Why I Am Not a Calvinist, pt 1: Double Predestination and Romans 8.28-29

A brief digression, then I will return to the issue of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues tomorrow.

I am not a Calvinist.  By this, I mean that I do not accept the doctrine of double predestination.

In broad strokes: double predestination is the teaching, most associated with Swiss reformer John Calvin (1509-1564), which teaches that God chose, predestined, and guaranteed that some individuals would go to heaven and that others would go to hell.

This is opposed to single predestination, as taught by Luther, Wesley, and others.  Single predestination says that God’s choice focuses on individuals. Romans 8.28-29 is usually taken to provide the outline of God’s choice:

Those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

  • God’s foreknowledge: God will make a universal offer of salvation, but he knows beforehand those who will respond to him in faith and those who will not.
  • God’s choice: he predestines those who will respond to him in faith for salvation.
  • God’s call: God is at work in the lives of every individual to call them to himself; Wesley and his followers call this idea “prevenient grace”, grace that leads and herds us toward God.
    • This call is universal, to every person everywhere, working through whatever knowledge of God they possess.  Romans 2 indicates that God judges people based on what they know, not on the basis of what they do not know.
  • Justified, glorified, etc.

This reading of Romans 8.28-29 is more faithful than the Calvinist reading, which collapses foreknowledge into predestination.


I will continue this series later this week as well, alongside the series about speaking in tongues and the Holy Spirit.

2 thoughts on “Why I Am Not a Calvinist, pt 1: Double Predestination and Romans 8.28-29

  1. Pingback: Why I Am Not a Calvinist, pt 2 | Circleslide

  2. Pingback: Why I Am Not a Calvinist, pt 3: Romans 9 – 11 | Circleslide

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