Arminian Today

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>A Calvinist Quote with Brief Reply

>I found this quote from a Calvinist blog:

So here is what I am saying: Arminianism involves such serious departure from biblical teaching that it badly warps the gospel so that God’s glory is hindered and our Christian experience is hindered.  As Dr. James Boice so helpfully put it in his book, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?, the Arminian teaching does not uphold any of the five solas.  It denies sola Scriptura (scripture alone), because its essential arguments are non-biblical, but are philosophical (“isn’t predestination unfair, etc.”).  It denies sola fide (faith alone) by changing the character of faith so that it is basically a work.  It denies sola gratia (grace alone), by centering salvation on us instead of on God.  And it most certainly denies soli deo Gloria (to God alone be glory), since I am saved ultimately because of what I have done.  So it is a serious error.  Essentially, Arminianism is a rationalistic rejection of the Protestant Reformation.

This was in reply to the question, “Is Arminianism heretical or orthodox?”  The Calvinists reply was that while one can not be Reformed and be a Christian, one is clearly not truly biblical unless one is Reformed. Arminians, in particular, are “barely” saved according to this man’s views from above.  Notice that he says Arminianism is a “serious departure from biblical teaching that it badly warps the gospel so that God’s glory is hindered.”  He goes on to say, “It is a serious error.  Essentially, Arminianism is a rationalistic rejection of of the Protestant Reformation.”

In his article he states that Arminians often misunderstand Reformed theology and his advice is to deal gently with those who do not believe Reformed theology and show them that it is biblical.

I would add the same about this fellow.  I would say that he too misunderstands reformed Arminian views. He has not read the works of Arminius for if he had, he would see that Arminius was clearly within the reformed tradition and worked within that framework.  Arminius was not trying to create a new Christian faith, he was simply asking questions about the old ones.  Arminius’ main point for calling the Synod of Dort (of which he died before it convened) was to question whether the Church should operate from the reformation principle of sola Scriptura or if the Church should use the Creeds to determine what is sound theology.  Arminius felt that the Calvinists were taking the Catechisms and making them the standard to judge Scripture and not the other way around.  Clearly Arminius’ cry was a reformation cry!

In regard to whether Arminius rejected the five solas.  No he did not.  Not once in his writings does he go against any of the five solas.  He disagrees with Calvinists over various exegesis of Scriptures but not once does he seek to move outside of the five solas.  In regard to Scripture, Arminius clearly held that the Bible alone was the final authority.  This, again, was the main purpose of the Synod of Dort.  While Calvinists turned the Synod of Dort in their favor by stacking the council against the Arminians so that Arminians had no chance to defend their views and were publicly put on trial for their faith by the Calvinists (which resulted in the death of one Arminian by beheading), the purpose of Arminius was to call the Church back to the final authority of the Bible and not the creeds or councils.

In regard to whether Arminianism is basically a philosophical disagreement with Calvinists my reply would be no.  Certainly I would agree that some speculation does go on.  We can’t help but to speculate when it comes to such a majestic God (Romans 11:33-36).  Neither Arminians nor Calvinists have God figured out.  At least this Arminian doesn’t.  God’s ways are so much higher than my ways and His thoughts are so much higher than my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).  I do believe that we should be careful when we speculate about doctrines such as election or free will simply because they are being based on our human limitations and not the final authority of Scripture.

In final, do I hold to the five solas of the Reformation?  Yes I do and I would gladly defend them.  I don’t believe that Arminianism is understood by this Calvinists and I would chide him for the same thing he says that we do toward those in the Reformed camp and that is that while we don’t always understand their views, they don’t comprehend ours as well.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/05/2011 at 11:39 PM

4 Responses

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  1. >Roy,Very well put! The ignorance of contemporary Calvinists is, simply, astounding! They balk and whine about how "Reformed theology" is misunderstood, then they misrepresent Reformed Arminian theology! I read Boice's book back in 2005 and have to admit that his caricature of Arminian theology was nothing more than a strawman. And could not we turn his own words against the heterodox views of Calvinism? Using (and nuancing) Boice's words on Calvinism: "It denies sola Scriptura (scripture alone), because its essential arguments are non-biblical, but are philosophical. It denies sola fide (faith alone) by changing the character of faith so that it is basically and only a gift — not something which an individual actually did, as Scripture insists saving faith is. It denies sola gratia (grace alone), by centering salvation on a decree of God, whereby regeneration must precede faith, contrary to Scripture. And it most certainly denies soli deo Gloria (to God alone be glory), since I am saved ultimately because of an arbitrary decree, thus calling God's integrity into question. The elitist mentality of the neo-Calvinist movement sickens and grieves the Spirit of God, I think.

  2. >I was wondering where you found that quote: found it.

  3. >Correct you are sir.

  4. >Blanket statements without a shred of evidence, and many will hold to that perspective before they objectively investigate the truth. That's what I used to do. Until I got dog tired of hearing those claims, and it dawned on me as a thinking christian? Where's the proof? Where's the beef? This does grieve the Holy Spirit. And these cats sit around like calvnistic popes speaking ex cathedra on arminians. Tragic!

    DonaldH

    06/07/2011 at 11:48 PM


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