Is Calvinism Spiritual Racism?
***Editor’s Note: Dr. Cox’s book, “Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism” is available for purchase HERE.
In this brief article I will contend that Hinduism, Racism, and Calvinism have many things in common; too many for Christians not to be alarmed. Such disturbing common denominators should give pause to all Calvinists and any who are entertaining thoughts of embracing the doctrines espoused by Calvinism and Reformed theology.
Reincarnationists, like Hindus, avoid the giving of invitations, publicity, or advertisement, and simply trust the Law of Attraction to draw their own to them and them to their own. This is fueled by a primary tenet of Hinduism, namely that one is born into a caste out of which there is no escape in life. Thus, Hinduism propounds social determinism characterized by social superiority, social caste, social election, social bigotry, social prejudice, and social exclusivity.
Racism is the dogma that one ethnic group is condemned by nature to hereditary inferiority and another group is destined to hereditary superiority. Thus, Racism propounds racial determinism characterized by racial superiority, racial election, racial caste, racial bigotry, racial prejudice, and racial exclusivity.
Calvinism is the dogma of spiritual determinism characterized by spiritual superiority, spiritual election, a spiritual “caste,” spiritual bigotry, spiritual prejudice, and certainly by spiritual exclusivity. Clearly, it shares some distressing affinities with Hinduism and Racism.
The “caste” systems of Hinduism, Racism, and Calvinism, then, become nothing more than media for propagating human prejudice and notions of elitism, and, for Hinduism and Calvinism, they are dressed up in religious garb, like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, making them even deadlier.
Calvinism is nothing short of baptized racism, advocating the dogma that one group, the non-elect, is condemned by God to spiritual inferiority and another group, the elect, is destined to spiritual superiority. I am not implying that Calvinists are racists. I am merely attempting to draw enlightening parallels between Hinduism, Racism, and Calvinism. All three share numerous common denominators (see chart below). Hence, the term baptized racism denotes the presence of prejudice, though not racial, in the spiritual realm: spiritual bigotry, if you will. Hinduism determines the ins from the outs by birth into a caste. Racism determines the ins from the outs by skin color. Calvinism, or more properly Calvinism’s view of God, determines the ins from the outs by election. All three fail miserably at acknowledging the presence of the image of God inherent in every human, making each person of inestimable value.
Again, all Calvinists are not racists, but have many Calvinists embraced what amounts to spiritual racism because it is a more comfortable Christian philosophy which allows for the seemingly natural human propensity toward some form of individual superiority, allegedly predetermined by God? It would be interesting to know how many non-Caucasians actually embrace five-point Calvinism as a genuine Bible doctrine. My suspicion is that plenty of ethnic minorities do not.
The biblical triune God who reveals Himself as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit created every human being in His image (Gen. 1:27) and loves the entire world of humanity so dearly that He gave His only begotten Son to rescue all who would believe in Jesus (John 3:16). He desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4) and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9).
Racism is rooted in pride, and pride is one of the three root sins identified in 1 John 2:15-16, along with the lust of the eyes and the lust of the flesh. Racism is nothing short of promoting a prideful ideology of supposed genetic superiority to every other race and seeking to brainwash others into embracing such, and often blasphemously employing God’s Word, the Bible, to do so. Likewise, Calvinism is nothing short of promoting a prideful theology of supposed spiritual superiority, due to election. Such misrepresentation of God and Christ cannot go unanswered.
God has demonstrated his love for all people many times over. He did so by promising to make Abraham, a.k.a. Abram, from Ur of the Chaldeans (Gen. 11:31), a blessing to all the families of the earth (Gen. 12:1-3). Abraham, placed faith in the biblical God, obeyed God, and became the spiritual father of faith (Heb. 11:8-19), blazing the trail for others to follow as he demonstrated what it truly means to place faith in God and live out that faith.
God also showed his love for all people by miraculously allowing the language barrier to be crossed for visitors to Jerusalem and residents of Jerusalem at the time of the Jewish Passover Feast shortly following the resurrection of Jesus, so that each could hear the wonderful works of God, done through Jesus Christ, in his or her own language as preached by the apostles, resulting in the evangelization of people from all over the ancient world, which included Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, as well as visitors from Rome, Cretans, and Arabs (Acts 2:1-13), undoubtedly implying the universal scope of God’s redemptive plan.
The Apostle Simon Peter initially, and wrongly, thought Christianity was for Jews only. A vision from heaven rebuked him and told him not to consider any human being unholy or unclean (Acts 10:28), powerful words from heaven which we all need to hear and let resonate within us. When we share the gospel we can be confident that we are not looking for someone who is “elect,” because anyone with a pulse can be saved!
Further, Jesus said, “Thus it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish” (Matt. 18:14 NASB). We all begin as a little child, so the statement of Jesus includes us all. Not one little child is unimportant to Him. Please note carefully the general, rather than the particular, applicability of Acts 10:28 and Matt. 18:14. Nobody is to be considered unholy or unclean. Nobody has been willed by God to perish.
|Racial determinism||Social determinism||Spiritual determinism|
|Racial superiority||Social superiority||Spiritual superiority|
|Racial election||Social election||Spiritual election|
|Racial caste||Social caste||Spiritual caste|
|Racial bigotry||Social bigotry||Spiritual bigotry|
|Racial prejudice||Social prejudice||Spiritual prejudice|
|Racial exclusivity||Social exclusivity||Spiritual exclusivity|
William Walker Atkinson, Reincarnation and the Law of Karma: A Study of the Old-New World-Doctrine of Rebirth, and Spiritual Cause and Effect (n.p.: Yogi Publication Society, 1908), 108.
Foy Valentine, The Contemporary Racial Crisis: A Christian Perspective, Southwestern Journal of Theology (April 1965): 20.