Defending Calvinism                                                         John Calvin

John Calvin has been called "the virtual founder of America." by Harvard professor and historian George Bancroft. Bancroft said rather forcefully: “He who will not honor the memory and respect the influence of Calvin knows but little of the origin of American liberty.” John Adams, America's second president, was in agreement and declared: "Let not Geneva be forgotten or despised. Religious liberty in the West owes Calvin much respect."

Instead of respect, along comes Dave Hunt, and his un-scholarly book titled "What Love Is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation Of God." Hunt not only will not honor and respect the memory of Calvin, instead Hunt launches a vicious attack against Calvin and his theology. Sadly, there are those who have bought into Hunt's spurious attack against Reformed theology. 

For example, consider two glowing endorsements that appear on the back cover of the book:     

"Calvinism...comes perilously close to blasphemy. And that is why I congratulate Dave Hunt for writing this excellent clarification of the doctrine that has its roots more in Greek humanism, from where it originated, than it does in Scripture...Every evangelical minister should read this book. If they did, we would see a mighty revival of soul-winning passion that would turn this world upside down as multitudes saw the real God of the Bible, not the false God of Augustinianism and Calvinism." Tim Lahaye

"Dave Hunt has done it again....stirred the Christian community into taking a serious look at the aberrant teachings... of John Calvin...and thoroughly documents his findings. It is a must-read for those who are serious in their desire to understand the influence that Calvin has had and continues to to have on the Evangelical church." Chuck Smith, Pastor, Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa

If Hunt and these two endorsers are correct, how can one explain the following comment from C.H. Spurgeon, who has been described as the "Prince of Preachers?"

"The old truth that Calvin preached, that Augustine preached, that Paul preached, is the truth that I must preach to-day, or else be false to my conscience and my God. I cannot shape the truth; I know of no such thing as paring off the rough edges of a doctrine. John Knox's gospel is my gospel. That which thundered through Scotland must thunder through England again." - C. H. Spurgeon

Who is correct, dispensational eschatological end times speculator, Tim Lahaye, or Chuck Smith, who has advanced and promotes the authoritarian and cult friendly "Moses Model" of unaccountable pastoral church leadership, or Charles Haddon Spurgeon?

At this web page, I have supplied a number of critical reviews of Dave Hunt's book. If you only have time for one review, the first link goes to a review by Dr. Doran, which is scholarly, professional and thorough. Dr. Doran is President and Professor of Practical Theology at the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

A Review Article of "What Love Is This?" by Dave Hunt
Reviewed by Dr. Doran, who is President and Professor of Practical Theology at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, and Pastor of the Inter-City Baptist Church in Allen Park, MI.

Blinded By Tradition: An Open Letter to Dave Hunt
Regarding His Newly Published Attack Upon the Reformation, What Love Is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation of God
by James White

The Berean Call's T.A. McMahon Comes Out Swinging
A response by James White

A Response to Dave Hunt’s Attack on the Doctrines of Grace
by Phil Johnson Executive Director, Grace to You

Book Review: ‘What Love Is This? Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God’ by Dave Hunt
by Mike Claydon

Dave Hunt: The Man, The Myth, The Dishonesty
by J. Matthew Cleary

A Critique of What Love Is This? a book by Dave Hunt
by R. Totten
What Theology is This? Dave Hunt’s Misrepresentation of God and Calvinism
by Pastor Steven J. Cole, Flagstaff, Arizona

Review: Dave Hunt's What Love Is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation Of God
by John Barber

6 Reason Why I Repudiate Dave Hunt And His Book "What Love Is This"
by Colin Maxwell

Dave Hunt's Attack On Calvin And Calvinism
Endorsed by David Cloud Answered By Colin Maxwell

Quotations Of Charles Haddon Spurgeon Used In The Book
"What Love Is This? Calvinism's Misrepresentation Of God" By Dave Hunt
Examined  And Answered by Colin Maxwell

The Ultimate Conspiracy - Dave Hunt and the Jesuit Attempt to Hijack the Christian Faith
by Michael Bunker

General Teachings/Activities of Dave Hunt
by Biblical Discernment Ministries

What Love is That?
by Mitch Cervinka

Some quotes about Calvin and Calvinism:

"The longer I live the clearer does it appear that John Calvin’s system is the nearest to perfection." - C. H. Spurgeon

“I have my own opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the gospel if we do not preach justification by faith without works; nor unless we preach the sovereignty of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing unchangeable eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the gospel unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross.” (Charles H. Spurgeon, The New Park Street Pulpit, Vol. 1, 1856).

"After the Holy Scriptures, I exhort the students to read the Commentaries of Calvin. . . . I tell them that he is incomparable in the interpretation of Scripture; and that his Commentaries ought to be held in greater estimation than all that is delivered to us in the writings of the ancient Christian Fathers: so that, in a certain eminent spirit of prophecy, I give the pre-eminence to him beyond most others, indeed beyond them all. I add, that, with regard to what belongs to common places, his Institutes must be read after the Catechism, as a more ample interpretation. But to all this I subjoin the remark, that they must be perused with cautious choice, like all other human compositions." - Jacob Arminius

"I believe Calvin was a great instrument of God; and that he was a wise and pious man." - John Wesley

"I have been a witness of him for sixteen years and I think that I am fully entitled to say that in this man there was exhibited to all an example of the life and death of the Christian, such as it will not be easy to depreciate, and it will be difficult to imitate." - Theodore Beza

"Calvin’s theology interests us in its historical context as an outstanding record of Reformation theology that historically—and at times even legally—has served as a basis of proclamation in modern Protestant churches." - Karl Barth

"John Calvin is a man of distinguished reputation, one of the great figures of church history." - Wulfert de Greef

"[Calvin] easily takes the lead among the systematic expounders of the Reformed system of Christian doctrine. . . . Calvin’s theology is based upon a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. He was the ablest exegete among the Reformers, and his commentaries rank among the very best of ancient and modern times. His theology, therefore, is biblical rather than scholastic, and has all the freshness of enthusiastic devotion to the truths of God’s Word. At the same time he was a consummate logician and dialectician. He had a rare power of clear, strong, convincing statement. He built up a body of doctrines which is called after him, and which obtained symbolical authority through some of the leading Reformed Confessions of Faith." "Taking into account all his failings, he [Calvin] must be reckoned as one of the greatest and best of men whom God raised up in the history of Christianity." - Philip Schaff

"The greatest exegete and theologian of the Reformation was undoubtedly Calvin. . . . He is one of the greatest interpreters of Scripture who ever lived. He owes that position to a combination of merits. He had a vigorous intellect, a dauntless spirit, a logical mind, a quick insight, a thorough knowledge of the human heart, quickened by rich and strange experience; above all, a manly and glowing sense of the grandeur of the Divine. The neatness, precision, and lucidity of his style, his classic training and wide knowledge, his methodical accuracy of procedure, his manly independence, his avoidance of needless and commonplace homiletics, his deep religious feeling, his careful attention to the entire scope and context of every passage, and the fact that he has commented on almost the whole of the Bible, make him tower above the great majority of those who have written on Holy Scripture." -  Frederic William Farrar, History of Interpretation

"Calvin is the man who, next to St. Paul, has done most good to mankind." - William Cunningham

"To omit Calvin from the forces of Western evolution is to read history with one eye shut." - Lord John Morley

"It would hardly be too much to say that for the latter part of his lifetime and a century after his death John Calvin was the most influential man in the world, in the sense that his ideas were making more history than those of anyone else during that period. Calvin’s theology produced the Puritans in England, the Huguenots in France, the ‘Beggars’ in Holland, the Covenanters in Scotland, and the Pilgrim Fathers of New England, and was more or less directly responsible for the Scottish uprising, the revolt of the Netherlands, the French wars of religion, and the English Civil War. Also, it was Calvin’s doctrine of the state as a servant of God that established the ideal of constitutional representative government and led to the explicit acknowledgment of the rights and liberties of subjects. . . . It is doubtful whether any other theologian has ever played so significant a part in world history." - J. I. Packer

"Calvin helped the Reformation change the entire focus of the Christian life. Calvin’s teaching, preaching, and catechizing fostered growth in the relationship between believers and God." - Joel R. Beeke

"Calvin’s theological heritage has proved fertile perhaps to a greater extent than any other Protestant writer. Richard Baxter, Jonathan Edwards, and Karl Barth, in their very different ways, bear witness to the pivotal role that Calvin’s ideas have played in shaping Protestant self-perceptions down the centuries. . . . It is impossible to understand modern Protestantism without coming to terms with Calvin’s legacy to the movement which he did so much to nourish and sustain." - Alister E. McGrath

"The fundamental issue for John Calvin—from the beginning of his life to the end—was the issue of the centrality and supremacy and majesty of the glory of God." - John Piper

"Where the God-centered principles of Calvinism have been abandoned, there has been a strong tendency downward into the depths of man-centered naturalism or secularism. Some have declared, rightly, we believe, that there is no consistent stopping place between Calvinism and atheism." - Ken Talbot

"The strength of that heretic [Calvin] consisted in this, that money never had the slightest charm for him. If I had such servants my dominion would extend from sea to sea." - Pope Pius IV

"Whatever the cause, the Calvinists were the only fighting Protestants. It was they whose faith gave them courage to stand up for the Reformation. In England, Scotland, France, Holland, they, and they only, did the work, and but for them the Reformation would have been crushed... If it had not been for Calvinists, Huguenots, Puritans, and whatever you like to call them, the Pope and Philip would have won, and we should either be Papists or Socialists." - Sir John Skelton

"[Calvinists] are the true heroes of England. They founded England, in spite of the corruption of the Stuarts, by the exercise of duty, by the practice of justice, by obstinate toil, by vindication of right, by resistance to oppression, by the conquest of liberty, by the repression of vice. They founded Scotland; they founded the United States; at this day they are, by their descendants, founding Australia and colonizing the world." - French atheist Hippolyte Taine (1828 to 1893)

"Calvinism has been the chief source of republican government." - Lorraine Boettner

"In Calvinism lies the origin and guarantee of our constitutional liberties." - Goren van Prinsterer

"John Calvin was the virtual founder of America." - German historian Leopold von Ranke

“From the first, therefore, I have always said to myself,—If the battle is to be fought with honor and with a hope of victory, then principle must be arrayed against principle; then it must be felt that in Modernism the vast energy of an all-embracing life-system assails us, then also it must be understood that we have to take our stand in a life-system of equally comprehensive and far-reaching power. And this powerful life-system is not to be invented nor formulated by ourselves, but is to be taken and applied as it presents itself in history. When thus taken, I found and confessed, and I still hold, that this manifestation of the Christian principle is given us in Calvinism. In Calvinism my heart has found rest. From Calvinism have I drawn the inspiration firmly and resolutely to take my stand in the thick of this great conflict of principles. And therefore, when I was invited most honorably by your Faculty to give the Stone-Lectures here this year, I could not hesitate a moment as to my choice of subject. Calvinism, as the only decisive, lawful, and consistent defence for Protestant nations against encroaching, and overwhelming Modernism,—this of itself was bound to be my theme.” - Abraham Kuyper, Dutch journalist, statesman and theologian. He founded a new church (the Gereformeerde Kerken), a newspaper, the Free University of Amsterdam, and the Anti-Revolutionary Party. He served as Prime Minister of the Netherlands between 1901 and 1905.

“People say that Calvinism is a dour, hard creed. How broad and comforting, they say, is the doctrine of a universal atonement, the doctrine that Christ died equally for all men there upon the cross! How narrow and harsh, they say, is this Calvinistic doctrine—one of the “five points” of Calvinism—this doctrine of the “limited atonement,” this doctrine that Christ died for the elect of God in a sense in which he did not die for the unsaved! But do you know, my friends, it is surprising that men say that. It is surprising that they regard the doctrine of a universal atonement as being a comforting doctrine. In reality it is a very gloomy doctrine indeed. Ah, if it were only a doctrine of a universal salvation, instead of a doctrine of a universal atonement, then it would no doubt be a very comforting doctrine; then no doubt it would conform wonderfully well to what we in our puny wisdom might have thought the course of the world should have been. But a universal atonement without a universal salvation is a cold, gloomy doctrine indeed. To say that Christ died for all men alike and that then not all men are saved, to say that Christ died for humanity simply in the mass, and that the choice of those who out of that mass are saved depends upon the greater receptivity of some as compared with others—that is a doctrine that takes from the gospel much of its sweetness and much of its joy.” - J. Gresham Machen

“Calvinism boldly affirms that salvation is of faith in order simply that it may be of grace—totally, completely, finally, from beginning to end, from Alpha to Omega, completely of God. and not of man. God is exalted and man is abased. Salvation is of grace, it is of God, and I, along with Charles Spurgeon (who was a great proclaimer of the free and sovereign grace of God), am happy to say that I am a Calvinist who holds to the doctrines of grace.” - Dr. D. James Kennedy, from Why I am a Presbyterian

"The Revolution of 1776, so far as it was affected by religion, was a Presbyterian measure. It was the natural outgrowth of the principles which the Presbyterianism of the Old World planted in her sons, the English Puritans, the Scotch Covenanters, the French Huguenots, the Dutch Calvinists, and the Presbyterians of Ulster." - George Bancroft

It is no wonder that King James I once said: "Presbytery agreeth with monarchy like God with the Devil." In England, our First War for Independence was referred to as the "Presbyterian Rebellion."

A Hessian captain (one of the 30,000 German mercenaries used by England) wrote in 1778, "Call this war by whatever name you may, only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scots-Irish Presbyterian rebellion."

Resources for Further Study:

Institutes of the Christian Religion

Calvin's Commentaries on-line

Abraham Kuyper: Lectures on Calvinism

The Calvinist Corner


Classic Articles & Resources on Reformed Theology

"When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser." - Socrates

Dave Hunt has a partner in his spurious attacks against Calvinism, George Bryson, a church planter for the Calvary Chapel church movement started by "Papa" Chuck Smith. Bryson has written a book titled "The Dark Side of Calvinism. Both Hunt and Bryson's books can be described as books written with a poison pen. In addition, both are poorly written, unscholarly, and are good examples of exercises in logical fallacies. See my thoughts on Bryson's book at the link below. 

For those who have endorsed Dave Hunt and George Bryson's books: They have revealed their prejudices and ignorance, and quite frankly, should be ashamed of themselves.

Thoughts on George Bryson's "The Dark Side of Calvinism" book
A Spectacle of Arminian Befuddlement
by Jack Kettler

The "Dark Side" of Calvinism According to an Arminian
by Rattlesnake6

A Sad Blast from George Bryson
by James White

Arminian CPR

Gordon Clark writes:
On the road below, to the observer’s left, a car is being driven west. To the observer’s right a car is coming south. He can see and know that there will be a collision at the intersection immediately beneath him. But his foreknowledge, so the argument runs, does not cause [that is make necessary] the accident. Similarly, God is supposed to know the future without causing it.

The similarity, however, is deceptive on several points. A human observer cannot really know that a collision will occur. Though it is unlikely, it is possible for both cars to have blowouts before reaching the intersection and swerve apart. It is also possible that the observer has misjudged speeds, in which case one car could slow down and other accelerate, so that they would not collide. The human observer, therefore, does not infallible foreknowledge.

No such mistakes can be assumed for God. The human observer may make a probable guess that the accident will occur, and this guess does not make the accident unavoidable; but if God knows, there is no possibility of avoiding the accident. A hundred years before the drivers were born, there was no possibility that either of them could have chosen to stay home that
day, to have driven a different route, to have driven a different time, to have driven a different speed. They could not have chosen otherwise than as they did. This means either that they had no free will [understood as a liberty of indifference] or that God did not know.

Suppose it be granted, just for the moment, that divine foreknowledge, like human guesses, does not cause the foreknown event. Even so, if there is foreknowledge, in contrast with fallible guesses, free will is impossible. If man has free will, and things can be different, God cannot be omniscient. Some Arminians have admitted this and have denied omniscience [the open theists], but this puts them obviously at odds with Biblical Christianity. There is also another difficulty. If the Arminian . . . wishes to retain divine omniscience and at the same time assert that foreknowledge has no causal efficacy, he is put to explain how the collision was made certain a hundred years, an eternity, before the drivers were born. If God did not arrange the universe this way, who did?

If God did not arrange it this way, then there must be an independent factor in the universe. And if there is such, one consequence and perhaps two follow. First, the doctrine of creation must be abandoned. . . . Independent forces cannot be created forces, and created forces cannot be independent. Then, second, if the universe is not God’s creation, his knowledge
of it past and future cannot depend on what he intends to do, but on his observation of how it works. In such a case, how could we be sure that God’s observations are accurate? How could we be sure that these independent forces will not later show us an unsuspected twist that will falsify God’s predictions? And finally, on this view God’s knowledge would be empirical, rather than an integral part of his essence, and thus he would be a dependent knower. These objections are insurmountable.

We can consistently believe in creation, omnipotence, omniscience, and the divine decree. But we cannot retain sanity and combine any of these with free will.

Gordon Clark, From: God and Evil (Unicoi, TN: Trinity Foundation, 2004), 25 26. Cited in Reymond, What Is God?, 132 133.

Calvinist friendly websites:

Calvin and Calvinism

A Puritan's Mind

The Calvinist Corner

The Nicene Council

American Vision

Alpha and Omega

Banner of Truth

Calvinism is the Gospel


Reformed Online

Coming in the Clouds

Presuppositionalism 101

The Forerunner

Calvinism Home

Contra Mundum

Reformed Theology on the Web

Calvinist's Corner

The Trinity Foundation

The Highway

Center for Reformed Theology


Desiring God

Gospel Pedlar

A Place for Truth

Grace Alone

A Defense of Calvinism as the Gospel

Calvinism in General

The Doctrines of Grace

Reformed Online Library

                                                                                                      Bible Study Resources

Links to Other Sites

Reformed Denominations

Associate Reformed Presbyterian General Synod
Bible Presbyterian Church Online
Free Reformed Churches of North America
Free Presbyterian Church
Free Church of Scotland
Orthodox Presbyterian Church
Protestant Reformed Church
Presbyterian Church in America
Reformed Church in The United States (RCUS)
Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America
Reformed Presbyterian Church (Covenanted)
United Reformed Churches in North America
Free Reformed Churches of North America
Heritage Reformed Churches

                                                                                                              Reformed Baptists

Association of Reformed Baptist Churches of America

Sovereign Grace Baptists

                                                                 Reformed Confessions 

Westminster Confession
Three Forms of Unity

                    Grace of Calvinism

"It must be recognized that in any culture the source of law is the god of that society" - R.J. Rushdoony

"To control the future requires the control of education and of the child. Hence, for Christians to tolerate statist education, or to allow their children to be trained thereby, means to renounce power in society, to renounce their children, and to deny Christ's Lordship over all of life." - R.J. Rushdoony

Abraham Kuyper