James Arminius on 'Free Will'

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by Frogman, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Frogman

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    "In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only
    wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed,
    and lost." (James Arminius, The Writings of James Arminius, I:526).


    ~copied~
     
  2. Kiffin

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    Excellent quote Bro. Dallas. I have noticed that classical Arminians like Arminius, John and Charles Wesley and Menno Simons defined free will much differantly that modern day Free Will people.
     
  3. BBNewton

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    I think the reason for this is because the majority of evangelical Americans are not Arminians. Here is an excerpt from Sproul's Pelagian Captivity of the Church:


    Modern Evangelicalism almost uniformly and universally teaches that in order for a person to be born again, he must first exercise faith. You have to choose to be born again. Isn't that what you hear? In a George Barna poll, more than seventy percent of "professing evangelical Christians" in America expressed the belief that man is basically good. And more than eighty percent articulated the view that God helps those who help themselves. These positions -- or let me say it negatively -- neither off these positions is semi-Pelagian. They're both Pelagian. To say we're basically good is the Pelagian view. I would be willing to assume that in at least thirty percent of the people who are reading this issue, and probably more, if we really examine their thinking depth, we could find hearts that are beating Pelagianism. We're overwhelmed with it. We're surrounded by it. We're immersed in it. We hear it every day. We hear it every day in the secular culture. And not only do we hear it every day in the secular culture, we hear it every day on Christian television and on Christian radio.

    In the nineteenth century, there was a preacher who became very popular in America, who wrote a book on theology, coming out of his own training in law, in which he made no bones about his Pelagianism. He rejected not only Augustinianism, but he also rejected semi-Pelagianism and stood clearly on the subject of unvarnished Pelagianism, saying in no uncertain terms, without any ambiguity, that there was no Fall and that there is no such thing as original sin. This man went on to attack viciously the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and in addition to that, to repudiate as clearly and as loudly as he could the doctrine of justification by faith alone by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ. This man's basic thesis was, we don't need the imputation of the righteousness of Christ because we have the capacity in and of ourselves to become righteous. His name: Charles Finney, one of America's most revered evangelists. Now, if Luther was correct in saying that sola fide is the article upon which the Church stands or falls, if what the reformers were saying is that justification by faith alone is an essential truth of Christianity, who also argued that the substitutionary atonement is an essential truth of Christianity; if they're correct in their assessment that those doctrines are essential truths of Christianity, the only conclusion we can come to is that Charles Finney was not a Christian. I read his writings -- and I say, "I don't see how any Christian person could write this." And yet, he is in the Hall of Fame of Evangelical Christianity in America. He is the patron saint of twentieth-century Evangelicalism. And he is not semi-Pelagian; he is unvarnished in his Pelagianism.

    http://www.modernreformation.org/mr01/mayjun/mr0103pelagian.html
     
  4. Frogman

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    There are also interesting quotes from Wesley regarding this subject.

    But the overall theology of these men do not meet with these quotes.

    Finney, well, I never did know what he believed.

    Thanks for the information.

    Bro. Dallas
     
  5. Frogman

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    Here are some additional quotes from true Arminians:

    "Salvation is wholly the gracious work of God, thus yielding no credit or merit to man. There is no room for ‘synergism’ (the view that God and man work together to accomplish salvation)" (Robert E. Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, p. 36).

    "Left to himself, no person either can or will accept the offer of salvation in the gospel and put saving faith in Christ. This condition may rightly be called total depravity, in that it pervades every aspect of man’s being, and total inability, in that it leaves him helpless to perform anything truly good in God’s sight" (Picirilli, p. 149).

    "Total depravity has rendered fallen man helpless and incapable of believing the gospel. He cannot exercise faith in Christ" (Picirilli, p. 142).

    "The true Arminian, as fully as the Calvinist, admits the doctrine of the total depravity of human nature in consequence of the fall of our first parents" (Richard Watson, Theological Institutes, II:48). (Watson is usually considered the greatest systematic theologian ever produced by true Arminians.)

    "Wherein may we come to the very edge of Calvinism? (1.) In ascribing all good to the free grace of God. (2) In denying all natural free-will, and all power antecedent to grace. And (3.) In excluding all merit from man; even for what he has or does by the grace of God" (John Wesley, The Works of the Rev. John Wesley).

    "I believe that Adam, before his fall, had such freedom of will, that he might choose either good or evil; but that, since the fall, no child of man has a natural power to choose anything that is truly good" (Wesley).

    "But here is the shibboleth: Is every man by nature filled with all manner of evil? Is he void of all good? Is he wholly fallen? Is his soul totally corrupted? Or to come back to the text, is 'every imagination of the thoughts of his heart only evil continually'? Allow this, and you are so far a Christian. Deny it, and you are but an Heathen still" (Wesley, Original Sin).

    ~copied~
     
  6. LaymansTermsPlease

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    If we're going to toss around quotes from Arminius, here are some quotes from James Arminius from "On Predestination", Works of James Arminius Vol 1.

    This is the section where Arminius details what God has taught him from the scriptures.

    This section follows the ones where he denounces supralapsarianism, and a couple of other forms of predestinations that adhere to various parts of TULIP.

    Give special note to one of the points distinguishes us non-Calvinists from Pelagians (an incorrect and dirty name we are commonly slandered with as Frogman (IIRC) pointed out here in another thread).

    (Arminian does not equal Pelagian)
    Arminius contends that his view of Predestination:
    "...conduces most conspicuously to declare the glory of God, his justice and his mercy. It
    also represents God as the cause of all good and of our salvation, and man as the cause of sin and
    of his own damnation." Point 14 below.


     
  7. LaymansTermsPlease

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    Vol 1. of the Works of James Arminius. The Grace of God


     
  8. LaymansTermsPlease

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    Vol 1. of the Works of James Arminius. The Grace of God


     
  9. Frogman

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    Thanks for the post, what do you get from the above point?

    Bro. Dallas
     
  10. Skandelon

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    Dallas,

    Thank you for posting these quotes. I hope you do understand that they only strengthen the true Arminian position by showing that the modern day Calvinistis are not attacking true Arminians but instead are attacking a watered down, uneducated form of Arminianism which often attempts to deny the truths that Arminius never intended to subvert, nor did he need to subvert in order to biblically support his conclusions.

    In other words, its possible to uphold these truths mentioned in the quotes above without being a 5 point Calvinists. It's not only possible, it is biblical. That should lead us to discuss the issue where Arminius truly does contrast with Calvin and thus stop waisting time bantering over issues in which we have a common ground.
     
  11. LaymansTermsPlease

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    Sick kid this week (she's on antibiotics now), two jobs, chores, etc.

    I haven't abandoned this thread, just wanted everyone to know. I'll post again when I have a chance.
     
  12. Frogman

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    You are Welcome Skandelon, I am posting this to show as you say, that Arminius did not deny the bondage of the will; I am posting to show hopefully, that a 'free-will' beleiver is not an 'Arminian' and imho, neither is a '4 pointer' a Calvinist.

    We are what we are, but we are not that because we claim that, we are that which we believe and that alone can align us with anything of which Arminius taught, or of Calvin, or of some 'free-willer'.

    I don't know of any of the reformers who believed man's nature or will was free and not in bondage to sin, even Luther believed that.

    I believe first man is totally depraved, I believe scripture teaches this. I believe that claiming free is a slippery slope on which man cannot stand because it places one's hope not in the finished work of Christ but through the belief that one's belief by their will is what has made that work sufficient.

    That is what I believe, if that doen't make me a Calvinist, then I am not a Calvinist. If what you believe doesn't make you a freewiller, then you are not a free willer.

    BTW, what makes us both Christian?

    Laymansterms, I will be praying concerning your situation and need. It is certain we cannot always give the time we desire to these discussions.

    Praying for God's Blessing upon each of us as we study and discuss his word that we each may be able to grow in grace and knowledge and be worthy servants of our Lord.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     
  13. John Gilmore

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    Frogman,

    Have you ever read Luther's "Bondage of the Will"? Compared to Luther, Calvin was an Arminian. This passage shows Calvin's Arminism:

    John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, Chapter 14

    God sometimes makes eternal life a consequent of works? This is not the Lutheran view:

    Formula of Concord, SD, Art. III
     
  14. Frogman

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    I have never read either of these men's work. I do have a book that is a 'comments' of sorts on Calvin's Institutes, but I have not read all of them because they are another's view of what the author was saying.

    I do know that Spurgeon stated that Calvin never twisted scripture to agree with his theology, in other words, if scripture clearly appeared to disagree with perserverance, or something, he stayed with scripture and didn't try to explain it away, but commented upon it according to what was plainly stated.

    I have never read much of what Luther wrote at all.

    Thanks for posting the quotes.

    Bro. Dallas Eaton
     

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