Calvinism and Arminianism 10

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.”

A modern editor of Luther’s great work underscores this fact: “Whoever puts this book down without having realized that evangelical theology stands or falls with the doctrine of the bondage of the will has read it in vain.”

While it is so common for people to be unaware of the vital nature of the doctrine of the bondage of the will, it is also as uncommon to find someone who has thought about the will but thinks of it as important. But, if the quote above is right, the whole of evangelical theology (older theology, theology of the Reformation) falls when this teaching is not taught or is simply not thought of as important. I would add that in places where it is nothing but an intellectual amusement or perhaps an object of intellectual exercises it will also not be dealt with as it should. The doctrines of the Gospel of grace alone, of what Christ has accomplished by grace alone, and what the Holy Spirit must do by grace alone if any would be saved all fall without the doctrine of the bondage of the will.

The nature of faith is this; it is the going out of the soul to another, and to see all-sufficiency in another, and to fetch all from another. To have supply in a man’s self, and to see all-sufficiency in Christ, those two cannot stand together. So that while the soul is thus possessed with his own sufficiency to procure ease to himself, it is certain this stops the work of faith, and hinders the pouring in of faith into the soul, whereby you should go wholly out of yourselves, and fetch all from Christ. Therefore mark now what follows. As contrition took away the former hindrance, so the Lord hath this work of humiliation, whereby He shuts back this bolt, and makes him to see an utter inability in himself to procure or receive any good. Thomas Hooker, The Soul’s Implantation, International Outreach, reprinted 2014)

Thomas Hooker, a wonderful writer from the 1600’s, in the paragraph just above, shows us just how the older evangelical theology stands or falls with the bondage of the will. True faith must always have an object and true faith must have a sufficient object. If true faith is in Christ alone, then a true faith must not be in self to do anything, but instead is to see Christ alone as all-sufficient. A true faith will find no sufficiency in self at all. As long as the soul has any hope (faith) in self, it cannot have a true faith in Christ. The soul that has some hope in self will look to self instead of look totally to Christ alone. True faith must be in Christ alone for all things and that includes faith and hope. True faith must come from or be accompanied with “an utter inability in himself to procure or receive any good.”

The last sentence in the previous paragraph (quote from Thomas Hooker) is of tremendous importance. Not only is it the case that unless man has an utter inability in himself to procure something man will not have true faith, but it is also the case that without the recognition of our own utter inability to receive apart from grace man cannot receive anything. True faith is necessary to receive grace, but one cannot have true faith to receive grace until man has lost all hope and trust in self to procure and receive any good. Romans 4:16 tells us that it is by faith in order that it may be by grace, so if hope or trust in our own will is the opposite of faith, it is clear that we must denounce the ability of our own will in order to have true faith.

Without going into great detail, we can simply point to the great danger of Arminian teaching concerning free-will if what Thomas Hooker and Scripture sets out as true. The Arminian teaches that others must make a choice of the free-will which means that the will be free of all things and it must make the choice. This tells us that the soul is looking to itself for something rather than Christ and rather than knowing that it has a total inability to procure or receive anything spiritual or good. The soul cannot pretend to look to itself and to Christ as that is not possible. One must look to Christ alone or one cannot look to Christ at all. The soul is either able to procure or receive to some degree by something it does or it cannot procure or receive anything of itself and Christ must do it all. This is the difference between Arminianism and old Calvinism, though it may not be thought of as all that important to many today. However, it is the difference between the Gospel of grace alone and a gospel of works with grace to help. The Gospel of grace alone stands with the doctrine of the bondage of the will, but falls with the teaching of free-will. We must wake up and see the great danger.

2 Responses to “Calvinism and Arminianism 10”

  1. Steve Finnell Says:

    GOD’S CREED BOOK—THE BIBLE BY STEVE FINNELL

    Creed Book Defined: A doctrine or formula of religious belief.

    The Bible is the only creed book authorized by God. Men write creed books so they can promote denominational doctrines.

    Man made creed books are written as the authoritative teaching of denominations. The words of Jesus and the apostles are Scripture. Creed books written by modern day apostles or church denominations are not Scripture. The Roman Catholic Church is the largest denomination, however, it has no authority to write Scripture.

    Proverbs 30:5-6 Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. 6 Do not add to His words, Lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar. (NKJV)

    If denominational creed books are not adding or taking away from God’s word, then why are they written? The Bible has all the doctrine men need.

    2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (NKJV)

    The Bible gives men all they need in order to understand how to become saved and live the Christian life.

    Made-made creed books are not Scripture given by inspiration of God. Creed books are not Scripture. Creed books should not be the source for salvation and living a life for God.

    How do I know I am saved? The Bible tells me so.
    How do I know how I am to live my life? The Bible tells me.
    How do I know the gospel of Christ? The Bible tells me.
    How do I know that there is one God? The Bible tells me so.
    How do know God’s terms for pardon from sin? Bible doctrine.

    God has authority over the church of Christ. The church does not have the authority to add or take away from the Bible.

    GOD’S CREED BOOK IS THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE ALONE.

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

    • Richard Smith Says:

      Steve: Made-made creed books are not Scripture given by inspiration of God. Creed books are not Scripture. Creed books should not be the source for salvation and living a life for God.

      RS: It is true that creed books are not inspired and are not Scripture. Creed books are also not the source for salvation, but neither is the Bible. The Bible tells us about Christ and Christ is our source of salvation. Whether a person or a group writes down what they believe, all people develop a belief about the Bible. Those who don’t write it down still operate by a belief and even a system of beliefs that they say are biblical. Those who write their beliefs down think that this gives them a better way to discuss these things with others as a way of seeing if it is indeed biblical. When it is written down it also gives them less room to change things on the move.

      Steve: How do I know I am saved? The Bible tells me so.
      RS: The Bible never says Steve Finnell was saved at point A and is so saved. The Bible gives certain beliefs that a saved person must have and gives out what a changed heart is/

      Steve: How do I know how I am to live my life? The Bible tells me.
      RS: But the Bible also tells us that Christ is our Teacher by His Spirit. For example, the Bible does not giving driving instructions or how to put on a roof. We have to seek the Lord for wisdom for how we are to have principles applied to us that we may live, but even then we are told that true believers have died and the life they live is Christ in them.

      Steve: How do I know the gospel of Christ? The Bible tells me.
      RS: But the Spirit of Christ must illumine us to the truth and open our eyes to it. Even more, God must draw us to Himself.

      Steve: How do I know that there is one God? The Bible tells me so.
      RS: That is true, but unless we have Christ teaching us in the inner man we will not know the depths of what that means.

      Steve: How do know God’s terms for pardon from sin? Bible doctrine.
      RS: Bible doctrine? How do we know Bible doctrine? Does each person get to decide for himself or should the Church struggle with these things and come up with statements that declare true Bible doctrine?

      Steve: God has authority over the church of Christ. The church does not have the authority to add or take away from the Bible.
      RS: While that is true, some think the best way to do this is to write down beliefs and have many people wrestle over them.

      Steve: GOD’S CREED BOOK IS THE BIBLE AND THE BIBLE ALONE.
      RS: Does the Bible ever say that one one should never write a creed?

      Steve: YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG.
      RS: But since you are writing a BLOG about certain beliefs, is there a real difference between BLOGGING what you believe is what the Bible teaches and others writing down what they think the Bible teaches? Isn’t your BLOG a form of writing your creed though indeed you may not all it that?

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