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False Doctrine: Calvin's Doctrine of
Infallible Grace (Irresistible Grace)
Bible study on Calvinism: infallible grace, irresistible grace.



The doctrine of infallible grace (irresistible grace) alleges that the Holy Spirit operates directly upon people, who have been predestined, to convert them. Conversely, the Holy Spirit allegedly does not work upon the people who have not been predestined; therefore, God allows them to be lost.

Resulting from this doctrine, some denominations require people to have an esoteric spiritual experience to be saved. And, some have developed a doctrine of "praying through" to be saved.


1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; cf. Ezek. 18:23

God desires all men to be saved. God has not predestined some people to be saved allowing everyone else to be lost. So, Calvin's doctrine of infallible grace is based upon a false assumption.


Rom. 1:16-17; 1 Th. 2:13

God works through His word to convert people.

The Holy Spirit does not work in some mysterious way to just convert a predestined group of people, but He speaks through the word (Acts 1:16-18; Eph. 6:17; Heb. 3:7; 2 Pet. 1:20- 21). The Bible teaches that we are born of the Spirit through God's word (Jn. 3:5-8; 1 Pet. 1:22- 23).

The Scriptures tell us that:

  • the Spirit gives life and the word gives life (Jn. 6:63; Ps. 119:50, 93).
  • God saves through the Spirit and the word saves (Tit. 3:5; Jas. 1:21; cf. 1 Pet. 1:22-23).
  • we are washed, sanctified, justified by the Holy Spirit and we are sanctified, washed by the word (1 Cor. 6:11; Jn. 17:17; Eph. 5:26; cf. Tit. 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:22-23).

Every example of conversion is ascribed to the word.

  • They gladly received Peter's word and were baptized (Acts 2:40-41).
  • Samaritans were baptized when they believed Philip's preaching (Acts 8:12-13).
  • Philip preached from the Scriptures and the eunuch was baptized (Acts 8:35-39).
  • Saul was told what to do and was baptized to wash away his sins (Acts 9:6, 18; 22:16).
  • Peter spoke the words by which Cornelius would be saved and he was baptized (Acts 10:22, 33-48; 11:14).
  • Lydia heard the things spoken by Paul and was baptized (Acts 16:13-15).
  • The jailer heard the word of the Lord and was baptized (Acts 16:31-34).
  • The Corinthians heard, believed, and were baptized (Acts 18:8; 1 Cor. 15:1-2).
  • Men in Ephesus were baptized after Paul taught them (Acts 19:1-7).