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Oh Bother!

There is a medium sized KJV only Baptist church not too far from my home.  I enjoy visiting the church from time to time.  I have even considered attending there though there are several things that keep me from attending (and one will surprise you).  First, the church is KJV only.  I am not.  Far from it.  Secondly, the church is very premillennial, pre tribulation.  I am not.  Thirdly, the church is anti-Calvinistic.  I am not.  While I am not a Calvinist, I don’t teach that Calvinism is a heresy or that Calvinists are worshiping a false God.  That may surprise some folks.

That said, the church is a joy to me.  The preacher preaches the Word of God (albeit from the KJV Bible) and he is not ashamed to preach hard against sin.  The church does many out reaches to prisons, schools, etc. including street preaching.  They even have a men’s class devoted to theology on Saturday evenings and then they take the men to the streets to share the gospel.  The preacher strongly preaches that we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) and he preaches hard against works to save us (John 6:29).  I rejoice in that.  While the gospel presentation is not always to my liking (they often do the sinner’s prayer for salvation), they do preach against sin and preach repentance including the Lordship of Christ (which is debated in KJV only churches often times).

I visited there tonight and listened to an evangelist teach on Noah’s ark.  It was good.  Not earth shaking.  Not too technical but on an average Christian level, it was informative.  The brother was an older brother (71) and said he had a Ph.D.  He clearly taught a young earth creationist view which is my own as well.  Along the way in his teaching he made two remarks about the KJV being the only Bible and he said that Noah’s ark would be discovered by the act of God during the tribulation period to awaken the Jews to the truth of the Bible and point them to Jesus as the Messiah.  He did say that was his opinion but he preached it as gospel.  Again, his presentation was good.  I appreciated him much.  I wish more churches would tackled the issues of the flood, evolution, etc.  We need to know that Genesis is true.

At the end, I approached the brother to ask three questions about his presentation.  He answered them all but he made another comment about the KJV Bible being the only Bible and how he couldn’t recommend Answers in Genesis because of this issue.  I told him I disagreed with that view.  He looked at me like I had grown another head.  He begin to ask me why I denied the Bible?  I told him I didn’t come to debate him and as a visitor, I wanted to respect him.  He continued to ask me questions so basically the following conversation happened like this:

Me:  So which Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God?

Evangelist:  The 1611 is.

Me:  Do you use the 1611 edition?

E:  No.  I can’t read the old English.

Me:  So you use the 1769 edition?

E:  Well yes.

Me:  And why is the 1769 edition the Word of God compared to the 1611?

E:  They are the same.

Me:  If that is true why not use the 1611?

E:  The English is different but the Bible remains the same.

Me:  Which edition of the KJV is the Word of God?

E:  Mine is.

Me:  On what basis?  How do you know your Bible is the Word of God?

E:  Why do you want to cast doubt on the Word of God?

Me:  I’m not but if the KJV is the Word of God then which edition is the Word of God and who now publishes the inerrant and infallible Word of God?

E:  My KJV Bible is the Word of God.  Period.  As long as it is a KJV it is the same and is the Word of God.

Me:  Not true.  The Cambridge edition differs from the Oxford and the Oxford differs from the Trinitarian Bible Society and the TBS differs from the Zondervan.  They all differ.  So again, who is right and by what authority do you determine who is right?

E:  This is pointless.  I will not listen to you cast doubts on the Word of God.  You need to lay aside these arguments and do the work of the Kingdom.

The conversation ended with him doubting my salvation.  I told him that we are not saved by faith in a Bible translation but faith in Christ.  We also disagreed over the deity of Christ in the modern translations as I told him that the ESV was stronger on the deity of Jesus than the KJV.  He disagreed but had no answer.  I pointed him to one passage such as Romans 9:5 and told him to compare the modern “corrupt” translations with the KJV.  The ESV is stronger both there and in many other New Testament texts on the deity of Christ.

I admit that I was shaken leaving and so was he.  I didn’t mean to disrespect him.  The pastor of this church knows where I stand on this issue.  He knows that I don’t hold the KJV to be the only Bible to be used today.  I respect the KJV and praise God for the truth of the gospel found there.  I don’t deny that God used the KJV powerfully for His glory.  That said, I am not KJV only.  I love the KJV but I don’t hold that the KJV is the only Bible in the English speaking language.  That is a ridiculous claim.

Sadly, many will hear this brother teach on Genesis and tear him apart not because of his views on science or creationism but because he is dogmatic on the KJV Bible.

In closing, I highly recommend people to read Dr. James White’s book The King James Only Controversy for more information.  We can trust the modern translations.  While some are better than others, we can trust that God has preserved His Word.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/17/2016 at 9:52 PM

Must Hear Debate

I highly recommend you listen to Dr. James White debating a Hebrew Israelite.  This is a subject I have never encountered.  I once heard these guys “preaching” on the streets of New York City and when I walked by one of them pointed at me and called me “white devil.”  That was my brief encounter with these guys.  Their theology is radically off from biblical Christianity as Dr. White clearly shows.

My prayer is that the Church will rise up and answer the Hebrew Israelite movement.  They are racist, anti-Christ, and false teachers.  They need to be shown their errors and I pray that they repent.  As I listened to the above debate, I prayed for God to open this man’s eyes to his sins and that he would be brought to repentance (2 Timothy 2:24-25).

I greatly appreciated the end of the debate where Dr. White clearly preaches the gospel.  He preaches that Jesus is calling all sinners to repent (Acts 17:30-31) and He will save people from every nation as He has promised (Revelation 5:9-10).  The gospel is not just for Jews but for all people (Acts 13:44-52; Ephesians 2).

Calvinists Need To Confront This Rhetoric 


Jeff Durbin is a brother I greatly admire.  His zeal for the gospel blesses me.  His passion to end abortion, share the gospel with Mormons and atheists has inspired me.  I truly count Jeff a brother in the Lord.  I’m thankful that Jesus saves sinners (1 Timothy 1:15) and not merely Arminians or Calvinists.  Jesus came to save sinners (Luke 19:10) and not our theological camps.

In the past I have asked Jeff to have godly non-Calvinists on his podcast.  He has never responded.  He has interacted with KJV-only Steven Anderson (whom Durbin labels an Arminian though Anderson himself denies being an Arminian).  This is the extent of Jeff’s “Arminian” interactions.  I’ve asked Jeff to have Leighton Flowers on after Jeff posted negative comments about Flowers.  He has refused.

So what will it take for Jeff Durbin to change his views on us Arminians?  I’ve tried to reason with Jeff but since he views me as ignorant of the “truth,” he doesn’t listen to me.  I believe it will take a godly Calvinist calling out Jeff.  Ironically, Jeff is a disciple of James White and while White can use language like Durbin’s, White regards Arminian Michael Brown as his brother in Christ.  Perhaps Durbin could learn from White here. 

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/26/2016 at 1:17 PM

Leighton Flowers Rebuttal to Tony Miano

Tony Miano, whom some of you might remember caused a stir back in the summer of 2015 when he basically said that Arminians are not saved if they hold to Arminianism and that Arminians worship a false god.  I called Miano’s hand on this as he had written in years prior to this while he was on staff with Living Waters (Ray Comfort) that Arminians were brothers and that we should not divide over this issue.  Miano had called Mark Cahill, an evangelist whom many in the open air preaching world know of, to repent for his statements that Calvinists worship a false god and that he would not associate with Calvinists.  I urged Miano to apologize to Cahill since he did just what he accused Cahill of. Instead, Miano went on to bash Arminians and even called for Dr. Michael Brown to come to repentance and true salvation (i.e. become a Calvinist).

After this, Miano took a “brief” hiatus from social media and blogging he said to get his thoughts together on this issue.  After a brief blackout, Miano is back on social media but not as aggressive this time it seems (for now).  Yet Miano did release the following podcast in which he attacks “the helpless god of free will religion.”  I have linked the podcast for you to listen to if you desire.  I listened to and sent it to my friend Leighton Flowers who did a podcast in which he offers a rebuttal to Miano and I believe Flowers does an excellent job.  I shared in Flowers assessment of Miano’s podcast, that it was not deep nor did he develop an excellent theological presentation to rebuke those of us who hold to free will.  Miano just builds his case against his own perceptions of what we believe and not does not interact with us nor our scholars.

My point here is not to stir the pot again toward Miano.  I think most Arminians simply ignore him.  I use to appreciate much of what Miano did.  I was an avid listener to his podcast, I supported him with money,  I prayed for him often, purchased his gospel tracts and though I disagreed with Tony here and there, I would have gladly preached the gospel with him in the open air.  That has all changed.  I still regard him as a brother though I don’t listen to him anymore, I don’t watch his videos, and I don’t support him.  I pray for Tony to repent of seeing us Arminians as enemies of the gospel.  We can disagree and still love each other.  I gladly would stand with any and every Calvinist in preaching the gospel to the lost.  I would gladly stand with my Calvinist friends against the enemies of the gospel of God’s grace.  While we can disagree let it be a debate “in house” where we regard the gospel as separate from our isms.  We can disagree how we are in Christ but let us praise the Lord that we are in Christ!

Tony Miano’s podcast.

Leighton Flower’s rebuttal.

Regarding Our Presuppositions in Bible Reading

There is no doubt that we all bring our culture, our experiences, our presuppositions to the biblical text.  The goal of our Bible study should be to examine the text allowing for proper biblical hermeneutics to guide us but I confess that we all have our presuppositions when it comes to Bible reading and study.

This is why you can find an Arminian reading Romans 9 and he sees something there that a Calvinist does not see and vise versa.  The Calvinist takes Romans 9 and interprets it based on their presupposition which is Calvinism.  The Arminian reads Romans 9 with his Arminian presupposition and thus you have two people disagreeing over Romans 9 while both reading it and interpreting it.

The argument then often goes that they both can’t be right.  Some say they might both be wrong.  Before we label them, let me state that they both are right on many issues.  For example, an Arminian would agree with a Calvinist over the gospel, over the person and work of the Lord Jesus,  over the doctrine of the Trinity, over justification by faith.  Both clearly would agree (or should) that the Bible is the inerrant and infallible Word of God.  Both agree in the existence and nature of God, that He is sovereign (though disagreeing over exactly what that means in terms of His sovereignty versus divine determinism).  Yet both acknowledge that they disagree over the issue of Calvinism.  Therefore, while both could be wrong on Romans 9, both are not wrong on many issues.  This is why this debate among Arminians and Calvinists is an “in-house” debate.  I know some Calvinists (and perhaps Arminians though I know of none) believe that Arminians are lost, most regard us as brothers and sisters.  We are united in Christ (Galatians 3:27-28).  We are both baptized into His Body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13).

So then back to our issue.  How can a person read John 6, Romans 9, Ephesians 1, etc. and not be a Calvinist?  Surely the Calvinist strength is that they deal with the text (this is the argument of some)?  In some cases, non-Calvinists point out the context is unique.  For instance, John 6 is Jesus speaking to the Jews.  A partial hardening was taking place within Israel (Romans 11:7-10).  Jesus was intentionally provoking the Jews to bring about this hardening for the purpose of redemption (John 1:11-13).  Some others point out in Ephesians 1 that Paul often changes from we (Jews) to them (Gentiles) and thus Ephesians 1 is focused on God’s first choosing of the Jews and then the Gentiles were included when they believed the gospel (Ephesians 1:13).

Is the Arminian then right and the Calvinist wrong?  Depends on your point of view.  The Calvinist reads John 6, Romans 9, and the entire Bible with TULIP in mind.  I have often heard Calvinists say that they see Calvinism all through the Bible.  Books have even been written supporting this view.  Others say that before they became a Calvinist, they struggled with Romans 9 but once they became a Calvinist, Romans 9 became precious to them.

On the other side, I have read former Calvinists say they once they rejected Calvinism, they begin to see the goodness of God and His love for the world all through the Bible.  They also begin to see free will despite rejecting it beforehand.

The point here is that we all read the Bible with our “keys” in our minds.  We have a key by which we judge Scripture.  I confess that we should read the Bible and seek to exegete it based on sound principles of biblical interpretation but we often read the Bible with our presuppositions in mind.  Is it possible to lay aside those presuppositions to truly read the Bible?  I think it is and I think we often do it but we fail to apply it to our lives nor to our theology.

What we need in this case is grace.  God does not save us because of our perfect theological construct.  God saves us by His grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9).  Salvation is not a debatable doctrine.  To reject Jesus is to reject God’s salvation (John 14:6).  Others want to argue how we get into Christ.  They argue that we have to be baptized in their church or in their mode to be saved.  I believe the Bible is clear on this point:  salvation is in Christ Jesus and in Him alone (Titus 3:5-7).  Our works cannot save us (John 6:29) because our works are often tainted by our sins (Isaiah 64:6).  Our moral goodness cannot save us.  Our church membership cannot save us.  Keeping the Law of Moses cannot save us (1 Timothy 1:8-11).  Being a Jew cannot save us (Romans 2:1-7).  Being a kind person cannot save us.  Jesus alone saves us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  We have no mediator before a holy God besides Christ Jesus our Lord (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Jesus unites His people (John 13:34-35) under the banner of His love.  I confess our presuppositions but I confess that Jesus alone is Lord (Romans 10:9-10).  When we stand before Him when we die (Hebrews 9:27-28), we will be judged through Jesus.  Our salvation, if we truly repented of our sins, will be done but the Lord will judge us based on our works done in Christ (Ephesians 2:10; Revelation 2:19).  The Lord does know our works yet we are not saved by our works but will be judged for our works (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).  The Lord remembers our deeds (Hebrews 6:10).  What I don’t believe He will judge us for will be whether we had perfect understanding of theology.  While sound doctrine is vital (Titus 2:1) and sound doctrine can save us (1 Timothy 4:16), none of us have perfect theological understanding.

In conclusion, let me state that this is not an excuse for bad theology.  The goal of the faithful Bible student and teacher is the same: to be made in the image of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-16).  Titus 1:15-16 is a good start for those who love Jesus:

15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure; but both their minds and their consciences are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

I also read Titus 2:11-14 and I think of what I am writing here:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

My exhortation is simple: Christ alone saves, Christ alone is the One that we adorn and love, and He works in His people for good works which He alone will judge when we stand before Him.  Let us then have grace and mercy toward those whom we disagree recognizing that we read the Bible with our presuppositions in mind but also confessing that Jesus Christ alone saves and not another person, movement, or thing.

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

Calvinist Debates (And What We Can Learn From Them)

Over the past year or so Calvinists have been debating one another more frequently.  There has always been some debating going on with both Arminianism and Calvinism among those who agree but disagree over minor points.  As of late, Calvinists have turned it up somewhat in their debating.

Most of their debating has been over theonomy.  Theonomy is the view that the law of God is still applicable to all cultures today and not merely for the Israelites.  Some Calvinists believe that every nation should be under the law as its basic structure and to follow the law as the Bible gives it to us.  This would include men such as the late Greg Bahnsen (whom I respect greatly) or Gary DeMar.  Other Calvinists argue against this and believe that the law of Moses was just for the Israelites and not for all nations under heaven.  They point out that Christ fulfilled the judicial and ceremonial law as well as being our Passover Lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) for our moral sins.  They point to passages such as Galatians 4:1-6 or Hebrews 10:1-4.

I am not here to settle this issue.  I think we all agree that Jesus saves sinners and this should be the heart of our message and not side issues.  I welcome healthy debates but sadly these debates among Calvinists have turned pretty ugly with some on one side saying the other side is not even saved.  I have experienced these sort of attacks before.  It is not loving nor kind.  I have received e-mails from Calvinists who tell me I am lost, that I am going to hell along with John Wesley, that Arminius is in hell, that God will judge me by the “doctrines of grace” and whether I held to them.  I use to receive almost daily e-mails from a Calvinist from California who told me I was a puppet of Satan, that I was dead in my sins, that I was preaching a false Christ, that I rejected the Word of God, etc.  I would always reply, “Thank you for your love for me” or “Please pray that Jesus would be glorified through me and not through casting me in hell.”  After I starting just replying, “Romans 5:8” he gave up.  I suppose he is still out there praying for us Arminians to be saved.

Another guy on Twitter use to send me tweets almost daily seeking to debate me over every little word that I wrote.  I could post on prayer and I would get a tweet from him wanting to debate the sovereignty of God.  If I posted something about my children he would tweet me and ask me about the doctrine of unconditional election.  I finally blocked him altogether.

In fact, on Twitter there are a group of Calvinists that spend their time watching Twitter for any tweets on Calvinism.  All you have to do is go onto Twitter and hashtag #Calvinism with something negative about the system and watch them come to life.  They will tweet you hundreds of times till you either block them or pull down the tweet.

Then there are the followers of Dr. James White.  Now I will admit up front that I regard Dr. White as a brother in the Lord.  I enjoy his works.  I listen to his podcasts (until he goes off on Arminianism).  His works on Mormonism have been a source of great help to me over the years.  He was one of the first apologists that I ever heard of and read as a young disciple of Christ over 20 years ago.  I was shocked to learn he was a Calvinist but this has not stopped me from loving him and appreciating him.  Yet Dr. White has an army of loyal followers who follow him completely.  If you ever question Dr. White, these folks will come out like ants to defend their man.  Dr. White will occasionally jump in with them but he normally stays out.  They are on Twitter and Facebook but they are out there defending Dr. White as the greatest apologist in the history of Christianity.

I suppose there are Arminians out there like these above.  I don’t know of any.  I am not one for sure.  I would disagree with Calvinists all day on Twitter or other forms of social media but my battle is not against Calvinists. I simply want to exalt Christ, see the gospel go forth, and yes, along the way, promote biblical theology as I see it and that would be Arminianism.  I have been called a raving Arminian only once and I believe this brother go me wrong (he lives in the UK and doesn’t know me).  Most who do know me including my Calvinist friends are often shocked to find out that I am an Arminian.  It is not what I seek to promote.  My agenda is not to exalt Arminius.  In fact, I don’t care if people know who is Arminius is or not.  I appreciate the man but he is not the one who is worth praising.  Jesus alone is!

Paul the Apostle wrote in 1 Corinthians 1:12-13 words we need to read and hear:

12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

I ask the same: Is Christ divided?  Was Arminius, Calvin, Edwards, Spurgeon, White, Campbell, Reasoner, Owen, Watson, etc. crucified for you?  Or were you baptized in the name of Bunyon, Ravenhill, Tozer, Lewis?

The reality is that we divide over issues that are not truly related to the gospel.  I know some will contend that Calvinists have the gospel messed up or that Arminians promote works-righteousness but if you stop and ponder these things you will learn that we both get the gospel right but we divide on how we get there and sometimes what takes place after.

I heard Dr. Douglas Wilson say to an atheist who asked him why if you gave five people each a Bible and put them in a room all by themselves and told them to just read the Bible, why would the five people come out with five different views.  Wilson answered that this is not an attack on the Bible nor upon the gospel but upon the sinfulness of man.  The fact is that five people with five different views shows us nothing about God nor His Word but rather it shows us that we should not trust people and their opinions.

I agree.  I am an Arminian in my soteriology but this does not define who I am.  I am much more than just Arminius and his works.  In fact, I don’t agree with all that Arminius wrote.  My Arminianism is not what defines me nor does it dominate me.  I read all sorts of Christian theology and I have hundreds of Calvinist books and commentaries.  One of my favorite study Bibles is The MacArthur Study Bible.  I appreciate many Calvinist theologians and preachers.  I am not blinded by my Arminianism to not appreciate Calvinism nor what they offer to me as a child of God.

The reality is that Jesus Christ is the One that I adore the most.  The sinless Son of God is the One whom I pray to, worship, long to be like, rejoice that He shed His blood for my sins.  I long to go to heaven to just be in His holy presence.  Heaven will be heaven because of Jesus and not because of any theologians who will be there.  When I was lost, Jesus found me!  When I was dead in my sins, Jesus gave me life!  When I was blind, He opened my eyes so I could see!  Jesus is my life (Colossians 3:4).

If people hear about Wesley, they might be smarter when they leave me but still dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3).  If they hear about Arminius, they might be impressed with his life but they will not have eternal life (John 5:24).  If they hear me talk about John Calvin, they might agree that he was an exceptional expository preacher but they will walk away still under condemnation from sin (John 3:18).  If I explain to someone theonomy, they might agree that the law of God is good (1 Timothy 1:8-11) but if the law doesn’t show them their sins and lead them to Christ, what is the point (Galatians 3:22-24)?  I can possibly try to explain my view of the millennial reign of Christ but if they don’t know Christ, what is the point?

I am not demeaning the need for sound doctrine nor am I seeking to demean the need for theological debates. We need them (see Acts 15).  Yet at the same time, if Christ is not being preached, if His cross is not being lifted up (John 12:32; 1 Corinthians 2:2), what is the point?  Christ is the One who alone is worthy to be praised and sinners need to hear the truth of the gospel to be saved by His grace (Romans 10:14-17).  Christ is our salvation and not any theologian (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).

My earnest prayer is for the Church to exalt Christ.  We have over 35,000 denominations.  This doesn’t disprove the truth of the Bible nor does it disprove the validity of the existence of God (Romans 1:19-20) but it proves that man is fallible and sinful at heart (Jeremiah 17:5-9).  Most denominations started out simply longing to restore the Church back to the centrality of the gospel.  Somewhere along the way they became focused on man and his agenda took over.  This is why we have 35,000+ denominations.  Our hope, nonetheless, must be on Jesus Christ.  No church will save us.  Only Christ will save sinners (1 Timothy 1:15).  The reality is that Jesus has only one Church and it is those who are His true disciples (John 8:31-32).

Jesus Himself said in Luke 8:19-21:

19 Then his mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. 20 And he was told, “Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, desiring to see you.” 21 But he answered them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

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