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That Wasn’t Arminianism Brother

I had a brother e-mail me the other day and he made the following comments:

“I use to be an Arminian.  Was raised in an Arminian church (Nazarene).  I grew up in an Arminian home, attended Arminian camps as a child and then as a teenager, and was even saved in an Arminian church.  Yet the reason that I am not an Arminian today is that they put too much emphasis on works for salvation (or keeping yourself saved through works) and I must have got saved a thousand times as I was always at the altar asking God to save me from my sins it seems each week.  If I so much as thought a sinful thought, I thought I was going to hell.  I lived in constant fear that I was going to lose my salvation.  This is why I am not an Arminian.”

Let me first state to this brother, “That wasn’t Arminianism brother that you witnessed.  That was semi-Pelagianism if not outright Pelagianism.”  Arminius never taught what you say you heard as a child and then as a teenager in this so called Arminian church.  Arminius did emphasize holiness but so did John Calvin or Jonathan Edwards.  Holiness is neither Arminian or Calvinist but is biblical (1 Peter 1:15-16).

Secondly, Arminius never teaches that we are saved by God’s grace but kept by works.  Works are vital to the Christian life but they flow from being born again (John 3:3-7; 2 Corinthians 5:17) and not from our flesh (Isaiah 64:6).  James 2:14-26 does emphasize works but James is not teaching us that works save us but they prove our salvation in Jesus (Romans 4:4-5).  Ephesians 2:8-9 shows us that works do not save us but Ephesians 2:10 does teach us that God has prepared works for the believer.

Third, we remain in Jesus by faith (1 Peter 1:5 with emphasis on God’s power to guard us by faith).  We are justified by faith (Romans 5:1) and we stand secure by faith (1 Corinthians 15:1-2; Colossians 1:21-23).  Certainly we should fear God (Proverbs 1:7) and Paul tells us in Romans 11:20-22 that we should fear God lest we turn away from Him.  There is a healthy balance between loving God and fearing God.  We need both.  Sadly, the fear of the Lord is largely lost in the popular church today.  Our prayer meetings no longer stand in awe of God, His presence or His power.  Instead, we sing “happy clappy” songs about God and no longer fear Him.  But there is a balance to fearing God and perhaps some Arminians and Calvinists would do well to learn both.

Lastly, much of what passes as Arminianism is not biblical, reformed Arminianism.  Moral Government Theology (MGT) and semi-Pelagianism often pass for Arminianism though they are not Arminian.  Open theism often tries to say they belong to Arminianism but again, I would reject them as in the line of Arminius.  Sadly, even some Wesleyans (such as the Nazarenes that you my friend were around) often don’t hold to the Arminianism of John Wesley but instead have embraced popular cultural Christianity with its semi-Pelagian view of mankind.

I would urge you to read the works of Arminius and you’ll see that what you called Arminianism is not biblical, historical, reformed Arminianism.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/21/2011 at 4:33 PM

3 Responses

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  1. Way to point out that the neurotic "one sin away from hell" is not Biblical. Fortunately, many of the Wesleyan branch (Wesleyans, Free Methodists, Nazarenes etc) are getting away from that and emphasizing our security in Christ.Legalism as well as antinomianism are killers to the church. I pray that we continue on our return to true, Biblical Christianity.

    drwayman

    07/21/2011 at 4:47 PM

  2. What would we do without our brothers. One of my brothers is Eastern Orthodox and one doesn’t go to Church at all so we have many interesting conversations. Most people don’t understand what Arminian is or even know that term. My brother that is Eastern Orthodox has family members that assume he’s Jewish and has to correct them. I imagine my family when they see Arminian posted by me think I’m stating my Church has something to do with the nation of Armenia. Ignorance is an ugly thing but it’s part of the fabric of life.

    Jeremy Crowder

    07/22/2011 at 10:22 PM

  3. If this were a Facebook page, I'd click "like". Great post!

    pastorjeff

    07/24/2011 at 10:48 PM


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