Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Universalism

The “Many” and the “All” of Romans 5

Dr. Jack Cottrell holds that the doctrine of original sin as taught since Augustine is not biblical.  He holds that people are born in a state of grace and are not guilty of Adam’s sin and thus are not born sinful.  He holds that all sinners will be judged by God but they will be judged for their own sins and not for the sin of Adam.  Even John Wesley acknowledged that none will be found guilty of Adam’s transgression but their own.

Romans 5 is a debated passage over the doctrine of original sin.  I would say that most orthodox scholars hold that Romans 5 teaches the doctrine of original sin or inherited sinfulness.  While Arminians are not as quick to say that all people inherit Adam’s sin, Arminianism does hold that all people inherit Adam’s sinfulness.  Thus Arminianism has held that people are born dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3) because of Adam’s sin but people are not born guilty of Adam’s sin but merely the results of Adam’s sin.  Calvinists hold that people are born both depraved and inherit Adam’s sin and thus babies are guilty of sin at the moment of conception (they also explain the necessity of the virgin birth as such).

Dr. Cottrell’s analysis of Romans 5 is fascinating.  It is very extensive and would take many posts on this blog for me to work through it.  However, I just want to focus in on one issue here and that is the issue of Paul’s use of “many” and “all” in Romans 5.  For example, in Romans 5:12 we read:

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.

None deny that “all” here means all.  In Romans 5:15 Paul uses the phrase “many died through one man’s trespass” and none doubt that “many” here means all.  The problem is the end of Romans 5:15.  Let me quote the entire verse:

But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if many died through one man’s trespass, much more have the grace of God and the free gift by the grace of that one man Jesus Christ abounded for many.

Now if the many at the beginning means all (v. 12) then why does the many at the end of verse 15 mean anything less than all?

The Calvinist answer is that if we make the “many” here become all (as in all) then we must hold to universalism or at best we must deny limited atonement (which cannot be done).  The all in Calvinism is “all” but the “many” in their view is only the elect.  Thus Adam’s sin brings condemnation to “all” but Jesus’ work brings salvation only to the elect or the “many.”

The Arminian answer is that Christ’s sacrifice was provided for all sinners (John 3:16) but only those who place their faith in Christ will be saved.  The only way to escape judgment for your sins is to place your faith in Christ Jesus alone.  Thus the “all” of Adam’s transgression comes to all and the work of Christ has been given for all.  The “many” and the “all” are used interchangeably by Paul the Apostle here in Romans 5.

Dr. Cottrell believes that the only universalism that one can derive from Romans 5:12-21 is that Christ’s saving work on the cross cancels out the work of Adam.  Thus he holds that people are not born in a state of depravity or born sinful but rather that Paul’s point is that Romans 5 is teaching that Jesus cancels out the fall of Adam.  While death is still here with us from Adam, this too, writes Cottrell, will soon be vanquished by the power of the risen Christ (1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 20:13-14).

He goes on to write that we now can view sin in four stages.

  1. Original Sin.  The only thing we receive from Adam’s sin now is death.  We are born in a flesh that will die.  The sin of Adam has been canceled out by the work of Christ.
  2. Original Grace.  All infants and young children are here as well as those who mentally never develop (handicapped).  While here people are in a state of salvation through the universal work of Christ until they reach an age of accountability that only God knows.
  3. Personal Sin.  This is the state people are in after reaching the age of accountability and lose the original grace into which they were born.  Those in this stage are lost because they sinned against a holy God and violated His just laws in the same way that Adam and Eve did.  Those who die here are condemned for their own sins.
  4. Personal Grace.  This is a term only for believers.  Those in Christ Jesus through faith are in a state of personal grace and are redeemed from both sin and death (John 5:24-25; 11:25-26).  Both sin and death have no power over the believer (Romans 8:1; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57).  However, this applies only to those who believe and is not based merely on past belief.  This is present active relationship with Christ (1 Peter 1:5).

Let me add here in closing that Dr. Cottrell would not label his view as Pelagian.  He would actually label it “pre-Augustinian.”  He holds that his view was held by most of the early Church Fathers before Augustine and his debates with Pelagius.  It was only after Pelagius that the Roman Catholic Church adopted the original sin view and the Western Church began to teach that people are born universally condemned for Adam’s sin.  The problem with the original sin view is that many believe that they can’t turn from their sins (since they are born sinful and this is the best they can hope to do) and thus they continue in their sins despite the preaching of the gospel to them.  Many Christians likewise hold that even if saved by the work of Christ from sin, they still must live a life of sin.  I heard a radio preacher just yesterday describing himself as a “miserable sinner” and he went on to say that this was the best he could do and hope for in this life.

I rejoice that the atonement of Christ is a great work from God!  While I have yet to receive a satisfactory answer from those who hold to Cottrell’s view about why children sin, I do agree that the work of Christ is for all.  Christ shed His blood so that all can be saved.  I also agree that each person will be judged for their sins and not the sin of Adam.

Wesley preached:

Satan has stamped his own image on our heart in self-will also. “I will,” said he, before he was cast out of heaven, “I will sit upon the sides of the north;” I will do my own will and pleasure, independently on that of my Creator. The same does every man born into the world say, and that in a thousand instances; nay, and avow it too, without ever blushing upon the account, without either fear or shame. Ask the man, “Why did you do this?” He answers, “Because I had a mind to it.” What is this but, “Because it was my will;” that is, in effect, because the devil and I agreed; because Satan and I govern our actions by one and the same principle. The will of God, mean time, is not in his thoughts, is not considered in the least degree.

We sin because we want to sin!  We sin because we are children of the devil (John 8:44).  Jesus called people “evil” (Luke 11:13) and He said that out of the heart comes evil (Matthew 15:19).  However, Jesus did say that some people are good and others evil (Matthew 12:35).

In reality, we need Christ.  That is the bottom line.  All sinners need Christ.  All saints need Christ.  We need to exalt the Lord Jesus to every nation and to every sinner.  Jesus is our only hope!

Why Universalism Fails (A Brief Statement)

I have been reading some though Thomas Oden’s excellent work, Classic Christianity.  In one section Dr. Oden is discussing Satan but he begins to look briefly at universalism and why it fails.  The reality is that universalism fails because it is not biblical.  That is the bottom line.

However, Dr. Oden observes that universalism fails because:

1.  A pungent series of Jesus’ parables – the tares, the net, the marriage feast, the wise and foolish virgins, the talents, the pounds – focuses upon opportunities forever lost, trust abused, final exclusion and rejection.  Without the theme of ultimate exclusion from the presence of the holy God, these parables lose their force.

2.  It is not merely later church teaching but Jesus Himself and Paul the Apostle who constantly remind hearers that there are sins that exclude one from the kingdom of God (Matthew 5:29-30; 10:28; 23:15, 33; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10; Galatians 5:20-21; Ephesians 5:5).

On those two basis alone we can see that the force of the New Testament is against universalism.  I agree with the Bible’s teaching on an unlimited atonement (John 3:16) but I deny that Christ’s death on the cross alone secures salvation for anyone.  That Christ died does not save.  The appropriation of faith to the finished work of Christ is what saves.  Notice with me Romans 3:23-26:

23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Or 1 Timothy 4:10:

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

There is a sense in which Jesus is the Savior of the world (John 1:29; 4:42; 1 John 4:14) but only those who place their saving faith in Jesus Christ become the elect of God.  Only the elect of God will be in heaven (Revelation 20:15; 21:7-8).  Jesus alone is the way to heaven (John 14:6).  We cannot approach God through any other means but through Christ alone who is the mediator between God and humans (1 Timothy 2:5).

Let us do all we can to evangelize the nations for the glory of our God!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/23/2013 at 10:41 AM

If I Became A Calvinist…

From time to time I read on a Calvinist blog or a site that the logical end of Arminianism is universalism.  Therefore, so the writers imply, that if they embraced Arminianism then they would likewise embrace universalism since this is the Arminians logical end.

For me, if I were to embrace Calvinism, I would embrace hyper-Calvinism.  Hyper-Calvinism is the logical end.  If you follow TULIP correctly, the logical end has to be hyperism.  I recently even heard a Reformed Bible teacher lecturing on hyper-Calvinism and he lamented that despite the success of the “young, restless, and reformed” movement, he believed that history showed that with the rise of Calvinism also followed hyper-Calvinism as young, zealous Calvinists go beyond the bounds and take Calvinism to places that Calvin never intended the theology to go to (though I think that Calvin was not always consistent).  This Reformed teacher warned that the next movement he saw on the horizon would be a rise in hyper-Calvinism.

Now for those who don’t know what hyper-Calvinism is (as some Arminians tend to think that all Calvinists are hyper-Calvinists), hyperism is the following:

The prefix “hyper” may be used generically to refer to anything that is considered “extreme” or which goes beyond the accepted norm. There is therefore a sense in which one may refer to Calvinistic views regarded as going beyond normal Calvinism as “hyper.” This non-technical use, usually as a pejorative term, has been applied to a variety of theological positions which fall outside mainstream Calvinism:

  • that God is the source of sin and of evil
  • that men have no will of their own, and secondary causes are of no effect
  • that it is wrong to evangelize
  • that God does not command everyone to repent
  • that there is no common grace, i.e. God only cares for his elect and has nothing but hatred for the non-elect.
  • that no government is to be obeyed which does not acknowledge that Jesus is the Lord over it, or that Biblical Law is its source of authority
  • that only Calvinists are Christians

I believe that the following is actually consistent if you logically follow TULIP.  Think about it.  If you hold to total depravity as taught by Calvinism than this means that mankind is dead in their sins like a corpse and even with the grace of God, they cannot respond to His call, they cannot hear His voice.  God must regenerate them first to give them spiritual life so that He can give them the gift of faith.  Now if this is true then it follows that God must do the complete work of regeneration and this means that God is the one who has chosen whom He will save and whom He will damn.  Before you run away from that by saying that God merely passes over the non-elect, even if He does do this, He still has not chosen them and condemns them in theirs sins.  It is not their sins then that condemn them to eternal hell but the sovereign will of God (Romans 9:22).

If God then is the One who elects whom He will save and whom He will condemn, it logically follows that He sent Jesus Christ to bear the sins of the elect.  This limits the atonement to only the elect and none more.  Further, whom Jesus died for on the cross will come to Him by His irresistible grace (John 6:44) and will be saved forever (John 10:27-29).

Now I had a Bible college professor who was a Calvinist and he always said he was a TULIPER.  He added E and R for evangelism and responsibility to avoid hyper-Calvinism.

Yet hyper-Calvinism is very logical.  Very coherent.  Consider evangelism.  Consider just a bit from a hyper-Calvinist blog I follow on Acts 17:30 (a passage that both Arminians and Calvinists use to teach that God commands all to repent):

Acts 17:30 is an exhortation to idolators to turn from their idolatry in light of the holiness and coming judgement of God. “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry… Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious… Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.” (vs. 16, 22, 29) The context of Paul’s sermon to the men of Athens does not expound on the glad tidings of the gospel, nor is there a directive command to believe on Christ in the hope of eternal life.

Gospel invitations are particular and not general because Jesus came to call the sick who have need of the Physician. This gospel call excludes the self-righteous. “When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Mark 2:17) Jesus only came to preach glad tidings to the meek, the brokenhearted, the captives, them that are bound, and all that mourn… that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (See Isaiah 61:1-3)

Now what hyper-Calvinists often vent against the most is the idea of “duty-faith.”  This is the teaching that it is the duty of unbelievers to place their faith in Christ for salvation.  They see this as a false teaching and against the gospel of Christ.  For example, this hyper-Calvinist blog post that compares the words of Charles Spurgeon (who preached against hyper-Calvinism) and his predecessor, John Gill found here.  You’ll notice that the writer pits Gill against Spurgeon time and time again.  Gill was against duty-faith.  Gill followed through on his Calvinism and he believed that whom God had elected, they will be saved.  We need not call people to repent.  God will save His elect in His time by His means.

John Gill stated this against preaching a universal gospel call:

To which I answer, that salvation is not offered at all by God, upon any condition whatsoever, to any of the sons of men, no, not to the elect: they are chosen to it, Christ has procured it for them, the gospel publishes and reveals it, and the Spirit of God applies it to them; much less to the non-elect, or to all mankind; and consequently this doctrine, or God according to it, is not chargeable with delusion and insult. When this author goes about to prove any such offers, I shall attend to them; and if he can prove them, I own, I must be obliged to think again.

He followed through.  Gill was consistent.

I applaud those Calvinists who are not consistent.  I do.  I am friends with several brothers like that.  In fact, in many ways they are Arminians in their gospel approach.  They preach as I do, that Christ shed His blood so that men can come and be saved.  They do as I do and preach the gospel to all men (Mark 16:15).  They have no thoughts about whether or not this person is elect or not.  They, like I, leave that to God.  They preach God’s salvation to the lost and allow the Spirit to do His work (John 16:8-11).  Yet they are not consistent.

Now let me state that if Arminianism leads naturally toward universalism, my question is this: which God would you rather serve? The God who loves all and desires all to be saved (or has saved if universalism were correct and the natural end of Arminianism) or the God who condemns people in their sins before time began and offers them no hope at all apart from His sovereign election?

In closing, I believe both hyper-Calvinism and universalism are wrong.  I believe they are extreme views.  If universalism is the logical end of Arminianism then I am happy to be an inconsistent Arminian as I am sure that many of my Calvinist brethren are happy to be inconsistent Calvinists.  Dr. Robertson McQuilkin always exhorted his students to “find the center of biblical tension and stay there.”  I say “amen” to that.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/24/2013 at 10:00 AM

Why Doesn’t God Just Save Everyone?

When it comes to the doctrine of salvation, there are essentially three positions one can take regarding salvation.  I will briefly state them.

1.  Universalism.

This is the teaching that God has saved everyone.  Some hold that the work of Christ did this for all people.  Various religious groups and cults hold to this teaching.  The appeal to this teaching is that it does make God a God of love who, despite our sins and failures and all that we do against Him, loves humanity so much that He saves us despite us.  Some hold, such as the Mormons, that all will be resurrected because of the work of Christ but not all will receive the same rewards in eternity such as in Mormonism some becoming gods while others in lesser heaven (three levels of heaven to be exact).  Some hold that all will behold the Lord Jesus as the true Lamb of God when they die and thus will be saved in the afterlife.

The problems with this view are many.  For one, Jesus said that the way to eternal life is narrow and He said few would find it (Matthew 7:13-14).  Jesus makes the basis for eternal life contingent upon belief in Him (John 5:24-25; 6:29, 44-45; 12:32; 20:31) as do the Apostles (Acts 15:9; 16:30-34; Romans 10:9-17).  Secondly, if universalism is true then the command of Jesus to spread the gospel into all nations makes no sense (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47; John 20:21; Acts 1:8).  What are we to spread: universalism?  Third, the view undermines the holiness of God and His just wrath against sin (Romans 1:18-32).  This view minimizes the effects of the Fall of Mankind into sin in Genesis 3.  It fails to see the truth of Romans 6:23, that the wages of sin is still death.  It passes over the holiness of God and the commands of God (1 John 3:4).  Fourth, it fails to realize the truthfulness of Revelation 20:11-15, that not all will be saved but many will be cast into the lake of fire if their name is not written in the book of life (v. 15).  Heaven is a prepared place for a prepared people (Revelation 21:7-8).

2.  Calvinism.

Like Arminians, Calvinists hold that not all will be saved.  They recognize the words of Jesus as truthful in Matthew 7:13-14.  However, in Calvinism God has chosen before time whom He would save and those whom He would condemn to hell.  This is known as “double predestination.”  Not all agree even among Calvinists over this view.  John Calvin called the view, “the horrible decree.”  The view states that because of the nature of the sovereignty of God and the nature of man’s fall into sin (dead in sins as Ephesians 2:1 states), God must be the one who saves and He saves for His glory alone and man gets no credit whatsoever in his salvation.  Thus God elects, justifies, and glorifies His elect before time begin.  Jesus came to die for the sins of the elect and to reconcile them to God (Galatians 1:4).  Regeneration precedes faith because how can a dead person believe the gospel (John 3:3).  We are born again to believe (1 John 5:1) according to Dr. R.C. Sproul Sr.

So why doesn’t God elect all to be saved?  First, this is viewed as a mystery among Calvinists.  God alone knows why He chose to elect whom He elected.  That He even choose to elect shows His great love!  God could have cast all of humanity into hell because of their sins but He instead chooses to save a few for His glory.  Secondly, according to John Piper hell glorifies God.  It shows His love, His grace, His mercy, and His holiness because the elect see that they deserve hell but because of God’s sovereign love, they are saved by His grace and for His glory (Romans 9:22-23 though I disagree with the Calvinist view of this passage about whom Paul is referring to here).  Third, some such as Charles Spurgeon said that the elect would ultimately be more than the reprobate.  For now, it seems it is very much the other way.  Fourth, God doesn’t save all because He simply has chosen not to save all (Deuteronomy 29:29).  Most Calvinist theologians would say that God is glorified more when we see that He has chosen to save a remnant of people from among the damned.  He doesn’t have to do even that and this exalts Him!

My main problem with this view two-fold.  First, I find little biblical basis for teaching that regeneration precedes faith.  Romans 5:1 clearly says that we are justified through faith and not unto faith.  Ephesians 2:8-9 says that we are saved by grace through faith and though I know some Calvinist theologians like to say that the phase in verse 8, “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,” as pointing to the “gift of faith,” I find little warrant for such a view.  Arminian theologians have done a good job showing that the Greek make up to the verse seems to be pointing to our salvation itself and not merely faith.  Secondly, I believe that the Calvinist view of why God doesn’t save all doesn’t present God as loving and good.  In fact, I disagree with Piper that election makes God glorious but I believe, as John Wesley stated, that it makes our blood boil.  That God condemns people before they are even born or even sinned lacks any love whatsoever.  I know that Calvinist theologians will state the idea of fairness should not play when we view God but that I desire to save all, does that mean that I love more people than God?  I believe not.  When we read the Gospels and we see the great love of Jesus for people and His willingness to heal them, to touch them, to love them, to have compassion upon them, to be moved by pity for them, and to suffer and die for them, how can we conclude then that God only desires to save a select few that He chose before time begin?  It seems that it does not reconcile with God’s great love for the world (John 3:16) and His desire to save all through His Son whom would believe (John 3:18; 12:32; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:1-2).

3.  Arminianism.

The Arminian view is that God has provided for the salvation of all through His Son.  We believe in an unlimited atonement, where Jesus shed His blood for all to be saved (Isaiah 53:4-6; Matthew 1:21; 26:28; 1 John 2:1-2).  Calvinist theologians attack the Arminian view saying that Christ’s death on the cross saved no one whereas in Calvinism God saved the elect on the cross.  The problem with such a view is that even Calvinists admit that none can be saved apart from faith in Jesus (Romans 10:14-17). Thus, in reality Christ’s death on the cross saved no one apart from personal faith.  Some Calvinist theologians will state that Christ died not just for our sins but for the gift of faith as well.  Yet this still ignores the biblical call to faith (Acts 3:19-20).  Jesus died to secure the salvation of all who would believe in Him that God foreknew (Romans 8:29-30).

In God’s foreknowledge, He knows all who will believe.  He doesn’t make them believe.  He simply knows (1 Peter 1:2).  God, for example, foreknew the death of His Son on the cross (Acts 2:23) but He did not make the people kill Jesus.  God does not cause people to sin (James 1:12-15) because He is holy (1 Peter 1:16).  God simply knew what would happen to His Son that He had prepared (Isaiah 53) to save all who would repent and believe the gospel.

Is Arminianism perfect?  No.  Like Calvinists above, I agree that I don’t understand all of God’s ways nor His doings.  Isaiah 55:8-9 tells us that God’s ways are not our ways nor His thoughts our thoughts.  God is God.  Even the Bible doesn’t fully reveal everything about our God.  It simply reveals enough about God for us to know Him and seek Him (Isaiah 55:6-7; John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:15-17).  Why doesn’t God choose then to send His Son to just save everyone?  I agree with the Calvinists that because of the nature of God’s holiness, He cannot just save all.  How would this make Him just (Romans 3:25-26)?  True justice is seen in not just the giving of His Son but His judgment of those who refuse His gospel (Romans 1:28-32).  I agree with the Calvinist that God is glorified in the saving of souls (Hebrews 2:10-13).

I disagree with Calvinists, however, in whether God has elected those to salvation and others to damnation.  I believe His desire is to save all (1 Timothy 2:3-4) and He has sent His Son for that purpose.  All who believe can be saved (John 6:37).  The Holy Spirit draws them to the Savior through the gospel (John 6:44-45; Romans 10:14-17).  The ministry of reconciliation is given to the Church to preach that God has reconciled people through His Son (2 Corinthians 5:18-21).  I believe the major difference between the Arminian view and the Calvinist view is the word: conditional.  The Calvinist makes salvation unconditional based on the work of Christ.  The Arminian makes salvation conditioned upon faith in the work of Christ.  While both emphasize true salvation (and thus we are brothers and sisters in Christ), we disagree over God’s sovereign choice and whether He has made this salvation based on the condition of faith in His Son.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/05/2012 at 11:55 AM

Which Way Would You Drift?

I was spending some time with a good brother last night and we were discussing Arminianism and Calvinism.  He made the point that, if given the options, he would rather drift toward universalism than to drift toward the Calvinist view of omni-causality.  His point was, at least in universalism God is still seen as loving and good whereas to drift toward the Calvinist view of God and His sovereignty leads only to the conclusion that God is not good and loving.

This is the point that Roger Olson makes in his book, Against Calvinism.  His point is not to tear down Calvinism point by point since others have done this already.  Olson’s point is that the God portrayed by Calvinist theologians is not consistent with the biblical view of God.  I believe he does an excellent job presenting his case.  Contrary to some bloggers, the book is not written in a harsh tone.  Olson, in fact, states that he loves Calvinists, points out that he and Michael Horton (who wrote For Calvinism) are good friends, and that his contention is not with Calvinists per se but with Calvinism.  He is clear that this debate is taking place among brothers and sisters and not enemies.  Yet Olson equally takes Calvinist theologians from Jonathan Edwards to John Piper to R.C. Sproul and shows that their view of God is not the biblical view of God.  He is not accusing them of worshiping a false god (as some have poorly stated) but of being wrong on aspects of God’s character and nature.

I concur with Olson.  I have never been a Calvinist and have never come close.  My main reason is that I strongly believe that God is loving and good.  I know that Calvinists would say they agree and preach that.  But I believe, when taken to its logical end, Calvinism doesn’t present God as loving and good but rather it presents Him as this “sovereign” Lord who is meticulous in His planning to the point that He renders certain whatsoever comes to pass (even the murders, rapes, and innocent deaths of millions of people) all for His glory and purpose.  Calvinists often say, “If Arminianism is carried to its logical conclusion then it leads to universalism.”  We Arminians cry back, “If Calvinism is carried to its logical end, it leads only to fatalism.”  And to be honest, I would rather have a view of God as loving and good when I stand before Him and honestly tell Him that I preached His love and grace to all people rather than to have a view God that causes me to believe that He is sends millions to hell because He simply wants to and not because of their free will choice to reject His love and salvation but because He caused them not to believe or rendered certain their eternal destiny.

So to answer a couple of questions.  First of all, I am not a universalist but would rather drift that way than to Calvinism.  I would rather be in error over God’s love and grace and mercy than to teach that He elects some while damns most.  And second, I do recommend Roger Olson’s book.  You’ll find it is well written, thought out, and logical.  I do recommend my Arminian brothers and sisters to read Mike Horton’s book as well.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

01/05/2012 at 11:08 AM

Few Enter Into Life

Does everyone go to heaven when they die?  Many today want to answer with an overwhelming “yes” to that question.  However, did Jesus Christ hold such a view?  The Bible says in Matthew 7:13-14 the following:

“Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.  For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (NASB)

Jesus goes on later to tell His disciples that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).  Jesus doesn’t say that He is one way or one truth or one life but He says that He is the way to God.  If Jesus were dying for the salvation of all (universalism) then Jesus’ statements in Matthew 7:13-14 or that no one can come to the Father but through Him is meaningless.  Yet Jesus said that the Scriptures cannot broken (John 10:35).  The Scriptures are true in all that they teach (John 17:17).

This also is why you should not grow weary in evangelism.  Few will believe the gospel and be saved.  Few will enter into the narrow way of eternal life.  In Matthew 13:18-23 we read about the sower sowing the seeds of the gospel.  You’ll notice that most of the souls do not respond to the gospel.  Only one bears fruit.  Our job is to take the seed and cast the gospel out to all.  God saves sinners and our job is not to save a soul but to preach the gospel to all (John 6:37; Acts 2:39).  Let us go forth in the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8) trusting that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16-17).

However, don’t forget to pray for the lost to be saved through Jesus Christ and for His glory (Romans 10:1-4; 1 Timothy 2:1-7).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

10/19/2011 at 10:46 AM

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