The Calvinist Shredder – Psalm 139:16

The Calvinist Shredder Ps 139_16The Calvinist Shredder –  Psalm 139:16

The Calvinist Shredder – Whenever some of my “friends” contact me via my private message box on Facebook, doing their utmost to convert me to Calvinism, I see it as a golden opportunity to present them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not, I repeat NOT, the gospel of another Jesus. shredder

Louis Mathys Ackermann

Louis Matthys Ackermann

During my latest tête-à-tête with Loius Matthys Ackermann, someone I have known for quite some time on Facebook, sent me a list of Bible verses which he believes are ample proof that the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) are the warp and woof of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In point of fact, he accused me of “not knowing the Gospel that was created before the foundation of the world” and that “he was beginning to think that I, as an Arminian, was an ignoramus in regard to sound theology.” shredder


One of the very first things Calvinists affectionally do when you disavow their so-called doctrines of grace (their TULIP is the very opposite and a blatant enemy of grace), is to brand you an Arminian. Like Fascism, Arminianism has become a much-hated euphemism to label you a traitor and an enemy of the cross of Jesus Christ. Even when you try your level best to convince them that you are not an Arminian, it only inspires them to pin the Arminian label onto your soul with a more reckless and debauched hatred. shredder

According to the author of Hebrews, the Word of God is “powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12).

Nevertheless, despite its sharp-edged potency it can and often is distorted in ways that not only veer well-intended and seeking sinners off onto paths that lead to hell (Proverbs 14:12; Matthew 23:13), it also paints the God of love as a monster who allegedly hates and abhors a very large portion of mankind, even to the extent that He decided to send them to hell before the foundation of the world. And this, my dear friends, is the Gospel that was created before the foundation of the world, according to Calvinists.

Changind and twisting of scripture shredder

The Calvinists’ deftness to change Scripture in ways and means that easily and dangerously lead people astray, is not something human beings are/were able to call to mind. Only a deceitfully evil and villainous creature like Satan could invent such abyss-inspired lies (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

To prove to our readers how the enemies of God and his cross go about defacing his truth with unashamed arrogance, I have decided to write a series called “The Calvinist Shredder,” and the very first passage we shall be looking at is Psalm 139:16, one of the verses Calvinists distort to their hearts delight to validate their abhorrent doctrines of grace. Louis Matthys Ackermann sent me a whole arsenal of Bible verses daring me to interpret them differently from what Calvinists usually believe them to convey. shredder

Psalm 139:16

The notion that David extols God’s salvific sovereignty in choosing whom He wants to save and whom He wants to send to hell in this Psalm goes far beyond the boundaries of biblical hermeneutics and exegesis and warrants the very serious indictments in 2 John 1:9 and 2 Peter 3:16.

The context of the Psalm may be summed up in the phrase “The awesome omnipotence of God, the Creator and Upholder of the entire universe” (Hebrews 11:3) shredder

A very simple analysis of verse 16 makes a mockery of the Calvinists’ view that it portrays God’s elective or selective sovereignty.  It is patently obvious that the Psalmist is not dealing with salvation, redemption, regeneration, predestination, and election, for none of these concepts are mentioned even once in this Psalm. It is therefore very easy to conclude that David was not dealing with the spiritual aspects of his being or his eternal destination but with his physical attributes, which God had seen and known in the minutest detail, even before the foundation of the world.

Human beings

The word goÌ‚lem (go’-lem) used here for “substance yet being imperfect” refers to the human embryo or fetus not yet fully developed in the mother’s womb. It simply refers to a human being’s bodily members which are in the process of being fully developed. Verse 15 bears this out when it says, “My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.” The latter is a metaphor of a woman’s womb.

And then the Psalmist bursts out in awe when he says, “and in thy book my members were written which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.” What does it mean? Having established that the bulk of the Psalm deals with the knitting together of David’s frame (body) in his mother’s womb, the phrase “and in thy book my members were written . . .” must refer to the pre-descriptive documentation in a book or scroll, if you will, of the final product of David’s frame when he developed into a fully grown man, including the color of his hair and eyes, his height, how many hairs there would be on his head, his gait when walking or running, his physical strength etc., etc.

Verse 16 may be transliterated as follows:

“While there was as yet no visible evidence of my existence and while I was still in the process of being fashioned in my mother’s womb, subsequent to my conception, you already knew exactly what I would look like outwardly and inwardly.”

The “book” in verse 16 is not the book of life Calvinists seem to suggest. It probably represents more of a draft an architect draws before he ventures to build the construction he has in mind and wants to erect. Although the construction is not off the ground yet and merely a set of thoughts or plans on a drawing, the architect knows exactly what the final product would look like.

Authentication of reformed theology?

Further evidence that Psalm 139 is not an authentication of reformed theology and its doctrines of grace (total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and perseverance of the Saints) are the introductory few verses which are all inferences to physical attributes. The Psalmist says that all of his deeds and thoughts, whether in a lying or sitting position, were known to God before the foundation of the world, to the extent that God knew what words and sentences he would articulate with his mouth, lips, and tongue even before he actually uttered them.

So, as you can see, the Calvinists’ effort to link Psalm 139 to their doctrines of race is at best a wild shot in the dark and dangerously deceptive.

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Tom Lessing (Discerning the World)

Tom Lessing is the author of the above article. Discerning the World is an internet Christian Ministry based in Johannesburg South Africa. Tom Lessing and Deborah Ellish both own Discerning the World. For more information see the About this Website page below the comments section.

6 Responses

  1. Wickus says:


  2. Blessed Hope says:

    People use this verse to say that the day of their death has been foreordained. Beside it not even being the context of limbs being formed, and days being a modifying adverb to that well established context, it is patently illogical. Shall we say that those who commit suicide did so according to God’s decree? Shall we say that the axe murderer is not responsible for taking a life because God was holding the axe? As usual, this illogic, conflates foreknowledge with foreordination and imposes it on a passage that whose subject is completely different.

  3. Paul says:

    Sometimes, just sometimes, you can understand what the Bible says just by reading it and believing it, submitting to the Word of God. We can understand that if we have a problem with God’s Word, the problem is us, not the text, and not God himself. We don’t need to defend him for what we conceive as being just. God is just. We are marred by sin. Carry on with your theological gymnastics!

  4. Paul wrote:

    We are marred by sin. Carry on with your theological gymnastics!

    Indeed, one of the more severe sins in Calvinism is to interpret “world” in John 3:16 in terms of the elect only. Are you also one of these sinners?

  5. Deon Barnard says:

    Hoe waar is die opmerking nie dat Armenianisme voor jou deur gegooi word indien jy Calvyn en sy leer verwerp. Ek het ‘n lang pad met die NGK gestap. Nooit uitverkiesing behoorlik ‘gehoor’ nie en dit was eers in 2003 dat ek die NGK verlaat het en selfstudie oor verskillende geloof aspekte gedoen het, dat ek my ware pad met my Here ontdek het. Ek het my by ‘n Baptiste gemeenskap aangesluit en vir die eerste keer ‘teaching’ ipv. ‘preaching’ ervaar[nie dat lg. nie ‘n plek het nie]. Nadat ek Vedder se ‘A Short History of the Baptists’, Verduin se ‘ The Reformers and Their Stepchildren’ en E H Broadbent se boek ‘The Pilgrim Church’ bestudeer het, het ek geleidelik die pad begin sien. Dave Hunt se ‘What Love is This’ het Calvinisme vir my ontmasker as ‘n lasterlike leer. Ek en ‘n paar ander gelowiges in ons klein geloof gemeenskap, ervaar dikwels Calvyn en Piper in ons kele afgedruk.
    Ek is baie beïndruk met jul ‘Statement of Faith’ en die vele aspekte wat deur jul bediening aangeraak word. Die ontmaskering van Spurgeon binne die vrymesselary is vir my ‘n ‘eye opener’. Ek doen al jare lank opleeswerk oor hierdie sataniese godsdiens en ken dit beter as sommige VM’s self.
    Ek sal hierdie webblad wyd en syd aanbeveel – julle dek ‘n verstommende hoeveelheid pitkos rakende ons geloof in ons Here.


  6. Dagsê Deon. Baie dankie vir jou inset. Dit is voorwaar baie bemoedigend. Bid asseblief vir ons om steeds getrou te bly aan Jesus Christus en sy Woord sodat mense wat in allerhande valse leringe vasgevang is, mag loskom en gered word, diegene wat nog nie gered is nie.

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