Arminianism and Imputed Righteousness

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Monergist, Nov 23, 2002.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,122
    Likes Received:
    0
    One of the most precious Bible truths is the doctrine of imputed righteousness; that through Christ's sacrifice not only was my sins forgiven, but also that His perfect obedience and righteousness is imputed to me. However, in my 30+ years under non-calvinistic teaching, this was something that was never clearly taught. I've been reflecting on this for several days, trying to come up with a reason for why this doctrine is so largely ignored. These are just some observations I've made, and if I draw wrong conclusions, I'll stand corrected.

    At least one champion of the Arminian persuasion, the illustrious Charles G. Finney, hated the doctrine of imputation and rejected it altogether, calling it a "theological fiction." Was he being honest enough to admit that this doctrine is incompatible with non-calvinsitic teaching, or did he reach his conclusion some other way? How many today would affirm his conclusion? If the majority today would not go to Finney's extreme and label the doctrine as false, then why is it so largely ignored?

    Why the number of times that I have heard the altar call given to sinners to come and accept Jesus in order that sins may be forgiven seems almost infinite, not once have I heard the invitation given to come receive Christ's righteousness. Surely there's a reason for this too. While our arminian friends insist that dead sinners may of their own free will either accept or reject Christ's offer of pardon (forgiveness), that only would take care of half of the problem-- should someone actually be able to do this. It's one thing for a guilty criminal to to stand before a judge and accept the judge's offer of forgiveness (just as if you had never sinned), and its something else to be made as if you had always done what was right. "Imputed" certainly implies something that is done to us, not something that we do.

    Yesterday I heard J. Vernon McGee beautifully illustrate this doctrine (I know that he wasn't a 5 point calvinist and that I can't assume that only calvinists believe this--but it is notable that he only quoted Bunyan and Calvin). Hearing this once again was the high point of my day [​IMG] . I only wonder why more non-calvinsts don't share McGee's enthusiam for this truth.

    But we really don't see sinners as SINNERS today, do we? After all, we really aren't depraved to the point that it could be called radical or total. Could this be the real problem? Is it because we've exalted fallen man that imputation of Christ's righteousness is no longer neccessary, or that it's no longer precious?
     
  2. KenH

    KenH
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 18, 2002
    Messages:
    32,485
    Likes Received:
    0
    Bingo! [​IMG]

    Ken
     
  3. Helen

    Helen
    Expand Collapse
    <img src =/Helen2.gif>

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Messages:
    11,703
    Likes Received:
    1
    That's an interesting thought, Timothy. I have heard it spoken of under a variety of terms, though. Generally as 'covered by Christ' or 'covered by the blood of Christ.' I have heard it explained as "when the Father looks at you He sees His Son." which may be pushing it a wee bit, but the thought is still there.

    Is it the word 'imputed' that you find missing, or the concept?

    As for the altar calls, I'm not much for those at all. The same people keep going up! The moment of conviction and conversion seems to be a lot more private to God and the individual for most people, I think.

    All that said, I do agree that we live in a time, here in the West, where the message of the Bible is so watered down as to be almost unrecognizable. Although this has to be expected with the growing ecumentical movement(s), it is still horrid. It is one of the reasons African churches are sending missionaries here to America now! They are seeing in us, as a culture, what so many are blind to -- the truth is being buried under humanism (which is, I think, what you were referring to as well). "Man is the measure of all things" is the same heresy that got Babel in trouble. It is not wise to challenge heaven!

    I think, though, if you have a chance to travel to countries where Christians are persecuted to either a greater or lesser extent, you will find that the Bible is taken much more seriously than many in the USA, England, etc. tend to take it.

    In short, I don't think it is an 'arminian' or such thing -- I think it is much more a western culture thing -- and a sad one.
     
  4. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    The imputed righteousness of Christ has been the theme of all Arminian Bible teachers I have ever read.

    Finney is explicitly opposed - and that is a good thing to note about him. How many others?

    The fact is - the Arminian position regarding free will is not in opposition at all with total depravity OR the imputed righteousness of Christ.

    Falling from grace - as we se in Galation 5 is totally possible for the saints who are experiencing the benefits of the imputed righteousness of Christ - because LIKE the New birth - they can CHOOSE to turn from it.

    In general Arminians do not teach that you "make yourself born again - a little" NOR do they teach that you do not need the imputed righteousness of Christ. The problem is not the work of Christ - the problem is in rejecting the scrptures that teach God's Choice in making this a choice. "IF anyone hears my voice and opens the door - I WILL come in" Action and response.

    "IF we confess our sins HE IS faithful and just to forgive" Action and Response.

    "To as many as RECEIVED Him to Them He gave the right to become..." Action and Response.

    But of course the FIRST action is God's and it is Universal - "God calls All men Everywhere to repent" Acts 17. God "convicts the World of Sin and Righteousness and judgment". God "Draws ALL mankind unto Him" John 12:32.

    IN Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. Monergist

    Monergist
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,122
    Likes Received:
    0
    The concept.
     
  6. rsr

    rsr
    Expand Collapse
    <b> 7,000 posts club</b>
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2001
    Messages:
    10,074
    Likes Received:
    102
    John Wesley, the quintessential Arminian, on imputed righteousness:

    "The Lord Our Righteousness," preached at the Chapel in West-Street, Seven Dials, Nov. 24, 1765.
     
  7. npetreley

    npetreley
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2002
    Messages:
    7,359
    Likes Received:
    0
    That's a good point. Some book I read years ago included a story that I think took place in Sunday School. The teacher said something like, "Everyone here who is righteous before God, raise their hand," and I think none or maybe one person raised their hand. Everyone else (who was supposedly saved) had forgotten that they had the imputed righteousness of Christ. It's a trick question in a sense, because that's not what you normally expect a Sunday School teacher to be thinking when asking that question, but that itself tells you something, doesn't it? ;)
     
  8. Monergist

    Monergist
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Messages:
    1,122
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks rsr, for the quote.

    Bob, who are you reading? Even if Arminian theologians have largely affirmed it,would you argue that its being consistently proclaimed on Sunday mornings?
     
  9. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    We proclaim it in our church, especially in the youth department (I'm in charge of the Middle School Ministry, which averages about 60-70 students every Sunday morning.)

    What's interesting is that the students actually make much better choices once they understand what holiness really is and how righteousness is imputed to us at salvation.

    (And I'm a non-Calvinist)
     
  10. BobRyan

    BobRyan
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    30,837
    Likes Received:
    4
    Actually "Christ Our Righteousness" has been a key theme in the Arminian churches I have attended - since day one.

    But I will grant you that sometimes 2 weeks would go by without it's being mentioned.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     

Share This Page

Loading...