Recently, James White of Alpha & Omega Ministries responded to a sermon by Bob Coy of Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale. Part one can be found here, and part two here. In the sermon, Bob Coy explained to his congregation why Calvinism was the religion of the devil. He (Bob Coy) went on to say that he had studied this subject in depth and has all the books on the subject. He assured the congregation that he was not a Calvinist or an “Arminianist” (a term that would not ever be used if you really have studied this subject in depth), but he was a Bibleist. Now, forget the fact that he would probably agree with 4 of the 5 points of Arminianism, he (like most Arminians) deny that he is one, and just wants to let everyone know he is simply a Bible believer. There was a point in my life where I identified myself the same way.
Anyhow, Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale is actually somewhat in my neighborhood, and so I am pretty familiar with Bob Coy. I know and have known many people that attend this fellowship. I decided to do some YouTube searching for myself and find stuff that Coy has said concerning this issue. Since the sovereign grace of God is basically the main issue discussed on this blog, and Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale is local, I decided I’d post a short video by Coy and respond to it.
Ok, let’s do this. He begins by giving a very brief history of Calvin. He explains that Calvin had a systematic theology, and if you agree with Calvin’s points then you are a Calvinist. What’s Coy’s issue here? He says he hates labels because labels can box you up and sometimes keep you from effective ministry. He will later go on to identify himself with the LABEL of being a biblicist. You know, a lot of people hate the Bible. He may not want to go labeling himself as a biblicist to everyone, because it might keep him from really being effective. Of course, I’m being sarcastic. Labels are just a way of identification. He asks questions like, “Are you a spirit filled Christian?” “Are you mid tribulationist, posttribulationist, or pretribulationist?” as an example of how we label ourselves and others. So, if I was studying a particular eschatalogical view and happened to ask someone what their position was, then I must be engaging in labeling myself or others? If I ask about their views on cessationalism or continuationalism, I am just labeling? What ever happened to studying the word of God and discussing it with brothers and sisters? Labels are unavoidable. He proves that by labeling himself 1 minute later. He even begins by saying that it burdens him to be labeled. Why is he burdening himself?
As mentioned before, he will identify himself as a bibleist. He does this after he gives an example of a pendulum. Coy says that typically, for Calvinists, the pendulum swings over to the sovereignty of God because “it’s all about the sovereignty of God”. For others, it swings over to man’s responsibility. He says of them, “You’re the one who elects yourself, if you will, when you decide that the election of God is, in fact, your responsibility.” This is confusing because he would be posing a false dichotomy if not for his confusion of terms. His definition of the “responsibility of men” should be labeled “free will.” The term “responsibility” usually causes me to wonder if what is being said is that our salvation is dependent upon our action. This of course is soul damning heresy. Christ has paid in full the debt that befell His elect people accumulated through our intrinsic wickedness. How could anything I do add or take away from such an infinite worth? This would be a false dichotomy because those who are “Calvinists” (I can’t speak for all) don’t live a non repentant life, and normally what is meant by “responsibility” is some type of evident works in the Christian’s life.
I am faced with my sin everyday. I am faced with the weight of it constantly. At times it can torment me. And then I remember that however great my sin is, the worth of Christ is greater. I have heard many people pull out the “responsibility” card as though all I might do is sit around, grinning from ear to ear because God chose me for being so awesome or something – and that Calvinists can sin as much as they want because we are saved and chosen (ie. “the Frozen Chosen”). Sound familiar? This is FALSE. God demands that I be perfect (Matthew 5:48). I utterly FAIL there immediately. We are depraved. Repentance is evident in the life of the one believing the gospel, because the Holy Spirit has indwelt such a one. And the role of the Spirit is to convict one of sin (John 16:8) and glorify Christ (John 16:14-15) as having triumphed over sin on our behalf. One thing that is missing from Bob’s 4 minute talk is Scripture. Ironic that a “Biblicist” would spend 4 whole minutes not mentioning a verse.
Now, Bob Coy says he is in the middle of the both positions he defined. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near “responsibility” as he defined it. To say God’s election is dependent upon a person gives that person more than enough reason to boast about his own salvation. In such a case, the real effector of salvation is you. Not to mention that God is not a respector of persons, but in this scenerio, He would be a respector of those who obey Him. This is ridiculous in light of Scripture, as we will see a little later. But he says he believes both. In other words, he believes A can equal non-A. Two positions that fundamentally oppose one another can both be believed? Can we beleive that a person is simultaneously fully a man and fully a woman? Of course not. But according to Bob Coy, he believes that God has unconditionally elected a people to Himself, that they could do nothing because of their depravity, AND AT THE SAME TIME believe that these people aren’t depraved and have the capacity to elect themselves, and that God hasn’t unconditionally elected them.
He speaks of Scriptures that appear to contradict each other, but he takes them both to be true. It’s almost as though he is saying, “Yeah they contradict, but you need to accept the contradictions because they make sense to God.” There are no contradictions in the Bible. God, Who created His creatures, is perfectly able to preserve His word to them and to communicate clearly to them. Seeming contradictions are really the result of poor biblical study. The Word of God can be rightly divided, and is profitable for teaching, correcting, and rebuke – not confusions and labyrinths.
It’s ironic how Bob Coy discounts an article that had come out saying that “Calvinism” is true because they are a “Calvinist” paper. Does this make any sense? We could easily say, “Well, of course Bob Coy would say free will is true… he is a free willist!” Forget the fact that the “Calvinists” may have actually used Biblical argumentation… nahhhhhhhhh…. don’t listen to ’em because they are “Calvinists!”
Pastor Coy closes by saying get “back to the Bible,” and “get rid of labels.” He then says he is thankful that John Calvin lived and that he wrote. Wait a minute. In his sermon that was reviewed by James White, Bob Coy said that Calvinism is satanic. Thankful for a liar who spread a satanic deception? I’m not thankful for Wicca or the Federal Vision heresy, but perhaps he means that it is good for sharpening his own beliefs. He says that whether we read the Word of God, or a man’s interpretation of the Word of God (which is what he is providing for us), he wants us to quote John, Paul, Jesus, and Matthew. Okay, then. Let’s honor Mr. Coy’s request.
“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” [John 1:12-13]
“So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. ” [Romans 9:16-18]
““All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” [John 6:37]
“”No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” [John 6:44]
“And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.”” [John 6:65]
“But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.” [John 10:26-29]
“All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” [Matthew 11:27]
“just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” [Matthew 20:28]