Calvinism Refuted

Total hereditary depravity
(or Inherited Sin)

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We Speak truth in LOVE
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Unavoidable Consequences of Inherited Sin:

A. Jesus inherited the depraved nature and guilt of sin like any other man, otherwise

  1. Jesus had an advantage in overcoming sin that we do not.
  2. Jesus was not made like his brethren in all things" Heb 2:14-18
  3. Jesus was not tempted in all things just as we are. Heb 4:15

B. Man has no responsibility to hear and obey the gospel (irresistible grace)

  1. Calvinists teach that man being depraved, cannot comprehend the gospel message. The Holy Spirit must specifically touch an individual, thus allowing them to respond to the gospel. Thus man cannot be saved without the direct and miraculous operation of the Holy Spirit.
  2. If men go to hell, it is because God never extended his Holy Spirit to that individual, thus giving them the ability to accept and comprehend the gospel then:
    1. God is therefore responsible for all the unsaved going to hell.
    2. God created certain men who never had any chance or opportunity to be saved!
    3. This makes God a respecter of persons.

C. Man is not responsible for his sin, since he has no freewill

  1. There is little difference between "the devil made me do it" and "Adam made me do it"
  2. Ultimately, God is responsible for man's sin because that is the way God created us at conception. Like migrating birds that have no choice, we are acting out of nature and instinct.

D. Unelect Newborn babies go to hell. Every newborn is "utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil"

John Calvin, the father of Calvinism believed:

  1. "There are babies a span long in hell."
  2. Then every newborn is as wicked as the Devil himself.
  3. Newborns that die are lost.
  4. God failed to provide instructions on how newborns can be saved.
  5. God will condemn to hell a newborn for someone else's sin and something it didn't do.
  6. Consistent Calvinists teach newborn babies who die will go to hell.


Did Calvin teach "There are babies a span long in hell."?


  1. John Calvin mystery quote: "There are babies a span long in hell."
    1. This specific quote has been attributed to Calvin but is undocumented.
    2. There is enough history for us to judge that Calvin indeed did both teach and say this, even if it has passed down to the present in oral tradition.
    3. The Calvinists were accused of teaching this as far back as the 1600's.
  2. Inconsistent Calvinists will teach election, predestination and irresistible grace, but that no newborns go to hell.
    1. They rationalize predestination and no babies in hell by asserting that only elect babies die. This ridiculous doctrine also teaches that unelect babies never die and go to hell, they must wait till they are 3 - 15 years old before they can go to hell.
    2. Some can teach this because they realize the words of Christ prevent it, while ignoring the obvious conclusions of their doctrine.

I. Here is an historic gallery of Calvinists who taught babies go to hell:

  1. Here a Baptist rejects babies are in hell but notes Calvinists teach it:
    1. "Infant Salvation: Many and varied problems are discovered in a study of the doctrine of infant salvation. Like all salvation issues, the doctrines here involved must ever be correctly stated and harmonized—election, Anthropology, the fall of the race, Soteriology, together with redemption. The entire field of sovereign grace toward a lost world is in view. No theology is established or complete which does not account for the salvation of those who die in infancy. This company is great numerically, and without this group some representation from every tribe and nation might not be included among the redeemed. Being unable to respond to God’s proffered grace in Christ, the child, if saved at all, must be saved on other terms than those imposed upon the adult portion of humanity. God’s freedom to save the lost in righteousness is evidently at stake. It will be recognized that when a disproportionate emphasis on the lost estate of men is present there may well be a tendency to think of all children as if they were born reprobate. That they are unregenerate at birth is certain; yet God likewise has in great mercy provided for the unsaved whom it is His purpose to save. Earlier, extreme Calvinists asserted that hell is a place paved with infants not over a span long; because of this sort of teaching and as a heritage from Rome came about the belief in baptismal regeneration. To such a position, of course, the Word of God gives no sanction either directly or indirectly." (Systematic theology, Doctrinal Summarization vol 7., Lewis Sperry Chafer, Dallas Theological Seminary, 1993 AD)
  2. This historical account written in 1760 about George Whitefield who was an Anglican who went on to found Methodism. It is important to realize that Whitefield was indeed a Calvinst who taught it was impossible to be born again until the Holy Spirit enlightened you. This pamphlet was written by John Harman who theologically disagreed with Whitefield. John Harman gathered the quotes and doctrinal statements and ideas from first hand witness to George Whitefield's preaching. It is interesting that the idea of children in hell dates back at least to 1760 AD.
    1. "The Scurrilous Pamphlet  THE CROOKED DISCIPLE AND THE BLIND GUIDE  A pamphlet that now lies before me, published in London in 1760, shows how low, mean, and contemptible the opposers of Mr. Whitefield were—how bold and barefaced their opposition. They jeered at his person, nicknaming him “Dr. Squintum,” they ridiculed his attitudes, his prayers, and sermons. They burlesqued and caricatured him every way. The following is the title of the pamphlet: “The Crooked Disciple’s Remarks upon the Blind Guide’s Method of Preaching, for some Years. Being a Collection of the Principal Words, Sayings, Phraseology, Rhapsodies, Hyperboles, Parables, and Miscellaneous Incongruities of the Sacred and Profane, commonly, repeatedly, and peculiarly made use of by the Reverend DR. SQUINTUM. Delivered by him viva voce ex cathedra at Tottenham Court, Moorfields, etc. A Work never before Attempted: Taken Verbatim from a Constant Attendance, whereby the Honesty of this Preacher’s Intentions may be Judged of from his own Doctrine. By the Learned Mr. John Harman, Regulator of Enthusiasts, London. Printed for and sold by the Author, and by the Book-sellers in Paternoster Row. N.B.—This Performance will be found by Analogy to be a Useful and Conscientious Regulator to the Methodists. (Price one shilling.)” The author of the pamphlet has a preface according with the title-page which he submits “To the Publick.” “I have nothing further to premise, by way of preface, than that the importance and utility of the present subject has induced me to submit the following doctrine to the consideration of the Publick, namely, “1. The efficacy of the spirit of Christ warmly and irresistibly felt in the heart.—This is his Doctrine of Regeneration and Predestination. “2. A Person is not a Christian, nor does he receive this spirit, by baptism, but by the New Birth; for there are Children in Hell, (as he says,) though baptized, who are not a span long.—This is his Doctrine of Reprobation. “3. It matters not what Religion you are of, whether Church of England, Presbyterian, Anabaptist, Quaker, Ranter, Muggletonian, or be of what Religion you will; provided you feel Christ in your heart you’ll all go to Heaven.—This is his Doctrine of Reconciliation. “4. A strict observation of the Sabbath, festivals, religious ceremonies, etc., is all Stuff, and not positive Christianity.—This is his Doctrine of Indifference and Inessentiality. “5. That he can tell when a person shall go to Heaven or plunge into Hell as well as you can see the shining of the sun at noonday.—This is his Doctrine of Assurance. “6. Persons frequenting balls, plays, operas, routs, masquerades, gaming, or any other kind of diversions, are diabolical.—This is his Doctrine of Sorrow and Lamentation. “These six Articles comprehend the scope and tenets of his pious religion.” (The prince of pulpit orators: a portraiture of Rev. George Whitefield., J. B. Wakeley, p 245, 1871 AD)
  3. John Wesley was also a founder of Methodism, but unlike George Whitefield and the creed adopted by the historic and modern Methodist church, John Wesley opposed Calvinism. This led him to criticize Calvinism and specifically the doctrine of predestination which he believed clearly taught that there would be unelect babies in hell. He rejected predestination and the idea that any babies were in hell. It is interesting that this was a common charge against Calvinists as far back as 1771 AD. Here we have two founding fathers of Methodism TEACHING OPPOSITE AND CONTRODICTORY DOCTRINES!!!
    1. "27. This is the blasphemy for which (however I love the persons who assert it) I abhor the doctrine of predestination, a doctrine, upon the supposition of which, if one could possibly suppose it for a moment, (call it election, reprobation, or what you please, for all comes to the same thing,) one might say to our adversary, the devil, “Thou fool, why dost thou roar about any longer? Thy lying in wait for souls is as needless and useless as our preaching. Hearest thou not, that God hath taken thy work out of thy hands; and that he doeth it much more effectually? Thou, with all thy principalities and powers, canst only so assault that we may resist thee; but He can irresistibly destroy both body and soul in hell! Thou canst only entice; but his unchangeable decrees, to leave thousands of souls in death, compels them to continue in sin, till they drop into everlasting burnings. Thou temptest; He forceth us to be damned; for we cannot resist his will. Thou fool, why goest thou about any longer, seeking whom thou mayest devour? Hearest thou not that God is the devouring lion, the destroyer of souls, the murderer of men” Moloch caused only children to pass though the fire: and that fire was soon quenched; or, the corruptible body being consumed, its torment was at an end; but God, thou are told, by his eternal decree, fixed before they had done good or evil, causes, not only children of a span long, but the parents also, to pass through the fire of hell, the ‘fire which never shall be quenched; and the body which is cast thereinto, being now incorruptible and immortal, will be ever consuming and never consumed, but ‘the smoke of their torment,’ because it is God’s good pleasure, ‘ascendeth up for ever and ever.’ ” (Sermons, on several occasions, John Wesley (1771 AD)
  4. John Flavel was a Presbyterian and therefore a hardcore calvinist. Here we see him clearly teaching infants are in hell:
    1. "Argument 1. It should exceedingly dissuade from this sin, to consider that it is an high abuse of the bounty and goodness of God in affording us those sweet refreshments, to make our lives comfortable to us upon earth. In Adam we forfeited all right to all earthly as well as heavenly mercies: God might have taken thee from the womb, when thou wast a sinner but of a span long, and immediately have sent thee to thine own place; thou hadst no right to a drop of water more than what the bounty of God gave thee: And whereas he might have thrust thee out of the world as soon as thou camest into it, and so all those days of mercy thou hast had on earth might have been spent in howling and unspeakable misery in hell: Behold the bounty and goodness of God to thee; I say, behold it, and wonder: He hath suffered thee for so many years to live upon the earth, which he hath prepared and furnished with all things fit for thy necessity and delight: Out of the earth, on which thou treadest, “he bringeth forth thy food, and [wine] to make glad thy heart,” Psal. 104:14, 15. And dost thou thus requite the Lord? Hath mercy armed an enemy to fight against it with its own weapons? Ah! that ever the riches of his goodness, bounty, and long-suffering, all which are arguments to lead thee to repentance, should be thus abused! If God had not been so bountiful, thou couldst not have been so sinful." (The Whole Works of the Rev. Mr. John Flavel, 1627-1691 AD, Presbyterian, Volume 5, Page 299, 1820 AD)
  5. Isaac Watts was a Dissenter from Anglican the way Luther was of Roman Catholic. In this article Watts discusses the various views taught in the Anglican church about children in Hell. It appears that Watts himself rejected the doctrine although there were at least two different groups from among his "dissenters" who indeed taught it in the 1700's.
    1. " Since I have occasion, in this place to mention the education of children amongst the persons of the established church, and those that have separated from it, I could scarce excuse it to my own conscience, if I should neglect to make this solemn remark on both, viz. that there is something very dangerous that is early impressed on the minds of children of the one party and the other, and they unhappily learn it from the different respective catechisms, in which they are instructed. The children who are educated in the church of England, as soon as they have learned to answer “what is their name?” they are immediately told in the next answer, that in their baptism, “they are made the members of Christ, the children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven.” This arises from the doctrine they are generally taught, that baptism and regeneration are much the same thing, or that all men are regenerated by being baptised; whereas in scripture, baptism is but an emblem and representation of such a change of the heart, as regeneration requires and implies; and for want of this distinction, the children usually grow up through all their stations in life, without enquiring whether they have had any such real change in their souls, as includes in it repentance for sin, and a turn of soul towards God and godliness, whereby a man is born again and becomes a new creature. And this necessary change, upon which the favour of God, and an interest in the salvation of Christ, and the kingdom of heaven depend, is very grossly and shamefully neglected by them through their whole lives, they always supposing as they have been taught, that all this work is done in baptism. And for this reason many divines of the church of England have heartily wished that either these words in the catechism were a little altered, or that this answer should never be taught to children without explaining the meaning of it. Among the dissenters, one part of the education is usually learning the catechism, written by the assembly of divines at Westminster, Now in the 19th answer it is said, “That all mankind by their fall,—are under the wrath and curse of God, and so made liable to all the miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever:” And some persons have been so grossly unwise, as to assert under this influence, that there are children of a span long suffering the vengeance of God in hell, for their interest in the Sin of Adam. Now the very hint of such a notion frights children terribly, and while they are required to love God with all their hearts, it gives them a very terrible and cruel notion of the great and blessed God, who has ordained young children to these everlasting torments for the sin of Adam. There are some that deny this answer, and renounce this doctrine roundly. Indeed there is one author that has endeavoured to explain it in a moderate way, and to make a just distinction upon this subject, and that is in the last question of a book called the “ruin and recovery of mankind.” There it is shewn that all good christians, by their faith in Christ, are become the children of Abraham, and that they and their infant children have an interest in the promise made to Abraham, Gal. 3:26, 29. viz. that God would be their God, and the God of their seed,” which gives abundant hope for the children of good parents dying in infancy, that they are translated to the blessedness of heaven, and the hope of a joyful resurrection by the covenant of Abraham. And it is the children of the wicked, who have never accepted of the covenant of grace, are left under the curse, that is, of temporal death, which Adam had incurred for himself and his posterity, and that without any prediction or promise of any resurrection at all. Now I speak of those who never sinned actually, nor enjoyed a state of personal trial for themselves in this world. “See the original writer.” When these things will be corrected in the education of children, of the one side or the other, it is only the providence of God can determine." (The Works Of The Rev. Isaac Watts, 1674-1748 AD, Dissenter from Anglican, vol 3, p236, 1812AD)


  1. Although the quote, "There are babies a span long in hell." Has not been found from the pen of Calvin directly, there is enough circumstantial evidence that Calvin probably said it:
    1. That unelect newborns go to hell is entirely consistent in the system of Calvinism as a direct predictable consequential doctrine.
    2. Calvin never taught that unelect newborns DO NOT GO TO HELL.
    3. Non-calvinsist attacked Calvinist believing religious leaders by accusing them of teaching, "There are babies a span long in hell."
    4. Calvinists, though not Calvin himself, are specifically noted as saying, "There are babies a span long in hell." or the same thing in different words.
    5. Historically the question of non-elect babies going to hell was a flashpoint of debate that centered around Calvinism
  2. The truth is that John Calvin was a heretic and a false teacher.
    1. Babies do not inherit any guilt of sin from Adam or anyone. Children are innocent and sinless.
    2. Predestination is a false doctrine because any man and every man can be saved he so chooses.
  3. Churches that teach ANY of the 5 points of Calvinism are forced through consistency, to teach that babies go to hell.
  4. In the above survey we see that Christian Reform, Anglican and Presbyterian churches were historically accused of teaching babies went to hell.
  5. If you are a Calvinist who agrees with us that no newborn babies go hell, you need to keep reading to learn why you must either give up Calvinism ENTIRELY or have the guts and honesty to teach newborns go to hell.
  6. No newborn babies go to hell. The idea of elect babies go to heaven and non-elect babies go to hell is heresy and a false doctrine.


By Steve Rudd

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