Calvinism and Arminianism 7

One of the greatest differences between the evangelical Calvinists and those they deride as “Hyper-calvinists,” is the evangelical Calvinists believe Arminians and Pelagians are otherwise sound “Christians,” and refer to them as their brothers and sisters. The Hyper-calvinists believe that as long as one is unconverted from his natural freewill state by the operation of the Spirit of God, and converted to the free grace of God by the Gospel of the grace of God, there is insufficient evidence to consider such as a “Christian,” or a “brother or sister.” This is not to say that they consign them to hell–that is not their desire, for by their own experience they understand that before that gracious divine call out of darkness, they, too, were “vessels of wrath even as others.” Arminians and Pelagians are as much in need for the gospel as any “heathen” or pagan. Calvinists would do well to “evangelize” their Arminian or Pelagian “brothers and sisters.”

Luther taught that the heart of the issue of the Reformation was the doctrine of the enslaved will. He said that it was worth standing for even if it disturbed the whole world. On the other hand, in the modern day we have those who are not willing to cause a disturbance in a denomination to teach this doctrine. They are willing to hold hands and to build bridges with those who deny and hate this doctrine. The enslaved will is at the very heart of the Gospel and the Gospel has two twin truths that the enslaved will supports. 1) The helplessness of man in his sin and 2) the sovereignty of the grace of God. Apart from those twin truths there is no justification by faith alone.

The heart of the Reformation and the doctrines of the Gospel was the doctrine of the enslaved will. That basic thought should be shouted from the hills and the pulpits of the land. Apart from the twin truths of the helplessness of man in his sin and the sovereignty of the grace of God there is no justification by faith alone. That as well should be shouted from the hills and the pulpits of the land. The older Calvinist, in the sense of doctrine, believed that this was a vital teaching, but it is not so in our day. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? It depends on whether one is convinced of the necessity of preaching a Gospel of grace alone or not. It is impossible for a person that truly believes in free-will to preach the Gospel of grace alone. This is a vital teaching that must be gone over and over in order to grasp how important it really is. The Gospel of grace stands as a towering and beautiful shining forth of the glory of God, but the doctrine of free-will stands as a monument to the ability of man.

But a man cannot be thoroughly humbled till he realizes that his salvation is utterly beyond his own powers, counsels, efforts, will and works, and depends absolutely on the will, counsel, pleasure and work of Another—God alone. As long as he is persuaded that he can make even the smallest contribution to his salvation, he remains self-confident and does not utterly despair of himself, and so is not humbled before God; but plans out for himself (or at least hopes and longs for) a position, an occasion, a work, which shall bring him final salvation. Martin Luther

Luther argued that the soul must be thoroughly humbled before it could be saved, and by that he meant that the soul must be humbled utterly beyond its own power, will, and works. This is to say that Luther believed that a soul must repent of all hope and help in their own will and look entirely and totally to the will and work of God alone. A person cannot look entirely and absolutely to God alone unless that person has looked away from his own work and will. It is that simple to state, but the heart will wrestle with this until it enters eternity. This is not just an academic statement, but instead the grace of God must work self and free-will out of the soul that the will of God and His grace works humility before God so it would rest in the cross and His righteousness alone.

Luther said that as long as the soul is persuaded that he can makes the smallest contribution to his own salvation, that person has some self-confidence and will look for a way for self to bring something of salvation. Once again, for those with eyes to see this is a shattering blow to the teaching of free-will and an assertion of justification by grace alone through faith alone. Behold the glory of the grace of God in saving sinners at His own pleasure and by grace alone. Behold the wonders of Christ alone as He saves for the glory of God alone. There is no room for free-will in the Gospel of Christ, but instead it is an unwelcome intruder who wants to share in His glory. This is not Hyper-Calvinism, this is the glory of free-grace in historic Calvinism.

2 Responses to “Calvinism and Arminianism 7”

  1. Jim Says:

    Many of the modern day self proclaimed “calvinists” that reject the Gospel omit these truths and proclaim a freewill Gospel that instructs a way of salvation that includes language like repent, accept Jesus as your personal Savior or pray a prayer of similar sorts, I think that many their congregations read an article like this and think that my pastor preaches these truths and do not apply to me or my Calvinistic church. However, how do these same organizations describe the Gospel and instruct on the way of salvation. Look at this summary by John MacArthur from his church Website the Gospel:
    Begin Quote
    http://www.gracechurch.org/About/Gospel
    What It Means to Be a Christian

    Being a Christian is more than identifying yourself with a particular religion or affirming a certain value system. Being a Christian means you have embraced what the Bible says about God, mankind, and salvation. Consider the following truths found in the Bible.

    God Is Sovereign Creator
    Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him. The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore, He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

    God Is Holy
    God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3); therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13). God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, ìYou shall be holy, for I am holy.

    Mankind Is Sinful
    According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: ìThere is no man who does not sin (1 Kings 8:46). That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own (Romans 3:10-12).

    Sin Demands a Penalty
    God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences.

    Jesus Is Lord and Savior
    Romans 10:9 says, ìIf you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior who paid the penalty and died for sinners (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, and Christ’s perfect life satisfied the demands of God’s holiness (2 Corinthians 5:21), thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26).

    The Character of Saving Faith
    True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin (Luke 13:3, 5; 1 Thessalonians 1:9), pursue Christ (Matthew 11: 28-30; John 17:3), and obey Him (1 John 2:3). It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).
    END QUOTE

    Isn’t this an example of a self proclaimed Calvinist who teaches and thinks he is proclaiming a “Calvinistic” Gospel and yet the very heart of the crux of the way of salvation is simply Armenian when it comes down to it. This Gospel section in essence leaves the power in the actions of man and man’s ability to simply respond in obedience. Yet, from my own personal experience, a member of this church or this pastor would likely read these articles on your website, affirm them and not see them as applicable to them. John McArthur is basically advocating that one “consider these truths” and ultimately respond by believing these sets of truths and responding in obedience. There are Calvinistic truths in the object of truths to be believed no doubt. But, the way of salvation rests in the obedience of man.

    Perhaps this would serve as an illustration and help many see there own “Calvinistic” church is actually proclaiming the very Arminian Gospel that Luther believed to be not the gospel, but another.

  2. Frankie Cafazzo Says:

    this is a fantastic summary of the conditionalistic agreement that men like JM preach and teach. somehow they think that adding the word repentance, they are honoring the lordship of Christ. If men aren’t told they are helpless, blind, lost, dead and have nothing within them to even grasp the gospel, they are teaching a self congratulating message. if and when God mars you, you must fall down at His feet and bewail your captivity. This stuff from the website is garbage. It is a feeding on your own motions. A man presumes he can and will repent. The bottom line for me is that they don’t preach that Christ has the prerogative of saving and coming to those in blood before they ever will come to the Lord Jesus. Macarthur and his soldiers are spiritual bullies.
    I will attempt to be more direct next time.

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