Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why Am I An Arminian?

Having been away from this task for a while, I want to return to a quest of sorts. Who am I as an Arminian? This is not a question of what kind of Christian I am for there is only one kind of Christian, one who abides in Christ. Of course, we attach a myriad of labels, thoughts, outlooks, paradigms, viewpoints etc. to how we define our soteriology and hermeneutic. We are Arminian, Free-will Baptist, Particular Baptist, Calvinist, Presbyterian, Methodist, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Orthodox, synergistic, monergistic and a host of other descriptives. Yet, for those among the labels who abide in Christ and He in us, we are Christians. Simply put, we are one body. Even still, I am an Arminian within that body and that defines how I approach theological issues. Putting aside the vitriolic expression of sectarian theology that pervades many discussions of Arminian vs. them or Calvinist vs. us, I desire to fully understand why I call myself an Arminian.

There is an undisputable truth among this One body, that being God is Love. It is Agape, a kind of love that is an expression of the LORD and unattainable by His fleshly creation of our own merit. Naturally, we love our own kind, we love our children, our friends and our personal interests but lacking agape we have no love for our enemies. Such a love is not natural to the flesh except perhaps in an outward fashion yet strip the fa├žade off the worldly purveyors of "brotherly love" and enmity will always show it's ugly face. Fallen man is fallen throughout his entire being and as such agape has no place. Now enter Love or God in the lives of fallen men. We become new creations, not just imputed with righteousness but imparted with the Love of God, that agape love that can only be comprehended with the mind of Christ. Only then can we love our enemies and it is because of that truth that I call myself an Arminian. God loves his enemies.

"For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Ro 5:6-8 AV)

As sinners we were at war with the LORD. We hated him. We were His enemy at every turn yet the LORD so loves the world that we have Christ in our midst. I am Arminian because God is Love and that love knows no bounds with regard to this fallen world. There is no man that God hates and cannot love. I am Arminian because I know that any man hearing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, having been freed by the grace of God, can turn to Him for salvation