Exposing the False Teaching of Leighton Flowers
Leighton Flowers has dedicated his ministry to refuting the doctrines of the 5 points of Calvinism, also known as Monergism or Sovereign Grace.
One of his many videos he titles “Grace versus Calvinism. Addressing the apparent contradictions of Calvinism.”
You can see it here on YouTube.
I should state at the outset that I am not defending John Calvin or any other “Calvinist” or all the things they say, teach or do. But I do believe what have become known as “the Five Points of Calvinism” because I see these truths in the Bible itself.
These truths are biblically consistent and do not end up making the Bible contradict itself nor do they portray God as being both a Failure and a Liar for not doing what he said he came to do - to save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
See “Is Jesus Christ a Failure and a Liar? - For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10
I think Mr. Flowers is sincere and passionate about what he believes, but I believe he is sincerely wrong in what he teaches and how he understands the Scriptures.
When dealing with Ephesians chapter one where it says that God “hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.”, Mr. Flowers tries to explain this by telling us we need to go back to verse one where we see to whom this epistle is written.
It is written “to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus.”
The faithful in Christ Jesus are believers. This is true. But the reason they are believers in Christ is because God himself gave them the faith to believe, and they were previously chosen and predestined long before they were born or had come to believe the gospel.
This is one of the essential truths that bring Mr. Flower’s theological house crashing down like a house of cards. “WHY do some people have faith (believe) and others do not?”
The Bible DOES answer this question many times over, but Mr. Flowers and other “I chose of my own will to believe and accept Jesus in my heart” believers either have never seen the Scriptural answers or they just don’t believe what the Book says about it.
See “Why do some people have faith and others do not?”
Mr. Flowers denies these truths and instead tries to make it sound as though AFTER they became faithful believers they were then chosen and predestinated.
He tells us: “Predestination means that God has determined beforehand what will happen to believers.”
At the 7:20 mark Mr. Flowers comes right out and says as he reads the text: “He chose us. Now, stop. Who is “us”? Who did He choose? The faithful in Christ Jesus. So, are you responsible for putting your faith in Christ? Yes, that’s YOUR responsibility.”, as though it was because we believed and were faithful that God then chose us.
Most Arminians try to tell us that “God looked down the corridors of time and saw who would believe and therefore He chose them.”, and then they refer us to a passage of Scripture in 1 Peter 1:2 they completely misunderstand and misapply.
See 1 Peter 1:2 “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God”
A true Christian is NOT Elect because he believes the gospel. He believes BECAUSE he is Elect.
The "free willers" have everything backwards. Don't put the cart in front of the horse.
Speaking of the “foreknowledge” of God, what Mr. Flowers seems to be missing when he discusses Romans 8:29-30 and predestination is the first part of the verse.
The Scriptures say: “For whom He did FOREKNOW, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”
God foreknows people, not just the things they will do. Of some he says “I NEVER KNEW you; Depart from me ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:23
But of others he says “I KNOW my sheep and they follow me, and I give unto THEM eternal life. I lay down my life for the sheep.” John 10.
“You ONLY HAVE I KNOWN of all the families of the earth” Amos 3:2.
“BEFORE I formed thee in the belly I KNEW THEE; and before thou cameth forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” Jeremiah 1:5. Now THAT is “the foreknowledge of God.”
It is the same Hebrew and Greek word that is used when we read: “And Adam KNEW Eve his wife; and she conceived…” Genesis 4:1.
And “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I KNOW NOT a man?” Luke 1:34.
“to know” and “to foreknow” means to have an intimate and close personal relationship with another person or group. It does not mean just “to know about” something or someone.
According to Romans 8:30 THOSE WHOM GOD DID FOREKNOW those “he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”
GOD did it all. No mention is made here of our faith or the exercise of our “will” to chose to make these things so.
And the apostle refers to us as “God’s elect” (Romans 8:33). "Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifiers." God does the choosing, the predestinating and the calling.
The Scriptures tell us that we were “predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself according to the good pleasure of HIS will”; not ours.
It is clear from the Book that those of us who become believers were chosen beforehand and predestinated to this end.
“...and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.” Acts 13:48
See Acts 13:48 further developed here -
"Looking unto Jesus THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF OUR FAITH" - Hebrews 12:2.
Who authored our faith? JESUS did. That is why in the King James Bible it speaks so many times about how we are justified "by THE FAITH OF CHRIST".
If we are a true Christian, born of God and not of the will of the flesh, it is because HE did it and then gave us the faith to believe in what He had already done for us at the cross of Calvary.
That is why it is called "THE FAITH OF GOD'S ELECT" - Titus 1:1
Romans 12:3 "For I say, through the grace given unto me, TO EVERY MAN THAT IS AMONG YOU, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, according as GOD HATH DEALT TO EVERY MAN THE MEASURE OF FAITH."
The "every man" in the context is the "every man among you" or those who are already Christians. That is whom the apostle Paul was writing to.
"To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints....I thank God through Jesus Christ for YOU ALL, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world." Romans 1:7-8
Not everyone has faith. 2 Thessalonians 3:2 "for all men have not faith" and obviously there are unbelievers.
If we think we got this faith to believe all on our own, then we are guilty of the very thing Paul cautions us against. We are thinking of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.
Philippians 1:29 "For UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN in the behalf of Christ, not only TO BELIEVE ON HIM, but also to suffer for his sake."
Did you get that? If we are among those who believe the gospel, it is because IT WAS GIVEN TO US TO BELIEVE ON HIM. Words can't be much clearer than this.
Ephesians 2:8 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and THAT NOT OF YOURSELVES, IT IS THE GIFT OF GOD."
“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because GOD HATH FROM THE BEGINNING CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14.
“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give (not “offer”, not “make possible”, but “give”) eternal life TO AS MANY AS THOU HAST GIVEN HIM.” John 17:2
Mr. Flowers then further twists the Scriptures at the 9:20 mark when he gets to the phrase “having predestinated us unto the ADOPTION OF CHILDREN TO HIMSELF.”
Here he tells us that “adoption” refers to a future event found in Romans 8:23 where it says: “even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the ADOPTION, to wit, THE REDEMPTION OF OUR BODIES.”
Mr. Flowers confuses the redemption of our souls, which is an accomplished fact that occurred at the cross, with the guaranteed future redemption of the body.
Romans 8:15 tells us: “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye HAVE RECEIVED (past tense) the Spirit of ADOPTION, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”
“In whom WE HAVE REDEMPTION through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7
Mr. Flowers further confuses the truth about WHEN and HOW we got “IN CHRIST” when he uses the NIV and goes to verse 13, which he then takes out of context.
In Ephesians 1:11-13 the KJB refers first to the Jews in the Old Testament who “BEING PREDESTINATED according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will; That we (the O.T. Jews) should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ (before the Gentiles did), In whom ye also (the Gentiles) trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise.”
Here in verse 13 the verb “ye also trusted” comes from verse 12 where the O.T. Jews first trusted in Christ.
But the NIV says in verse 13: “And you also WERE INCLUDED IN CHRIST when you heard the gospel of truth”.
No Greek text contains the words “were included in Christ.” They just made that up. The simple fact is that God’s elect were chosen IN Christ and predestinated unto the adoption of children long before we were even born or had believed.
In fact, according to Ephesians 2:5-6 we were “quickened TOGETHER WITH Christ and RAISED UP TOGETHER, and made to sit together in heavenly places IN Christ.” This all happened at the cross and the resurrection, and we weren’t even physically alive yet.
And how exactly did we get IN Christ? Mr. Flowers says that it was when we chose to believe. But God says HE did it and not we ourselves.
“But OF HIM are ye IN Christ Jesus, who OF GOD is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption; That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31.
Mr. Flowers also thinks that “Calvinism” has a problem of inconsistency with it comes to both Prayer and Evangelism.
Yet the Lord Jesus Christ himself in John 17 has no problem praying for those whom the Father had given him (mentioned 7 times in this one chapter).
Remember, he gives eternal life to as many as the Father has already given him. John 17:2.
He says: “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me: for they are thine.”
And “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” John 17:20.
See “John 17 - "those thou gavest me" - The 7 times perfection of the King James Bible”
Evangelism is not inconsistent with the fact that God knows from the beginning who the elect are. Preaching the gospel is the usual way He brings His people to faith in Christ.
The gospel is not an “offer”. It is a declared fact that Christ died for our sins and rose again and that whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. But only those who are God’s sheep will hear. Those that do not believe, do not believe BECAUSE they are not his sheep. (John 10:26)
Some of the greatest evangelists, missionaries and preachers in times past were strong Calvinists.
See a list of many well known Christians who were Calvinists in my article “Calvinism (Monergism) and the King James Bible”
Mr. Flowers closes out his video on “Grace vs Calvinism” with a classic Arminian re-interpretation of Romans chapter nine. Here he tells us that the entire chapter has nothing to do with Calvinism but is about an objecting Jew who hardens himself yet God is using him somehow to carry out his Redemptive Plan. Nothing of what Mr. Flowers says in this section of his video is found in Romans 9.
Only a person who has his own agenda to promote his particular brand of Christianity could miss the clear meaning of Romans nine as badly as Mr. Flowers does here.
An unbiased reading of the chapter tells us that God is talking about those who are the children of God and those who are not, and that God himself determines the destiny of each one.
Paul is explaining why only “a remnant shall be saved” (9:27) from among the Jews. He tells us that “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel” and that “they which are the children of the flesh, these ARE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD; but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
“For the children BEING NOT YET BORN, NEITHER HAVING DONE ANY GOOD OR EVIL, THAT THE PURPOSE OF GOD ACCORDING TO ELECTION MIGHT STAND, not of works but of him that calleth.”
He continues saying: “As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” And he goes on to say that this election as to who is a child of God and who is not is “NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, nor of him that runneth, BUT OF GOD that sheweth mercy.”
Does God make some to perish and be lost?
Yes, He does. He is the potter and we are but the clay.
Romans 9:15-24. God would be perfectly “fair” by condemning all of us for our willful sins and rebellion against Him. Man, if left to himself, is not some innocent babe in the woods. He willfully sins by choice and inclination. There is none that doeth good, no, not one. There is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone aside. We have turned every one to his own way. Man is the enemy of God and deserves the judgment of hell.
But in grace, God who worketh all things after the counsel of his will, has chosen to save some and leave others to follow their own sinful natures.
15 For he saith to Moses, I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I WILL HAVE MERCY, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.
16 So then IT IS NOT OF HIM THAT WILLETH, NOR OF HIM THAT RUNNETH, BUT OF GOD THAT SHEWETH MERCY.
17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and WHOM HE WILL HE HARDENETH.
19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? FOR WHO HATH RESISTED HIS WILL?
20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
21 HATH NOT THE POTTER POWER OVER THE CLAY, OF THE SAME LUMP TO MAKE ONE VESSEL UNTO HONOUR, AND ANOTHER UNTO DISHONOUR?
22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering THE VESSELS OF WRATH FITTED TO DESTRUCTION:
23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on THE VESSELS OF MERCY, WHICH HE HAD AFORE PREPARED UNTO GLORY,
24 EVEN US, WHOM HE HATH CALLED, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?"
Leighton Flowers just blew right on by what Romans 9 is clearly teaching and goes completely off the rails with his own surmisings about some “Jew who has hardened himself, but yet is being used in some Redemptive Plan of God and who may yet be saved.”
I think lots of people like what Mr. Flowers teaches because they WANT it to be true. They LIKE thinking THEY were smart enough or spiritual enough to make the right choice and exercise their wills to believe.
This is what “the natural man” thinks because it initially FEELS this way when we get converted. But once we get into the Book and God opens our eyes to see what He says about it, we find out that HE is the one who chose us, predestinated us, drew us to himself, called us by name, made us willing to come and gave us the faith and repentance to believe the good news of the gospel of the grace of God - pure and TOTAL grace.
May God, in His mercy, open the eyes of more of His people to these precious truths - that salvation is of the LORD from beginning to end and HE gets ALL the glory and none goes to man.