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Friday, January 13, 2006

Are Arminians "Saved"?

Yep, I knew that would get your attention. Right now, some Southern Baptists are debating whether persons baptized in churches that do not believe in eternal security can serve as international missionaries. A lesser controversy debates whether those holding Arminian ("free will") theology are even saved. I ran across this curious brand of "Calvinism" on a website called Outside the Camp. I have never before heard those who believe the Doctrines of Grace (commonly called TULIP or Calvinism) express the idea that Arminians (as a group) are not saved. Would you take that position? Have you ever heard others take such a position? Those espousing this seem to come to an odd position that turns their own doctrine on its head and sounds more like works for salvation than grace!

Three Reasons Why Arminians are not Saved by Christopher Adams

Reason Number One: Arminians are not saved because they worship an idol.
Reason Number Two: Arminians are not saved because they do not believe the truth.
Reason Number Three: Arminians are not saved because they hate the truth.

Wow!??

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Legalism in theology can lead one down any number of roads, including false assumptions. I happen to believe that scripture supports a much wider gate unto eternal life than many would suppose. Only God knows for sure and all we have to work from is what scripture says. It clearly says, "Believe on the Lord Jesus and thou shalt be saved..." The only condition is believing on the right person; Jesus Christ.

If I am truly saved, and now, late in life, I switch my theology, am I suddenly cast out? If so, what happened to the first criteria?

Calvin himself made dramatic changes in his theology between writing the Institutes, early in life, and writing his commentary on Romans. Is his eternal estate in jeopardy? I think not.

I have many Anglican brethren who sincerely believe in sprinkling infants. Are these men and women lost because of this one doctrine, which does not change the nature and person of the Christ? Whilst I deplore their doctrine, we do love the same Lord Jesus. If they are lost, so am I, because the criteria for redemption is precarious and subject to whims and fancies.

If an Arminian has truly believed on the Lord Jesus, I should have no difficulty embracing them as my brother or sister.

Cheers,

Jim

R. L. Vaughn said...

Thanks for the comments, Jim. This brand of "Calvinism" seems to stand Calvinism on its head. The traditional understanding of "unconditional election" seems to be replaced with an election based on holding the right beliefs. To be fair, they would claim it is something more like, "If you are truly unconditionally elected, you WILL hold the right beliefs on the subject of salvation." Though the Holy Spirit is guiding us into all truth, we have no promise that we are never in error.

Concerning your mention that you "believe that scripture supports a much wider gate unto eternal life than many would suppose", I think this is a place where is it OK to have a "theological tension". For example, I truly sincerely believe that Jesus is "THE way" (not "a" way), that there is no salvation in any other, and that the way that leads to destruction is broad. My theology might seem to lead to an "us four & no more" mentality. But at the same time I rest assured that, whatever my understandings, the Bible also shows in heaven there will be a great multitude which no man can number, out of all peoples, languages and nations. I have no doubt that God is able to perform that.

Anonymous said...

There is no question, at least in my mind, that I am a strict Calvinist, 5-point, tulip and all that.

I also see the dichotomy of human understanding,even as Spurgeon reportedly prayed: "Lord, save the elect, and elect some more."

Sometimes it is difficult to completely align theological thought and humanistic thought, and yet we must, if either one is to be true.

My best stab at it is to draw two circles, one within the other. The small circle as man's realm, and the out circle as God's eternal circle of sovereignty. Man can operatre within his own permissive circle, but God control's both, yet allowing freedom within the smaller circle. And so we accomodate both the sovereign will of God, absolutely, and yet allow man's free will within the confines of God's permissive will.

Now, if you understand that, I have a mud puddle to straighten out too...."smile"

Cheers,

Jim

Anonymous said...

Every child of God believes in God according to the workings of God's mighty power. Christ made that plain when He said "This is the work of God that you believe on Him Whom He hath sent."

R. L. Vaughn said...

Amen. It is God's work and not our own that we believe on Jesus Christ. It seems that the epistles of the New Testament further demonstrate that those saints who had believed on Jesus Christ held some diverse and serious errors in their theology.

Anonymous said...

I like what Jim wrote at 8:21pm: Yes, it's like coloring inside the lines God has placed us, to work out our own salvation.

Mike Krall said...

The question we have to ask is not whether right doctrine is a condition for salvation because there are no conditions for salvation God saves sinners in Christ period! But when he saves them "they will all be taught of God." So when one is regenerate will be hate any of God's truth especially one so central as what Christ accomplished at the cross. Either he died for all thereby making his death merely potential or he died to actually save sinners. When one is saved one will embrace the clear teaching of not only the diety of Christ but his effective atonement.
Mike Krall
pristinegrace@hotmail.com
website:
http://www.geocities.com/~mikekrall

Mike Krall said...

The question we have to ask is not whether right doctrine is a condition for salvation because there are no conditions for salvation God saves sinners in Christ period! But when he saves them "they will all be taught of God." So when one is regenerate will be hate any of God's truth especially one so central as what Christ accomplished at the cross. Either he died for all thereby making his death merely potential or he died to actually save sinners. When one is saved one will embrace the clear teaching of not only the diety of Christ but his effective atonement.
Mike Krall
MKRALL@OPTONLINE.NET
website:
http://www.geocities.com/~mikekrall

R. L. Vaughn said...

Mike, I agree that those whom God saves will all be taught of God. The discussions of Bro. Hoyt's e-mail list and other discussions show that most of us are not being taught the same things by God, or at least not at the same time and at the same rate. If we must all agree, then likely very few of us are true children of God. If we assume that when one is saved he will embrace the teachings of the diety of Christ and His effective atonement, must we assume the WHEN is at that moment? Five months later? Five years later? How soon must these be embraced to give evidence that the sinner is a true child of God?

In a journey that has taken over 25 years, I have begun (I hope) to embrace more fully just who the true God is. At no time in this process did I ever reject that God is THE Saviour of sinners, or that He is absolutely sovereign in all times. Yet, according to Outside the Camp's theology, I could not have been saved 25 years ago. At what point (if I am saved) did I "evolve" into being a saved child of God? I don't know, brother, it just doesn't make any sense to me. Perhaps that proves that I am not "taught of God".

Thanks for commenting. RLV

R. L. Vaughn said...

Instead of this -- At no time in this process did I ever reject that God is THE Saviour of sinners, or that He is absolutely sovereign in all times. -- it should say "in all THINGS".

Also it probably would read better as "At no time in this process did I ever question that God is THE Saviour of sinners, or that He is absolutely sovereign in all things."

Mike Krall said...

Yes Brother Vaughn I agree we are not taught at the same pace but I cant see a regenerate person hating any of God's truth especially something so vital as the person and work of our Lord. To not believe it is not the same as hating the docs of grace and fighting against them. At least that is the way I see it.
Mike Krall

R. L. Vaughn said...

Mike, perhaps I am not following you. When you speak of a regenerate person hating something so vital as the person and work of our Lord, exactly what are you referencing there? I'm not sure whether you're agreeing with Outside the Camp or making a different point of your own.

Here is a quote from Outside the Camp, to show what kind of idea I'm talking about: "When God saves an Arminian, he is no longer an Arminian. When God saves someone who believes in universal atonement, he is no longer someone who believes in universal atonement. When God saves a tolerant Calvinist, he is no longer a tolerant Calvinist." Is this what you're saying?

Not only that, but he goes on to say that "those who claim to believe the doctrines of grace but who say that some Arminians are saved" are "GOD-HATERS". Men such as Wylie Fulton, C. C. Morris, Henry Bouma, John Reisinger, Charles Spurgeon, George M. Ella, A. A. Hodge, A. W. Pink and thousands more are God-haters? Is this what you're saying?

IMO, anyone who spews forth such theology could use a dose of John 13:35 -- "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Oh, wait. They're not disciples; no need to love them!!! :-(

Mike Krall said...

No Richard that is not what I am saying. I am saying that no regenerate child of God hates the docs of grace to the point he will preach against it and defend free willism. Free will is he avowed enemy of free grace. One can be saved and not have embraced the docs of grace but when confronted with them he may wrestle a time, but he will soon see that that is how he was saved. As CHS said "I know God chose me because I would never have chosen him and I know he chose me before I was born for there was nothing in me after I was born to chose me. Every saved sinner knows that to be the case.
M

R. L. Vaughn said...

If not deceived, I believe the Bible teaches that natural man receives not the things of God. So that certainly could explain what you're saying. But could we also add that the natural man of the child of God is not changed, but that the child of God has two natures warring with one another. If true, could this not explain some of what you're talking about rather than that they are not saved?

There are times when it is appropriate to make a judgment concerning whether God has wrought salvation in a person's heart. I believe John the Baptist turned some away and would not baptize them. The disciples at Jerusalem initially did not believe Paul was a true disciple and would not receive him. But sometimes folks seem to go way beyond this, with an inordinate obsession with trying determine who is and who is not a child of God. With the exception of times when a church needs consider whether one has experienced the grace of God -- for baptism, church membership, etc. -- perhaps we should spend more time resting in "the Lord knoweth them that are His."