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Where is the Discernment?

One of the things that troubles me about many Arminians is their utter lack of discernment.  This is true of course for all believers and not just Arminians but I want to speak to my camp here.  An upcoming event called “Together 2016” features many different people including Roman Catholics.  For the life of me,  I cannot understand how Protestants can join hands with Roman Catholics in any real sense until the Catholics renounce their Catholic beliefs.  The very gospel is at stake here.  This is not just about personal differences or traditions.  This is a gospel issue.

The Roman Catholic Church denies the gospel.  They deny justification by faith.  They deny the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  They teach a form of works righteousness.  They deny even declared righteousness imputed to the believer by God.  They deny sola scriptura.  They deny sola fide.  They deny sola gratia.  Everything that our Protestant forefathers did for the sake of the gospel, the blood shed in defense of the Bible and in defense of the gospel cannot be lost.

When you read the list of speakers for the “Together 2016” one not included (because he will not there in person) is the Pope.  Yes the Roman Catholic pontiff (whom Arminius called the antichrist) will address evangelicals.  Alongside the Pope will be men such as Lecrae (whom I have lost respect for), Dr. Tony Evans (whom I lost respect for sometime ago), and Dr. George Wood (the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God).  Before you think that only non-Calvinists are there, Calvinists such as Trip Lee and Francis Chan (who studied at the Master’s Seminary) will speak alongside the likes of Hillsong (who has wandered far away into something), Christine Cane, Lou Engle, and Mark Batterson.

What is disappointing about this is the lack of discernment.  Can you imagine Arminius speaking where he knew the Catholic pontiff would be welcomed?  Can you imagine the likes of a John Buynan or Charles Spurgeon preaching at this event?  Would John Wesley join hands with known mystics to promote this “unity?”  Would Leonard Ravenhill promote such an event?

I think the answer is clear.

Arminius wrote about the Roman Pontiff:

Since, therefore, the Roman Pontiff either attributes these most honourable titles of Christ to himself, or willingly suffers them to be ascribed to him; and since he evinces no horror at the blasphemy contained in these titles, and gives no tokens of his displeasure at this ascription of them; it follows, that he puts himself in the place of Christ, and is supremely opposed to Him. There is no excuse in the explanation which is given, that “the head and foundation is ministerial, and that he attributes all these things to himself under Christ, as having been elevated by the grace or favour of God and Christ to that dignity.” For the protestation is directly contrary to the fact; and he is so much the more the bitter enemy of God and Christ, as he the more confidently boasts of being defended by the authority of God and Christ. Such conduct is, in fact, under the semblance of friendship to exercise the deepest enmity, and, under the disguised pretext of a minister of light and of righteousness, to promote the interests of the kingdom of darkness and of unrighteousness. On this very account, therefore, we assert that the disparaging epithets which we laid down in our first Thesis, most justly belong to him; and this we now proceed to show by descending to particulars.

Arminius called the Pope the “pimp of the harlot Church.”  He further wrote:

Although the Roman pontiff calls himself “the servant of the servants of God,” yet we further assert that he is by way of eminence, That Wicked And Perverse Servant, who, when he saw that his Lord delayed his coming, “began to smite his fellow-servants.” (Matt. 24:48.) For the Roman pontiff has usurped domination and tyranny, not only over his fellow- servants, the bishops of the church of God, but likewise over emperors and kings themselves, whose authority and dignity he had himself previously acknowledged. To acquire this domination for himself, and still further to augment and establish it, he has employed all kinds of satanic instruments — sophistical hypocrisy, lies, equivocations, perfidy, perjury, violence, poison, and armed forces — so that he may most justly be said to have succeeded that formidable beast which “was like unto a leopard, a bear and a lion,” and by which the Roman empire was prefigured — and to have “had power to give life unto the image of the beast, and to cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast, should be killed.”

I call on Arminians to follow in the footsteps of Arminius and denounce the Roman Catholic Church.  I am not calling for hatred of Catholics themselves for they need the gospel.  I am calling for a hatred of the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.  I am calling for biblical discernment (Jude 3-4).

We need to heed 1 Timothy 4:1-2.  We need to heed 2 Timothy 4:3-4.  We need to stand agains the Roman Catholic Church and preach against her false doctrines.  We need to call Catholics to repent and believe the gospel.

I pray that men such as Dr. George Wood would not only decline speaking at the “Together 2016” event but denounce it.  I pray that men and women of God would rise up and denounce the event altogether.  In our troubled world we need the true gospel and not a mixing of errors.  Now is not the time to lay down our swords in the midst of a sinful world.  What is going to slay the evils we see of racism, sexual immorality, abortion, homosexuality, wicked killings, etc. is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16-17).  We lose the gospel.  We lose the war.

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>A Calvinist Quote with Brief Reply

>I found this quote from a Calvinist blog:

So here is what I am saying: Arminianism involves such serious departure from biblical teaching that it badly warps the gospel so that God’s glory is hindered and our Christian experience is hindered.  As Dr. James Boice so helpfully put it in his book, Whatever Happened to the Gospel of Grace?, the Arminian teaching does not uphold any of the five solas.  It denies sola Scriptura (scripture alone), because its essential arguments are non-biblical, but are philosophical (“isn’t predestination unfair, etc.”).  It denies sola fide (faith alone) by changing the character of faith so that it is basically a work.  It denies sola gratia (grace alone), by centering salvation on us instead of on God.  And it most certainly denies soli deo Gloria (to God alone be glory), since I am saved ultimately because of what I have done.  So it is a serious error.  Essentially, Arminianism is a rationalistic rejection of the Protestant Reformation.

This was in reply to the question, “Is Arminianism heretical or orthodox?”  The Calvinists reply was that while one can not be Reformed and be a Christian, one is clearly not truly biblical unless one is Reformed. Arminians, in particular, are “barely” saved according to this man’s views from above.  Notice that he says Arminianism is a “serious departure from biblical teaching that it badly warps the gospel so that God’s glory is hindered.”  He goes on to say, “It is a serious error.  Essentially, Arminianism is a rationalistic rejection of of the Protestant Reformation.”

In his article he states that Arminians often misunderstand Reformed theology and his advice is to deal gently with those who do not believe Reformed theology and show them that it is biblical.

I would add the same about this fellow.  I would say that he too misunderstands reformed Arminian views. He has not read the works of Arminius for if he had, he would see that Arminius was clearly within the reformed tradition and worked within that framework.  Arminius was not trying to create a new Christian faith, he was simply asking questions about the old ones.  Arminius’ main point for calling the Synod of Dort (of which he died before it convened) was to question whether the Church should operate from the reformation principle of sola Scriptura or if the Church should use the Creeds to determine what is sound theology.  Arminius felt that the Calvinists were taking the Catechisms and making them the standard to judge Scripture and not the other way around.  Clearly Arminius’ cry was a reformation cry!

In regard to whether Arminius rejected the five solas.  No he did not.  Not once in his writings does he go against any of the five solas.  He disagrees with Calvinists over various exegesis of Scriptures but not once does he seek to move outside of the five solas.  In regard to Scripture, Arminius clearly held that the Bible alone was the final authority.  This, again, was the main purpose of the Synod of Dort.  While Calvinists turned the Synod of Dort in their favor by stacking the council against the Arminians so that Arminians had no chance to defend their views and were publicly put on trial for their faith by the Calvinists (which resulted in the death of one Arminian by beheading), the purpose of Arminius was to call the Church back to the final authority of the Bible and not the creeds or councils.

In regard to whether Arminianism is basically a philosophical disagreement with Calvinists my reply would be no.  Certainly I would agree that some speculation does go on.  We can’t help but to speculate when it comes to such a majestic God (Romans 11:33-36).  Neither Arminians nor Calvinists have God figured out.  At least this Arminian doesn’t.  God’s ways are so much higher than my ways and His thoughts are so much higher than my own (Isaiah 55:8-9).  I do believe that we should be careful when we speculate about doctrines such as election or free will simply because they are being based on our human limitations and not the final authority of Scripture.

In final, do I hold to the five solas of the Reformation?  Yes I do and I would gladly defend them.  I don’t believe that Arminianism is understood by this Calvinists and I would chide him for the same thing he says that we do toward those in the Reformed camp and that is that while we don’t always understand their views, they don’t comprehend ours as well.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/05/2011 at 11:39 PM

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