Arminian Today

A Jesus-Centered Arminian Blog

My Resurrection Day Experiences

This past Resurrection Day, since my family has no church home right now, I visited a small Presbyterian church near my home.  The church is called Covenant Free Presbyterian Church.  I have always been impressed with the Free Presbyterian Church for their focus on the free offer of the gospel and for missions.  Their preachers, while Reformed, often preach with passion.  In fact, if I didn’t know otherwise, I would have thought I was in a Baptist church with their “amens” at the sermons and at the hymns.  The praying was much like what I have heard in my Pentecostal upbringing.

The pastor preached from Matthew 28:1-10 and basically had two points: 1) come and see and 2) go and tell.  He did a good job of working through the text and the gospel was clearly preached.  He did not avoid theology nor did he spend his time giving personal illustrations from his life.  He mentioned his wife and her hurt back once but otherwise he spent his time in the text.  I appreciated that.

Sadly, so few Arminian or non-Calvinistic churches are focused on the text.  I know of few Arminian expository preachers.  While I was in the Assemblies of God, I knew of only two expository preachers.  All the AG ministers I knew were topical at best.  In my area, I know the Pentecostal churches and theology is not their focus.  Methodology is.  In fact, they will unite with anyone whom they feel matches their methodology.  Most of them love the Perry Noble types.  Some of them love Andy Stanley and long to be like him.  Sadly, none of them are focused on men like John MacArthur.

What I long for is sound doctrine to be preached.  I know some would say that a Calvinist church would not preach sound doctrine but I would disagree.  I know I would not agree with all that a Calvinist preacher would preach or teach but it would not be a salvation issue.  Further, I have sat in non-Calvinist churches many days and have not agreed with hardly anything that was preached because, sadly, nothing was being preached.  Doctrine was avoided like the plague.

In the evening on the Lord’s day, I went back to the church to enjoy a fellowship meal.  I had great talks with the brethren.  I sat and talked with brothers who held onto their Calvinist study Bibles (Reformation Study Bible) and we just talked as brothers.  I never brought up Arminianism versus Calvinism.  It was not an issue.  We were just Christians enjoying fellowship and food.

My point in all this is to show that our differences should not divide us.  I know for some it does.  I have had both Arminians and Calvinists who genuinely are concerned about the other group.  For me, Jesus matters more.  I know that Jesus saves sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) because He saved me.  When Jesus saved me, I didn’t know anything about theology.  I couldn’t have told you anything about Arminianism or Calvinism.  I barely knew that there was a difference between Protestants and Catholics.  For my first two years or so of my Christianity, theological debates were rare.  I was witnessing to my friends, praying with my Christian friends, and reading from my NIV Bible.  I had theological convictions such as the person and work of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, etc. but I could fellowship with other Christians if I knew that they had truly repented of their sins (Acts 2:38; 3:19; 17:30; 2 Corinthians 7:10).

Theology does matter.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I love reading and studying theology.  The study of God, wrote A.W. Tozer, is vital for what we believe shows in how we live (1 Timothy 4:16).  Sound doctrine is vital (Titus 2:1).  2 Corinthians 13:5 even tells us to examine ourselves to make sure we are in the faith.  “The faith” is found in the Word of God (Jude 3).

We must be careful, however, to not make theology our god and not the Lord God.  Our theological studies should point us to Jesus and loving Him and obeying Him more (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-6).  Jesus is not merely found in a book.  He is real.  He is risen.  He is alive.  His Spirit dwells in us who have repented and believe the gospel.  Our relationship with the Lord Jesus goes much deeper than merely reading a theology book.  It goes much deeper than even just quoting Scripture.  Scripture points us to the risen Savior who is alive (John 20:31).  The Scriptures testify about the risen Jesus (John 5:39-40).

In closing, I enjoy fellowship with Christians.  There is nothing like it in the world.  I feel so comfortable around those who love the Lord Jesus, love His Word, and stand firm on the Word of God.  Whether they be Arminians or Calvinists, I long to be around the saints of God who truly love and adore Him.  My prayer is that more of this will take place.  No doubt we have our theological differences but we are first and foremost children of God through faith in the Lord Jesus (Galatians 3:26-29).  May the Spirit of God unite our hearts to fear His name.

Thus ends my ramblings.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/31/2016 at 10:00 AM

6 Responses

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  1. Amen my friend!

    Gene Brode, Jr.

    04/01/2016 at 7:19 AM

  2. Amen, brother. As a UMCer I must agree with your points. I want a theologically robust sermon with a strong expository preaching component. Sadly I think all UMC pastors prefer sedate be-good-to-others type topical homilies. As Roger Olson and others have observed, it is this emphasis on intellectual matters that makes calvinism appealing to the alpha males, to the geeks and whiz kids, and other YRR-type personalities.

    Amen also to the emphasis on the unity in essentials and not let the non-essentials divide us. Unfortunately it seems more and more evangelicals are elevating non-essentials to essentials. I have been criticized online for admitting that my bibliology is not as robust as my critics. I was dismissed as “not even Christian” for even entertaining the possibility of the validity of open theism. And I was criticized in a Christian chat room once for saying that I am not a complementarian.

    For myself, if someone can honestly and without duplicity affirm the apostles creed, then I accept them as fellow Christians. Everything else are just personal idiosyncrasies.

    danny boy

    04/01/2016 at 9:52 AM

  3. I appreciate this post very much. I would only add this counterpoint: Not everyone is into theology and doctrine (*in the modern, common understanding of that word*). For many, it’s just boring. At best, it is interesting and leads to a good debate, which can be entertaining. At worst (and more commonly, imo), it leads to division (aka, heresy), speculation, and pride.

    I know that not everyone should be like me. Nevertheless, I think that doctrine (again, in the modern, common sense) needs to be relegated to its proper place in Biblical priority, which is relatively low, before we can learn to achieve the unity in Christ that you pray for.

    I wish that all the millions of books, theses, and posts about -ism’s were instead focused on true doctrine in the Biblical sense: instruction/teaching how to be reverent, to be temperate, sober-minded, self-controlled, sound in love and patience and faith, generous, chaste; how to not lie, not fornicate, not boast, not seek dishonest gain, etc. That is true Biblical doctrine, and that is how we will be judged.

    That is what I long for our shepherds and teachers to instruct, by example and word. When (American) Christians are mature in those areas, then maybe we can move on to all the “-isms” that many are curious about.

    Disqus Withme

    04/03/2016 at 12:14 PM

  4. Glad to hear you were blessed! By the way, just curious, do you consider Calvary Chapel Arminian? Where would you say they are at in terms of degrees of expositional preaching? (I’m asking as somewhat with sympathies and love for Calvary Chapel though I am Reformed).


    04/04/2016 at 6:02 PM

    • I would definitely say they lean Arminian though the CC pastors I have known avoided the label. They would rather be called non-Calvinist as opposed to being Arminian. I too appreciate their expositional nature of their preaching. My only complaint is that while they are verse by verse, the few CC I have known did tell a lot of stories for illustrations and seemed to avoid diving into difficult texts.

      That said, I still thank God for the CC movement. Many have been truly saved and their focus on the Bible is wonderful.

      Just my two cents worth.

      • Got it. I think my views is similar to yours concerning CC.


        04/04/2016 at 10:45 PM

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