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Posts Tagged ‘E. Calvin Beisner

An Evangelical Reply to Winkie Pratney

I just finished posting over the past several days posts from Winkie Pratney, prominent YWAM teacher, on the doctrine of sin.  Pratney holds to moral government theology views regarding sin and original sin.  His view is similar to those held by MGT teachers such as Charles Finney or Jesse Morrell.  I feel a few statements are in order about the posts.

First, I respect Winkie Pratney much.  He has done much good for the kingdom of Christ.  Pratney was influential to many followers of Christ including the late Keith Green and many of the early Jesus Movement disciples.  Pratney was often found teaching at Keith Green’s Last Days Ministries in Lindale, Texas.  Pratney was also esteemed by such teachers as Leonard Ravenhill and others.  I have never met Pratney but those who have tell me that he is a godly, gentle man who longs for people to love Jesus with all their hearts.  I rejoice in that.

Secondly, I think it would not be fair of Calvinists to say that Pratney or any other MGT teacher is an Arminian.  I agree that their theology is closer to Arminianism than to Calvinism but their views regarding sin is not found in the teachings of Arminius.  Arminius clearly held to original sin and he rejected any notion that man could overcome sin through the will or even that they can free will themselves to salvation.  Arminius held that the will is bound by sin just as Luther and Calvin taught.  Arminius held that salvation is all of grace through faith and while he differed over whether this salvation was conditional or unconditional in regard to divine election, he clearly taught that salvation is a work of the Spirit (John 6:44; Ephesians 1:3-14; Titus 3:5-7).  Therefore, if the writings of Arminius are the deciding point of Arminianism then MGT teachers are not Arminians.

Thirdly, if you are looking for an evangelical reply to MGT and teachers such as Winkie Pratney, I recommend the book Evangelical Heathenism: Examining Contemporary Revivalism by E. Calvin Beisner.  The book is a good theological read.

Original Sin Study Up To This Point

A brief summary of what I have been learning from my studies on the subject of original sin.  First, there are many Christians who agree with St. Augustine over the doctrine of original sin.  John Calvin, Beza, Arminius, Edwards, Wesley, and even modern theologians such as Robert Picirilli or the late Kenneth Grinder agree with the doctrine.  Wayne Grudem holds to the doctrine though he doesn’t favor the language.  This seems to be the view among modern theologians, that the doctrine is correct but the language, “original sin,” is not the best description of the doctrine.

Secondly, Arminians hold in general that we are born totally depraved and with an inherited sinful nature.  We are not guilty per se of Adam’s sin in that the original act of disobedience is our disobedience (though some Calvinists do hold to this view, that we are guilty of Adam’s sin just as much as he was).  Wesley, for example, taught that none will be condemned for the sin of Adam itself but for our own sins.  This seem to not be the view of Arminius though I will deal with Arminius’ view of original sin coming up in a later post.  Arminius seems to agree with John Calvin who agreed with Augustine over the doctrine.  By the way, all three men taught infant baptism as helping give grace to babies born in Christian families.

My own views seem to still lean toward the standard Arminian view from above.  I do not hold to moral government theology (MGT) which completely rejects original sin.  For more on this, I recommend the book Evangelical Heathenism by E. Calvin Beisner.  The book deals with the view of MGT and shows that MGT is not in line with Arminianism and Calvinism in view of original sin and our sinful nature.  MGT teachers such as Jesse Morrell are prominent on YouTube and other places.  I reject the notion, however, that those who hold to MGT are not Christians.  While I disagree with MGT over certain issues, I do believe that they hold to salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.  This is the foundation that we need to build upon and find unity in (Ephesians 2:19).  I do think that MGT can lead to faulty understanding of human nature.

That said, I believe that we are born depraved and sinful in our nature (Romans 5:12).  Romans 5:19 says that we were made sinners in Adam.  In this way, we sin because we are sinners.  The work of Christ alone can reverse this.  This is one of the main points of Romans 5:12-21; that Christ is the second Adam and His work on the cross enables us to turn from sin and come under His control.  The power of sin can only be broken through Christ and not by our flesh.

Upcoming in the study will be from Dr. Jack Cottrell who rejects original sin.  We will also look at the teachings of Alexander Campbell over original sin and also Restoration theologian F. Lagard Smith over the teaching.  We will look at what Arminius had to say further about original sin along with John Calvin.  We will look at the teaching of original sin from Martin Luther and also from Jonathan Edwards and Charles Spurgeon.  We will look at how early Arminians interpreted Arminius and original sin.  It should be a good study so hang with me on this one.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/30/2012 at 10:00 AM

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