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Friday, December 19, 2014

Arminianism in its true light

Posted by Gary on September 29, 2005

I was exposed to the following quote from Charles Spurgeon while watching a video entitled, Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism (very well done and worthwhile by the way):

You have heard a great many Arminian sermons, I dare say; but you never heard an
Arminian prayer—for the saints in prayer appear as one in word, and deed and
mind. An Arminian on his knees would pray desperately like a Calvinist. He
cannot pray about free will: there is no room for it. Fancy him praying,

Lord, I thank
thee I am
not like those poor presumptuous Calvinists.
Lord
,
 I was born
with a glorious free-will; I was born with power by which I can turn to thee of
myself; I have improved my grace. If everybody had done the same with their
grace that I have
,
 they might all have been saved.

Lord, I know thou dost not make us willing if we
are not willing ourselves. Thou givest grace to everybody; some do not improve
it
,
 but I do.
There are many that will go to hell as much bought with the blood of Christ as I
was;  they had as much of the Holy Ghost given to them; they had as good a
chance
,
 and were
as much blessed as I am. It was not thy grace that made us to differ; I know it
did a great deal
,
 still I turned the point; I made use of what was given
me
,
 and others
did not—that is the difference between me and
them.

Leave it to Spurgeon to lay it out as plain and simple as this. I am certain any Arminian who read this prayer would shudder and vehemently deny that they would ever utter such a prayer and yet it is the perfect verbalization of Arminian theology.

The Arminian doctrine of Prevenient Grace teaches that everyone has the same enablement from God to turn to Christ. The hinge pin in salvation if the Arminian is honest is not the grace of God (for all have received that equally) it is instead the individuals choice of Christ. While I’m certain that most Arminians would never think about boasting before the throne of God, their theology leaves no other option. Because they do not believe that God "infringes" upon man’s will, the willing must reside within themselves and no matter how the Arminian may guffaw and "Aw shucks" it in an attempt to seem humble, he does have something to boast about, his choice.

The Arminian alleges that Calvinists are full of pride and arrogance with their claim of having been chosen by God. I know the thought process, I attended a staunch Weslyan/Arminian Bible college for four years. But the truth is no one is more full of pride than the one who believes that it was their "choice" that turned the tide in the question of salvation.

Most of us are familiar with these verses:

Ephesians 2:8-9
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast."

Deny it as he may, the Arminian brings something to the throne of God of which he can boast in, his choice, his decision, his ability to acknowledge and act upon what others did not.

This doctrine is unBiblical, robs God of glory and is extremely dangerous (it tells men that they possess a power they do not). These are not matters for us to sweep under the rug and avoid because doctrine is difficult and divisive (as we hear so many say). Nothing is more important than the truth about God and man and we must be willing to declare the truth unflinchingly, God is sovereign over man’s salvation.

 

Comments

4 Responses to “Arminianism in its true light”
  1. Chris Atkins says:

    “This doctrine is unBiblical, robs God of glory and is extremely dangerous (it tells men that they possess a power they do not).”

    I also believe that it is the foundation of the “seeker sensitive” movement that is infecting evangelical churches today, even some in the PCA. If you believe that salvation hinges on man’s choice, then you have to cater to that choice in your preaching, teaching, worship, etc.

    I grew up an Arminian, though our church did not preach or teach it consistently. I grew up thinking that I could spend eternity in hell, even though I believed in Jesus Christ, simply because I had unconfessed sin in my life. I was scared that I might have lost my salvation.

    Arminianism shackles its adherents to a life spent trying to assure one’s own salvation, rather than a life that glorifies God. I know because I lived it.

  2. Gary says:

    Dear Chris,

    Your statement, “Arminianism schackles” is so true. After spending four years at an Arminian Bible college and pastoring since, I can only say that you are absolutely right; how can I ever rest if it’s up to me?

  3. Chris Atkins says:

    Just last night at care group, we were talking about this very point. It struck me that a god that cannot overcome my weaknesses is not a god worth serving. Praise be to the living God on high that He can overcome our weaknesses, give us a new heart, and receive faith and praise from us.

  4. Bill K. says:

    Excellent post. I think Spurgeon’s “prayer” is an excellent tool when discussing this issue with those under Arminian teaching. I know it would have saved me about five years of sitting on the fence between these two doctrines.

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