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Three Things Arminians Can Learn From Calvinists

I love my Calvinist brethren.  I know some might think that I don’t but I do.  I appreciate many godly Calvinists preachers and teachers.  I appreciate my Calvinist brothers and sisters that I know of who are passionate about the gospel and about evangelism.  We don’t see eye to eye on all doctrinal issues but we rejoice in our Savior who saved us by His grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Our common salvation in Jesus links us together and we can work together for the glory of God.

I was thinking the other day of what we Arminians could learn from our Calvinist brethren.  If I could ask every Arminian to learn from Calvinists, what would I want them to learn?  What truths do I see among my Calvinist brethren that I appreciate and would love for other Arminians to capture the same vision?  So here goes just three things (though I am sure there are more).

1.  The Exaltation of God in Salvation.

It’s not that Arminianism is “man-centered” theology.  That is not the case at all.  Arminius was clear in his writings that sinners are bound in sin and God must act to save sinners.  However, I do appreciate that across the board Calvinists are united in their firm belief that salvation belongs to the Lord.  I would love to see more Arminians championing this view.  Arminius wrote:

Evangelical faith is an assent of the mind, produced by the Holy Spirit, through the gospel, in sinners, who, through the law, know and acknowledge their sins, and are penitent on account of them, by which they are not only fully persuaded within themselves that Jesus Christ has been constituted by God the author of salvation to those who obey him, and that he is their own Saviour if they have believed in him, and by which they also believe in him as such, and through him on God as the benevolent Father in him, to the salvation of believers and to the glory of Christ and God.

The cross of Christ must be our passion and our glory in preaching the gospel to the world (1 Corinthians 2:1-5).  The cross demonstrates the sovereignty of God in salvation, that He alone is the One who died for our sins and He alone is the One who can forgive us our sins (Psalm 78:38).

We see the exaltation of God further when we read passages such as Romans 1:16-17; 1 Corinthians 1:30-31; Ephesians 1:3-14.  God is the source of our salvation and He is our hope.  May we Arminians exalt Jesus and show the world His great mercy in saving us from sin (John 12:32).

2.  The Inerrancy and Infallibility of Holy Scripture.

Calvinists such as John Piper, John MacArthur, R.C Sproul, James White, etc. are united in defending the authority of the Bible.  Each one of them will defend the inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.  I would gladly join them in doing so.  I too love the Bible and love the God who gave us His holy Word.  I too would defend and stand with my Calvinist brothers and sisters and defend the precious Scriptures that God has given us (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  I worry that some Arminians are not clear on this issue.  Entire denominations such as the United Methodist Church or the Church of the Nazarene have waffled on the authority of the Bible.  I had one former Methodist friend who was chastised by his Methodist bishop for holding to the inerrancy of the Bible.  I too have had two different brothers tell me that I love the Bible too much.

I will say this, any movement that rejects the Bible as the Word of God has failed.  Look at the liberals among both the Calvinists and Arminians and you’ll see a long list of apostates who have abandoned the Word of God and today have no direction.  The Bible provides our authority to speak for God and to hear God.  As we faithfully preach His Word, He is faithful to save sinners and He is also faithful to lead His Church.  Jesus said that His sheep would hear His voice (John 10:27) and we hear His voice in the Bible loud and clear (Hebrews 12:25; 2 Peter 1:16-21).  The Bible is our defense and our weapon against the lies of the enemy (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12).  I pray that Arminians would unite together and with our Calvinist brethren to stand firm for the Bible and not be moved by our postmodern times.

3. Expository Preaching/Teaching.

Many expositors today are Calvinists.  Men such as John MacArthur, John Piper, Steve Lawson, etc. are all expositors of the Word of God and all are Calvinists.  This doesn’t mean that all Calvinists are expositors but the leading voices for expository preaching are in fact Calvinists.  A few Arminians such as myself or Dr. Vic Reasoner advocate expository preaching/teaching.

Expository preaching flows from a strong view of the Bible (see above).  Those of us who hold to inerrancy and infallibility must preach the entire Word of God since we hold that all Scripture is breathed out by God (2 Timothy 3:16).  This means that what God said in Genesis 1:1 is just as true as what He said in John 1:1 or Revelation 22:21.  We must be faithful to glorify God through faithfully teaching the people of God His Word.  The duty of the Bible teacher is to explain Scripture.  It is not to entertain nor to be a “life coach” or a pulpit psychologist.  Our duty before God is to speak the words of God (James 3:1).  We must read, study, pray over, and exhort from the Scriptures.  This is our passion, delight, and duty.


Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/12/2013 at 9:22 AM

One Response

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  1. I, too, am a champion of expository preaching. It is the most efficient way to preach the whole counsel of God.

    Lanny Carpenter

    07/12/2013 at 2:13 PM

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