Angry Arminians.

For the past several weeks I’ve been addressing my concerns about behavioral and interpersonal interaction among Christians and the inevitable negative affects this ungracious conduct breeds.

I’ve addressed issues such as the hypocrisy of Christians (found here), caustic Calvinists (found here), and the cannibalism of “elite” Christian bloggers devouring their perceived lower class counterparts (found here).

This week I am addressing one more issue: Angry Arminians. And what better way to tackle this issue than to reprint an e-mail (verbatim and in its entirety) that I recently received in the DefCon reader mailbag?

I have read your blog for 2 years. I don’t know why. Every time I read a post, I feel physically sick. My soul weeps at how you blaspheme the nature of God. Your arrogance thinly veiled in self-righteousness. Your hate for your fellow man.

WE GET IT…God doesn’t love everyone, but he loves you. God didn’t send Jesus to die for everyone, just a select (including you). Because he chose you. Congratulations. If God is as you view him, I would rather spend eternity in hell. There is something wrong with all of you. I take the way you ruin the name of God very seriously, and so do many others. The god you purport to serve is NOTHING. you serve a tyrannical psychopathic egotistical monster of your own creation. because he isn’t real. this makes you weak and pathetic and masochistic. you are disgusting.

This is obviously not the way that most Arminians engage in a debate on the subject of God’s sovereignty; many remain gracious and kind in their debates but we must be honest, too many Arminians tend to get very hot under the collar whenever the Doctrines of Grace are proclaimed.

The vast majority of those who oppose what is commonly referred to as “Calvinism” do not disembowel their opponents with vitriolic diatribes like seen above, but many of them do get extremely angry.

The idea that God is actually sovereign over all His creation (including His human creations), and that He retains the right to wield that sovereignty over His creation as He sees fit (humans included) is oftentimes enough to send some Arminians into a rabid tizzy.

What the angry Arminian fails to comprehend, however, is that their loathsome disgust of the Doctrine’s of Grace is not actually toward those who hold to these doctrines, but instead, their disdain is ultimately with the Scriptures themselves and the God who inspired them. Arminians are simply kicking against the goads, for the Doctrines of Grace are biblical and have been taught throughout all of Scripture and church history (long before John Calvin was ever born).

There’s absolutely no need to be demeaning or to get enraged with one another when debating these issues. Neither caustic Calvinists nor Angry Arminians advance the gospel or glorify God when we’re engaged in bloody battles and vitriolic tirades with one another. We tend to show more patience with those in cults and false religions than we do with our own brethren. Absolutely no one is drawn to the gospel when they see displays like this . . .

Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

Colossians 4:6


110 thoughts on “Angry Arminians.

  1. Sadly, the man who is preaching has made quite a name for himself. He is a self-declared “Independent Fundamental Baptist” preacher who has little true biblical knowledge. He has many messages that are an absolute joke, not because they are rank Arminian, but because he shows no true love for biblical doctrine. His exposition is no exposition at all, and he does NOT speak for the rank and file of those who classify themselves as true Baptists or baptistic in doctrine.

  2. That fella would sing, “All hail the power of my dead faith, let demons prostrate fall. Bring forth my free will trophy of works and hail me, lord of nil! Bring forth my free will trophy of works and hail me, lord of nil.” But don’t bring none of that TRUTH to my church!

    And there, but for the grace of God, go you and me.

  3. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Pilgrim, Thanks for another thought provoking post regarding the Christians in ability to behave in a Christlike manner. This is a great reminder with the Caustic Calvinist post that anytime we add humans to a situation it gets ruined. There is so much pride and arrogance within the sphere of theological discussions and we must work so hard to speak gently in our disagreements and to love those who disagree no matter the circumstances. We don’t get a pass (Calvinist or Armenian or atheist) just because we think we are right. Its a shame, but it is part of our nature.

    Oh, and this video cracks me up! This guy is a riot!

    -atg

  4. The first step toward the solution, Pilgrim, is for Calvinists (caustic and otherwise) and Arminians (angry and sanguine) to agree that either Calvinists are true Christians and Arminians are not; or vice versa. As a Calvinist I fully support the former proposition while rejecting the latter. Theoretically, Calvs and Arms can both be wrong, but we cannot both be right; one camp or the other worships a detestable idol of their own devising…unless both camps do. Thanks to Scripture, the both-and option is a nonstarter.

    You rightly point out that the Arminian hates the truth of Scripture and is in rebellion against their Author. This necessarily means the Arminian is not a regenerate Christian, period. I don’t support or endorse “Outside the Camp,” but here is a short article outlining just a few of the obvious reasons Arminians must be considered lost still. Some of the reasons put forth are weaker than others, and I would expand greatly on what is there; but the authors do a good job of keeping it succinct, something I cannot manage whilst on this particular topic. Also, they’re not “caustic,” at least not by this ol’ Scrooge’s standards.

    This is not an “intramural debate,” as so many foolish teachers today are fond of branding it. Real Christians (including you, Pilgrim) should seek separation from unrepentant Arminians, not concord. Light has no fellowship with darkness. Arminians are unbelievers. They require Gospel witness, prayer and the regenerative power of God, not confirmation of their rank heresy or validation as redeemed partakers in Christ and legit members of His body..

  5. abidingthroughgrace says:

    AZTexan,

    I personally want to distance myself from the sort of comments you just made. To suggest that someone who believes in free will is not saved, not a christian, not an adopted child of God because of differences in doctrine is something I cannot agree with. Our salvation has nothing to do with having perfect doctrine. I believe Armenian or any form of free will man centered theology is wrong, but it isn’t the deciding factor or evidence of salvation. You as a self proclaimed caustic Calvinist should see this as true. Your implication here goes against the simplicity of unconditional election and salvation by faith alone. I was saved by God with free will theology in a seeker sensitive country club church. I know this to be true because 6 months previously I was a raging atheist. God changed me, but I didn’t know squat. I didn’t come to understand the Doctrines of Grace until 10+ years into my faith. I didn’t get saved when I understood DoG, I got saved when God saved me and I lived believing bad theology for many years.

    There are many many many lost souls in need of the gospel and we should be concerned about this and demonstrate the Christlike love towards them no matter what their doctrine looks like. There are as many lost church goers believing in Calvinism as there are lost Armenians. The ONLY evidence of a child of God is love…God grows the fruit through Christ and the outpouring is love and not ideal doctrine.

    There is a long line of awesome and godly men through the history of the church that you just condemned to Hell based on their doctrine and not God’s unconditional electing love and grace. That sounds like the opposite of the Doctrines of Grace to me.

    In the love of Christ,
    -atg

  6. atg – I am with you. If one needed perfect theology to be saved, none would be. I do believe that one who holds to all 5 points of Arminian theology to be an heretic – though I’ve not yet met one.

    The folks at Outside the Camp are rabid in their assessment of all people who stray one iota from their narrow view of what constitutes Christian faith.

  7. You put the cart before the horse, atg. The bad doctrine is the symptom of unregeneracy, not the cause. They’re not going to hell because they didn’t believe the right doctrine; rather, they didn’t believe right doctrine because they were children of hell.

    As for the rest of your subjective, emotionalist, experientialist “argument,” I will let it pass for now. Perhaps some other time. Thanks to you (atg), Pilgrim and all of DefCon for allowing me to be heard despite my insufferable causticity. :-)

  8. abidingthroughgrace says:

    AZ,

    You are again putting some arbitrary extra-Biblical evidence of salvation on the believers that you seem to be claiming to have the ability to discern. I pray you would reconsider this dangerous train of thought. We are all very sinful and, as I was told not too long ago by a wise brother in Christ, once we think we have it all figured out is when we are in the most danger.

    To quote you above, “As for the rest of your subjective, emotionalist, experientialist “argument,” I will let it pass for now.” I take exception to the subjective and the experimentalist label…as often happens here on DefCon instead of dealing with issues the typical reaction is to label someone as something less spiritual as yourself. I am being neither subjective or experiential in talking about the Biblical basis for the evidence of salvation and the life of a disciple of Christ and the love that should emanate from his disciples. I’ll accept the emotionalism tag though because emotion is part of our faith and our mission. We should be emotional and we should demonstrate love for the lost and love for those with bad doctrine and gently and patiently teach and shepherd rather than pointing crooked and corrupted fingers of self-righteousness from our lofty pedestals at all those who don’t measure up to our standards. If we have standards unto ourselves, we’ve already lost the battle.

    And, again, as I concluded the last response, you personally are taking God’s holy and perfect judgement in your own corrupted and sinful hands to proclaim that men like Wesley or Moody are not adopted children of God because they believe in regeneration after faith. Are you willing to rip this much responsibility away from God by making these claims?

    I pray you reconsider.
    -atg

  9. DavidW says:

    AZTexan,

    Calvinist Whitefield once quoted the reformer John Bradford: “Let a man go to the grammar school of faith and repentance, before he goes to the university of election and predestination.”

    “We have come to ask you whether you expect to see Mr. Whitefield in heaven? We have had a long discussion shout it.” “No, I do not,” replied Mr. Wesley, ” I do not expect to see Mr. Whitefield in heaven,” “Now, did we not tell you so ?” asked his disciples, triumphantly. “Because,” said Wesley, “I am firmly persuaded that so high will Whitefield be in the glories of his Master, that I shall not see him, for I shall be very, very far beneath him.” (The Evangelical Magazine, pp. 386-387, June 1857)

    Since the “Arminian” John Wesley and the “Calvinist” George Whitefield, scholars and dedicated followers of Jesus Christ, considered each other brothers in Christ, despite their difference in their frail human understandings on the intricacies of the Doctrines of Grace, we who are less studied than they would do well to exhibit similar grace for one another.

  10. I didn’t watch the video. But just let me say that I have been on occasion visiting the blog of one Roger E. Olsen, an Open Theist and Arminian extraordinaire. Olsen is a professional theologian and a seminary professor. One would expect better arguments than simply attacking God as a monster. Unfortunately, Olsen never deals with any of the Scriptures which portray God as this monster he so loathes.

    I might add that I graduated from two Arminian schools of Bible and theology and was once an avowed Arminian. However, the logical inconsistencies and the unbiblical arguments so bothered me that I finally decided to let Scripture speak for itself. One Jerry Walls, the apologetics professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, helped to push me to Calvinism after I heard his rather emotive appeal to libertarian free will when I already knew there is no such thing according to Scripture. For that I am grateful to Dr. Walls. (See: Jerry Walls on Compatibilism and Libertarian Free Will).

    Why do Arminians spend so much time evangelizing Calvinists while we’re supposed to sit back and grin and bear it? No, I think it is high time that the evangelizing of the lost Arminians began. Yes, I said, “Lost.” I do not consider myself to have been truly converted until I fully accepted the doctrines of grace in 1996, shortly after I graduated from Asbury.

    Sincerely yours,

    Charlie
    ______________________

    DavidW, you’re obviously not that familiar with Reformation Anglicanism. Wesley was a devil when it came to his debates with Augustus Toplady. Wesley even went so far as to publish tracts purporting to have been written by Toplady but were actually written by himself. The tracts in question misrepresented the Calvinist position and deliberately so simply to win over public opinion for the Wesleys.

    This is brought out in one recent book by Lee Gatis of the Church Society in England:

    It was Wesley himself, however, who made the most public response to the translation of Zanchi. . . . [Wesley] . . . removes entirely the biblical aspect of Zanchi’s presentation. For example, in Toplady’s translation there are around 350 quotations and citations in Scripture, around which the whole argument is built. In Wesley’s abridgement there is just one biblical allusion (“Esau have I hated”) and that without giving the reference. This leaves an entirely different taste in the mouth and castrates the persuasive potential of the work for Christian readers. Finally, and most alarmingly, Wesley himself added a whole paragraph to the work, which was all his own work and seemed calculated to paint both predestination and Augustus Toplady in as bad a light as possible:

    The sum of all is this: One in twenty (suppose) of mankind are elected; nineteen in twenty are reprobated. The elect shall be saved, do what they will: The reprobate shall be damned, do what they can. Reader, believe this, or be damned. Witness my hand, A____ T_____.

    From: Lee Gatis, The True Profession of the Gospel: Augustus Toplady and Reclaiming Our Reformed Foundations, (London: Latimer Trust, 2010), pp. 94-95.

    And let’s not forget that the Arminian, Archbishop Laud, tortured and martyred Puritans in the star chamber, which might explain why the low life was beheaded during the Calvinist revolution. What LOVE! I feel so loved by Arminians. Yes, Arminians will tolerate you as long as you do not dare preach against their doctrines. You must water down the doctrines of grace or agree with them if you want to be left alone. Sorry, but that is too high a price to pay!

    Charlie

  11. So, DavidW. According to you and atg we are to believe the misguided (and very emotional) niceties of Whitefield and Spurgeon above the testimony of Scripture. That’s frankly how you come across, and I find no evidence to the contrary in your remarks. Since emotion has apparently impaired y’all’s reading-comprehension as well as your reasoning, let’s see if we can straighten out my position for you sweetie pies:

    Scripture alone, right? Scripture tells us what the Gospel is. Scripture tells us that sinners must believe the Gospel to be saved. Arminianism is a different god and a different (non-)gospel; therefore Arminians are not saved. Unrepentant Arminians are not damned for holding to error in adiaphora (everyone does); in fact, Arminians technically aren’t even damned, per se for rejecting the true Gospel and the true Lord (though they do); rather, they reject God and Gospel because they are reprobate. Got that, guys?

    We’re not talking about dunking versus sprinkling here; this is God versus idol, Gospel versus fiction. If you disagree with that, I worry for you. Either way, can we cut the nauseous non sequiturs about “extra-Biblical” tests and the “pointing crooked and corrupted fingers of self-righteousness from our lofty pedestals” crap? Grow up. From my vantage point, it is YOU who are straying from Scripture and usurping God’s authority when you would number Arminian infidels among the Church. Arminians are no different from deniers of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Resurrection or penal substitutionary atonement. WHY can’t so-called “Calvinists” see this?!?

  12. fleebabylon says:

    “The first step toward the solution, Pilgrim, is for Calvinists (caustic and otherwise) and Arminians (angry and sanguine) to agree that either Calvinists are true Christians and Arminians are not; or vice versa”

    ” Real Christians (including you, Pilgrim) should seek separation from unrepentant Arminians, ”

    AZ – The apostles and early church were neither of these and would have excommunicated you as a heretic if you stated they had to follow a mans name and systematic theology to be saved. You may think that your zeal is based upon Holy Spirit truth but it is evident to all that it is flesh. You are a carnal believer at best (1 Corinthians 3) and exhibit the same religious spirit that is common among roman catholics.

    -Jim

  13. abidingthroughgrace says:

    AZ, So based on this last response are you saying you are unwilling to address the issues mentioned by myself, DavidW, and Fleebabylon?

  14. OK, I saw the video… ROTL!!! That was hilarious! hahahahah

    The basis for judging Arminians lost is not examining their works, or their mystical connection with an undefined Jesus or an undefined god. Rather the basis for judging them lost is their doctrinal system. We can say that Buddhists are lost and Mormons are lost. We can say that Papists are lost. Why can’t we say Arminians are lost since they deny all 5 solas of the Protestant Reformation and the very Gospel itself?

    Looks like ecumenicalism and works righteousness are alive and well. Believing the right doctrine is not enough. Now you have to have some sort of existential encounter????

  15. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Reasonable –
    I would disagree that someone who believes in free will doctrine is in the same category with Buddhists and Mormons and Papists. As I mentioned to AZTexan earlier, believing in right doctrine is not a condition of salvation or an evidence of it. I completely reject the idea that existential encounters are necessary. We know what the evidence of salvation is…it is love of Christ above all, it is love for the lost and love for one another. Of course right doctrine is essential for maturity and sanctification, but to make a blanket statement that someone who believes in free will is automatically lost and unsaved and equivalent with a Buddhist and destined for hell is NOT the gospel. I’m not talking about ecumenicalism, but common sense regarding sanctification of the believer.

    ——————————————-

    AZTex,

    I’m really trying to wrap my feeble weak emotionally unstable existential ecumenical mind around this idea you have of a doctrinal litmus test for the believer and the way you communicate to others.

    This is what I have understood from your comments thus far…somewhat tongue in cheek:

    – we are mental midgets in your shadow. ;)
    – you hold the keys to reasoning and retention and are far wiser and more godly than Whitefield or Spurgeon
    – you don’t believe in sanctification of the believer…the logical inference from your reply is that a person regenerated by God couldn’t have a shallow and mixed up theology and mature into a wise Bible believing Christian
    – in your view, believing that Jesus died for your sins and loving Him above all else is not the whole Gospel, you must also believe in the 5 Solas of the reformation and TULIP at the point of regeneration to really be saved…otherwise you’re not.
    – i must be a child or juvenile of some sort since I need to grow up and your tummy hurts when you are criticized
    – you don’t think that someone in another country with another language who has potentially 1 page of a Bible in a persecuted country that LOVES Christ with all their heart and doesn’t even know what the reformation was or who Calvin is or what the word doctrine means can’t be saved by God.
    – the Christian faith is an emotionless thing. Its all about the doctrine!
    – those with emotion are sweetie pies? or…? I’m not sure about that one…I missed the point but apparently emotion is bad

    Oh, and for the record I am not presuming to count any among the church. Thank God that is not my responsibility. My responsibility is to shepherd the believer regardless of their doctrine. If they are immature in their knowledge of the Bible, I redirect them by teaching them truth and help them with a proper understanding. The fruit in their life will be the evidence of their faith, not their doctrine. Neither John 15 or Galatians 5 mentions “Understands Calvinism” in the fruit of the Spirit. God will bear the fruit for those who abide in Christ and that is as far as God has let our collective feeble minds know.

    Honest question: Do you love the lost or is it just about pointing them out?

    I still hope that you’ll consider what I’m talking about here.

    emotionally and lovingly your sweetie pie,
    -atg

  16. fleebabylon says:

    “Of course right doctrine is essential for maturity and sanctification, but to make a blanket statement ”

    Amen brother – I was saved by grace even before I understood election and the doctrines of grace. Many brethren believe in free will only because election has been presented to them in a confusing manner or presented by a man of the flesh on the internet. That described me for some time.

    I’ll paraphrase Paul Washer again “better to have it and not know how to explain it than to be able to explain it perfectly and not have it”.

    -Jim

  17. Ladies and gentlemen, atg decries the Gospel as an unfair “doctrinal litmus test” devised by men! Don’t we arrogant Caustic Calvinists know that Professor YHWH is a big ol’ sweetie pie like atg, not really all that jealous for His name and always grading on a generous curve? Furthermore, though Prof. God assigns none other than the Holy Spirit as personal tutor to all, gives copious notes, and all His exams are open-Book, correct answers on topics such as the Trinity, the Virgin Birth, the Incarnation, the Miracles, the Atonement, the Resurrection and the Doctrines of Grace are purely optional. Through the mystical magick of progressive sanctification, everyone who thinks he has passed, has indeed passed despite his beliefs about such trifles! All ya need is lurv, whatever that means to you – define it for yourself and trot it out whenever confronted by a Caustic Calvinist. Lurv is the only doctrine necessary for salvation, and anyone who says otherwise is arrogant, mean and unlurving.

    T. D. Jakes and Roger Olson, for example, are our brothers in Christ. Their doctrine is a little spotty, but they’re amiable guys who LURV Jesus, like, a lot, so how dare we question their paths of progressive sanctification? What’s the difference between Alistair Begg and Aleister Crowley? NOTHING! Progressive sanctification and lurv trump stuffy ol’ doctrine every time! Praaaise JAAAY-Zeus!

  18. @abidingthroughgrace You said, “As I mentioned to AZTexan earlier, believing in right doctrine is not a condition of salvation or an evidence of it.” Wow. That sounds more like liberalism than anything else. The last I checked the Bible says you must believe what Jesus says to be saved:

    The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has a judge; the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day. 49 For I have not spoken from my own authority, but the Father himself who sent me has commanded me what I should say and what I should speak. (John 12:48-49 NET)

    Even worse, Paul says that you must believe in the correct Gospel and the correct Jesus to be saved, not some gospel or Jesus you make up to fit your idolatrous preconceptions. Scripture is the final Word, not Arminian rationalism. (Galatians 1:6-8; 2 Corinthians 11:3-4). There is only one Christian faith (Jude 1:3-4; Ephesians 4:5). To teach another gospel or another Jesus constitutes heresy.

    You apparently reject the doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture since you think that man’s reason trumps Scripture, i.e. the philosophical principle of libertarian free will. Luther demolished that doctrine in his polemical response to Erasmus called The Bondage of the Will:

    THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD.

    Sect. 9.—THIS, therefore, is also essentially necessary and wholesome for Christians to know: That God foreknows nothing by contingency, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His immutable, eternal, and infallible will. By this thunderbolt, “Free-will” is thrown prostrate, and utterly dashed to pieces. Those, therefore, who would assert “Free-will,” must either deny this thunderbolt, or pretend not to see it, or push it from them.

    All this pie in the sky ecumenicalism is really just anti-intellectual irrationalism posing as Christian doctrine. The Bible makes propositional truth claims in logical and rational statements. To deny those truth claims is to place one’s self outside confessional and theological orthodoxy. Since Calvinism IS the Gospel and Scripture IS the Word of God, I fail to see how you can count Arminianism as merely a matter of adiaphora? Either God is sovereign over all creation or there is some lesser god who is unable to save anyone without their cooperation. Please. Since God decreed absolutely everything that happens according the Scriptures, it is fairly obvious that the Arminian rejects the plain teaching of Scripture and therefore is in the same category as the papists and various other semi-pelagian heresies.

    ——————

    I should add that labeling determined Calvinists as “caustic” is an ad hominem. My reasons for rejecting Arminianism as adiaphora are logical, theological and biblical, not emotive. That would be the approach of the angry Arminian:)

    ————————-

    T. D. Jakes is a Oneness Pentecostal who does not even believe in the trinity. Here’s another problem: Anabaptists tend to subjectively dismiss orthodoxy. Perhaps the calvinistic Baptists are more in line with the Anabaptists and Pentecostals than following the logical propositions of Holy Scripture? Subjectivism and irrationalism and anti-intellectualism seem to be at a premium these days. It might also be why John Piper and Wayne Grudem are charismatics.

    ————————-

    Paul Washer? Johnny Mac? Lordship salvation? Neo-legalism and works righteousness seems to reign in calvinistic Baptist circles.

  19. I think we would be well served if we restricted our criticism to the teaching and doctrine, and reserve labeling and critiquing groups and individuals. 5 point Arminianism is heresy – one who holds to all 5 points is an heretic. Not all self-professing Arminians are heretics. Not all self-professing Calvinists are regenerate.

    It is wrong to pass judgment on a given author because one can find a grievous statement in one of 20 or more books he has written. If a man has a consistent record of reaching a false Christ, his teaching condemns him. Our criticism ought to be to shine the light of Truth on what he wrote and warn people about his doctrine – not to tell everyone he is in hell. We really do not have the authority, insight, purity, or occasion to pass judgment on one another.

  20. Charlie J. – you do not rightly understand the gospel if you think so-called Lordship salvation is of works. While John MacArthur has written some stuff that looks like works-based salvation, the biblical Truth is that when God saves by grace, through faith (and that is a gift of God), those gifts to the spiritually dead elect man cause him to repent of sin and believe on Christ. Those initial works of salvation are the work of the Holy Spirit, not of the man. Justification is all of Christ, none of man – one who is so saved will know that Christ is Lord of all, not Savior of all and Lord of some.

  21. ATG – You do not rightly understand progressive sanctification if you think orthodoxy is of works (i.e., doctrinal “litmus test”). While Caustic Calvinists like myself have written some stuff that looks like works-based salvation (“litmus test”), the biblical Truth is that when God saves by grace, through faith (and that is a gift of God), those gifts to the spiritually dead elect man cause him to repent of sin and believe on Christ as He is revealed in Scripture. Christ’s sheep are all taught by the Holy Spirit; they hear His voice and LOVE His word, including the glorious Doctrines of Grace. Someone who HATES the Doctrines of Grace as put forth in Scripture – someone who rejects the God of the Bible as a “monster” and “tyrant” – cannot by any criteria be called Christ’s. Those initial works (by God) of salvation – including the recognition and love of Scripture’s core truths – are the work of the Holy Spirit, not of the man. Justification is all of Christ, none of man – one who is so saved will know that Christ is Lord of all, not Savior of all and Lord of some…and he will hold these truths precious, not odious. The man who hates the Truth is none of His.

  22. abidingthroughgrace says:

    AZTex,

    You have completely mischaracterized my statement in a disingenuous way. I’m not going to let you get off so easy as to rant and make fun of me and not address the real issue. I want to to specifically answer these questions in light of your Gospel + Doctrine salvation statements (which you have so clearly stated).

    1. How do you justify that your unbiblical gospel + doctrine salvation scheme doesn’t allow for progressive sanctification of the believer? We all know that progressive sanctification of the believer is part of God’s plan to make us Christlike. We are not born as full mature adults. But your gospel+ plan doesn’t allow for sanctification.

    2. How do you explain God saving the 3rd world country village missionary who doesn’t have an entire Bible or know what doctrine is? We know for a fact that God saves these people. But in your gospel+ scheme God can’t do it.

    3. Do you love a) your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, or b) lost sinners of the world? Thus far based on everything you’ve stated it seems that you don’t love anyone. I can’t tell.

    I’ll confidently stand on the side of scripture:
    John 15:8-13 ESV: [8] By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. [9] As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. [10] If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. [11] These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. [12] “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. [13] Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

    1 John 4:7-12 ESV: [7] Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. [8] Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. [9] In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. [10] In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [11] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. [12] No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

    In the love of Christ,
    -atg

  23. abidingthroughgrace says:

    AZTexan,

    I am surprised that you are so unwilling to answer questions to clarify your position and the bold statements that you have been making. I pray that this stuff sinks in and that God will soften your heart and fill it with love for the lost and love for your brothers and sisters. I pray that the Gospel will become more to you than a list of perfect theological outlines and an intellectual exercise.

    In the unmeasurable riches of Christ’s love,
    -atg

  24. Charlie – I just listened to that video of Jerry Walls you posted a link to. Wow. I can see how the Lord used that to open your eyes. Praise the Lord!

  25. Love must be the motive behind what drives us, what are we without it? nothing…

    “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing. Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” – 1 Corinthians 13: 1-7

  26. DavidW says:

    Sorry I haven’t had opportunity to be at my computer for a few hours, but it seems a lot has transpired since. ATG has articulated pretty well my beliefs on the matter. I will say, it is disheartening to hear some who claim to hold so uncompromisingly to “the Gospel” only to display the very antithesis of it in their fuming. And in that self-induced emotional turmoil, to turn around and falsely accuse me and ATG of letting our emotions cloud our reasoning (as well as being “ecumenical”, and other false accusations) is, well, bizarre to say the least. I also find it ironic that in a post exposing “Angry Arminians” (and rightly so for the particular examples given), the only anger I have encountered here has been from some avowed Calvinists. And more ironic still, I find myself wanting to defend the average “Arminian” (the Christian who has not been introduced to Calvinist preaching, but believes he is a lost sinner, has repented, believes that Jesus is God Almighty Who left Heaven and died for his sins, forsakes all to follow Him according to the best he understands from the Scriptures) from the false accusations of such Calvinists. It’s no wonder that, exposed to such rantings and false accusations, people would never want anything to do with the Calvinist view of the Doctrines of Grace. And, tragically, I can also see why no one would want anything to do with the name of Christ at all (if indeed Calvinists represent Christ).

    I echo Lyn’s comment above. Love is not an optional element in defending the Truth. It is a vital, integral part. As we “strive for the prize”, unless we strive LAWFULLY (according to the Lord’s instruction in His Word – which includes love), we can be disqualified! (2 Tim.2:5; 1 Cor.9:24-27; Matt. 7:21-23) (and, no, I’m not advocating Arminianism here).

    “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all [men], apt to teach, patient,
    In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And [that] they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Tim.2:24-26).

  27. Justin says:

    AZTexan,

    Here is the problem I see with your stance. You said:

    “Someone who HATES the Doctrines of Grace as put forth in Scripture – someone who rejects the God of the Bible as a “monster” and “tyrant” – cannot by any criteria be called Christ’s.”

    The problem I have with this statement, is that many Arminians have a strawman understanding of the Doctrines of Grace; they rail against the Calvinist and accuse him of portraying God as a “monster and tyrant”. But, like me, many of them do not truly understand the Calvinist position, and they do not truly understand the Doctrines of Grace. Many times, like me, they need someone to come along and explain to them the way of God more clearly.

    My problem with your staunch declaration of Arminians as unregenerate, is that it is very likely a regenerate believer who has this ajar view of the Doctrines of Grace will be placed in your path. And while they might be a bruised reed in need of your care and explanation of the Scriptures which could help lead them to the great Doctrines of Grace, you will instead see and declare them as unregenerate, thus risking severing any channel of love and compassion you could potentially have for them, and break the bruised reed, and quench the smoking flask.

    This is why you cannot broadly declare Arminians as unregenerate heretics. Arminianism comes naturally to us, and it often takes time and patience to lead someone into the Doctrines of Grace. Your broad brush risks sweeping away many true believers stuck in an Arminian soteriology, who by God’s grace will grasp those glorious Doctrines in due time. But from the sounds of it, if anyone is an Arminian, it is proof they are unregenerate. Period.

    I believe you should repent of this intolerant, short-sighted view of the Church.

    Justin

  28. “Arminianism comes naturally to us, and it often takes time and patience to lead someone into the Doctrines of Grace. ”

    Amen Justin! I believe all Christians are born Arminian – all we know is what our flesh senses! We need the Word of God, the Holy Spirit of God, and the people of God to help nurture us in the faith so we will begin to see rightly with our new spiritual eyes.

    All we do should be for the glory of God and the good of His people – even though we are ignorant and blind in many different ways.

  29. Mickey Merrie says:

    The first step might be to stop beating up “straw calvin” and “straw arminius” and then perhaps real Arminian might listen to real scriptures in context. The scripture is a marvelous sword that cuts flesh and spirit, but is an awful brickbat. I think that both schools have done far more damage then good with their man labels, but if i were keeping score at the gates of hell and heaven, Our Lord lost none…

    Which brings up the question: Can the Arminian arguement prevent the elect from salvation?
    If not, then the Calvinist position should be the gentle presenting of the Word in context so that the common faith of an Arminian can be elevated to saving faith through the Word in context as revealed by the Holy Spirit to the former Arminian who may well be elect, fore known and predestined! But if the Calvinist simply pre-judges the Arminian as lost, why even argue, or worse because of his pre-judgement feels it is hopeless to waste time on the lost as it is God who saves, and presents not the gospel, what then of the Calvinist? Too many straw men and too much flesh in each camp, which would include dead works “calvinists” who have a receipe for their salvation that leaves out the ingredients for the salvation of the currently lost. At the same time the Arminian makes common faith, hero worship, false salvation, tares and fills the pews with men who follow Jesus for what He can do for them rather then Who He is.
    Both causing the Way to be evil spoken of due to their leading with their flesh…Hmmm

  30. GoForthAndPreach says:

    The issue people like AZTexan fail to understand is that there can be different levels of understanding and growth when it comes to doctrine. All areas of doctrine are considered essential, none are secondary or tertiary, and any wrong understanding is rank heresy. Heresy is not even understood rightly. One can be a “material heretic”, meaning that they hold a heretical view of doctrine ignorantly (see Reefing Wax’s recent article “Confessions of a Former Apollinarian) but can be corrected thru loving and compassionate instruction (which could require a firm rebuke). A “Formal heretic” (ala T.D. Jakes) is one who has been repeatedly corrected and firmly refuses to change. Such a heretic is very likely unregenerate, where the former might possibly be saved, bit lacks understanding.

    But in the AZTexan world, there is no progressive growth and maturity in the learning of doctrine. There is no difference between wrong doctrine and heresy. There is no difference between material and formal heresy. Anyone not fully understanding doctrine immediately are clearly unregenerate up and until they fully accept what he believes is correct. Therefore, there is no loving and compassionate instruction and correction. Only angry and stinging rebukes that serve to drive people away rather than lead them to the foot of the blood stained Cross of Christ.
    _____________________________________________________

    My apologies, the author of the blog cited is Trevin Wax, not Reefing. My phone decided it knew what I was typing better than I did apparently.

  31. Mickey Merrie says:

    …and thus we can see why the number one religious preference checked in Europe, where the whole argument began, is Jedi Knight!

  32. Illiterate, irrational children. Instead of interacting with my position, you extrapolate all sorts of silly and outlandish things, put those words in my mouth, erroneously ascribe motive behind them, and then condemn me and your straw man caricature of my position. Not ONE of you has made a damn bit of sense in this whole thread: I say, “In my estimation the sky is overcast, and it’ll most likely rain.” The response I get is, “You hateful wretch! Grass is violet and Sacramento is the capital of California! Repent!”

    I leave you sweetie pies to…well, whatever it is you do here. Have a nice day.

  33. GoForthAndPreach says:

    AZTexan – I make it an issue to not purposely misrepresent anyone’s position. Rather than post an irrational statement as you just did, please refer to what specific points where I am misrepresenting you. Having read your previous posts, believe it is accurate. However, if you care to extrapolate on specific issues, I’d be happy to correct any misstatement. But the truth is that you repeatedly stated in your comments that a person cannot be saved and believe in anything but Calvinism. That denies that God takes anyone thru a period of growth and maturity after being saves. It makes the claim that only after receiving perfect understanding of the doctrine that they can be saved.

  34. abidingthroughgrace says:

    AZTexan & the rest of the crew,

    I think that these scriptures are important reminders of how we should talk to one another…and I pray we would heed the words of Paul:

    Galatians 5:13-15 ESV – [13] For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. [14] For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [15] But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

    Colossians 3:12-17 ESV – [12] Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, [13] bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. [14] And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. [15] And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. [16] Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. [17] And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    How can we proclaim the name of Christ and be representatives – ambassadors – for Christ and “bite and devour one another” or not let the word of Christ richly dwell in us…Oh, how we need our savior!

    abiding in Christ alone,
    -atg

  35. Charley – that’s a broad accusation. I’ve heard some early Washer in which he was rather full of himself. I’ve heard some later Washer and never have heard any serious departure from biblical Truth. He tends to get rather emotional, more than I care for – is that what you are referring to? That aspect has no bearing on the content of his message.

  36. ATG said, “How do you justify that your unbiblical gospel + doctrine salvation scheme . . .” First off, the Gospel IS doctrine. The Gospel is defined specifically in propositional truth statements in Scripture. It is not something that is apart from doctrine as if the Gospel is one thing and doctrine is then added to it. Second of all, no Calvinist denies that sanctification is progressive, imperfect, and a Christian duty. But it should not be forgotten that sanctification is no less monergistic on God’s part than the rest of the ordo salutis. Just as election and regeneration, effectual call are all works of God whereby God works through His decrees and secondary means, so it is with sanctification. It is God who works in you both to will and do:

    for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13 NKJ)

    To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily. (Colossians 1:29 NKJ)

    The trouble is you have failed to distinguish between law and Gospel. To confuse justification with sanctification is to join up with Rome.

    ———–

    Manfred, Washer gets emotional because he has more in common with the Pentecostal holiness preachers and Arminian persuasion than with helping people understand the logical and rational propositions in Scripture. The Bible does not say faith plus obedience saves. It says BELIEVE and you SHALL be saved. I guess Washer and Johnny Mac don’t believe that. Which means they are not really preaching the Gospel.

    ————————

    No, I don’t believe that making a one time “decision” makes someone a Christian. We are to grow in knowledge of the Scriptures. it is “truth” that sanctifies, not some Pharisaical emphasis on righteousness by way of keeping the law. It is knowing God’s Word that makes someone a Christian, not pietism. For Washer and MacArthur the Gospel is “easy believism”. For the Christian Washer and MacArthur are neo-legalists like the old line Anabaptists and Papists.

    ————-

    ATG, it seems to me that you’re the one doing the biting. If you claim that doctrine divides, then you’re dividing since you claim that the Gospel is too controversial to preach. I suppose you feel the same way about the doctrine of predestination? Heck, why claim to be a Calvinist when for all practical purposes your theology is still Arminian. You, like Rome, think that doctrinal understanding is unnecessary for the heathen in the mission field. They have an “implicit” faith??? That’s liberalism, my friend. Maybe you should reconsider John 14:6 and Acts 4:11-12?

    The 39 Articles of Religion, Article 18 says:

    Article XVIII
    Of obtaining eternal salvation only by the name of Christ
    They also are to be had accursed that presume to say that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth, so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law and the light of nature. For Holy Scripture doth set out to us only the name of Jesus Christ, whereby men must be saved.

    The idea that people with a deficient understanding of the Gospel and Scripture are saved is more in line the implicit faith of the liberals or Roman Catholics than with Reformed theology. The Bible clearly says that those in foreign lands are lost UNLESS they hear the Gospel. Romans 10:4-12; Matthew 28:18-20.

    The 39 Articles are the English Reformer’s confession of faith, btw. It is a Calvinist and Reformed document.

    Charlie

    ———————–

    Ah, so superogatory works ARE possible after all? And all within the guise of Calvinism! Wow.

  37. Abidingthroughgrace says:

    Charlie ray,

    Sorry brother, but I have no idea what you are talking about. I’m not confusing the law and gospel and I’m certainly nowhere near Rome. (i am amazed how often this is used for those caustic Calvinists disagree with) Almost seems like you didn’t read my numerous posts. If you are throwing your hat in with AZTexan and claiming that perfect doctrine is and evidence of salvation, or that only those who understand Calvinism can be saved you’ll have to add something new. That arguement is baseless and scripture deficient, and sounds legalistic to me and the others. It puts you into a dangerous minority that I want no association with.

    I’m still waiting for answers to my 3 questions above. You and Aztex have put limitations on how We are sanctified by God, so that piece has been lost already.

    In Christ’s love,
    -atg

  38. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Brother Charlie,

    I didn’t say any such thing. You as well are now imsrepresenting my words. I’m not talking about divisive doctrine and I would NEVER say the Gospel is too decisive to preach. Nothingi have written implies such a thing. Please make an effort to understand my comments before branding me with the stereotypical insults and misrepresenting my words.

    My point all along lies in 1 simple point of disgreement…you and Tex are claiming to know for a fact that those who don’t believe Calvinist doctrine to the letter are not saved. I refuse to be so bold to take that perogative from God. By claiming this it limits the bounds of sanctification and handcuffs God’s unconditional electing grace. That is the only thing I’m talking about.

    I will say that if you claim (and Aztex) that you guys are representing Calvinism, then you can have the label. I’ll remain confident and satisfied with the Doctrines of Grace and not associate with what you two are writing. You have now gone so far to brand me an arminian and thus unsaved by your logic.

    So an honest question for you: so, the day when God saved you did you have a perfect understanding of tulip and doctrines of grace?

    Your brother in Christ,
    -atg

  39. GoForthAndPreach says:

    If I am understanding Charlie and AZTexan are saying, then once a person hears the gospel, understands their grievous sin, repents and puts their faith in Christ, they are still not Christians until the Holy Spirit leads them to fully understanding and accepting Calvinist Theology. In other words, despite showing any fruits of the Spirit, despite a turn from a life of sin and turn in devotion to prayer, study and worship of Christ, one is not really a Christian unless one accepts Calvinism. Therefore, it is acceptable to be caustic of anyone who suggests that a person is can be a Christian prior to that.

  40. GoForth and Abiding,

    May I recommend you visit the blog of one of our visitors before spending too much more time. A person convinced against their will is of the same opinion still. DefCon is taking a sarcastic/vitriolic beating and this is probably little more than a waste of time allowing people to come to flaunt their own beliefs when their desire is to ram their patently false interpretation of the Scriptures down others throats. Very strong sense of irony considering that some of these visitors choose to remain so close to the harlot mother seated in Rome in their denominational stances.

  41. GoForthAndPreach says:

    Well spoken JM. My apologies, sometimes in trying to point to the truth, it is easy to forget ourselves. We can easily become that which we seek to deter, which can bring shame to the gospel. Thank you for your loving correction.

  42. GoForthandPreach, you understand me correctly to say that understanding the Gospel is essential to true faith and conversion. If there is an undefined Gospel, you would not know what it is since words could not describe it. Secondly, it is obvious to all that Arminianism and Calvinism are two different religions with two completely different definitions of what the Gospel is. Calvinism is the Gospel precisely because salvation is attributed solely to God’s decrees and Gods graces given only to the elect. Arminianism, on the other hand, denies all five of the solas of the Protestant Reformation and exalts human reason above Scripture. If grace is defectible, then grace cannot overcome the bondage of sin of any particular individual whatsover. The fact that you think Arminianism and Calvinism preach the “same” Gospel betrays that you are actually still an Arminian at heart. Either God elects particularly and election is unconditional OR election is what man does by electing himself, giving himself the gift of faith, giving himself the ability to sanctify himself by cooperating with a generic and common grace, etc., et. al. The Bible, on the other hand, teaches that God is the source of all that the Christian is and believes. In fact, no one is able to believe without an effectual call. The Arminian, on the other hand, contends that persuasion and propaganda can convince a determined atheist or adherent of false religion. Such is not the case. Jesus himself said it clearly, Ye must be born again! If you will examine the Greek text Jesus is not making a command there. All of the occurences of the verb are either in the subjunctive mood or the infinitive mood and NOT one of them are in the imperative. Verse 7, “ye must be born again” is therefore not something we must do as the popular interpretation goes. It is rather what God does via the Holy Spirit and the preaching of God’s Word. It is in short no less a miracle when someone is born again than when they are conceived and born of their natural mother.

    That Arminians make being born again a command and the result of their own faith arising from an alleged libertarian “free will” is clear enough evidence that Arminians are not preaching the Gospel but rather a form of Pelagianism. Pelagianism is following Adam’s bad example. So for the Arminian “prevenient grace” cancels out total inability and now making it possible to follow Jesus’ good example or Adam’s bad example. That is simply another version of Pelagianism rehashed. So yes, you are correct. I am saying that the Arminian is closer to the Papists than to Biblical Christianity as defined by SCRIPTURE.

    Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil. (Jeremiah 13:23 NKJ)

    But to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. (Deuteronomy 29:4 ESV)

    Clearly Scripture requires that a person “understand” rather than remain in ignorance. Your view that faith is implicit and irrational with no understanding whatsoever has more in common with the Papist doctrine of implicit faith or with liberalism or neo-orthodoxy than with Biblical Christianity.

    Unless and until God gives the Arminian and other false converts the “understanding” of the Gospel they are yet in their sins.

    When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. (Matthew 13:19 ESV)

    As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23 ESV)

    I will go with what Jesus said over your sinful opinion. Jesus said understanding the Gospel is required for salvation. (See also John 12:47-48).

    Sincerely,

    Charlie

  43. @atg

    My point all along lies in 1 simple point of disgreement…you and Tex are claiming to know for a fact that those who don’t believe Calvinist doctrine to the letter are not saved.

    I said no such thing. I do not believe a person needs a seminary education to be saved:) Who would ever make such an assertion. However, anyone who believes even the basic doctrines taught by Arminianism–particularly the doctrine of “free will”–is NOT a Christian since even a child can understand Scripture (2 Timothy 3:15). The doctrine of God’s sovereignty in salvation can be so completely proved from even the most basic Scripture texts is proof enough that Arminians are teaching another Gospel.

    The problem for you is that you do not really believe that right doctrine is required for salvation. For you what matters is some non-doctrinal conversion “experience”. But Scripture itself makes its point loud and clear that believing the right doctrine is the outward sign of a true regeneration and true belief:

    Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, 15 and saying, “The time is For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (Romans 1:16 ESV)

    Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. (Jude 1:3-4 ESV)

    There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call– 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, (Ephesians 4:4-5 ESV)

    fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” (Mark 1:14-15 ESV)

    If anyone doubts that Arminianism is a different gospel (Galatians 1:6-9), take a look at your video clip above one more time. Take a listen to Jerry Walls’ presentation against Calvinism over at the Wesleyan Arminian blog. Choose which gospel is true. It is either Arminianism or Calvinism. Since they directly contradict each other one or the other is false or they are both false. They cannot both be true. If so, then the Bible is hopelessly irrational and completely irrelevant.

    As for your contention that all Calvinists are not equal, I agree. The Reformed tradition is not a reified term. There is great diversity, so great as to make the term “Reformed” as meaningless as “Evangelicalism”. Both are general terms. I fall into the more particularized side of Calvinism known as “classical” Calvinism rather than the neo-Calvinist or neo-Kuyperian Calvinism at large. As I pointed out above these new versions of Calvinism have more in common with neo-orthodoxy and Barthianism than with classical Calvinism, which is not anti-intellectual nor is it irrational or paradoxical.

    Charlie

  44. atg said

    So an honest question for you: so, the day when God saved you did you have a perfect understanding of tulip and doctrines of grace?

    The answer of course is no. I had not yet studied the Reformed confessions in detail with prooftexts. But I did understand that salvation is predetermined by God and that God alone can regenerate the soul. These are basic tenets of the Christian faith taught plainly and explicitly in Scripture. In fact, I could say that the point at which I was converted and convinced came through a discussion with James White over John 6:37ff. A derned calvinistic babdist.

    Romans 9 and John 3 and John 6 make it absolutely clear that God is absolutely sovereign in salvation. It is so clear that even a child can understand it. 2 Timothy 3:15. AND Paul is speaking of the OT Scriptures in that verse! The Gospel is taught in the OT and so is predestination, irresistible grace, election and the whole 9 yards.

    So tell me, how can you show these verses to someone and they NOT understand that salvation is what God does to and in a person by irresistible grace?

    All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. (John 6:37 ESV)
    And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:39-40 ESV)
    No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:44 ESV)
    And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” (John 6:65 ESV)

    I would contend that your love fest with Arminian heretics is due more to your Baptist commitments than due to the plain logical teachings of Scripture. Unfortunately, your friend James White is equally inconsistent. He rightfully blasts the Papists but jumps in bed with the Arminians. It is nothing short of doctrinal adultery.

    Do I need to quote Galatians again?

    I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11 For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 1:6-12 ESV)
    O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed as crucified. 2 Let me ask you only this: Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? 3 Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh? 4 Did you suffer so many things in vain–if indeed it was in vain? 5 Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and works miracles among you do so by works of the law, or by hearing with faith– 6 just as Abraham “believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness”? 7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham. (Galatians 3:1-7 ESV)

    That is simple enough. Since Arminians teach that faith is their own “work” they do, the first principle begins with man, not God. Is your gospel man’s gospel or is it the divinely revealed Gospel of the written Word?

    Even a child gets the difference. (2 Timothy 3:15)

    I find it ironic that I am preaching the Gospel to those who claim to believe it already and who claim to be “Calvinists”. Odd, but you seem to have more in common with liberals and Arminians than with Scripture or Calvin.

  45. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Charlie, so you agree with my statement above as you just stated and I agree that Arminianism is a false doctrine. So I’m not sure what your are so upset about. i also completely agree with the scriptures you listed.

    You said: “The problem for you is that you do not really believe that right doctrine is required for salvation. For you what matters is some non-doctrinal conversion “experience”.”

    I disagree with this…a non-doctrinal conversion experience is my point…It’s God’s soveriegn electing grace to elect and regenerate he who was predestined before the world began. That is the definition of a non-doctrinal conversion experience because it is the act of our eternal and holy God. Right doctrine comes with learning the Bible and growing in Grace and the Holy Spirit revealing correct doctrine along our path of progressive sanctification. Your statement that “right doctrine is required for salvation” sounds to me like decisionism and a strange form of conditional intellectual works. I doubt you mean this, but that is how you are presenting your opinion.

    I would suggest that the percentage of true believers that have any kind of grasp on the intricacies of soteriology is pretty small and thus your proposition has an elitist flavor. I’ve got to believe that this ins’t what you mean, but again this is what is being portrayed.

    So in any event I think we are clear now and you should understand my one and only disagreement.

    faithfully in Christ,
    -atg

  46. atg, the term “caustic” Calvinist is an ad hominem and says nothing about the logical and rational propositions I have asserted. My arguments are not based on emotionalism or even harsh rhetoric. That would be your buddy, Paul Washer. My assertions are purely based on the logical and rational implications of what Scripture itself says. The Bible IS the Word of God. It is not an analogy of God’s Word but the very words of God, fully inspired and fully without error in all that it affirms.

    Either man gives himself faith due to a restored ability given to all mankind, canceling out total inability and now making man able to believe on his own or reject Christ on his own (Pelagianism rehashed) OR God gives man election and predestines particular individual to regeneration, effectual call, repentance, faith, conversion, justification, sanctification and glorification. Either salvation is defectible (Arminianism) OR the salvation of the elect is based on God’s sovereign choice and unconditional election. There is nothing in us that makes us worthy of election. In fact, election is prior to creation (Ephesians 1:4-5, 11) and before we do either good or bad (Romans 9:11-13). If God foresees, it is obvious that what He foresees will definitely happen. If it is definite, since God upholds the universe and we live and move and have our being in Him, then it follows that God’s choice is not based on some continginent foreknowledge of what we will determine on our own but that even our choices are predetermined by God.

    Read the WCF again. God does not violate the will but He determines every choice so that it is certain and it happens just as He decreed and determined it beforehand. Even a child can understand this:

    remember the former things of old; for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ (Isaiah 46:9-10 ESV)

    What is more, God determines false doctrine by purposely sending a spirit of delusion to the reprobate:

    Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 ESV)

    It might be that God has sent delusion to Arminians since God is not obligated to man but man to God. He owes everyone hell. So why do you think God is obligated to save an Arminian who rages against Him as if He were a “monster”?

  47. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Charlie,

    I’m confused. I’m not talking about Paul Washer at all and haven’t mentioned him. You’ve already answered my two questions and you are in agreement with me. So why are you on such a rant? I’m not sure what you are even directing these comments too or why unless they are directed at someone else. You seem to be are arguing with yourself by building up a case that no one has talked talked about and then you are lecturing against that self made opposition. I find this to be strange and confusing and I can’t follow your trail here.

    Faithfully in Christ’s love,
    -atg

  48. atg, labeling my discussion as “a rant” is a form of the ad hominem argument. How about sticking to the argument I made rather than attacking me as a person with slanderous comments that what I had to say was “a rant”? That’s not a loving thing to say to someone you call a brother, is it?

    Also, I spent a great deal of time explaining myself and giving Scripture to support what I said. I would consider that a logical and reasonable supporting of my theological position and not a mere emotivist “rant” as you would like to label it. How about dealing with the substance of what I had to say rather than resorting to what you pretend to object to? Unless, of course, you are one of those “arrogant” and “caustic” neo-Calvinists?

  49. atg, so if the Arminian says that election is defectible and the Bible says that election is unconditional and indefectible, which is it? The two assertions or propositions contradict each other. Only one can be true.

    If the Bible says that regeneration is an act of God preceding faith and causes faith and the Arminian says that regeneration is caused by a faith that arises out of a libertarian free will, which one is true? The two positions are directly contradictory of the other. Jesus plainly teaches that regeneration is not in our control in John 3:3-8. Regeneration is a miracle of God and comes from God. In fact, “Ye must be born again” is not a command. It is a statement of a required condition necessary to enter the kingdom, i.e. to have faith. Now the Arminian position is clearly Pelagian since it advocates that unbelief is following Adam’s bad example. Prevenient grace is beside the point. The practical result of “common grace or the Wesleyan doctrine of prevenient grace is that now the Pelagian view is taken where there is a “free will” to choose between two equally possible choices. Unfortunately that sort of “free will” does not exist. All of mankind, according to the Bible, is born in sin and is born a slave to sin. (Psalm 51:4-5; Romans 3:23: John 8:34-40).

    Now it would appear that doctrine does matter. One gospel exalts man and denies Scripture.. The other Gospel gives all the glory to God and upholds everything the Scriptures teach. The Arminian must twist Scripture to fit his preconceptions (2 Peter 3:16) and deny the Scriptures that teach God’s absolute sovereignty:
    all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35 ESV)

    By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” 5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) (Romans 3:4-5 ESV)
    You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:19-20 ESV)

    So while you would like to ignore the logical content of what I have said and attack me as a person, the fact remains that I am not a “caustic” Calvinist but rather a rational and logical and thinking person who is unafraid to face the implications of what the Bible straightforwardly says.
    and “A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (1 Peter 2:8 ESV)

    I suppose by your subjective definitions, James White fails your litmus test as well. He is sometimes outspoken against the Papists in his debates.

    Sincerely,

    Charlie

  50. Charlie, the Bible is True, Arminianism is false. But the salvific work of Christ is not dependent on the person knowing the deep Truth of His work prior to being spiritually reborn. The faith that saves is not the same as the growing faith that understand the deeper things of Scripture.

  51. atg said,

    I disagree with this…a non-doctrinal conversion experience is my point…It’s God’s soveriegn electing grace to elect and regenerate he who was predestined before the world began. That is the definition of a non-doctrinal conversion experience because it is the act of our eternal and holy God. Right doctrine comes with learning the Bible and growing in Grace and the Holy Spirit revealing correct doctrine along our path of progressive sanctification. Your statement that “right doctrine is required for salvation” sounds to me like decisionism and a strange form of conditional intellectual works. I doubt you mean this, but that is how you are presenting your opinion.

    Brother, since conversion happens at the preaching of the Word of God, pray tell, how is regeneration devoid of understanding? Even the great Charles Hodge said that in the ordo salutis there is a logical order. The logical order is not the same as the temporal order or how that falls out in time. At the point of regeneration, which happens at the preaching of the Gospel, regeneration, effectual call, repentance, conversion, faith, and repentance happen pretty much simultaneously in temporal time, although none of it is possible whatsoever unless God is working monergistically in the heart giving rise to the gift of faith, etc. The “instrument” or “means” God uses to regenerate, effectually call, and convert His elect is the preaching of the Gospel. It is not some mystical encounter with an unknown god.

    Romans 10 is proof of that:

    because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. 13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” 14 How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? 15 And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” (Romans 10:9-15 ESV)

    Furthermore, your view that “decisonal” conversion is sometimes a false profession of faith does not remove the fact that when the elect believes it is a decision. Neither does it remove the fact that salvation is initiated by believing the Gospel, not believing plus sanctification or faith plus obedience or faithfulness, etc. That is Arminianism. Salvation is by faith alone. Sola fide. That means that at the moment of our decision for Christ we are as justified and as saved as someone who has been a Christian for 50 years. If a new convert is hit by a truck he or she does not need to ask the question, “Was I genuinely converted and can I prove it by my works?” NO. The ONLY basis for salvation is faith, not faithfulness, not obedience, not “lordship salvation” or any of the other additional requirements advocates of the law might present. Salvation truly is based on faith alone.

    That is not to say that sanctification is not a Christian duty. It is what we are commanded to do and we obey out of gratitude, not out of a fear of being never saved to begin with. IF we are continually wondering if we are elect because we struggle with sin, how is that pragmatically different from the defectible faith of the Arminian who “loses” his salvation????

    No, I can have absolute confidence in God’s promises to save me. Jesus truly is the author and finisher of my faith. He guarantees that we will never be lost and no one can take us away from Him.

    Charlie

  52. I would suggest that the percentage of true believers that have any kind of grasp on the intricacies of soteriology is pretty small and thus your proposition has an elitist flavor. I’ve got to believe that this ins’t what you mean, but again this is what is being portrayed.

    And I would suggest that this suggests that the Gospel has no firm definitions required to be believed. It is inherently liberal. The Gospel proposes that Jesus came to “save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21. The Gospel suggests that all the promises of God are in Him (Jesus) “Yes and amen.” 2 Corinthians 1:20. There is nothing that would even remotely suggest that those who believe what Jesus or Scripture says will be turned away. The question is do they believe it?

    It is not hard to figure out that God is sovereign. It’s just that most folks refuse to believe it. If percentages determine truth, then we ought to all become whatever the world at large is. There are over 6 billion people on earth. Only less than 2 billion profess any sort of Christianity at all, much less “true” Christianity.

    Looks like Jesus spoke the truth once again:

    “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. 14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. (Matthew 7:13-15 ESV)

    Charlie

  53. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Charlie,

    For the record, I’m still confused and I am not arguing with you regarding anything. I agree that Arminianism is a false doctrine. I disagree with it completely. There is no argument from me. I called your numerous posts a “rant” because you have piled comment upon comment defending your argument and I’m not sure who you are arguing with, what you are arguing about, and why you keep addressing me in it. I’m not addressing the “sustenance” of your argument because I can’t even follow your train of thought, when you started it or who it is directed to.

    Please take no offense as non is intended. If you have a particular issue with me maybe you can narrow it down to a single sentence.

    -atg

  54. But the salvific work of Christ is not dependent on the person knowing the deep Truth of His work prior to being spiritually reborn.

    No, but believing the essentials of the Gospel are the immediate “result” of regeneration, effectual call, and conversion. Naturally, the person must understand what those essentials are so that he can then willingly believe them. Regeneration makes all that possible.

    Secondly, the third use of the moral law tells us our duty or obligation as new Christians. Most folks think of that in terms solely of being more holy or more moral, a transformation of behavior. Of course, that is part of it. But it is not all. Jesus plainly says that “truth” is what sanctifies the Christian:

    Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17 ESV)

    And Paul many times over exhorts Christians to grow in the knowledge of Scripture and in the knowledge of our Lord:
    that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, (Ephesians 1:17-18 ESV)

    Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15 ESV)

    It is knowledge that keeps us from both doctrinal error and moral error:

    and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV)

    I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 ESV)

    And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. (2 Peter 3:15-16 ESV)

    Charlie

  55. Basically, what I am saying is this: If Arminians and Calvinists are saved, then we should not evangelize those from both camps. But if Arminianism is a false religion, then we should not encourage anyone to attend those churches and we should be witnessing to them. That’s the logical conclusion of the proposition that Arminianism is a false system of theology and a false gospel.

    It is an unpleasant thought that millions of professing Arminians are lost. But if they are lost and we do not witness to them we are accountable to God for our lack of commitment and for failing to do what God commands in Matthew 28:18-20.

    Charlie

  56. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Charlie,

    First of all, thank you. I agree we should evangelize Arminians because many are lost (I won’t say all because of sanctification as we agreed earlier) and I encourage everyone not to attend a church that teaches free will doctrine…in addition I believe that we should also evangelize Calvinists because there are tons of people professing the Calvinist doctrines that are not saved either. Intellectual knowledge does not equate to salvation, God’s sovereign work alone does.

    -atg

  57. Manfred said:

    Charlie, the Bible is True, Arminianism is false. But the salvific work of Christ is not dependent on the person knowing the deep Truth of His work prior to being spiritually reborn. The faith that saves is not the same as the growing faith that understand the deeper things of Scripture.

    Manfred, so the idea that conversion results in believing the Gospel, i.e. intellectually understanding the Gospel and assenting to that understanding of the truth, is something that you reject? The last time I checked the Bible requires both understanding the Gospel AND believing it or assenting to it. I have already quoted the verses above but one more time for emphasis:

    As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away. (Matthew 13:20-21 ESV)
    As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” (Matthew 13:23 ESV)

    The contrast here is between superficially converting and one who understands the Gospel after hearing the word preached.

    Also, all that is necessary to be saved is assenting to the truth of Scripture and the Gospel:

    For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes. (Romans 10:4 ESV)
    But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); 9 because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. 11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” (Romans 10:8-11 ESV)

    Charlie

    atg said:

    First of all, thank you. I agree we should evangelize Arminians because many are lost (I won’t say all because of sanctification as we agreed earlier) and I encourage everyone not to attend a church that teaches free will doctrine…in addition I believe that we should also evangelize Calvinists because there are tons of people professing the Calvinist doctrines that are not saved either. Intellectual knowledge does not equate to salvation, God’s sovereign work alone does.

    Ah, so now we get at the truth. You, like the Roman Catholic, think that sanctification or “righteousness” infused into the heart, is the basis of justification and therefore salvation. The doctrine of justification by faith alone is null and void. You think that intellectual knowledge of Scripture and the Bible is not necessary for salvation. Obviously that one is easily refuted by Scripture:

    But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4 ESV)

    There we have Jesus disagreeing with you. He clearly says that we are to live by every word of God, which obviously refers to Scripture. It would be impossible to live by what is not understood with the mind which is synonymous in Scripture with the “heart”.

    Like the hardshell Baptists you think that believing the preached Word is not a necessary means of conversion which God uses to convert the elect. So election stands alone and apart from any means of grace whatsoever. Why am I not surprised?

    Clearly, “believing with the heart” is a required result of a true conversion and profession of faith and therefore a necessary result of salvation:

    because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)

    And these verses show clearly that the necessary result of conversion is a proper understanding of the basic doctrines of Scripture and the Gospel:

    because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10 ESV)

    According to Scripture, those who do not understand the Gospel are not saved and have hardened “hearts”:
    And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, (Colossians 1:9 ESV)
    that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, to reach all the riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ, (Colossians 2:2 ESV)
    Think over what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything. (2 Timothy 2:7 ESV)

    They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. (Ephesians 4:18 ESV)
    desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. (1 Timothy 1:7 ESV)
    Not that we dare to classify or compare ourselves with some of those who are commending themselves. But when they measure themselves by one another and compare themselves with one another, they are without understanding. (2 Corinthians 10:12 ESV)

    I must say, I am surprised that you so easily admit that you don’t believe that justification by faith alone is the Gospel. Instead, you agree with the Papists and the Arminians that all that is necessary is good works/sanctification. If that is your view, then of all men you are most miserable. Good works can never be the basis for right standing with God before conversion, at conversion or any time thereafter. Only at glorification will anyone be sinless, which is the requirement for any idea of good works as meriting salvation or making someone worthy of being saved.

    Charlie

    As for lost Calvinists, I would agree that many Calvinists are lost. But not for the same reason you gave. Most Calvinists who are lost are lost because they actually believe another gospel of works righteousness. That can be seen in the New Perspectives on Paul, the Federal Vision, and in the Neo-Kuyperians who emphasize common grace and legalism. Those Calvinists who are saved are saved because they have an intellectual understanding of the Gospel and believe it and assent to it, not because they “progress” in moral perfection–which is impossible by the way. Progressive sanctification is not growing more perfect…. It is being progressively set apart to the Lord’s work and the motive is gratitude. It is God who works in us monergistically to do what He wills even in sanctification. Philippians 2:13.

  58. fleebabylon says:

    A few thoughts:

    Many people push calvinism on others out of the same wicked religous spirit that the pope pushes rome. Though a minority of mature and Godly brothers gently teach the doctrines of Gods grace to young believers along with the whole council of Gods word. Some of these may even call themselves calvinists, and though I consider this to be a bad practice, I am thankful for these brethren.

    The true Church did not start at the reformation and there are no calvinists in the Bible. If your version of christianity is based upon the reformation and not the person of Jesus Christ you are lost – even if you can parrot 5 points of doctrine as well as the devil can. You may even be more lost than a “semi-pelagian”.

    Jesus died to save men and bring them into His kingdom, not into carnal religous camps (1 Cor 3). The apostles would excommunicate those who said they had to agree to “calvinism”. Jesus is the way the truth and the life – not calvinism. The pharisees, rome, and even many reformed churches love to push men into their personal kingdoms.

    -Jim

  59. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Charlie,

    Again, you are either not reading my words or twisting them so you can continue your rant. I did not say nor do I believe that justification is based on our righteousness. I believe and affirm that our justification is by faith alone and the imputed righteousness of Christ. I abhor any works based righteousness/salvation doctrine. I am shocked and confused by your method of discussion.

    So, since you are still arguing with yourself and your imaginary opposition, I am no longer participating in this thread since it is an obvious waste of time and, unfortunately, I’ve already wasted way too many key strokes in this unprofitable discussion with you.

    prayerfully,
    -atg

  60. Jim, thank-you for bring up the issue of creeds and confessions of faith. Which is more authoritative? The Bible or man’s interpretation of the Bible? Obviously the Bible is the only infallible and inerrant rule for what we are to believe and how we are to live. On that we agree.

    But where we part ways is that you claim your interpretation of the Bible trumps the Reformed Confessions of faith, which are formal and systematic interpretations of Scripture which are the basis for Christian fellowship and church membership. They are also the standards by which we judge heresy from right doctrine and vice versa. If you are saying that your personal creed is infallible, or inerrant, then you deny that Scripture is the final authority. Sola Scriptura!!!

    First off, the Reformed recognize that the Westminster Standards are not the inspired Word of God. But they are what Presbyterians believe. Anglicans who are Calvinist and Reformed adhere to the Anglican Formularies: the 39 Articles of Religion, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and the Homilies. The Reformed likewise accept the three main ecumenical creeds or perhaps four: The apostles creed, the nicene creed, the athanasian creed and the definition of Chalcedon 451. We believe them because we believe that they are grounded in Scripture and can be proved from Scripture, not the other way around.

    The word “creed” comes from the Latin verb “credo” or “I believe”. If I ask you what you personally believe you would answer “This is what I believe…..” and then you would proceed to tell me. The Reformed Confessions–including the Canons of Dort which you denigrate as the 5 points–are a summary of the teaching of Scripture and are therefore binding doctrine insofar as those doctrines are indeed and truthfully supported and proved from Scripture. Therefore, if you are to attack Calvinism as unbiblical you would be going against what Calvinists believe one and all: Sola Scriptura! Calvinists are Calvinists precisely because they believe their credal statements are Scriptural and therefore binding upon everyone. There is only one Gospel and that Gospel is taught infallibly in Scripture alone. The Reformed Standards, including the Dutch Three Forms of Unity, are a summary of the Gospel itself. Therefore, the axiom that “Calvinism IS the Gospel” is true insofar as Calvinism accurately teaches the Bible. The 5 points are the Bible’s teaching and therefore Arminianism is not. The Anabaptists were even further off. Michael Servetus, for example, denied the Trinity and was burned at the stake for heresy.

    The short answer is that if you deny creeds you must deny your own orally spoken creed or what you believe. Otherwise your protest is a bit contradictory at best.

    Hope this helps.

    Charlie

    Article VI
    Of the sufficiency of the Holy Scripture for Salvation
    Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation.

    In the name of Holy Scripture, we do understand those Canonical books of the Old and New testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

    Article VIII
    Of the Three Creeds
    The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’ Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

    Articles 1-8

    The short answer is your opinions must be proved from Scripture before I am obligated to believe anything you assert.

    @ fleeBabylon:

    Many people push calvinism on others out of the same wicked religous spirit that the pope pushes rome.

    And that could be said about Baptists. But what have you said other than you reject Calvinism? What is your basis for insisting that Calvinism is “wicked”? Can you support that claim from the Bible itself, since Scripture is the final authority? On the other hand, if Scripture teaches the sovereignty of God, particular atonement, justification by faith alone, salvation by grace alone, the perseverance of the saints/the elect, irresistible grace, effectual call, and the other doctrines preached by Calvinists, then it would appear that you disagree with Scripture rather than with Calvnists since it is the Scriptures they preach and teach.

  61. atg, I’m just taking you at your word. You said that Arminians are saved because of “sanctification”. Since the bible teaches that salvation is based on justification, you must believe that the Arminian emphasis on good works makes them Christians? So what about other religions that teach works? Roman Catholics? Eastern Orthodox? Anglo-Catholics? Either we are justified by faith alone, apart from works OR we are saved by being progressively sanctified. Which is it?

    AW Pink is fine except he confuses justification with sanctification.

  62. fleebabylon says:

    “then it would appear that you disagree with Scripture rather than with Calvnists since it is the Scriptures they preach and teach.”

    Charlie
    If you would slow down with all the tap dancing and nonsense about extra biblical creeds – and go back and see what I have clearly stated – I do believe the doctrines of grace.

    I actually agree with the scripture – whether the doctrines of grace or the one in 1 Cor 3 where Paul calls men such as yourself carnal christians (this is the most charitable judgment I can make of you).

    -Jim

  63. Justin says:

    Hi Charlie,

    You say Paul Washer teaches “neo-legalism and works righteousness”. More specifically, you say that he teaches “faith plus obedience saves”. I have taken these quotes directly from your posts. I am not saying you’re wrong, but if you could please provide direct quotes where Paul Washer teaches works righteousness and/or faith plus obedience saves, I would appreciate it.

    Thanks,
    Justin

  64. Charlie – where is it documented that Pink confused justification with sanctification?

    You err in an earlier comment in implying I do not understand the Biblical teaching on salvation. I’ve preached Romans 10:14 – 17, explaining exactly that.

    Fewer words and less reliance on the flawed Westminster Confession would be nice.

  65. fleebabylon says:

    “Calvinists are Calvinists precisely because they believe their credal statements are Scriptural and therefore binding upon everyone. ”

    Binding upon everyone – only in the religous world you live in, not in the kingdom of God. I’ll just stick with the word of God. I am going to make up the doctrines of Jim (I’ll grab a handful of truths from the scripture) and then make up a religion called jiminsm. You then will be forced to confess to be a jiminist or you will be branded a heretic. Ill even say things like – the doctrines of jiminism are binding on everyone. What a joke – maybe I’ll start a theoligcal university to teach jiminism and hand out fancy pieces of paper declaring people authorities in jiminism and thus authorized to teach from a pulpit.

  66. Before I deal with the utter embarrassing discourse of some leaving comments on this thread, let me address some of the issues.

    Those arguing that all Arminians are going to hell could have made a better case for their argument if they just rationally and patiently stated their case without all the superfluous insults. The sender’s arguments get lost when they start insulting the receivers.

    I can see how some basic understanding of doctrine is necessary for salvation, like who Jesus is (if you’re trusting in the Mormon Jesus for salvation, for example, he cannot save you because he does not exist), but to suggest that until someone understands the Doctrines of Grace he is not saved, is preposterous.

    I am fairly certain the thief on the cross was not even close to understanding the Doctrines of Grace, yet he recognized his sin and turned from his sin to the living Christ. He probably not only knew nothing of TULIP, but he probably knew nothing of hypostatic union either. He did know one thing, however, and that was Jesus Christ.

    To make a list that goes beyond the essentials of what I person must comprehend to be saved is to add to the gospel. It’s thorough the study of God’s Word and sanctification that help baby Christians grow in their understanding and see the plain and precious truths of TULIP in Scripture.

    To take a young Christian and announce that he’s unregenerate because he’s an Arminian (either because he has not met a Calvinist, or because he has met a Calvinist), is rather presumptuous.

    Now, if after some time in the Word, the Arminian still outright rejects these obvious truths, then perhaps you may have a case that a particular Arminian is not saved. Especially when spewing such vitriol like the Arminian in the original post. A true Christian, although not perfect in every single moment of the day, will generally have a life patterned in grace and love. I don’t see that in the e-mail I posted above, and I don’t see that in some of the comments either.

    If the Arminian has be admonished and shown the Doctrines of Grace from Scripture and still vehemently rejects it, then he’s at least proven he’s unteachable, and he’s possibly exhibiting signs of not being born again. And the same can be said of the Calvinist who shows absolutely know love or grace in dealing with others, and although he has been faced with Scripture over and over again about his behavior, he still rejects it, he at least proves that he is unteachable, and is possibly exhibiting signs of not being born again.

    Now, regarding the comments on this thread, I just got around to reading through them (and I as I’ve been writing this, a ton more I have not read have flowed in and frankly I have no interest in even reading them) and I am astounded by the absolute and utterly nasty, snarky, and condescending comments of some on this thread. I suppose my previous post on Calvinists who lack any degree of love or grace in their discourses was a colossal waste of time as it obviously fell on deaf ears.

    I do not know whether to be indignant or grieved over what I’ve read . . . or both! But I know one thing, this despicable display of vitriolic arrogance will cease whether voluntarily or by the liberal use of moderating the comments. (I must say that I applaud those of you who have shown grace and restraint in the face of the coarse and condescending behavior, you’ve shown more patience than I would have.)

    I am appalled at the behavior of some on this thread, specifically the self-professed “caustic Calvinist” (which is NOT a badge of honor), and I will be putting a stop to it. If a commenter cannot abide by our Rules of Engagement, can’t even show simple love and grace to others, displays no civility in disagreement, and repeatedly rejects the very Word of God which commands . . .

    And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. 2 Timothy 2:24-26

    . . . then you your comment will be deleted and you will have to find another location to publically disembowel your victims without having to be inconvenienced by “Illiterate, irrational children.”

    Oh, and based on the last comment from the self-professed “caustic Calvinist,” which said, “I leave you sweetie pies to…well, whatever it is you do here. Have a nice day,” I am left to assume that you’re volunteering to leave the conversation, and based on your numerous condescending comments, I will be locking that door behind you.

  67. fleebabylon, well, at least you are honest. But maybe it had not occurred to you that making it up is exactly what Anabaptists do. Hence none of the doctrines of the Bible are binding… After all, the final authority for a Baptist is not Scripture but “liberty of conscience.” Hence you deny sola Scriptura and instead follow your own subjective, lone ranger theology.

    Since Scripture is logical, rational, and plain, it follows that the church as a whole can summarize what the Bible says. Preaching itself is an interpretation of Scripture and to be tested by Scripture. You follow Jim. I’ll follow the Scripture, which do indeed teach the absolute sovereignty of God.

    There is no private interpretation of Scripture. Scripture has only one correct interpretation. It is not an inkblot test where you get to twist Scripture to fit whatever you want it to say. No, Scripture is perspicuous and anyone who denies what it says is not a Christian but something else.

    And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:19-21 ESV)

    I understand that you’ve never encountered a rational defense of the Scriptural teaching on the doctrines of grace. But there really is no need to resort to angry Arminianism:)

    Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases. (Psalm 115:3 ESV)
    The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all. (Psalm 103:19 ESV)
    all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” (Daniel 4:35 ESV)
    You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” 20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” (Romans 9:19-20 ESV)

    @Pllgrim:

    I can see how some basic understanding of doctrine is necessary for salvation, like who Jesus is (if you’re trusting in the Mormon Jesus for salvation, for example, he cannot save you because he does not exist), but to suggest that until someone understands the Doctrines of Grace he is not saved, is preposterous.

    In that case, I sincerely appreciate your honesty. You do not believe that understanding the doctrines of grace, which are in fact the Gospel, is necessary to salvation. That would mean you agree with Rome that implicit faith or ignorance is no obstacle to salvation. Unfortunately, the Scriptures disagree with you since Paul clearly says that Scripture is necessary for “wisdom” leading to salvation:

    and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:15-17 ESV)

    To deny any of the five solas is to deny the Gospel. In fact, to deny any of the Five points of Dort is to deny the Gospel as well. The Scriptures teach a complete view of the doctrines of grace and to deny any of the Scriptures is to deny the whole system of theology and the very essentials of the Gospel.

    Conditional election is a denial of the Gospel. Universal atonement is a denial of the Gospel. Resistible grace is a denial of the Gospel. Defectible perseverance is a denial of the Gospel. Common or prevenient grace is a denial of the doctrine of original sin and total inability, which makes the Gospel necessary in the first place.

    It is completely irrational to suppose that a gospel of works like Arminianism or the Roman Catholic system is a genuine gospel. Both in fact teach a false gospel and anyone who believes what those systems teach is lost. I can say that with as much certainty as I can say that about a Mormon.

    It truly is sad that the Gospel of grace is such a controversy. To me it is an indication of how far the churches in this country have fallen. Pelagianism and christless Christianity is rampant.

    Apparently the truth is not welcome here. Be that as it is there is no point in continuing. I dust off my feet.

    If logic seems “caustic” perhaps it is because the sword of truth needs no ad hominems.

    So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. 11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:9-12 ESV)

    Charlie

  68. Well, I’ve learned 4 things:

    1. No matter how many calls to civil discourse are made, the insults keep coming.

    2. The issue of caustic Calvinists can easily be dismissed by simply making it to appear as if I/we have said that all Calvinists are caustic (while simultaneously ignoring the very real rudeness, and vitriolic speech of some Calvinists), then labeling it an “ad homenim attack” and suggesting rudeness and nastiness is somehow “truth,” then smugly knocking down that straw man and dancing around it while pumping your fist in the air as if a great victory has been won (and hoping no one notices that you actually misrepresented the whole issue of caustic Calvinists, an issue I devoted an entire blog post to).

    3. That this thread about angry Arminians was hijacked by some very combative Calvinists (and I’m certain the irony was not lost on any Arminians who happen to be reading the comments).

    4. All these years I’ve been doing it wrong. When I’ve been calling people to repent and believe, I actually should have been calling them to repent and believe . . . and affirm the five points of Calvinism . . . and affirm the five Solas of the Reformation . . . and affirm the five points of Dort . . . (and maybe call them to be circumcised too?)

    So, Charlie, I in conclusion I will take your statement, “Apparently the truth is not welcome here. Be that as it is there is no point in continuing. I dust off my feet” as a resignation from this blog, and I will promptly honor your intentions.

  69. Sadly, Pilgrim, people like Charlie never cease to amaze. They call on Sola Scriptura while continuing in a denomination that has direct ties to Rome and has many of the same trappings that produce the same results. You cannot reform a lost person or a lost denomination. Only Christ can change a person and when He does, He will take them out of the error in which they are trapped. The Anglican church supports homosexuality, women clergy, and a host of other doctrines contrary to the Scriptures. It is no wonder that some try to hoist their banner so vociferously. This is obviously done to cover up all the multitude of sins and evil that cannot be truly ignored by Bible believing Christians.

  70. fleebabylon says:

    I am thankful the Lord brought along a few good brethren to slip me an Edwards book or to explain the scriptures to me on Gods grace without condeming me as a heretic and burning me at the stake. I wonder what would have happened if I had met a “charlie” instead.

    “I understand that you’ve never encountered a rational defense of the Scriptural teaching on the doctrines of grace. But there really is no need to resort to angry Arminianism:)”

    Just to be clear to the true brethren here – I do believe in the doctrines of grace. I have stated that several times very clearly. I just dont support religious systems and camps being built up around them. Charlie being a good case in point to use in defending my position.

    In Christ -Jim

  71. Rollins says:

    Some really good comments here, however, this thread brings to mind 2 Timothy 2: 23. I know that our enemy will attack from within if he cannot attack from without. I would hate for useless arguments to bring shame on the glorious Gospel of Christ. Thank you Jim and Pilgrim for your comments.

  72. Thank you Rollins, Jim, and Jungle Missionary.

    I want to apologize to everyone who had to endure this ordeal and see such ugliness. Those who claim the name of Christ should never be condescending and abrasive with those they are trying to reach, teach, or correct (especially with other brothers and sisters).

    Again, I appeal to Paul’s clear-as-a-bell admonition found in 2 Timothy 2:24-26:

    And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

    This is not null and void when it comes to blogging.

    The kind of wanton evisceration of believers by believers that we saw in this thread is unfortunate, a disgrace, an embarrassment, counterproductive, and brings a reproach upon Christ and His gospel (which is why I took the time to appeal to those Calvinists who are demeaning, rude, and combative in the post Caustic Calvinists).

    I know some dear Arminian friends that read this blog and if they weren’t turned off to the Doctrines of Grace before, I assure you they are now. Debating the issue without the condescension, name calling, and smart alleck remarks would have/could have been much more fruitful.

    I doubt that my Arminian friends who have read this are going to run up to me next time they see me and say, “Oohhh, I want some of that! That unparallelled arrogance, complete lack of any humility, zero civility, missing love, absent grace, and utter contempt for opposing views is just what I’ve been looking for.

    So what has been accomplished? The unloving and graceless display that we witnessed on this thread has no doubt just made everyone’s job that much harder in helping Arminians to discover the wonderful truths of God’s sovereignty.

    In closing, I highly recommend two sermons for everyone to listen to. The first is Closet Calvinists – Why Arminians Pre-Suppose the Doctrines of Grace which can be found at this post, and the second is Dangers of Calvinism: The Danger of Pride preached by a Calvinist (who recognizes the problem, is not in denial, and doesn’t ignore it) which can be found at this post.

  73. Mickey Merrie says:

    Yes! While folks split heirs (multiple puns intended) and while Europe, the place where all the argument began, claims Jedi Knight as their top religious preference, the beast system marches on…

    http://www.forcingchange.org/files/1874178/uploaded/Volume%205,%20Issue11R.pdf

    How about we wake up to the true enemy, and actually spend some energy in that direction.

    Thanks Pilgrim, for bringing, hopefully and end to the church fuss! I stand by my prior posts MUCH higher up above regarding this foolishness. Be prepared to be lead into captivity, folks by your leaders, where you can spend your remaining days arguing behind wire.

    http://usawatchdog.com/national-defense-authorization-act-indefinite-detention-bill-senate-bill-1867/

    http://static.infowars.com/2011/12/i/general/kbr-doc.pdf

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/12/06/library-of-congress-to-receive-entire-twitter-archive/

    Anything you say can and will be used against you. Just go research how IBM keypunch machines created all the effeciencies needed for the Nazi’s to exterminate enemy combatants, both Jew and gentile, back then.
    The enemy will lump all 38000+ denominations into one common enemy, so you will all have plenty to discuss, but a limited time to do so, that is those who stand firm, and do not attempt to save themselves…

  74. I guess only Baptists have the correct interpretation of Scripture:) But that would imply that there is only one correct interpretation of Scripture and the Bible, wouldn’t it? So can you prove that your interpretation of the infallible Scriptures is the right one? What are your reasons for rejecting credal statements like the Westminster Confession when you have formulated your own creeds in both written and oral form?

    As for “caustic” it is a bit silly to associate the Protestant Reformation with Rome simply because you disagree with Calvinism. It is for these reasons that so-called “Reformed” Baptists are not Reformed at all. They are calvinistic at best. Ultimately, however, the premise of modern Baptists is not following the propositional truths of Scripture–like Christ died only for His elect people–but in following where the Spirit leads. That has more in common with the Anabaptists than with the Reformation. While there are a few solid Baptists in the calvinist tradition–like John Gill–the angry nature of the Baptists in this thread is really no different from the fellow in the pulpit above.

    Calvinism, unlike popular Evangelical revivalism, does not rely on persuasion to convert the lost elect. Instead, it relies solely on the truth claims of Scripture presented rationally, clearly, and expositionally from the Bible.

    The Bible ALONE IS the Word of God.

    Is not my word like fire, declares the LORD, and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces? (Jeremiah 23:29 ESV)
    For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12 ESV)
    But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'” (Matthew 4:4 ESV)

    Sola Scriptura!

    Bubba:)

    P.S. It is really no surprise when Pharisees get upset because they are shown to be self-righteous hypocrites who think keeping the law is what makes them acceptable to God. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. There is only one Gospel and works righteousness ain’t it.

  75. Bubba – you err in your assessment of Baptists and what they believe. ‘Tis true that man who claim the name of Baptist know little of the Scripture; but ’tis false that there are no reformed Baptists. There many Reformed Baptist churches and the number is growing. We understand the difference between Calvinism and Reformed Theology. Stop making false charges about your brothers in Christ.

  76. Dear Charlie J. Ray (aka Bubba):

    Next time you want to pretend to be someone else so you can continue your ungracious, vitriolic tirade, then I suggest you choose a different e-mail address, pick a different IP address, try to write a little differently (the wording of your attacks are too similar), and actually speak with some degree of humility. If you take my advice you may actually be able to creep in and remain for a little while longer before being detected.

    So far from what I’ve seen, however, my guess is that you can probably successfully accomplish the first two but the second two, eh, not so much, as your pride will simply not permit you to be civil, season your words with grace, show love, and cease with the insults.

    What a disingenuous tactic, Charlie.

    By going against your own words by not really dusting off your feet (like you said you were) has proven that this whole shameful display had nothing to do with lovingly correcting those you feel are in error, and all to do about wielding your sword of gargantuan condescension and colossal arrogance toward everyone you could find.

    Please do us a favor, honor your own words and dust off your feet already.

  77. pam says:

    Hey Mickey Merrie, I’m interested in what you are saying. Before I click on your links, can you tell a little more about them.
    Thanks,
    pam

  78. Mickey Merrie says:

    Forcing Change is a monthly newsletter written in Canada by Carl Teichrib. While it is a paid subscription I am free to share it with anyone, as a subscriber. Below is a description from his website:

    “Information with an Edge
    Forcing Change is an information/intelligence portal designed to document and analyze the religious, social, governance, and economic agendas, movements, and initiatives that are now radically shifting Western civilization. FC seeks to inform and educate its members via its featured professional publication, Forcing Change, and through the other materials within the FC website.
    Forcing Change holds to a Christian world-view, recognizing the validity of the Biblical position regarding the nature of Man, the Holiness of God, and the payment of sins through the finished work of Jesus Christ. FC also recognizes the importance of the historical roles that Christianity has played in Western civilization. These fundamental attributes form the core philosophical basis of Forcing Change.
    Forcing Change is a Canadian-based organization built on the research work of FC’s Chief Editor, Carl Teichrib. ”

    I am not in any way a part of this fine organization other then an entheusiastic subscriber. What I find with most christians is a total disconnect between what they hear on Sundays, and the rest of their week…Very few seem to be able to apply what they are taught to their daily walk. We are divided by the work of Satan, and yet his forces seem to be quite united in their focus even as they bring together a thousand different streams of deception. No I am not ecumenical. No I am not Latter Rain, Dominion Now, Kingdom builder deceived. I am not Romish, nor am I word of faith. I also am not purpose driven nor willow creeked. Emergent, nor emerging. If i had a label, it would be closest to Reformed. Folks who know me personally think I am something between Puritan and Amish in lifestyle since I don’t have a TV in my living room. Most days you will hear the bible on CD in my living room. LOL
    I am not pre-trib mid-trib or post trib, nor am I preterist. I do however believe in the Great Tribulation as the wrath of Satan, and not of my Father, yet there is judgement of nations and peoples by our Father. This is not the final judgement of all mankind. The wrath of satan is used to purify the end time church remnant, ie the patience and perserverence of the saints. Now that you can more accuratly pigeon hole me you are I guess free to read the links and or fire at will. :)

  79. I was directed to this article and exchange by a private e-mail that I received from The Pilgrim. After reading the post, and slogging through the entire combox, my general impression is: What a mess!

    Intramural ugliness like this serves to remind me that we’re so utterly perverse and insufferably wicked by nature that it’s simply beyond amazing that the Triune One true and living God would set His love upon even one of us, much less a multitude that cannot be numbered. May we who claim Christ reflect on His unmerited and unspeakably gracious gift to us, and bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance!

    But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. – Gal. 5:22-23

    By God’s grace a recovering “Caustic Calvinist”,
    CD

  80. Jordan says:

    Wow, just wow. I hear the tone of these “caustic” calvinists, and I hear Fred Phelps. That’s the first thing that came to my mind, that heretic pastor of Westboro Baptist Church. It is so sad that they would mock love. That beautiful distinguishing mark of a believer, and they mock it.

  81. Thank you, CD, for your comment, and thank you for your candidness in announcing the current state of your recovery. I think the vast majority of us are recovering from this to one degree or another.

  82. I haven’t read through all the comments, but I can tell you why I, as a non-Calvinist, often gets angry in conversations with Calvinists: There are often assumptions that I am 1) not saved and 2) too stupid to understand the Bible.

    I cannot, in any way, save myself. (I don’t know of any Arminian or non-Calvinist that will tell you that man can save himself). I am a sinner. I NEED the mercy and grace of Christ to put me in right relationship with the Lord. He is my King, whom I adore completely. I hate the life I used to live, and I hate it when I sin now and stray from His way. I long for nothing more than to see His face and fall at His feet in worship before the throne.

    But because I hold to prevenient grace, think that Jesus didn’t die just for a select group of people, and that you can walk away from salvation (as clearly shown in the passages that warn against apostasy), I’m not really saved and I’m too stupid to understand the Bible.

    That’s why non-Calvinists get angry. Only “your” position is right. Only “your” way of interpretation is correct. It doesn’t matter, not one iota, that both “sides,” as it were, center entirely on Christ.

    By the way, how do you know that you’re among the “elect,” anyway? Because you say you’re saved? Because you’re a Calvinist? So you’re saved….because you’re saved? You’re the elect… because you’re the elect?

    P.S. – I understand if you don’t post my earlier comment.

    This whole thing is so…hurtful. I get riled up about it. I have no problem with healthy theological debate (I have a degree in theology), but I just hate it when one Christian starts telling another Christian that they really aren’t in a state of grace. That they really aren’t in right relationship to God. How judgmental. How presumptuous.

  83. Marie,

    First, thank you for stopping by. We have people from a variety of doctrinal positions who read and comment at Defending Contending. The issue is not whether you or any other person has a degree in theology or not. Nor is the issue a matter of questioning your salvation or your ability to understand the Bible.

    Second, we have seen BOTH those of Arminian and of Calvinist positions get angry. Normally, it is because they are simply trying to prove a point or win the argument. The real issue though is not who wins the argument, but whether or not we take a stand solely on the truths of Scripture.

    Third, over several posts, we have chosen to post questions that have been dutifully ignored by those who hold to an Arminian position for whatever reason. We have sought to dialogue with others and to share what we believe. In doing so, we have tried to do this in a way that brings honor and glory to God. Being human and creatures of clay, we do not always accomplish this. Our purpose in dialogue though is to share with others what we believe is truly a delightful doctrine that frees true believers from the morass that comes from thinking salvation has anything to do with man instead of solely and completely on God.

    Fourth, nobody here is stating that you are not in a state of grace. Nor, are we seeking to define who we are because of what we has been done in our lives. The Bible makes it clear that WHOSOEVER will may come and drink of the water of life FREELY. However, the problem we face is that the human will ONLY chooses what it is predisposed to like. This means that the term free will we believe is an accurate term provided that you quantify that statement by showing from Scripture that a person does have the “free” will to choose what they like and enjoy. No person though has the “free” will to choose God unless the Holy Spirit draw that person to Himself.

    Finally, I would encourage you to consider the difference between our positions. If a person were to realize, for example, that salvation is ALL of God and none of man, then it would a blessing and encouragement to realize that our salvation is provided for by Him, paid for by Him, and is His responsibility to ensure that we remain in His care. We cannot flee from the Father’s family once we are born into it anymore than a child can be unborn from the family into which he or she was born. We hope this clarifies our position. You are welcome to continue here at DefCon and we pray that your desire for understanding the Scriptures will continue and that through all things in each of our lives that Jesus Christ ALONE will receive ALL the glory and honor that is due to Him alone.

    TJM

  84. Hello Marie,

    I understand your frustration, and as Jungle Missionary has already stated, the motive sometimes is all wrong in debates between Calvinists and Arminians.
    Can we discuss this comment by you, ‘But because I hold to prevenient grace, think that Jesus didn’t die just for a select group of people, and that you can walk away from salvation (as clearly shown in the passages that warn against apostasy)’ ? Is God sovereign? If a sinner has free will, or the ability to choose Christ or reject Him, does that mean God is at the mercy of man’s decision, and what does that do to His sovereignty, if, in fact, you believe He is sovereign?
    What becomes of grace if salvation is based on human ability, and how is God glorified if He must share that glory with the free willed sinner?

  85. Hi Lyn and Jungle Missionary,

    Thanks for your comments. I almost regretted posting what I did, since it came from an emotional place. I genuinely don’t mind legitimate theological disagreement, and, while I’m definitely no expert, I’ve spent a lot of time studying this whole debate. It can be an enriching one, but so often leads to name-calling and insults. Very sad.

    Anyway, is God sovereign? Is He the supreme ruler, possessing supreme or ultimate power? I wholeheartedly believe that. Man having free will in no way limits God’s sovereignty. God isn’t powerless to do anything that He wants to do. He’s not at the mercy of man’s will. He could say, “Well, I’m going to blow up the world,” and the world would be blown up. Simple as that. However, is it possible that He does not use His sovereign power to force anyone to do anything?

    I think that the idea of “salvation based on human ability” is a misrepresentation of what an Arminian or non-Calvinist believes. I didn’t do one thing to save myself, and I don’t know anyone who calls himself a Christian of the non-Calvinist persuasion that will tell you he has. What I see in the Arminian position is an emphasis on the responsibility of man to repent and come under the authority of God. The Arminian position agrees that man will not choose to do this on his own, and that the Spirit must prepare the way. There’s no glory-sharing here. God has done everything except make me say, “I repent and believe.” I am in awe of Him.

    I recognize that there are questions regarding the Arminian position, questions that I don’t necessarily have answers for, but there are an equal amount of questions regarding the Calvinist position. For example, the reality of double predestination existing within the system. It makes no sense to say that “God passed over” some and chose others for salvation. In actively choosing one, He actively did not choose the other. He predestines some for Heaven and some for Hell. We all, of course, deserve eternal separation apart from His grace, but why would God choose to consign whatever percentage of the population to Hell? Why would He not extend His grace toward them? Whenever I’ve seen this point raised, the answer is usually, “Because that’s what He chose to do.” How does that mesh with the character of our Lord as revealed in Scripture? The God who seeks out the one lost sheep, who runs to the prodigal, who desires that all should be saved? Why would He desire that all should be saved if He has chosen some for Hell?

    I wonder, too, about the assurance of salvation issue. How can you actually know that you’re part of the elect? What evidence is there for that if you bear no responsibility in answering God’s call? What if you live your entire life thinking that you are, but then find out that you aren’t? I would live in a state of perpetual fear.

    It also makes no sense to me how regeneration can come before repentance, as Wayne Grudem claims in his “Systematic Theology” text.

    Well, siblings in the faith, this is now an excessively long comment… :)

  86. Hello Marie,
    I am glad you responded, thank you.

    You agree that God is sovereign, so my logical question would be if salvation depends on man’s response, where is the sovereignty of God in that?

    Next, you say, “What I see in the Arminian position is an emphasis on the responsibility of man to repent and come under the authority of God.” I have another question concerning this belief, what do you do with 2 Timothy 2:25 ,…’with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.’ It would seem repentance is not humanly possible apart from Divine granting.

    As for God electing some and not others, I dare not question the Creator as to why He chooses some and not others, as if any of us have a right to ask. However, I would ask you what do you do with these verses, at this time I will only give these two, even though there are many dealing with election, from Ephesians 1:4-5 “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will”

    Dear sister, you ask, ‘How can you actually know that you’re part of the elect?’ And God answers ,’These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life. ‘ 1 John 5:13 – actually the book of 1 John is a guideline for the Christian; for example, from 1 John 3:3, ‘And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.’ Are you striving for holiness, living your life in a way that honors God and resembles Christ? verse 10 ‘By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.’ There are many more wonderful passages in 1 John to compare your life to.

    If God is omnipotent, then the power He displays when saving a sinner will not diminish, but will carry the born again believer on into glory, ‘Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.’ Jude 1:24-25 …. and this verse from Philippians 1:6, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” The sovereign God of the universe finishes what He starts, He is faithful; and He does it for His name’s sake.

    lyn

  87. I’m not sure that it’s entirely true that we have no right to ask God why He does something. Of course, we should not dare be impertinent, but there are many examples in Scripture of man wrestling with God about His decisions, Abraham and Moses being some of the more famous. I guess I’d say that we walk a tightrope in asking Him questions; we need to always check our motives.

    Where is the sovereignty of God if salvation is conditioned upon man’s response? Well, He’s the supreme ruler. He sets up the system, the rules. I don’t think we have any argument about that at all. I just see God as being willing to limit Himself. He’s not limited by mankind.

    Yes, repentance is not possible apart from Divine granting. Again, no argument. The only difference here is in how that repentance is granted. I believe that prevenient grace enables the will – again, granted by God.

    (I feel I should interject here that I’m not a universalist. Though I believe that the call is extended to all, it’s obvious both from Scripture and from experience that not all will respond).

    Ephesians 1:4-5 – what fabulous verses! I love that whole chapter. #1 – Is this election individual or corporate? How does it work? Paul doesn’t explicitly say either way. I think both “sides” have to acknowledge the frailty of interpretive methods here. #2 – Sure, we are predestined: to be adopted through Christ. Meaning that the way of salvation was predestined. God-determined.

    I will have to give 1 John a good read-through. It’s been awhile, and there’s just something about the Beloved Disciple’s Spirit-inspired encouragement, isn’t there?

    The bottom line for me is this: both Arminianism and Calvinism as interpretive systems have flaws. There are assumptions made. There are verses ignored. And, honestly, I think both systems are much closer on a lot of issues than most of us care to think. In are humanness, we often love arguing better than coming together.

    Salvation was planned by God and executed by God. He gets all the glory. I don’t think there’s any disagreement on that.

  88. Hello Marie,

    When I stated we should not question God, it was in keeping with the topic at hand, salvation. I use Romans 9 as my scripture reference, particularly verse 20-21, “On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, “Why did you make me like this,” will it? Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?” Actually, you have to read the whole chapter to understand the context.

    You say “I just see God as being willing to limit Himself.” so I have to ask, where is your scripture backing for this view of God?

    “Salvation was planned by God and executed by God. He gets all the glory. I don’t think there’s any disagreement on that.” How does God get all the glory if salvation can be accepted or rejected by human will, and where does that leave God’s sovereignty is this matter?

    Here is an excerpt on Calvinism vs. Arminianism for Dr. James Boice…

    ‘Having a high view of God means something more than giving glory to God, however; it means giving glory to God alone. This is the difference between Calvinism and Arminianism. While the former declares that God alone saves sinners, the latter gives the impression that God enables sinners to have some part in saving themselves. Calvinism presents salvation as the work of the triune God – election by the Father, redemption in the Son, calling by the Spirit. Furthermore, each of these saving acts is directed toward the elect, thereby infallibly securing their salvation.
    By contrast, Arminianism views salvation as something that God makes possible but that man makes actual. This is because the saving acts of God are directed toward different persons; the Son’s redemption is for humanity in general, the Spirit’s calling is only for those who hear the Gospel, narrower still, the Father’s election is only for those who believe the Gospel. Yet, in none of these cases [redemption, calling, or election] does God actually secure the salvation of one single sinner. The inevitable result is that rather than depending exclusively on divine grace, salvation depends partly on human response. So although arminianism is willing to give God the glory, when it comes to salvation, it is unwilling to give Him all the glory. It divides the glory between heaven and earth, for if what ultimately makes the difference between being saved and being lost is man’s ability to choose God, then to just that extent God is robbed of His glory. Yet God Himself has said, “I will not yield my glory to another” {Isa. 48:11}. {p. 34-35, ‘The doctrines of grace’, Crossway publishing}
    For Arminianism, human decision making holds a central place in salvation. This results in a theology that is not exclusively God-centered but is distorted in the direction of the self. And of course, this is what the spirit of the age demands. In these post-modern and increasingly post-Christian times, people are clamoring for attention. They are looking for spiritual experiences that are secularized, humanized, and relativized. Arminianism supplies exactly what today’s evangelicalism demands: a gospel that preserves a determinative role for personal choice’. {p. 29 ‘The doctrines of Grace’, Crossway publishing}

    my response…
    So what happens when a man-centered gospel is preached? This gospel is rendered powerless because God is not at the center, He must have a little help from man. God is not sovereign in a gospel that leaves it up to man to choose or reject Christ. Look around you, this world is filled with superficial Christians who say they belong to Christ because they chose Him, made a decision for Him, etc. Yet, sin is rampant among professing Christians, worldliness, materialism, living for this life; bigger houses, better income, more stuff. Do you see why we need to recover the doctrines of grace? Those who profess to be elders/pastors need prayer, may they understand the seriousness of preaching the word, the whole counsel, regardless of the popularity of such a message. { from http://iamhis-lyn.blogspot.com/2012/01/calvinism-vs-arminianism.html}

  89. 072591 says:

    lyn: If you are drowning and someone throws you a rope and you grab it, did you save yourself? Do you proclaim, “I saved myself from drowning?” Or do you give the credit to the person who threw the rope? I’m not saying you are wrong about God being sovereign, but I am saying that the idea that “I came to Christ” is not the same as “Give glory to me, the savior of my own soul.”

    Further, I am confused; you refer to Arminianism as “another gospel” in quite a few places, and declare that because it is “another gospel” it cannot redeem; yet, on your blog posting (yes, I read it. Thanks for providing the link.) you stated that you rejected Calvinism early in your salvation. But by your postings, it would seem that it is your conviction that to reject Calvinism is to reject the Bible. So help me to understand where I am misinterpreting your views.

  90. “Where is your Scripture backing for this view of God?”

    Genesis 8:20-22. God declares that He will never again curse the ground or destroy everything.

    Genesis 18:16-33. Abraham “bargaining” with God over His intended destruction of Sodom.

    Matthew 27:52-54. Jesus could have called legions of angels down to defend Him, but He did not.

    The fact that Jesus stayed on the cross.

    I see God’s limiting of Himself as a direct expression of His supreme rule. Nobody can tell Him what to do.

    I read through your quotes from Dr. Boice (actually, I read that post on your own blog earlier), but again I see a misrepresentation of what an Arminian holds to. Salvation has nothing to do with me. Human will is curved inward on itself, yes. The Holy Spirit works on that will so that it is enabled to choose God.

    You rightly point out that sin runs rampant in the church – but I certainly hope you don’t mean that this problem is limited only to non-Calvinist Christians. The problem is ours as a whole.

    I had a thought about this whole debate as I was driving to a doctor’s appointment earlier: Won’t it be grand when we’re in Heaven if God tells us that we were all wrong? We are, after all, attempting to plumb the depths of a great mystery.
    ———————————-
    P.S. – I have a feeling that you will jump on the “nobody can tell Him what to do” sentence that I wrote. I should clarify: If, as I believe, God has conditioned salvation upon faith, then a person’s rejection of Him is not them telling Him what to do, as He has already limited Himself thusly.

    And I think we are arguing in circles. :)

  91. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Marie,
    I’m just catching up to your exchange here. I do appreciate you disagreement here and your willingness to interact. Can you clarify this from your last reply? You said:

    “Salvation has nothing to do with me. Human will is curved inward on itself, yes. The Holy Spirit works on that will so that it is enabled to choose God.”

    From this sentence you are suggesting that the Holy Spirit is working in us before we are saved?

    The order of our salvation events are important to our theology. Would you order these any differently?
    1. Call
    2. Regeneration
    3. Faith
    4. Repentance
    5. Justification
    6. Adoption
    7. Sanctification
    8. perseverance
    9. glorification

    Under God’s endless grace,
    -atg

  92. Hey, Abiding,

    Is there a difference between the Holy Spirit working “on” and the Holy Spirit working “in?” To me they are different things. I definitely don’t think that the Holy Spirit dwells within us prior to salvation, but I do think that He works on people to draw them to God. That’s what I see Jesus talking about in John chs. 14-16 when He is teaching the disciples about the Spirit and His work.

    Would I order any of these differently? More like I would group them together:

    1a. Call
    1b. Holy Spirit’s work of conviction, preparation, etc.
    2a. Faith
    2b. Repentance
    2c. Justification
    3a. Regeneration
    3b. Adoption
    4a. Perseverance (faith until the end)
    4b. Sanctification (a lifetime process, to be sure!)
    4c. Glorification

    Now, I’m not a big-time scholar or anything. I see the call of God and the Spirit’s working on someone as leading to faith, which produces repentance, at which point the new man/woman is born. I think that regeneration and adoption are simultaneous events – and what happy, glorious events they are! Isn’t it a joy to be a child of God? Perseverance and sanctification go hand in hand – you have to persevere in being set apart, cooperating with the commands of Scripture and the leading of the Spirit.

    I kinda feel like I hijacked this post. Sorry, mods!

  93. abidingthroughgrace says:

    Marie, thanks for the response. I wanted to comment on a couple things just to give you food for thought. I’m glad you clarified that the Holy Spirit isn’t working in a non-believer. Only Christians have the Holy Spirit indwelling of course. Interestingly though, you describe the Holy Spirit as drawing people to God working through conviction, etc. That sounds very much like God’s soveriegn work through election. This is reinforced by the way you reorder the items above.

    You put the work of the Holy Spirit as part of the call from God. That is Regeneration. Think about it this way…How can we believe without some change happening in us? You are describing it in different words above as 1a, but it is the same thing. We are regenerated before faith…or as you put it we are worked on by the Holy Spirit before faith. Would you agree that logically this is the case?

    By putting regeneration long after the call, and faith, and repentance, and even justification, you are saying that we are spiritually dead until we are justified…Is God justifying spiritually dead people? And it means we are spiritually dead until we repent. How do we repent if we are spiritually dead? What possibly could cause us to repent if we are not already made spiritually alive?

    For me personally, I have to believe that we are made spiritually alive (regenerated) before we repent. I also think it is vital that we are made spiritually alive before we can see God, know God, love God…our spiritual eyes must be opened to have faith and repent. Would you agree with me on this?

    In the love of Christ,
    -atg

  94. fleebabylon says:

    ATG & Marie –

    Love the dialog. Many times when someone is coming from a “hyper” position they tend to exagerate the others position to help strangthen their own. None of that here.

    Marie said:

    “Now, I’m not a big-time scholar or anything. I see the call of God and the Spirit’s working on someone as leading to faith, which produces repentance, at which point the new man/woman is born.”

    Marie, I am no scholar either, and am no calvinist though I have been convinced that what is called the doctrines of grace are biblical. Can I ask you a question or two, not to debate, but because I have a friend that shares the same theology as you and I once asked these to him too.

    1) What causes one sinner who hears the Gospel to respond in saving faith while another hears the same message and does not believe. As far as I can see the only options are
    a) God granted saving faith to one and not the other
    b) The first guy had some good quality (ie was a good choice maker) in him that caused him to believe while the second guy didn’t
    c) The first guy excersised free will to choose to believe and the second didnt. If that is the case, is this act of free will a random act or did it have a first cause that made it act in the way it did

    “For if the determination of the will be from blind, undesigning chance, it is no more from the agent himself, or from the will itself, than if we suppose, in the case, a wise, divine disposal by permission.”

    -Jonathon Edwards

    ATG said:

    “Interestingly though, you describe the Holy Spirit as drawing people to God working through conviction, etc. That sounds very much like God’s soveriegn work through election. This is reinforced by the way you reorder the items above.”

    Very good observation brother. It sounds like that to me too. In fact, this is how I understood things before I understood the doctrines of grace. For me it came down to two choices – did God elect me because He forsaw that I was a good choice maker that would choose Him, or did He elect me inspite of the fact that I was a complete wretch that would never choose Him without His effectual and unmerited grace working in me.

    God bless you both in Christ Jesus. -Jim

  95. Todd says:

    Again, I’m a little “late to the party” here, but wanted to throw-in my two cents on this topic. As someone who (more than once) has been labeled a Calvinist (hopefully not caustic), all I would interject here is the following:

    I’m glad God drew me to Himself through His Son by the Spirit, because if it were left up to me to come to Him on my own, I would most assuredly split Hell wide-open when I die. The amazing this is not that God doesn’t save everyone, the amazing thing is that God saves anyone (especially people like me!).

    Todd
    Texas

  96. Two thoughts: first, I find it quite natural for new-born believers to think like Arminians. WE should expect that since they need to grow in their faith and understanding. This is where I was when I first came to Christ and while I believe Paul says that we should not be quick to lay our hands on men to become elders. The above video is the end result.

    Becoming a Calvinist, I believe, takes time and study of God’s word. In other words, it takes spiritual maturity for the man or woman in Christ to realize that the story is not all about us, but is about Christ and His glory. This is why both Arminianism and Calvinism will always be with us. One appeals to the flesh, the other appeals to the spirit and it takes time for that spirit to mature.

    The other quick thought to help others remember the proper spelling between Arminians, the theological group, and Armenians, the ethnic group is to remember that the “ethnic” group has the “e.” The theological group has the “i.” I like to say the “i” stands for idolatry, but that might be a bit offensive to some.

  97. Linda says:

    Pastor Timothy said “Two thoughts: first, I find it quite natural for new-born believers to think like Arminians.”

    I did not think like an Arminian when God saved me. Now I grant that I didn’t know the deep hard truths that I know now but I knew it was ALL God saving me and none of me the moment he saved me.

    So honestly I have to say your statement is mere assertion and not true.

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