- Further, the will of God, comprehended in the gracious covenant which our greatest prophet, the only begotten Son of God, clearly and fully revealed to us in his Gospel, is embraced in two principle heads. First, those things which God for his part decreed to do in us or about us through his Son Jesus Christ, that we may be made partakers of that eternal salvation offered by him. Second, those things which he wholly wills to be done by us through his own grace, if we really want to obtain eternal salvation.
- Those things which God decreed to do for his part in order to provide our salvation, are principally two. 1. He decreed for the honor of his beloved Son to choose for himself sons through him to salvation and life eternal, to adopt, justify, seal with his Holy Spirit and finally to glorify all those and only those truly believing in his name, or obeying his gospel, and persevering in faith and obedience until death, and to the contrary, to reprobate unbelievers and the impenitent from life and salvation and to damn them perpetually. 2. He has decreed through his same Son, to confer to all that are called, although miserable sinners, such efficacious grace through which they may really believe in their Christ the Savior, obey his gospel and be freed from the dominion and guilt of sin, indeed also through which they may really believe, obey and be freed, unless by a new defiance and rebellion they reject the grace offered by God.
- The first decree is the decree to predestination to salvation or election to glory, by which is established the true necessity and at the same time the usefulness of our faith and obedience for obtaining salvation and glory. But to dogmatically establish some other anterior, prior decree by which certain individual people were peremptorily elected by name to glory and all others were reprobated to eternal torture, is indeed to deny the true nature of this decree, to invert right order, to take away the merit of Jesus Christ, to obscure the glory of divine goodness, righteousness and wisdom, and indeed utterly to subvert the true power and efficacy of the whole sacred ministry, and thus of all religion.
- The second decree is the decree of calling to faith or election to grace, by which is established the necessity and at the same time the usefulness of divine grace, or the means necessary for us to yield faith and obedience to Jesus Christ according to the will of God, revealed in his Gospel. Because truly we ought first to be sure about that will of God which he wants us to yield to him, than of the grace necessary for fulfilling that will, of the glory promised to be conferred to those performing the divine will. It is for this that we shall treat them all henceforth in the same order in which they have been proposed.
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
The Works of James Arminius - Vol. 2 (Private Disputations)
Disputation 18: On The Will Of God
Thursday, December 01, 2011
The Bible offers ... “Because they have forsaken me, and have estranged this place, and have burned incense in it unto other gods, whom neither they nor their fathers have known, nor the kings of Judah, and have filled this place with the blood of innocents; They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter.” (Jer 19:4-6 AV)
Friday, November 18, 2011
“Calvinists argue that, if Jesus paid the full penalty for the sins of the whole race, all for whom Christ died must of necessity be saved. This is true since His death settles their account and therefore forms the necessary basis for their forgiveness. Either Christ died for everybody and everybody would be saved, or He died only for the elect and only the elect will be saved, or so the argument goes. It is thought that for one who believes in the satisfaction view of the atonement that the only way to escape universal salvation is to believe in limited atonement.
The answer is found in the kind of substitution involved. Christ died for the whole world in a provisionary sense. He suffered the penal wrath of God for sin, but that fact alone does not place His death on everybody’s account. It is effectual for the individual only as it is placed on a person’s account. It can be placed on a person’s account only as a result of union with Christ. Union with Christ is conditioned on faith.
The Calvinists may want to insist that the objection is valid and that Christ died only for the elect. The only way this argument could have any validity would be to deny the possibility of provisionary atonement. If there can be no provisionary atonement, it does follow that if Christ died for a person his justification is never provisionary but always real.
In explaining the view of the atonement, Louis Berkhof comments: “The Calvinist teach that the atonement meritoriously secured the application of the work of redemption to those for whom it was intended and their complete salvation is certain”.
A close look at what Berkhof said will show that it does not rule out the provisionary principle in atonement. He says that the atonement “makes certain” the salvation of those for whom it was intended. He did not say that the atonement automatically saved everybody for whom it was intended. Calvinists do not teach that the elect are justified before they experience faith. They teach that the person for whom Christ died will of a certainty be justified, but they do not consider a person justified until he experiences faith as the condition of justification. Thus, atonement is provisionary until the time it is applied. The only way to deny the provisionary nature of the atonement is to consider all people for whom Christ died to be justified before they experience faith.
Once we accept that atonement is provisionary, we invalidate the objection that penal satisfaction either leads to universalism or limited atonement. Provisionary atonement applied on the condition of faith and on the grounds of a union with Christ answers this objection and sustains the penal satisfaction view.” 1
1. Classical Arminianism, F. Leroy Forlines, ed. J. Matthew Pinson, Randall House, Nashville, 2011 pp 192-193
2. The Arminian Confession of 1621, trans & ed. Mark A. Ellis, Pickwick, Wipf and Stock, Eugene, 2005
Saturday, October 29, 2011
I believe that saving faith is a gift of God in the sense that the Holy Spirit gives divine enablement without which faith in Christ would be impossible (John 6:44). The difference between the Calvinistic concept of faith and my concept of faith cannot be that theirs is monergistic and mine is synergistic. In both cases it is synergistic. Active participation in faith by the believer means that it must be synergistic. Human response cannot be ruled out of faith. Justification and regeneration are monergistic. Each is an act of God, not man. Faith is a human act by divine enablement and therefore cannot be monergistic. - Classical Arminianism: A Theology of Salvation, Forlines, ed. Pinson, Randall House Nashville, 2011, p.24
Thursday, October 27, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
A.W. Tozer wrote a wonderful book entitled Man, The Dwelling Place of God. The following extract is of chapter 4 of this public domain publication and addresses the significance of two classes of human beings, the "born again" and the natural men of this world. The enmity of the latter toward the former and the characteristics of each identify the unique distinction of one from the other. It is as a result a contrast between an evangelical necessity and a contrary ecumenism.
The Once-born and the Twice-born
CLASSIFICATION IS ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT of all tasks. Even in the realm of religion there are enough lights and shades to make it injudicious to draw too fine a line between men and men. If the religious world were composed of squares of solid black and solid white classification would be easy; but unfortunately it is not.
It is a grave error for us evangelicals to assume that the children of God are all in our communion and that all who are not associated with us are ipso facto enemies of the Lord. The Pharisees made that mistake and crucified Christ as a consequence.
With all this in mind, and leaning over backwards to be fair and charitable, there is yet one distinction which we dare make, which indeed we must make if we are to think the thoughts of God after Him and bring our beliefs into harmony with the Holy Scriptures. That distinction is the one which exists between two classes of human beings, the once-born and the twice-born.
That such a distinction does in fact exist was taught by our Lord with great plainness of speech, in contexts which preclude the possibility that He was merely speaking figuratively. "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," He said, and the whole chapter where these words are found confirms that He was speaking precisely, setting forth meanings as blunt and downright as it is possible for language to convey.
"Ye must be born again," said Christ. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." This clear line of demarcation runs through the entire New Testament, quite literally dividing one human being from another and making a distinction as sharp as that which exists between different genera of the animal kingdom.
Just who belongs to one class and who to the other it is not always possible to judge, though the two kinds of life ordinarily separate from each other. Those who are twice-born crystallize around the Person of Christ and cluster together in companies, while the once-born are held together only by the ties of nature, aided by the ties of race or by common political and social interests.
Our Lord warned His disciples that they would be persecuted. "In the world ye shall have tribulation," He said, and "Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake."
These are only two of many passages of the New Testament warning of persecution or recording the fact of harassment and attack suffered by the followers of the Lord. This same idea runs through the entire Bible from the once-born Cain who slew the twice-born Abel to the Book of the Revelation where the end of human history comes in a burst of blood and fire.
That hostility exists between the once-born and the twice-born is known to every student of the Bible; the reason for it was stated by Christ when He said, "If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you." The rule was laid down by the apostle Paul when he wrote, "But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now."
Difference of moral standards between the onceborn and the twice-born, and their opposite ways of life, may be contributing causes of this hostility; but the real cause lies deeper. There are two spirits abroad in the earth: the spirit that works in the children of disobedience and the Spirit of God. These two can never be reconciled in time or in eternity. The spirit that dwells in the once-born is forever opposed to the Spirit that inhabits the heart of the twice-born. This hostility began somewhere in the remote past before the creation of man and continues to this day. The modern effort to bring peace between these two spirits is not only futile but contrary to the moral laws of the universe.
To teach that the spirit of the once-born is at enmity with the Spirit of the twice-born is to bring down upon one's head every kind of violent abuse. No language is too bitter to hurl against the conceited bigot who would dare to draw such a line of distinction between men. Such malignant ideas are at odds with the brotherhood of man, says the once-born, and are held only by the apostles of disunity and hate. This mighty rage against the twice-born only serves to confirm the truth they teach. But this no one seems to notice.
What we need to restore power to the Christian testimony is not soft talk about brotherhood but an honest recognition that two human races occupy the earth simultaneously: a fallen race that sprang from the loins of Adam and a regenerate race that is born of the Spirit through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
To accept this truth requires a tough-mindedness and a spiritual maturity that modern Christians simply do not possess. To face up to it hardly contributes to that "peace of mind" after which our religious weaklings bleat so plaintively.
For myself, I long ago decided that I would rather know the truth than be happy in ignorance. If I cannot have both truth and happiness, give me truth. We'll have a long time to be happy in heaven.
Sunday, October 09, 2011
Friday, October 07, 2011
FACTS vs TULIP
Monday, October 03, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
churches are being attacked from within by unbelief. Many
of them have already succumbed. And most invariably the
line of descent has been from Calvinism to Arminianism,
from Arminianism to Liberalism, and then to Unitarianism.
And the history of Liberalism and Unitarianism shows that
they deteriorate into a social gospel that is too weak to
sustain itself. We are convinced that the future of Christianity
is bound up with that system of theology historically called
"Calvinism." Where the God-centered principles of
Calvinism have been abandoned, there has been a strong
tendency downward into the depths of man-centered
naturalism or secularism. Some have declared -- rightly,
we believe -- that there is no consistent stopping place
between Calvinism and Atheism."
[Calvinism, hyper-Calvinism and Armimianism, pages 3-4,
by Kenneth G. Talbot & W. Gary Crampton; Still Waters
Calvinists are quick to repeat the lie contained in this quote but as the above comments note, the greatest growth of theological liberalism in the church has come directly from Calvinistic Reformed sources without ever touching Arminianism. If we add other aberrant teachings to the mix we would also have to include the origins of the various Church of Christ sects that arose out of Calvinistic Presbyterians and Baptists (the Restoration movements of Campbell and Stone). If you are going to try to beat somebody with a propaganda lie, you better be prepared for the truth to knock some sense into you.