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Posts Tagged ‘Tony Miano

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.

Tony Miano’s Apology and My Response

Tony 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 his Calvinism and I hold that it is he who is in error here and not us Arminians, I will allow him to be.  I do offer a short response to here from some of the things that he wrote on his blog.

Tony’s Errors on Arminianism and Works Salvation.

First, while Tony does apologize, he still maintains that Arminians hold to a false gospel.  He writes:

The following clarifications should not be seen in any shape or form as a retraction of my position. Again, I am firm in my belief that consistently-held Arminianism is a false gospel.

And he states:

My concern–my heartfelt, loving, compassionate, fearful concern–is for those men and women who fight for Arminianism. Yes. I am concerned for their souls. I believe consistently-held Arminianism is closer to Mormonism (2 Nephi 25:23) and Roman Catholicism (Prevenient Grace, for example) than it is to biblical Christianity. So, of course, my concern for the ardent Arminian is as great as it is for the Mormon and for the Roman Catholic.

For those unfamiliar with the quote from the Book of Mormon, it states that we are saved by grace after all we can do.  Tony believes that this is what Arminians hold to despite never quoting from any Arminian theologians ever.  I have followed Tony for many years now and I have never seen him quote an Arminian, speak of Arminian theologians that he is reading, never quoted from Arminius or Wesley, and I have never seen him interact even once with any Arminian theologians.  The only Arminian I have ever seen him speak of is Dr. Michael Brown and he wrote that Brown needs salvation and that he was praying for Brown to repent and believe the true gospel (Calvinism).  Had Tony read any of Arminius he would see that Arminius is a theologian of grace and he stood against the Roman Catholic Church in both his public ministry and writings.

For example, Arminius wrote this about the grace of God and try to discern from this if he is closer to biblical truth or the errors above that Tony states we align with:

In reference to Divine Grace, I believe, 1. It is a gratuitous affection by which God is kindly affected towards a miserable sinner, and according to which he, in the first place, gives his Son, “that whosoever believers in him might have eternal life,” and, afterwards, he justifies him in Christ Jesus and for his sake, and adopts him into the right of sons, unto salvation. 2. It is an infusion (both into the human understanding and into the will and affections,) of all those gifts of the Holy Spirit which appertain to the regeneration and renewing of man — such as faith, hope, charity, &c.; for, without these gracious gifts, man is not sufficient to think, will, or do any thing that is good. 3. It is that perpetual assistance and continued aid of the Holy Spirit, according to which He acts upon and excites to good the man who has been already renewed, by infusing into him salutary cogitations, and by inspiring him with good desires, that he may thus actually will whatever is good; and according to which God may then will and work together with man, that man may perform whatever he wills.

In this manner, I ascribe to grace the commencement, the continuance and the consummation of all good, and to such an extent do I carry its influence, that a man, though already regenerate, can neither conceive, will, nor do any good at all, nor resist any evil temptation, without this preventing and exciting, this following and co-operating grace. From this statement it will clearly appear, that I by no means do injustice to grace, by attributing, as it is reported of me, too much to man’s free-will. For the whole controversy reduces itself to the solution of this question, “is the grace of God a certain irresistible force?” That is, the controversy does not relate to those actions or operations which may be ascribed to grace, (for I acknowledge and inculcate as many of these actions or operations as any man ever did,) but it relates solely to the mode of operation, whether it be irresistible or not. With respect to which, I believe, according to the scriptures, that many persons resist the Holy Spirit and reject the grace that is offered.

John Wesley preached this about the grace of God:

So little do they understand that great foundation of the whole Christian building, “By grace are ye saved:” Ye are saved from your sins, from the guilt and power thereof, ye are restored to the favour and image of God, not for any works, merits, or deservings of yours, but by the free grace, the mere mercy of God, through the merits of his well-beloved Son: Ye are thus saved, not by any power, wisdom, or strength, which is in you, or in any other creature; but merely through the grace or power of the Holy Ghost, which worketh all in all.

Is that works salvation as Tony implies?

Tony Still Insists Calvinism is the Gospel.

Many other Calvinists have made his error before him including Charles Spurgeon and his infamous sermon on Calvinism.  Tony, at first, seems to imply in his apology that Calvinism is not the gospel only to turn around and write:

Calvinism (Doctrines of Grace) is not the gospel, but only in this sense. Calvinism is a systematized, biblical representation of the gospel. On the other hand: Arminianism is a systematized, unbiblical representation of the gospel. It is a theological construct that is antithetical to the Doctrines of Grace. Hence, If I believe the Doctrines of Grace rightly represent the gospel, and I believe Arminianism does not, then consistency demands I believe Arminianism is a representation of a false gospel.

In his excellent book, Killing CalvinismGreg Dutcher writes:

The danger is that, while we may begin with Reformed theology as the framework by which we more coherently understand and appreciate our faith, over time it can become the substance of our faith.  At that point, daily living is more about mastering Reformed doctrine that being mastered by Jesus and his total claim over every area of our life.

Dutcher goes on to write how his Reformed theology is his windshield by which he looks out at God and the world but it is not the only windshield.  There are plenty of non-Calvinists (including us dreaded Arminians in Tony’s view) who read the Bible, pray, worship, share our faith, love our families, homeschool our children, etc. but not from a Calvinistic point of view.

Back when Tony was trying to bring some clarity to his “debate” with Mark Cahill over Calvinism, he wrote this:

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.

So in 2010, Miano felt that the debate was over non-essentials but now he holds that Calvinism is the gospel.  What changed?  I suppose he could say that he was wrong in 2010 to write that toward Mark Cahill but remember, he was writing to teach us that Cahill was wrong to say that Calvinists worship a false god.

Miano further wrote in 2010:

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.

Now Tony would say that Mark is not his brother and neither are serious Arminians such as myself, John Wesley, Arminius, Adam Clarke, Richard Watson, Francis Asbury, Samuel Chadwick, Leonard Ravenhill, Vic Reasoner, Thomas Oden, or Michael Brown.  Somewhere Calvinism became the issue when in 2010, it was not.

By the way, Ray Comfort, whom Tony Miano adores and I as well, does not make Arminianism and Calvinism an issue with his ministry.  Why does Ray get a pass?  Ray, from my readings of him and listening to him, does not hold to limited atonement which Tony says if you hold to unlimited atonement you are in error.  So why does Ray get a pass?  Ray pleads with the lost to come to Christ and he sounds very Arminian in his preaching on the atonement as well as his call to repent.  Yet Tony gives Ray a pass?

Tony’s View of Arminians and Arminianism.

Tony builds a straw man here when he writes:

I’ve yet to meet an Arminian who believes asking God to save people is unbiblical. Yet the person who consistently holds to the Arminian doctrine of Resistible Grace should never pray for God to save someone. To pray for God to save someone, to pray for God to in any way infringe upon a person’s will so that He can assert His own, is to ask God to make His grace irresistible to the person who is the subject of the prayer.

Certainly Arminians pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” And most Arminians will insist as I do that God is sovereign. Yet the Arminian doctrine of Resistible Grace runs contrary to a prayer for the Lord’s will to be done and contrary to any assertion that God is truly sovereign.

Most Christians who ascribe to Arminianism will assert their confidence that they will one-day spend eternity with Jesus, in heaven. Yet, at the same time, they will assert they can lose their salvation. See the inconsistency? How can one have any hope, let alone confidence, of his salvation if he believes that salvation can be lost by his own doing? More about this toward the end of the article.

These are but a few, simple examples of Arminians who simply aren’t Arminians.

Again, I make a distinction between the confused Arminian described above and the rabid Arminian. While the rabid Arminian is certainly confused, the confused Arminian is not necessarily rabid.

Had Tony even read Arminius or Arminian theologians, he would know the answers to his own straw men.  I could write about how consistent Calvinism destroys evangelism or why should consistent Calvinists pray or even live holy lives but this would be nothing but a straw man since I know the answers to these by reading Calvinists books and listening to my Calvinist brothers and sisters.

Tony goes on:

I believe the Doctrines of Grace are the only accurate systematized representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I believe consistently-held Arminianism creates unbiblical positions regarding the character of God, the character of man, the atonement of Jesus Christ, and the means and manner of salvation (this is not an exhaustive list).

I believe Arminianism (a theological construct that is the antithesis of the Doctrines of Grace) is diametrically opposed to and a false representation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

I would only, in passing, point out that Tony’s view on Reformed theology is not universally held.  Roger Olson, in his wondeful book that I wish Tony would read, Against Calvinismwrites how Reformed theology is not nailed down just by TULIP.  He points out that there are many who call themselves Calvinists who would not agree at all with the “young, restless, Reformed” movement of today.  I point out that men such as Russell Moore (formerly of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) and Tommy Nelson (Calvinist pastor in Texas) both reject limited atonement.  Are they wrong?  Tony would say yes!  They are in error and need to repent.

I will also note that you’ll notice Tony offers nothing to show how we Arminians are wrong about our view of the character of God, of man, of the atonement, and the means and manner of salvation.  He simply states that we are wrong and that is that.  No interaction with any Arminian works or theologians.  No quotes from Arminius.  Nothing from Wesley.

I do agree, however, that we Arminians are opposed to Calvinism.  I have never acted otherwise.  That said, I have never held that Calvinist are lost, that they are believing a false gospel (because neither system is the gospel but a way of looking at the gospel), and I would gladly worship, defend, and preach the gospel with my Calvinist friends.  Again, as Tony held in 2010, I believe these are non-essential issues that Christians can disagree over.

Tony’s Closing Remarks (More Straw Men)

“It’s not true! I believe there is goodness in me!” That is pride.

“God didn’t elect me! God simply knew I would make the right decision and choose Christ!” That is pride.

“God is not a cosmic puppeteer, a cosmic rapist! He’s a gentleman! He wouldn’t force me to do anything against my will! Jesus died for my sins, but I had to choose Him! I had to accept Him!” That is pride.

“I must persevere to the end in order to be saved! I can lose my salvation, and I’m determined not to lose it!” That is pride.

Arminianism is a prideful, theological construct. God is opposed to the proud (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5).

There are no proud people in heaven. The reason? God humbled Himself. He humbled Himself by taking on human flesh and allowing Himself to be crucified for crimes he did not commit (Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 12:2).

Yet God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5). God will extend His saving grace to His Elect. Christians will likely be surprised one day when they see who is and who is not in heaven. I’m hopeful the redeemed will include many who call themselves “Arminians.”

Tony believes that the very heart of the Arminian above (which is nothing but a straw man) is pride.  Not one of the statements he writes I have ever seen in any Arminian writings.  Not one.  I have read Arminius and he never writes on the pride of man in “earning” his salvation.  Wesley never preached that we can obtain our salvation by our works.  None of what Tony wrote is true of any Arminian I have ever read or known.  I have known many prideful people (and I have been one of them) but my pride was not in me earning my salvation but in thinking too highly of myself now that Christ has saved me (Philippians 2:3-4).  So many Calvinist attacks on Arminianism do nothing but produce false straw men that are not true and the above are no different.

Arminius wrote:

But justification is attributed to faith, not because it is that very righteousness which can be opposed to the rigid and severe judgment of God, though it is pleasing to God; but because, through the judgment of mercy triumphing over justice, it obtains absolution from sins, and is graciously imputed for righteousness. (Acts xiii, 39.) The cause of this is, not only God who is both just and merciful, but also Christ by his obedience, offering, and intercession according to God through his good pleasure and command. But it may be thus defined, “it is a justification by which a man, who is a sinner, yet a believer, being placed before the throne of grace which is erected in Christ Jesus the Propitiation, is accounted and pronounced by God, the just and merciful Judge, righteous and worthy of the reward of righteousness, not in himself but in Christ, of grace, according to the gospel, to the praise of the righteousness and grace of God, and to the salvation of the justified person himself.” (Rom. iii, 24-26; 3, 4, 5, 10, 11.)

Where is the pride of man in Arminius above?

One final note here before I leave this.  Tony attacks Arminians for holding to the possibility of apostasy but he himself would hold that perseverance of the saints is necessary for final salvation lest the person prove “they were never saved to begin with” (1 John 2:19).  So Tony would teach that we Arminians are wrong for warning people of apostasy but he himself would say that a person who turns away was never saved to begin with.  Both need warnings don’t they?  Whether you believe in apostasy or not, the sinning person needs to repent (1 John 3:4-10).  Again, his straw man is not good.

Conclusion

Will there be Arminians in hell?  Yes!  Will there be Calvinists in hell?  Yes!  We are not saved by our systems.  You can hold to Arminianism or Calvinism and still be lost.  Salvation is Jesus.  Salvation is not a system or a church or a doctrine.  Salvation is found in a PERSON!  I am man-centered in my theology: the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).  I believe Jesus is my hope, my salvation.  My salvation is not found in Arminius (who is dead) or Wesley (who is dead) or in Roger Olson (who will die just as I will).  My salvation is found in Jesus Christ.  He is my passion.  I would gladly stand on the streets of my city and preach the Lordship of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:5 NASB).  I would gladly preach that we are justified before God only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:29; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).  Our salvation, from beginning to end, must be focused only on Jesus and nothing more lest we be preaching another gospel (Galatians 1:6-9).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/16/2015 at 5:38 PM

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

Should Arminianism or Calvinism Be An Issue For Unity?

I want to say from the beginning that I enjoy various Calvinist blogs, podcasts, and ministries.  My wife and I have financially supported a few Calvinist ministries now and again.  I have no trouble praying, worshiping, fellowshipping, and even evangelizing with my Calvinist brethren.  I would stand with my Calvinist friends to defend the gospel, to defend key doctrines such as the inerrancy of the Bible, and I would stand with my Calvinist brethren to preach the gospel.  I have no ill will toward my Calvinist friends.  I simply believe they are wrong in their starting point for their theology though I regard them as brothers and sisters in the Lord.

If I had a larger ministry context, I would not exclude Calvinists from my group.  I would love to have a ministry that reaches people with the gospel much like Ray Comfort’s Living Waters or Paul Washer’s Heart Cry Missionary Society.  In Ray Comfort’s ministry, it is well known that both Arminians and Calvinists have served together with one another.  There has been unity even in the midst of theological disagreements.  The reason is simple: the gospel is not about Arminianism or Calvinism.  One can be an Arminian or a Calvinist and be lost.  This is clear from our churches were people attend but are lost.  There are many people who would claim to be an Arminian or a Calvinist but are not saved.  Salvation is not an ism.  Salvation is found in the living Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).  Salvation is found in Jesus alone (John 1:12-13; 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6).  Salvation is not agreeing with facts about Jesus (James 2:19).  Salvation is loving Jesus and worshiping Him alone for His saving work on the cross (John 14:21-24; 1 John 2:3-6).

In fact, Calvinist Tony Miano wrote this when he was part of Living Waters ministry:

Silence by Living Waters regarding various theological or philosophical issues should not be seen as a position in favor or against those various theological or philosophical issues. And all members of the Living Waters staff are free to believe, study, worship, and fellowship according to their personal convictions and preferences, without compromising their deeply held spiritual beliefs, so long as those beliefs, convictions, and preferences are consistent with the ministry’s Statement of Faith.

This was part of a blog post Miano did on Living Waters and whether they are “anti-Pentecostal.”  While Miano admitted he was not a Pentecostal, he stated his love for them and the fact that they had a few Pentecostals working at Living Waters.  He also wrote this about Arminianism:

A Christian can be a non-Calvinist without being anti-Calvinist in their doctrinal positions; just as a Christian can be a non-Arminian without being anti-Arminian.

I agree with Tony Miano here.  I agree that one can be a non-Calvinist and not be anti-Calvinist.  That would describe myself and so many other Arminians I know.  I am not against my Calvinist brethren but I am not a fan of Calvinism.  I can read Calvinist books, pray with Calvinist saints, preach with my Calvinist brothers, and yet not agree with Calvinism.  Why?  Because Calvinism is the not the gospel.  Jesus doesn’t save Calvinists nor does He save Arminians.  Jesus saves sinners (Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 1:15).

Yet Miano recently stated in his blog talk radio program that Arminianism is the problem with the American church.  He blamed the “sinner’s prayer” and altar calls on the Arminianism of the 19th century here in the United States.  He went on to rant that Arminianism is one of the unbiblical problems in the American church (along with some other things).

I have watched this slowly developing in my brother Tony.  I am not like some who will call Tony a liar nor will I berate him as a sinner.  I love Tony Miano and love his work for the Lord.  I appreciate his heart to preach the gospel to the lost.  I appreciate his service for the King.  I don’t agree with Tony on every issue.  His Calvinism is often where we disagree.  That said, I appreciate him as a brother.  I would ask he do the same toward me and other Arminians.

What I would like to say to Tony (and other Calvinists) is this: read Arminians.  I wonder when Calvinists attack Arminians, have they read the Works of Arminius?  Have they read any Arminian theologians such as Adam Clarke, Vic Reasoner, or Roger Olson?  Do they know the Arminian Puritan John Goodwin?  Have they read the writings or sermons of John Wesley?  Do they know that Whitefield said that Wesley did evangelism better than he did for Wesley put his converts into bands or small groups?  When was the last time they had meaningful time with Arminian brothers and sisters and talked about theology with them?

The fact is that if brother Tony had read Arminius or the works of Arminians he would see that what he berates as sloppy American evangelicalism does not come from Arminius nor the Arminians of the 19th century but rather from the semi-Pelagianism of Charles Finney.  While many Calvinists try to make Finney an Arminian, he was not.  I would admit that many Arminian churches fell prey to Finney’s theology at the turn of the 20th century and sadly many Arminian churches today look more like Finney than like Wesley.  Dr. Vic Reasoner in his excellent two-volume work, Holy Livingshows that Finney’s theology does not reflect the teachings of Arminius nor Wesley regarding salvation, sin, holiness, etc.  I recommend the book.

I appreciate my open air brethren who happen to be Calvinist.  I would appreciate if they take the time to read Arminians.  I suspect many will not because they have begun with a presupposition in mind and that is that Arminianism equals man-centered theology, that Arminianism equals heresy, or that Arminianism is not God-exalting theology.  All of this is false.  I confess that Arminian books are not as easy to find as Calvinist books but they are there.  I would appreciate them reading Arminius or reading Wesley and seeing that the current state of the American church has nothing to do with Arminius or Wesley but with the teachings of Finney.

Let me end by asking my Calvinist brothers to not do one thing and that is draw a line in the sand with Calvinism being the gospel.  I heard Jeff Rose from Jeremiah Cry (a ministry I support and appreciate again in spite of their Calvinism) saying that he was going to start making a call for people to abandon all forms of theology but Calvinism to work with them.  I ask why?  If Calvinism is not the issue?  If Calvinism does not save?  If Calvin was but a man who saved no one?  Why do this?  Why make Calvinism a gospel issue?

Let us return to the gospel.  Let us return to preaching the gospel and uniting around the fact that the blood of Jesus saves us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  Let us draw near to God through the Lord Jesus Christ through His precious blood (Hebrews 9:14).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

02/16/2015 at 12:24 PM

Is the Open Air Preaching community in a Down Grade? A response to Tony Miano

Excellent thoughts on open air preaching in a friendly response to Tony Miano.

The Practical Theologian

I consider Tony Miano a dear brother in Christ. He is one of the men who have helped me develop into a man concerned for a lost and dying generation. His training of me and many other men and women in evangelism will be a blessing that will be remembered in eternity as both he and I cast our crowns at the feet of the One who is worthy of our worship and service.  I stand behind his right to rightly handle the Word of Truth, the Holy Bible, and divide it and interpret it rightly. I believe that he believes (and some others with him)that he has done this with his most recent offering Should She Preach.  I do not believe that Tony has studied and written and even given a mea culpa (“I was wrong”) regarding training women to open air preach because he desires to divide…

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Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/13/2013 at 3:31 PM

Tony Miano Arrested For Preaching Against Sin In England

Here is a link to an article of brother Tony Miano being arrested in England for preaching against sin.  I watched the post-arrest video from Tony concerning this event.  Tony and his team were preaching the gospel and passing out tracts at the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament in England.  Tony chose to preach from 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 and was preaching against all sexual immorality including homosexuality.  A woman heard Tony preaching against homosexuality, cursed at him as she walked by, and then called the police to complain about his sermon.  The police arrived and arrested Tony for his “hate speech” against homosexuals.

Tony was then taken to a police station where he was questioned about his faith in Christ.  The British asked him where in the Bible he was preaching, did he hate homosexuals, would he help a homosexual if they asked him for food, and would he continue to preach against homosexuality if they let him go.  He answered appropriately but on the last question, he told them he would continue to preach against homosexuality since it was condemned in Scripture.  At this point the British told him he would not be released but would have to stand trial for his crimes against homosexuals.

This is coming to the United States.  It will be a crime to preach against the sin of homosexuality in this nation in due time.  My prediction is less than 10 years.  However, the Church of Christ must preach against all sins.  We must not pick and choose what sins to preach against but must declare what God’s Word says about all sin (1 John 3:4).  The Bible condemns not just homosexuality (1 Corinthians 6:9-10) but also lying, greed, idolatry, adultery, racism, etc.  May we be faithful to preach against all sin that robs God of His glory and sends people to hell (Romans 6:23).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/04/2013 at 9:46 AM

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