The Fruits of Arminianism

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Monergist, Jul 16, 2002.

  1. Monergist

    Monergist
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    What are some of the fruits we’re reaping as the direct result of the church being largely Arminian for the last several decades? I’m reminded of a few.

    Arminianism has given us Universalism. This is pretty obvious, as a glance at church history over the last 300 years, especially in New England and Britain, quickly reveals. Universalism is simply the logical conclusion of the idea that Jesus’ death paid for the sins of every person. Sadly, a large percentage of Americans today, even many professing Christians, hold to a modified view of universalism: i.e., if a person is basically a ‘good’ person, then they go to heaven. After all, a loving God would never send any ‘good’ person to hell.

    While the “cheap grace/easy believism” teaching that is so commonplace would have been reprehensible to the strict Arminian of a few generations ago, it is, nevertheless, their illegitimate offspring. This is the watering down of the gospel that says, “Make a decision for Christ, accept Jesus, or repeat a sinner’s prayer, and you’re eternally save and secure—and don’t you ever doubt it.” This view divorces sanctification from justification and is an assault on all the doctrines of grace, particularly perseverance

    Arminianism has arguably been the primary gateway by which modernism, postmodernism, humanism, and good old-fashioned liberalism have entered the church. Start exalting man, diminishing God’s sovereignty, and this is where you go.

    Arminianism has recently given us open-theism. An open-theistic Calvinist would be the ultimate oxymoron (‘nuff said.)

    Arminianism, with its denial of radical depravity, has spawned various strains of legalism (what I have in mind here is the legalism of the Holiness or some of the more notorious IFB types, the environment where extra-biblical external standards are the norm and conformity is expected). While Reformed believers are sometimes labeled as legalists because of their commitment to obeying God’s Word (that’s unfortunate and irresponsible), there’s a tremendous difference between Calvinistic doctrine, which sees man as inherently sinful and sin as an internal matter, and the idea that sin is a matter of the externals; that purity of heart is shown by external standards.

    Arminianism has given us various strains of Pentecostalism, Charismania, and the “Health and Wealth” gospel. The latter is based on the idea that it is God’s will that everyone be abundantly blessed, but that He is unable to bring His desired blessings to fruition without our cooperation. This has a very diminished view of God’s sovereignty and omnipotence. The worst sort of this teaching lies down the slippery slope of Human Free Will and Limited Sovereignty—just past Open Theism.

    Arminianism has given us doctrine-downplaying/seeker-friendly churches. If its up to the person to decide whether or not Jesus suits him/her, shouldn’t we be as warm and fuzzy as we can in order to make Jesus as attractive as possible? Doctrine?—Who needs it? Let’s all just love Jesus!

    Arminianism has marched hand-in-hand with “Christian” psychology, with its self-worth, self-esteem nonsense, which essentially denies total (or radical) depravity. Not too long ago, I heard a S.S. teacher ask, “What is the greatest human need?” Before I could answer—“To escape Hell”—he replied, “The greatest human need is to be loved.” That’s really God honoring: putting ourselves at the center of our universe.

    Calvin’s main objective was not some five points. His main objective was ridding the church of her idolatry. Calling the human heart an “idol factory,” he set about smashing the idols of his day and turning hearts to bask in the radiance of God’s glory. The problem of idolatry in the church is, IMO, grossly understated. Since the decision of man becomes the determining factor in whether God is accepted or rejected, we end up making an idol of man. This problem is exacerbated by the idea that we are free—to worship God in any way we choose.

    The effects on individual believers have been devastating. We’re really not much different from the world, are we? We’ve got the same self-centered, materialistic attitudes. We claim more and more converts, yet the understanding of the Bible in most churches is shamefully weak. The phrase “the Glory of God” is essentially meaningless to the average churchgoer. We hear of ‘manifestations,’ but little revival. Sensitive souls who’ve walked the aisle and signed the card wrestle with lack of assurance, painfully aware of their own sinfulness (I’ve been there too), the only remedy for which they’re offered is a ‘christian’ label slapped on some worldly cure-all. Meanwhile, Christianity is scoffed and the name of Jesus is shamed because the world sees our hypocrisy—which is fed and nurtured by man-centered, shallow American religiosity.

    Jesus said that we’re either for Him or against Him. Either we believe, in faith, what the Bible says about Him, and His work, or we’re part of the problem. He came specifically to save a people from their sins- those who God the Father had chosen from before the foundation of the world. We don’t use our feeble minds to pick the Bible apart; rather we take it all in faith believing that the God who gave it was smart enough to say what He meant and meant what He said.

    [ July 16, 2002, 10:34 AM: Message edited by: TimothyW ]
     
  2. ScottEmerson

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    So what you're saying is you want a horse to beat up on, so you pick Arminianism. Isn't it possible that it's a cultural thing, and that just like the churches in the book of Acts, our churches are more affected by that than they are Arminianism?

    No it hasn't. People have given you universalism.

    And then you read some of Origen who advocated a univeralism similar to what you're saying.It also appears in some Anabaptist writings and has at least had advocates since Origen's time. To claim that this is Arminian's fault is foolish.

    Which shows you don't understand Arminianism.

    The fact that they don't read the Bible is not the Arminian's fault.

    [quote\While the “cheap grace/easy believism” teaching that is so commonplace would have been reprehensible to the strict Arminian of a few generations ago, it is, nevertheless, their illegitimate offspring. This is the watering down of the gospel that says, “Make a decision for Christ, accept Jesus, or repeat a sinner’s prayer, and you’re eternally save and secure—and don’t you ever doubt it.” This view divorces sanctification from justification and is an assault on all the doctrines of grace, particularly perseverance[/quote]

    Again, you just don't understand Armianism. Nowhere does Arminianism speak about a sinners' prayer and you haven't shown any kind of causal relationship at all.

    Show how. Arminianism doesn't exalt man any more than it diminishes God's sovereignty. You're thinking of some other theology.

    Given you open-theism? You're saying that "since it didn't come from Calvinism, it must have come from Arminianism." That's mere pseudo-intellectual nonsense.

    Arminianism denies depravity? Where do you come up with that idea? Have you even studied their five points?

    just because a sect or denomination may agree with a theological basis does not mean that the theology is responsible for the wrongs of the denomination. Of course, this comes on a board that advocates the book "Prayer of Jabez," so Baptists in general are no more innocent than others. By the way, slippery slope arguments are logical fallacy.

    I'd recommend some of Leonard Sweet's books for you, such as SoulTsumani and other works of his. Are you saying that seeker-friendly churches are bad or wrong? Is it wrong to love Christ? Are people saved with an automatic understanding of doctrine?

    As a person who has been a member of a seeker-friendly church in Birmingham, I can tell you that doctrine is most definitely NOT left off the menu - in fact, it takes a very high priority.

    I'm a Christian therapist. I can tell you with assurance that the movements of self-esteem in the Christian counseling setting is not due to Arminianism as much as it is trying to combine (unsuccessfully, in my opinion) the secular with the sacred. Had you been to a Christian counselor worth his or her salt, you'd see that putting God firmly in the center of one's life is infintely more successful than other methods, which is why I advocate such use.

    Now you're just being silly.

    And I know strict Calvinists who own Porshes. What shall we say to them? Is this Arminians' fault?

    And so Arminianism is your scapegoat? Plenty of presbyterian churches suffer from what you mention, including one of the largest Presbyterian churches in the nation - Briarwood Presbyterian in Birmingham, AL. I would say that a lack of doctrine across the board, a lack of discipleship, and a lack of Biblical study is at the heart of such matters, not Arminianism. Too many Calvinists suffer from the same things.

    Such as he came for the entire world, that he died for all, and that He doesn't want a single person to perish. Yep - I'm smart enough to believe that. You know, you can believe those things completely while still believing that God chose His people (collective, of course - see Israel's election) from the foundations of the earth. No antimonies there...
     
  3. KenH

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    Excellent post, Timothy, excellent. :D

    Ken
     
  4. Eric B

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    From my page:

    Many Calvinists have placed the blame for the ignorance, legalism and culture-hating of revivalistic fundamentalism largely on its Arminian background. Between the lines, Horton, for instance ultimately turns the culture war into a "Calvinism vs. Arminianism" issue, which I feel does weaken his message. At the same time, the Calvinists also try to blame the opposite trends-- the liberalization of Christianity and pragmatic self-help type tendencies of modern evangelicalism* on "the human elevating message" of many churches (e.g. that God "loves everybody" and man has "control" over his salvation, for instance).
    While certain elements of Arminianism, and especially the philosophy of the leaders cited above [Charles Finney and Sam Jones] may have helped shape these tendencies in the church, Calvinists need to beware doing to the "Arminians" the same thing they rightly criticize them for doing to the "humanists" and others-- blaming a belief system one does not agree with on all of their problems. For if this were the case, and a Calvinistic outlook was the answer, they would have to show that the Calvinist world-- Calvin's Geneva, the Puritans, Calvinistic Baptists and other "fundamental" Reformed groups; was free of legalism**, hostility to people and culture, and other problems. Some may not have been quite as "separatist" as the revivalist types, while some were in fact the "worst of both worlds", holding the errors of both fundamentalist and Reformed movements. (Biblical Discernment Ministries and some Calvinistic Baptist groups are good examples). Yet all were known for their harshness at times (yet Calvinists often try to excuse this, much like the fundamentalists try to excuse the errors of their past). There are also the radical extreme groups mentioned earlier [Outside the Camp, Briders]. On the flipside, look at how many Calvinistic denominational institutions have also liberalized or watered down the Gospel. So every error and flaw that can be cound in Arminian groups can be found in Calvinistic groups, thus Calvinists are wrong to blame Arminianism, when it is human sinfulness that causes apostasy, whatever group one may side with. (Calvinism should understand this more than anyone else!)

    *The "self esteem" reference sounds like Schuller, who is held up by people like Horton as the epitome of what's wrong with nodern evangelicalism. But isn't Schuller from a Calvinistic background (Presbyterian or Reformed Church, or something like that)

    **It's precisely the Calvinist's "perseverance of the saints", which in practice has meant that you must strive to "prove your election" (to "persevere" in works, (not even faith so much)) has made many Calvinists as legalistic or more as any semi-pelagian or Arminian revivalist.

    I also wonder if Calvinist "election to Hell" (Calvin taught it even though many try to deny it now), and "preaching at the non-elect only to further condemn" [rub their future Hell in their face] may have been what further exasperated people helped lead them to rebel and adopt Universalism all the more fiercly.

    This blame game will solve nothing but fill us up with more pride. The very "Arminian revivalists" you criticize do the same things with these conspiracy theories, blaming "compromizers",
    "rock music", "modern Bible translations", and even Calvinists sometimes for the same problems you point out in the same "modern evangelicalism", and now you're acting just like them.

    [ July 16, 2002, 04:27 PM: Message edited by: Eric B ]
     
  5. Robert J Hutton

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    Warm Christian greetings!

    Timothy W has made some valid points. While I accept that many Arminian believers are Godly and devout Christians, and while I love them as fellow citizens of Zion it is my contention that Arminian theology, by being man-centred has spawned many of the current problems we see to-day. May the day dawn when God's people give Him His rightful place as sovereign Lord.

    Kind regards

    Robert J Hutton
     
  6. Ray Berrian

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    Some one wrongly said that we should not go against 'the doctrines of grace.' A God who is portrayed as selecting only the minority for Heaven and sending, swiftly the rest to Hell, not at the hour of death but because He decreed it in eternity past, is picturing a 'doctrine of disgrace.' Even John the Baptist was sent to bear witness to Jesus, the Light, ' . . . that all men through Christ might believe.' [John 1:7] No one has to be a Greek and Hebrew scholar to understand the Engish text.
     
  7. Ray Berrian

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    I concur with Eric B that the sinfulness of the human heart has caused many to go astray. In stead of attacking the theology we don't believe in--don't we realize that the Devil is the one who influences people to believe in these 'side shows' that we so much despise. Can a saved person really believe in Modernism? It seems to me that we should blame the Evil One rather than the theology that we don't believe to be correct.
     
  8. KenH

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    The way you keeping making this statement over and over again, Ray, it must be an Arminian teaching that only a minority of people are going to be in heaven. It is certainly not a teaching of Calvinism. At best you are creating a straw man that you can attack.

    Give up the poisoning the well tactic, Ray. It's beneath you. [​IMG]

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
    Were it not for grace...
     
  9. ScottEmerson

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    The way you keeping making this statement over and over again, Ray, it must be an Arminian teaching that only a minority of people are going to be in heaven. It is certainly not a teaching of Calvinism. At best you are creating a straw man that you can attack.

    Give up the poisoning the well tactic, Ray. It's beneath you. [​IMG]

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
    Were it not for grace...
    </font>[/QUOTE]Many are called but few are chosen do anything for you? It's a teaching of the Bible if anything. I think that Pink says as much somewhere...
     
  10. Monergist

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    Eric B,

    You've certainly put some thought into your reply, but I do want to point out a couple things.

    Our differences that we see in the relationship of the cause/effect of various trends may boil down to the issue of COMPATIBILTY. For instance I don't know Robert Schuller's background, but I do know that his current views are INCOMPATIBLE with Reformed Theology and that they would be compatible with Arminianism.

    Have people apostasized from Reformed Theology? Sure, they have; there's wheat and tares in any group. You must admit, however, that those institutions that have liberalized have at the same time thrown out Reformed doctrine.

    I wish I had time to answer some of the other replies. Maybe in a couple of days.
     
  11. Ray Berrian

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    Scott Emmerson,

    I agree with you about a careless presentation of the Gospel. Signing a card and standing at an altar does not guarantee everlasting life. I, too, hate this kind of cheap grace and you can clearly identify me as an Arminian by way of theology. As you know, the Bible says that even ' . . . the devils believe and tremble.' [James 2:19] I have not seen too many Christians that tremble at the Presence and reality of Almighty God. 'Our God is a consuming fire.' [Hebrews 12:29] He is not merely the gentle, Jesus who cares the lamb in His arms.
     
  12. KenH

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    Scott,

    We have been through this before. A minority of those beyond young childhood may be lost but by adding in those that died in young childhood all the way back to those that have been aborted or died in a miscarriage, I think it is possible that a majority of all that have are ever conceived will be in heaven. Also, I would think that God would bring to heaven more of his created humans than He allows Satan to take into hell.

    The bottom line is that neither you nor I know the percentage of people who will end up in heaven. And no one should be accusing someone of believing a minority of people will be in heaven unless he can provide proof that that is what that person believes. Unfortunately, Ray has been painting Calvinists with a very broad brush by at least implying that we all believe such.

    Ken
     
  13. ScottEmerson

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    Hmmm... So it's better for a child to die in the womb than to be born, because at least we're sure he or she is in heaven? Is that what you're saying? Perhaps the CHinese have contributed a great number to heaven in the last fifty years then!

    (Wonder if you'd ever heard that before - forgive the sarcasm)

    I just know what the Scriptures say, such as "But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Luke 13:22-30 seems to include all people, a majority of whom are turned away.

    In the grand scheme of things, "few" compared to all the people who lived would be a multitude, but I can't find any Biblical evidence to suggest that "God would bring to heaven more of his created humans than He allows Satan to take into hell."
     
  14. KenH

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    Now from an Arminian point of view I can see how an Arminian might think such a horrible thought. But since I believe God saves all those whom He gave to His Son, it doesn't matter for salvation at what age they die as the Holy Spirit will assuredly regenerate them before they die.

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
    Were it not for grace...

    [ July 17, 2002, 12:56 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
     
  15. ScottEmerson

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    What if the child is not one of the elect? How do you know that children who die in the womb are elect? What happened to the children who were slaughtered in the OT at the hand of God? Are they elect? Where is your Biblical basis for such statements? What about children who were born totally depraved and die after they are five breaths old? How does Christ's sacrifice cover them? Or is there something in Calvinism that allows them an "out?" What if they're not baptized - does that make a difference?

    Is it possible to be saved in a way other than confessing your sins to God, repenting, and believing in Christ? Scripture?

    (Arminians don't have as much of a problem with what happens to infants because they don't start with the same presumptions as Calvinists)
     
  16. KenH

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    Yea, I know. :( Arminians have people being saved in different ways.

    Ken
     
  17. KenH

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    Scott,

    You see, salvation does not depend on someone making a decision as Arminians teach. Calvinism offers hope to grieving parents as regeneration depends on God, not man. Arminians offer no real hope to grieving parents as they teach that regeneration depends on man's decision.

    To offer hope, Arminians have to reach into the Pelagian bag and say that babies are born innocent without a sin nature, or hold to the notion that babies are covered by Christ's blood until they reach an "age of accountability" at which point they somehow become uncovered by Christ's blood. :rolleyes:

    Ken
     
  18. Eric B

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    The topic was the fruits of Arminianism, suggesting a cause and effect issue, not "compatibility". And Schuller is not "compatible" with most Arminians who are serious about the Bible (Do revivalistic fundamentalists accept him? No, they are the biggest critics of him, even moreso than Calvinists). Only in Calvinistic generalization of the doctrine are they "compatible". (If man can choose salvation then man is exalted, etc)
    This sounds like you're trying to say that when Arminians apostasize, it is because of their doctrine, but Reformed apostasize, it is in spite of their doctrine. (And probably also because of Arminian influence). But all of these contemporary Christians people keep talking about (often citing the Barna polls) who have slidden to the point of thinking people will get to Heaven if they are good, have departed from the Arminian belief that one must choose Christ as the only way to be saved. There are tares in every group, but that once again, is because of human nature, not because of rejection of Calvinism. All of these assertions are way overgeneralized.
     
  19. ScottEmerson

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    Scott,

    You see, salvation does not depend on someone making a decision as Arminians teach. Calvinism offers hope to grieving parents as regeneration depends on God, not man. Arminians offer no real hope to grieving parents as they teach that regeneration depends on man's decision.

    To offer hope, Arminians have to reach into the Pelagian bag and say that babies are born innocent without a sin nature, or hold to the notion that babies are covered by Christ's blood until they reach an "age of accountability" at which point they somehow become uncovered by Christ's blood. :rolleyes:

    Ken
    </font>[/QUOTE]You missed the main question:

    Is it possible to be saved in a way other than confessing your sins to God, repenting, and believing in Christ? Scripture?
     
  20. KenH

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    If you mean there must always be visible evidence in a person's life, then the answer is no as an unborn child or a young child or infant could not confess sins, show repentance, etc. But we can be certain that if they had reached an age where they could have, they would have.

    One redeemed by Christ's blood,

    Ken
    Were it not for grace...
     

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