I’m sitting on the plane awaiting takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth to Orlando, FL for our June 8-9 regional conference on the theme “Is Calvinism Biblical?”
I pull out my conference schedule and look it over. Then I begin to go over the message I was giving that night.
Then something unusual happens.
It has become very rare when the stranger sitting next to me on the plane says anything more than hello. Even that is unusual. But the guy sitting next to me looks over and says, “That is a great question. Is Calvinism Biblical?”
He expects an answer. So I tell him we are having a conference on this theme and that while Calvinism is well-intentioned, the answer is no, it is not Biblical.
He then made this insightful comment:
I’ve found that when Calvinists run up against verses that do not fit their system, they put them in a box I like to call “the mystery box.” They explain that the verses in this box are a mystery. We cannot fully understand mystery verses. They appear to contradict Calvinism, but we know that can’t be true, so they are a mystery.
I thought that was a great observation. I too have read and spoken with many Calvinists who say that many verses seems to teach that faith is a condition of everlasting life, but we know that regeneration precedes faith. They say that some verses appear to teach that the unregenerate can believe, but we know that dead people can’t believe. Other verses appear to say that Christ died for everyone, but we know He only died for the elect. And so forth. While they do not mention a mystery box explicitly, they are indeed consigning such verses to that box.
I spoke three times in Orlando. In each message I mentioned the mystery box. Listeners found this idea to be very helpful.
The problem with five-point (or six-point) Calvinism is the size of their mystery verses box. It is huge. They have scores of mystery verses. They have so many verses in their mystery box that they should simply abandon the system and embrace what the Word of God teaches—that the Lord Jesus died for the sin of everyone so that whoever simply believes in Him has everlasting life (John 3:16). They should switch from being Calvinists to being Biblicists.
I found out that the young man attends an Evangelical church in the DFW Metroplex. It sounds like an interesting church. He seemed to agree when I mentioned that our view is the Bible teaches that everlasting life is a free gift which is received by faith alone, apart from works, and that perseverance is not required to retain everlasting life. I gave him my card and encouraged him to check out our website. I hope he did. He is a very insightful person. I am thankful for the mystery-box illustration he gave me. Well, I guess he’s given it to all of us now that I’ve shared it with you.