever. As long as the Satanic (Calvinistic) god lives, he will continue to take delight in the agonies of his helpless, suffering victims. And as the surpassing outrage to reason, the author of our book supplies this line: “No injustice is done to the non-elect.” B, 113.
Be prepared for the fact that Calvinistic writings abound in ludicrous self-contradictions, which are an insult to the intelligence of the reader. In Boettner’s book it is argued, for example:
· That although their god creates, directs, and controls every impulse, thought and action of man, nevertheless the will of man is totally free.
· That although their god creates and controls the sinful thoughts and sinful actions of man, that nevertheless their god is not the author of sin.
· That although their god creates, directs, and controls every thought and impulse of man, nevertheless man is totally responsible for his own sinning.
· That although their god tortures forever the helpless non-elect whom He has forced to sin, that this is no injustice to the non-elect.
· That although before the world was created God predestined who would be saved, in such a manner that their salvation had no dependence upon either their choices or their behavior, nevertheless Christ had to die for their salvation, etc., etc.
Unfortunately, the writings of those Seventh-day Adventist ministers who are trying to bring Calvinistic doctrines into our church also abound in ludicrous self-contradictions, but that is a subject for another article.
Is it no injustice to the non-elect to foreordain them to be lost, with no possibility of escaping their doom? Is it no injustice to force them to sin? Is it no injustice to punish them for sins that they are forced to commit? Is it no injustice to torture them—men, women, and children— forever and forever, throughout all eternity?
Is not this the hellish torch of Satan? Reading these statements makes us feel as if we were taking a guided tour through the bottomless pit. If this is not clothing God with the attributes of Satan, what could fulfill these words? Can anything worse be imagined than a god who deliberately creates human beings for no other purpose than to supply his torture chamber with victims? And who keeps these agonizing victims alive so that the torturing may go on forever? Would not the cruelest human whom the world has ever seen, eventually weary of the torturing and let the struggling, screaming victims die?
But the Satanic god of Calvinism will never tire of hearing the screams of the damned—the persons who were created without their will, were predestined to damnation without any choice, were never given any chance to repent, and whose very sins were created by the creator’s will. A million years of torturing will be followed by another million years of torturing, and another and another and another—forever.
And the end is not yet. Let us pause to remember that according to the Calvinistic doctrine of unconditional election, those who are saved have absolutely nothing to do with their salvation. They are saved because they were predestined to be saved, and nothing that they could do, or that anyone else could do, would have any bearing on their salvation in any way whatever. That is the meaning of the term unconditional.
Then Why did Christ Die?
Why did Christ endure the agonies of a slow and torturous death? According to Calvinistic theology, His death had nothing to do with anyone’s salvation—that had been decided before the world was created, by the decree of predestination. The Calvinists may answer that God planned it that way, as part of the plan of salvation—but this is no answer, for there was no need for such a plan to be made. It is just another ludicrous self-contradiction. Their Calvinistic god may have planned for his son to be tortured and die, but according to their own reasoning, this had nothing to do with anyone’s salvation. We repeat, the salvation of “the elect” had been settled by the decree of predestination before the world was created. The death of Christ on the cross could neither add anything to that decree nor take anything away from it. We are confined to the conclusion that the Satanic god of Calvinism slaughtered his own son for the same reason that he tortures the non-elect throughout all eternity—simply because he is a fiend, a monster, who delights in such torture.
We draw back in horror from such a conclusion, but we cannot escape it. We have just seen an abundance of statements that the Satanic god of Calvinism decided before the world began who would be saved, and that every act, thought, and feeling of every human being is directed by the Satanic god, even including their sins. Why, then, did men spit in the face of Christ? Because they were so directed by Calvinism’s Satanic god. They had no choice. Why did they put a crown of thorns upon His brow? Why did they flog Him? Why did they nail Him to a cross? Let the Calvinistic theologian answer:
“The murderer is kept in life, and is indebted to God for the strength to kill his victim, and also for the opportunity.” B, 239. This is Calvinism. This is the hellish torch of Satan. This is not theology, it is demonology.
This is one of the systems of religion that Ellen White made reference to when she wrote that Satan had clothed God with his own attributes, and that this was embodied in systems of religion. It is beyond question embodied in the Calvinistic system of religion. We are not suggesting that all the members of Calvinistic churches are fully aware of these horrors of their own theology, but the theologians obviously are aware of them. They set the horrors forth proudly, and boast about them. Boettner’s book abounds in Calvinistic self-congratulation about the doctrines that clothe their god with the very characteristics of Satan. We must now consider the very centerpiece of Satan’s accusations.
Consider Satan’s problem. In order to convince the universe that God is not a God of love, but is actually arbitrary, cruel, exacting, stern, severe, tyrannical, and unforgiving, a God who knows nothing about self-denial, mercy, or love, Satan needed to present some evidence in support of these charges. The universe had never seen any such faults in the character of God. The very opposite was true in regard to every point of accusation, even including forgiveness. Satan himself had been offered forgiveness, as the universe well knew. Unless Satan could produce some evidence to support his accusations, they would be summarily dismissed as manifestly ridiculous, having no substance of reality at all. Satan desperately needed some evidence, some ground of accusation. What could it be? What could he do?
At last he thought of something that would become the centerpiece of his accusations against the character of God. Let Ellen White describe it to us, and notice how Satan’s accusations against God are clustered about the centerpiece, that God had given a law that His subjects could not obey. “Here is the evidence,” Satan had proclaimed. Notice Ellen White’s response:
“Since the fall of Adam, men in every age have excused themselves for sinning, charging God with their sin, saying that they could not keep the commandments. This is the insinuation Satan cast at God in heaven.” Review and Herald, vol. 4, 303.
Notice the accusation, then notice the evidence. And “charging God with their sin.” This would make God the author of sin. Does it sound like the statements we have been reading from Calvinistic theologians? And even from a Seventh-day Adventist theologian?
“Satan represents God’s law as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts.” Desire of Ages, 24.
Again, notice the accusation, and then notice the evidence.
“[Satan] has clothed the character of God with attributes that are satanic . . . he has pictured Him as a being full of revenge, as a lawgiver whose law is beyond the power of man to keep.” Review and Herald, vol. 3, 464.
Yet again, notice the accusation, then notice the evidence.
“Satan had represented [God] to man as arbitrary, stern, and unforgiving. All the misery and suffering he had brought upon man, he charged to God. He declared that man could not keep the law, and that God was arbitrary and cruel in demanding of him something that he could not do.” Youth’s Instructor, 446.
And still again, notice the accusation, then notice the evidence. “Satan declared that it was impossible for the sons and daughters of Adam to keep the law of God, and thus charged upon God a lack of wisdom and love. If they could not keep the law, then there was fault with the lawgiver. Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men cannot keep the law of God.” Signs of the Times, vol. 3, 264. Once more, notice the accusation, then notice the evidence.
Look now at the total list of Satan’s accusations against the character of God: God’s character is alleged to be faulty, lacking in love, cruel, lacking in wisdom, selfish, stern, unforgiving, arbitrary, and satanic. Now look at the evidence that Satan put forth in support of every one of these accusations. It does not vary. It stays the same in every case. Like the monotonous ringing of a bell, the same message of Satan is intoned over and over again.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore God is cruel.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore God is selfish.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore God is stern.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore God is severe.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore God is arbitrary.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore God is unforgiving.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore God is satanic.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore His character is faulty.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore He is lacking in wisdom.
· God has given a law that His subjects cannot obey, therefore He is lacking in love.
This is beyond question the centerpiece of Satan’s false accusations against God, and this accusation is being echoed by many who stand in Seventh-day Adventist pulpits today.
Ellen White foretold it with unerring accuracy: “Many will stand in our pulpits with the torch of false prophecy in their hands, kindled from the hellish torch of Satan.” Testimonies to Ministers, 409.
Can we question who these ministers are who have kindled their torches from the hellish torch of Satan? We cannot question if we believe in the Spirit of Prophecy. Look again at Ellen White’s words:
“Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men cannot keep the law of God.” Signs of the Times, vol. 3, 264.
Under the Control of Satan
Perhaps we should reflect a bit about this. Let us not make the mistake of thinking that it is a difficult thing to get one’s self under the control of Satan. You don’t have to work at it. And the condition is not always evidenced by crude physical demonstrations of one kind or another. Please notice:
· The mind: “Either God or Satan controls the mind.” Review and Herald, vol. 1, 455.
· The world: “The world at large are under the control of Satan.” Great Controversy, 47.
· The people: “All who are not decided followers of Christ are servants of Satan.” Great
· The churches: “[Satan] has gained control of the apostate churches.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 472.
And what of our church? It cannot be denied that some within our church have been at times under the control of Satan. We need only think of the apostates who have left us, in order to recognize the truth of that statement. They were not faithful one day and apostate the next day. There was a long process during which their minds were coming more and more under the control of Satan, before they made their final departure from the truth. And during that time they were as poison to all who felt their influence. Bit by bit they were coming under Satan’s control. For documentation on this point, and for specific examples, read Special Testimonies, Series B.
It is even so today. The hellish torch of Satan has been manifestly set forth before us in the statements of the Calvinistic theologians, who are uniting with Satan in clothing God with Satanic attributes.
And we now have a simple and accurate means of recognizing and identifying the men who are described by God’s chosen messenger as standing in our pulpits, having their torches kindled from the hellish torch of Satan. It is sobering indeed to remember Ellen White’s testimony that they would be, not a few, but “many.” And their identifying characteristic will be that they are uniting with the Calvinistic theologians and with Satan himself in declaring that God is selfish, arbitrary, and cruel because He gave to us a law that we cannot obey.
Bit by bit they have accepted the doctrines of Calvinism, and bit by bit they have come to be under Satan’s control. Men may claim that they can say it is impossible to obey God’s law without accusing God, but Ellen White says, “No, you can’t.” Read her solemn warning again:
“If they could not keep the law, then there was fault with the lawgiver.” Signs of the Times, vol. 3, 264.
And it would thus be proven that Satan’s accusations against God were true. If men have not clearly understood this, Satan has. He has reaffirmed the accusation again and again.
· In the beginning: “In the opening of the great controversy, Satan had declared that the law of God could not be obeyed.” Great Controversy, 761.
· In heaven: “This is the insinuation Satan cast at God in heaven.” Review and Herald, vol. 4, 303.
· In Adam’s time: “Satan had pointed to Adam’s sin as proof that God’s law was unjust, and could not be obeyed.” Desire of Ages, 117.
· In Enoch’s time: “Satan was urging upon men the belief . . . that it was impossible for men to obey the divine statutes.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 89.
· In Christ’s time: “[Satan] hoped to establish the claim put forth when he rebelled in heaven, that the requirements of God were unjust, and could not be obeyed. Even Israel, he declared, did not keep the law.” Desire of Ages, 29.
· In our time: “Satan represents God’s law of love as a law of selfishness. He declares that it is impossible for us to obey its precepts.” Desire of Ages, 24.
· For all time: “The Saviour’s life of obedience maintained the claims of the law; it proved that the law could be kept in humanity, and showed the excellence of character that obedience would develop. All who obey as He did are likewise declaring that the law is ‘holy, just, and good.’ On the other hand, all who break God’s commandments are sustaining Satan’s claim that the law is unjust, and cannot be obeyed. Thus they second the deceptions of the great adversary, and cast dishonor on God. They are the children of the wicked one, who was the first to rebel against God’s law.” Desire of Ages, 309.
· “The children of the wicked one:” “Men who are under the control of Satan repeat these accusations against God, in asserting that men cannot keep the law of God.” Signs of the Times, vol. 3, 264. Why, then, should we be surprised at these words?
So how shall we relate to the ministers among us who are throwing Satan’s accusations at God? By all means show enough Christian love for their souls to speak to them and warn them, and if possible place a copy of this article in their hands. We must remember that some of our younger ministers have been taught Calvinism in the academy, in college, and at the theological seminary. We trust that our righteous God will keep this in mind as He deals with them. I would not want to be in their position. My personal appeal to all of them would be to be done with this madness before it is too late. There is mercy with the Lord.
And How Shall We Deliver Our Own Souls?
First: let us by no means join them in their foolhardy enterprise, making accusations against God, clothing God with the attributes of Satan. Let us resolve that we will have nothing to do with the Satanic god of Calvinism, or with any of his false teachings. Let us leave this Satanic monster-god in the bottomless pit where he belongs, and renew our loyalty to the holy and righteous God of Adventism.
Second: let us not expose ourselves to the deadly error of those who are falsely accusing God. We cannot afford to listen to such preaching or such teaching, or take such poison into our systems. Our God has warned us through His chosen messenger:
“Error is never harmless. It never sanctifies, but always brings confusion and dissension. It is always dangerous.” Counsels to Writers and Editors, 47.
“Error is falsehood and deception. Those who partake of it must suffer in consequence, as did Adam and Eve in Eden.” Upward Look, 125.
“There is in error and unbelief that which bewilders and bewitches the mind.” Selected Messages, vol. 1, 46.
“God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go, for unless He sends us to those meetings where error is forced home to the people by the power of the will, He will not keep us. The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffeting of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him and the power of his evil angels, and the light around us becomes contaminated with darkness.” Early Writings, 124.
None of us are strong enough to take risks like these. We must worship without exposing ourselves to deadly error, even though it be at the cost of inconvenience, time, and money. It will not be for long. “Yet a little while and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” Hebrews 10:37.
The Unveiling of the Monster-god
· The first veil is removed: We see a god who orders, ordains, decrees, expressly decrees, and predetermines, everything that comes to pass without exception. We ask, What about sin? The unveiling just proceeds.
· The second veil is removed: We see a god who applies all of the above words to the small details of the personal life, the minute, the most minute, the smallest details, the veriest details, who ordains what bough the sparrow shall perch upon, what grains it shall eat, where it shall build its nest, and where it shall die. We ask again, What about sin? The unveiling proceeds.
· The third veil is removed: We now learn that this god ordains, predetermines, and actually creates every thought, every feeling, every impulse of the soul. We cry out, What about sin? What about sin!? The answer is finally given as the fourth veil is removed.
· The fourth veil is removed: Brazenly, boldly, and with unmistakable clarity, the Calvinistic theologians tell us that sin, like everything else, is ordained, predetermined, ordered, and controlled, because it has a necessary place in their god’s plan. This is specifically applied to even the experience of the murderer.
· The fifth veil is removed: We now gaze upon a god who creates some people for torture, and only for torture, and that he will never stop torturing them throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. The torturing will go on forever and forever and forever.
· The sixth veil is removed: But this time not by the Calvinistic theologians. It is removed by God’s chosen messenger, Ellen White. She tells us that it is Satan’s purpose to clothe the true God with his own attributes, and falsely accuse Him.
· The seventh veil is removed: Again by Ellen White, and we learn that the centerpiece of Satan’s accusations against God is that He has given a law that His people cannot keep.
The monster-god of Calvinism is a craven, contemptible, despicable, and loathsome creature, and the theology that has created him is a river of raw sewage. And it seems that even the fumes from this river are intoxicating. We are forced to recognize that, tragically, some of our own ministers and church leaders have lingered on the banks of this river until they have become intoxicated, and are not only drinking from the river of raw sewage, but are urging us to join them in drinking from it. Why should we, who have been privileged to drink from a fountain that has flowed to us directly from the throne of God, turn from that fountain to drink from a river of raw sewage? Can you think of any good reason? I cannot. May God deliver us.