Calvinism vs Free Will

During a recent sermon I mentioned that I am not a Calvinist.  Lest anyone misunderstand, let me add that I am vehemently not a Calvinist.  In recent years that doctrine has been popping up in many Christian churches, including Southern Baptist churches (if you hear the word “reformed” it indicates Calvinistic beliefs, so run).  Now, I could quote you a lot of scripture to support my beliefs.  But I’m not going to do that because a Calvinist will then quote scripture to support his/her belief and we come to a draw.  So, what I am going to do is tell you what the doctrine of Calvinism does to the character of God.  When you throw out the flowery language and religious sounding rhetoric, what picture of God does Calvinism paint, and does it line up with the character of God as presented in the Bible?   I believe not and here is why.
Calvinism does away with free will.  You and I do not really make any choices in life.  It teaches that God has pre-ordained every facet of our lives: He programmed us pre-birth to think and act as we do.  Our choices are actually His choices made for us.  Every incident, every accident, and every occurrence is predestined by God and there is nothing we could have done or can do to change any of it. In the Bible we are presented with choices on many occasions and told which ones would be wise to choose because otherwise we would be disobedient. Is God just toying with us? Is He giving us a false sense of hope or do we really have a choice?  That lack of choice presents itself as contrary to the character in two very important ways.
First of all, it presents God as the author of all sin and the cause of all pain.  Isn’t Satan the cause of all that?  Evidently not.  Calvinism says God created the devil to deceive people into sin and cause the pain and heartache of those God has already chosen.  Did God really say to stay away from strong drink then create alcoholics who can’t do it?  Did He say for us to love our neighbor and then create hateful people with no chance of change?  Is every adulterer, every drug addict, every rapist, every thief, every murderer, and every homosexual purposefully created by God to be and do those things without an opportunity to resist?  I don’t see that in any scripture.
Perhaps the most heinous thing Calvinism teaches is that God created some to be saved and some to be lost and there is nothing anyone can do about that.  That’s right.  If you are pre-chosen by God to spend an eternity in hell you will do that; you have absolutely no choice in the matter. If you do not see the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ it is because God has His hand over your eyes.  He chose you, before He formed you, to spend eternity in torment.  If anything, anything, does injury to the character and person of God as presented in the Bible…that teaching does.
I reject the doctrine known as Calvinism so that I can stand in the pulpit and proclaim that God loves every single person He created and want them with Him for eternity.  I can tell all people that God is their help and their hope; their rock and their strength.  I can preach a God of incomprehensible love and unbounded grace for all people.  If I can’t preach those things, why preach at all?

Bro. Tony