Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

The Gospel Plus ………….

For many years I have been attacked from time to time with the idea that Arminianism is “man-centered theology” that promotes the works of man.  Calvinists will claim that Arminians believe that our faith saves us and thus we believe that we help God in salvation.  Of course this is not true.  I have read many works on Arminianism including the works of Arminius himself and not one Arminian I have ever read believes that we help God in salvation or that we save ourselves by our works.  We believe in Romans 5:1 or Ephesians 2:8-9 just as much as the Calvinist does.  We acknowledge completely that God alone saves for His glory and honor.

It seems as of late the lines in the sand for salvation, however, are becoming more and more isolated.  It seems that some of my Calvinist friends are now drawing a line in the sand that says you must not only believe in justification by faith but you must hold to Reformed theology to be saved.  If you are an Arminian, you are not saved because you hold to “works righteousness.”  If you are a charismatic, you are not saved because you believe in “extra biblical revelation” (which is not true).  If you are a Lutheran, you are not saved because you hold to baptismal regeneration (same is true for those in the Restoration movement).  I have spent a few hours reading various blog posts over this week and have seen this coming.  The line in the sand is clear: Reformed non-cessationist or not saved.  This is becoming the line in the sand.

I was listening last night to a podcast from Dr. Sam Storms whom I appreciate much despite our disagreements over my Arminianism and his Calvinism.  I still hold Dr. Storms to be a godly man, a great Bible teacher, and a man I respect very much.  Dr. Storms was teaching on why he rejected dispensationalism.  Dr. Storms was educated at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS) which is a very well-known dispensational seminary.   Dr. Storms, however, now rejects dispensationalism.  He holds to amillennialism.  I respect Dr. Storms for willing to wrestle with the Bible over this issue and not willing to just settle for what was taught him at DTS.  What was striking was that in his teaching, Dr. Storms pointed out that he was willing to offend for what he saw as the truth of the Bible but he would not divide over this.  He viewed dispensationalists as his brothers and sisters in Christ and though he felt they were wrong, he acknowledged that they believed in salvation just as he did.  I was grateful for his loving tone toward dispensationalists.

We need more of this.  The gospel is not Jesus died for our sins and rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) plus you must hold to Reformed cessationist theology.  The gospel is not salvation by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) plus you must be dispensationalist.  The gospel is not justified by faith (Romans 5:1; Titus 3:5-7) plus you must be a Calvinist or an Arminian.  The gospel is the gospel.  The gospel of Jesus saves sinners (Luke 19:10) and not Arminians or Calvinists or charismatics or non-charismatics.  The gospel saves.

We need to see that much of our debates are debates over non-essentials.  I read much this weekend where people were trying to make a case that if you do believe in the sign gifts, you are a heretic and here is why.  I also read where those who rejected this view were taking swipes at those who didn’t hold to their view.  Back and forth it went.  The Reformed cessationists finally drew the line in the sand and said, “If you don’t hold to our view, you are not one of us and you are not saved.”  This view breaks my heart.  It brings such mockery to John 17:22-23.  Those who would hold to such a view enjoy the “we are the only ones” view but I do not.  I am not that foolish.

I am thankful for my Arminian heritage.  I am thankful that I fall into the line of great men of God such as Arminius, Wesley, Ravenhill, and Watson.  I rejoice in what God has done through the Arminians of the past and what He is doing through the Arminians today.  But I acknowledge that we are not alone.  God saves people who believe the gospel and not in a theological position.  God saves people who repent (Luke 24:47; Romans 2:4; 2 Corinthians 7:10).  Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Acts 2:21; Romans 10:9-13).  Paul makes it clear in Galatians 1:6-9 that the gospel is the gospel and we must not add to it.  We must preach the gospel for sinners to be saved (Romans 10:14-17).

For me, the line is the sand is the gospel.  It’s not my view of end times plus the gospel.  The gospel is not the gospel plus my view of spiritual gifts or church leadership.  My view is Jesus saves and Jesus alone!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/23/2013 at 3:01 PM

One Response

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  1. A stirring appeal to those of the Reformed faith for toleration of fellow Christians who hold Arminian and/or charismatic beliefs! Keep it up.

    Bob Hunter

    10/23/2013 at 11:15 PM

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