As I have dealt with Calvinists and Calvinism over the past 7-8 years, they always seem to want to present their soteriology (doctrine of salvation) as “The Historical Christian Faith”. When a Calvinist says such a thing, it makes me laugh (at least on the inside). It shows that they are either ignorant of what the Early Church Fathers believed and are just parroting what their favorite “theologian” has said or they are just outright lying.
Either way, such a statement couldn’t be further from the truth. And just to be clear, when I say, “Early Church Fathers” (ECF’s) I am referring to the Ante-Nicene Fathers. In other words, I am referring to the Church leaders who wrote extensively, prior to the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.).
With all of that in mind, I want to give you some quotes from the ECF’s regarding one tenant of Calvinism – “Perseverance of the Saints”. This is also know as the “P” from the acronym “T.U.L.I.P.”, which is used to represent the Calvinistic doctrine of soteriology. “Perseverance” of the Saints is more rightly called “Preservation of the Saints” or “Unconditional Eternal Security”, since God “preserves them” and since there is nothing they can do to “lose their salvation”.
No matter what you choose to call it, it was not what the Early Church believed in. The only group of people who believed such doctrines during this period of time, were the Gnostics, who were heretics. Jude 3 says, “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” If this verse it to have any meaning at all, we should be able to see some form of Calvinistic soteriology in the Early Church Father’s writings. Unfortunately, for the Calvinists, we don’t.