Arminian Today

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Short Thoughts on Tony Miano

For many reading this, you might not know who Tony Miano is.  I first heard of Tony though Living Waters Ministries (which is Ray Comfort’s ministry).  Back in those days, Tony was working with Living Waters and his teachings on evangelism were excellent (I still recommend them).  His sermon from Living Waters, “Never Give Up” was a great encouragement to me about not quitting in evangelism.  Because of some cut backs, Tony left Living Waters but still praises Ray Comfort whenever he can.

I have appreciated Tony Miano.  His podcast, Cross Encounters Radio, was a blessing to me.  Tony didn’t rant on about Arminianism but he focused mainly on evangelism and events going on in our world from a biblical worldview.  Tony is a smart guy.  A good open air preacher.  He is a member of Grace Community Church (John MacArthur).

Over the past year or so I have watched Tony heading down the Calvinist path of making Calvinism the issue.  I have always worked well with my Calvinist brethren for the kingdom of Christ.  I have never made Calvinism and Arminianism an issue that should separate us from loving each other while disagreeing.  This is the command of Christ (John 13:34-35).  I am well aware that some Calvinists consider me as apostate, a heretic worthy of death (yes I have had a Calvinist say that to me once and he said that had I lived during the time of Calvin, he would have cheered as they lit my body with flames at the stake).  Yet many godly Calvinists have welcomed and loved me.  Yes we disagree but we are united in Christ whom I adore.  I have said over and over again that Jesus saves sinners and not our isms or camps (1 Timothy 1:15).

Other Calvinist open air preachers have recently been throwing down the gauntlet by saying that they refuse to work with Arminians to preach the gospel.  One Calvinist evangelist point blank said that if you are an Arminian, he does not want to work with you, pray with you, worship with you, but he will evangelize you because you are lost.  I asked another Calvinist evangelist if John Wesley was in heaven and he said, “No he is burning in hell longing for Calvin to preach the gospel to him.”  The line is clearly being drawn in the sand and I am saddened by that.

Tony Miano has often avoided this tendency but he is slowing drifting to this extreme.  Back in 2010, Miano had a mini-debate with Mark Cahill who came out with a post bashing Calvinism.  Cahill had been a guy often promoted by open air evangelists and was known by Living Waters ministries.  Cahill is an Arminian but I do not know him personally despite him living in Atlanta, GA which is not far from me.  Ray Comfort said that Cahill makes him feel lukewarm and if you know Ray, that means something!  Cahill and Miano went back and forth in e-mails over Calvinism.  Miano made it clear about this issue by writing:

Mark Cahill ascribes to a theological position commonly referred to as Arminianism. Mark, despite his many good works for the Kingdom of God, is unlike most Christians who ascribe to Arminianism. Unfortunately, there are Christians in both theological camps who accuse the other side of being heretics and questions their salvation. He is a rabid anti-Calvinist who is damaging the Body of Christ. (emphasis mine)

Miano also wrote:

Here, at Living Waters, we have in the building Calvinists, Arminians, Calminians, 🙂 and folks who would not place themselves in any of those categories–all working together as brothers and sisters in the Lord for the furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as you and I both know, there have been through the centuries great men and women of God who have ascribed to either Calvinism or Arminianism.

Back then Tony’s goal was clear:

The purpose of my email was not to convince Mark to become a Calvinist. Rather, I wanted to reason with him regarding the implications and ramifications such statements could have on the evangelism community as a whole. They could drive a divisive wedge between brothers and sisters in Christ, which could negatively impact a wonderful corporate effort to bring the gospel to the lost of this world.

He even wrote:

The theological positions known as Calvinism and Arminianism are “mutually exclusive” in that the two systems oppose each other in debatable issues but not in the essentials. The essentials would include the Trinity, the deity of Christ, Christ’s physical resurrection, salvation by grace through faith, etc. The debatable issues would include pre-trib rapture vs. post-trib rapture, worshipping on Saturday or Sunday, etc. That is the thought I conveyed to Mark.

Throughout my conversation with Mark, I asserted that I do not believe Calvinists and Arminians worship different gods or believe different gospels. I assured him that so long as we agree that we are saved by the grace of God alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone (the Jesus of the Scriptures) that we are brothers in Christ. I told Mark I would welcome the opportunity to evangelize the lost with him, and he was welcome atop my box to open-air preach anytime. Sadly, by the end of our phone conversation, Mark would not affirm me as his brother in Christ. I repeatedly asked Mark if I was his brother in Christ. He refused to answer.

You’ll notice that Tony was gracious in this article toward Mark Cahill.  He is clear that he holds Arminians to be saved and he is clear that he wants to work with CHRISTIANS to further the gospel.

Now we come to the current time.  Tony has changed his views it appears.  He wrote this on his Facebook  and Twitter accounts:

This is what I believe.

If you believe that man has any inherent goodness, which enables him, by what he believes is his free will, to choose God…..

If you do not believe God has elected those who will be saved, but rather you believe God simply looks down the corridors of time and has a foreknowledge of those who will choose salvation by faith in Jesus Christ….

If you believe that Jesus shed His blood on the cross for everyone…..

If you believe man, by the strength and exertion of his will, can reject or stave off God drawing him to Himself…..

If you believe that one who is born-again can lose his salvation…..

Then I believe you subscribe to a false gospel that cannot save you. Because I love you, and with no anger or bitterness in my heart, and with genuine concern for the present state of your soul, and with genuine concern for where you will spend eternity…..

I plead with you to repent and believe the gospel while God has given you time. God shares his glory with no one, including YOU.

There will be Arminians and Calvinists who may accuse me of being a “Hyper-Calvinist.” I am not. I am trying to be consistent in matters pertaining to my beliefs and my faith in Jesus Christ.

On his Instagram account, he wrote that he is convinced that Arminianism is “a compilation of demonic doctrines.”  For Miano’s other rants on Arminianism, I point you to this article.

Now my point here is not to beat up on Tony Miano.  In fact, I want to see him repent of this.  I have had my run-ins with Calvinists and I am sure Calvinists have had their run-ins with Arminians but for the sake of the gospel, let us love one another!  I love my Calvinist brethren.  I am blessed by the ministries of John MacArthur and John Piper.  I have loved great Calvinist men of the past such as Charles Spurgeon to the point that I named my second son, Haddon Spurgeon.  I truly do not feel any ill feelings toward Calvinists.  I oppose Calvinism.  I reject Calvinism.  I love Calvinists.

The gospel is this as found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5:

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

Even if Tony now believes that we Arminians are dead in our sins and on our way to hell, 2 Timothy 2:24-26 would call him to deal gently with those whom he disagrees:

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, 25 correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

I think of 1 John 4:7-11 as it relates to our debate:

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.

When we get to heaven, I use to think that we will look around and the debate over Arminianism and Calvinism will cease because this group will know this one is right and that one was wrong.  I don’t think that now.  I believe when I get to glory, the Lord Jesus will be my focus.  I want to see Jesus (1 John 3:1-3)!  It matters not to me about Calvin or Spurgeon or Wesley or Clarke or Ravenhill.  I want to see Jesus.  I want to love Him and worship Him and adore Him for a thousand years!  I want to see Jesus face to face!  I won’t care about Arminianism or Calvinism in heaven  I only want to love Jesus with all my heart!

May our hearts burn for Jesus.  May we long for Jesus more than for Arminius or Wesley.  May Jesus be the one that we adore, love, pray to, worship, seek, preach, and exalt.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/13/2015 at 9:42 PM

3 Responses

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  1. So if Tony urges someone to repent and believe the true gospel, how can this be possible without the use of free will?

    Phil Eneboe

    10/13/2015 at 10:24 PM

    • Since I’m not a Calvinist, I’ll take a shot at how he might answer. The Calvinist would say that none are seeking God (Romans 3:10) so God draws His elect to Himself by His sovereign grace and Spirit. The sinner does nothing apart from God’s sovereign grace and so the sinner who repents and believes would only do so because God acts first by regenerating the sinner so that they can believe.

  2. […] Miano has issued an apology regarding his statements that I wrote about recently in a post here at the blog.  I appreciate Tony’s candor and his honesty.  While I still maintain that he is wrong in […]

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