Calvinism and Arminianism 11

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.”

It is of the utmost importance that people should clearly understand and be made thoroughly aware of their spiritual impotence, for thus alone is a foundation laid for bringing them to see and feel their imperative need of divine grace for salvation. So long as sinners think they have it in their own power to deliver themselves from their death in trespasses and sins, they will never come to Christ that they may have life, for “the whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” So long as people imagine they labor under no insuperable inability to comply with the call of the gospel, they never will be conscious of their entire dependence on Him alone who is able to work in them “all the good pleasure of His goodness, and the work of faith with power” (II Thess 1:11). So long as the creature is puffed up with a sense of his own ability to respond to God’s requirements, he will never become a suppliant at the footstool of divine mercy.   Arthur Pink

Just as a review, the first quote is from a man who believes that modern Calvinism is not the Calvinism of old (Reformation times). We have been examining that statement (or at least some thoughts it contains) and have tried to show how out of step modern Calvinism and Arminianism is with Luther’s Bondage of the Will. In the last BLOG we quoted Thomas Hooker in an effort to show that the whole nature of true faith is opposite to those who hold to the free-will position or at least think it is something that is not that serious. The free-will position is in fact, at least from the view of historical Christianity, in opposition to the Gospel of grace alone. It is not just some little view that is a little wrong; it strikes at the heart of Christianity as it was understood in the time of the Reformation. We need to be awakened from our ecumenical slumbers (in practice and theory) and realize that we are letting the very enemy of the Gospel of grace alone in the door as a friend.

Arthur Pink sets out for us how important it is for people to understand and to be made thoroughly aware of their spiritual impotence. It is only when people see just how impotent that they are that they will then see how they need grace and grace alone to save them. It is very true that as long as sinners think that all they need to do is something that is in their own power they will put that off and see no real urgency in the matter. How logical the sinner is when s/he thinks that as long as s/he can simply say a prayer or make a choice at the time and place of their own choosing, then there is no rush and no need for urgency at all. As long as a person thinks that spiritual death is not a big deal and that a simple choice will do the trick, then that person will not seek the Lord for the power to raise him or her from the spiritual dead. Instead, the poor deluded sinner will continue on in sin thinking that all is well because God is just waiting on him or her to make that one little choice.

The sinner who is deluded enough to think that it is all up to him to make that choice is a sinner that is blinded to his or her own depravity and to the real Gospel of grace alone. Minister after minister in our day are deluded as well and will not tell people just how dead they are and how they are completely unable to help save themselves and are totally at the mercy of God. These ministers are far guiltier than a physician who will not tell his or her patients what is really wrong with them and so allows a disease to progress far enough to where it is beyond hope for the patient. We are inundated with ministers who not only are telling people false gospels, but are are telling them things that will increase their damnation as these people trust and hope in themselves. They are telling them things that encourage people to put off what is necessary or blinds them to what is necessary for salvation. As Pink says (in thought), as long as people are blinded to their utter inability to comply with the Gospel, they will have no idea of their entire dependence on Him who alone can raise them from the spiritual dead. This is so sad.

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