I have been trying to study into all the major things that Christians seem to disagree about and the debate between Calvinists and Arminians was impossible to ignore. After studying them both for awhile, hearing out people from both sides, I have come to the conclusion that they are both wrong.
Calvinists are completely wrong about freewill and Arminians believe that you can lose your salvation which is impossible. The thing I really want to talk about though was Calvinism because it seems the majority of Christian scholars have taken this position. This, for many people, is enough reason on its own to believe Calvinism and so they do. Most Christians that take their faith seriously are Calvinists.
Now I want to be clear here, people on both sides can be genuinely saved, I do not believe this debate makes any difference in that respect, but I do believe that Calvinism in particular is dangerous. If you follow it to its logical conclusion it is terrifying, because frankly it makes God an evil and unjust God. On top of that though it allows people to just blame everything on God, it takes away any responsibility from them because everything is just in God's hands, not just a person's salvation. It also allows people to start thinking they are somehow holier than others, they never say as much but Calvinists look down on other people for clinging to freewill instead of just accepting the absolute sovereignty of God like any reasonable Christian supposedly should.
Now I do not deny God's sovereignty, he is always in control, but that does not mean that he didn't give us freewill. He takes the evil we do and makes good come from it, but that does not mean that he made us to commit evil in the first place. He knows everything that is ever going to happen, his plan is perfect and he can and does influence things directly, but he still has allowed us freewill in that plan. If a person rejects God, it is not because God failed, that person simply hardened their heart so much that they were not reachable and chose to defy him. These people will be punished for it but they can and do reject God, because he gave them the choice to do so. I don't doubt for a second he could force the situation if he wanted to and just make us all come to him, but that isn't what he wants, he wants us to choose to come to him, to love him.
The main reason Calvinism is just so terrifying for me and should be for other people is because it removes freewill completely, everything is just always in God's hands, every action we take is in his control. That would mean that every sin ever committed by a person happened because God actually willed for it to happen, as compared to the reality of making something good come out of it when we sin. That would mean that God is literally making us sin so that he can glorify himself through it later on. It makes God himself into a sinner. You cannot sin to make something good happen, it is never what God wants us to do, regardless of the intentions behind it. God absolutely takes the sins we commit and makes good things happen from it but that does not mean he wanted us to sin, it only means he knew we would and planned for it. In taking away the freedom of man, Calvinism puts all the sin of the world on God, it would all be his fault because any sin we committed we did because he made us do it since we can't do anything unless he wanted it that way.
I have listened to many preachers speak on Calvinism and very few take it to this conclusion. When they do, they don't seem to see the problem with God causing us to sin. Regardless of how many seminaries teach it, how many preachers preach it, Calvinism can never be seen as anything other than heresy because it makes God an evil and unjust God. I know this is hard for many to accept, we live in a culture where you simply follow the opinions of anyone with a piece of paper (degree) and let them do the thinking for you, but I promise you, Calvinism is false and we all need to start putting our theology to the test instead of just following someone that seems smarter than us. Always remember that we are all just human, which means we can all be wrong at times, and the Church has definitely got this one wrong.
Dedicated to making strong disciples of Christ.