Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The dangers and idolatries of the Arminian heresy.

Brethren,
I would like to start by saying that I do not say that those who believe in Arminian, or partially Arminian doctrines are not believers, I know and love several fellow Christians who have Arminian tainted beliefs. However, this does not take away from the essential nature of this doctrine. Improper theology is in essence idolatry, as we create in our minds a false god, and worship it.

Where do we start when debating between Sovereign Grace and Arminanism? It is such an essential doctrine, and its effects so far reaching that one could write a dozen books on the subject and merely scratch the surface.

I would say that the place to start would be the Sovereignty of God.
What is God? What is the nature of His will? Can God be thwarted? Does God author history, the present, and the future, or is He the god of the Deist who claims that God has no dealings with men, or the universe? Is God omniscient? Is God Righteous and Holy? Is God a Just God?
What about Man? Is man basically good, or totally depraved? Are we dead in trespasses and sins, or are we merely sick? Can we reach out to God as fallen creatures?
What about the Fall? What was its nature? What was Man before and after the Fall?

All the above, and many more, are essential doctrines of orthodox Christianity. If you call into question even one of them you call into question the most basic nature of our Lord. Arminianism calls into question every last one of the aforesaid doctrines and many many more essential doctrines of the faith.

The Arminian claims that God desires all men to come to Him. - If what the Arminian says is true, we serve either an impotent, or lazy God.
A God who is not omnipotent is not God. A God who is not able to effect His desires upon His creation is no greater than His creation, this is the epitome of idolatry. It would be no worse to worship a God of wood or metal. The idol is entirely dependant upon its "subject" to accomplish its design, and the idol of the Arminian is entirely dependant upon the creature to fulfill His design, the salvation of mankind.

The reformed fellow however believes in Sovereign Grace, that salvation is of the Lord alone, He elects, and completes our salvation. He is the Author and Finisher of salvation. We believe that all whom God desired to save, He has and will save for the sake of the shed blood of Christ. We call those whom God has chosen to save the "elect" of God, and all those are safe in His hand for eternity. God desired the salvation of His elect, and He accomplished it without reservation. This is the true God, omnipotent and able to save.


The Arminian claims that God "looks through the tunnels of time" and merely sees what goes on in the future. How blatant a heresy to claim that the God who created time is bound by its restraint! God does not see the future, He authored it.
Many people who cannot escape the doctrine of election try to explain it away by claiming that God saw who "would have believed" and based His election accordingly. The logic that concludes this is laughable at best. Salvation by nature is initiated by God even the Arminian will not argue this. How then can the effect determine the cause? To claim that the author of salvation, somehow is effected by those whom he will author, in order to make him author them is so ludacris even my loopy mind cannot fathom it.
As always, the reason the Arminian comes up with this rationale is because he is stuck on the idea that everyone is entitled to a "fair chance". This Jacobin notion, if interpreted in the context of a Just God, puts all of us in Hell.


Another foundational element in this debate is the nature of the sacrifice of Christ. How does Christ's atonement "work" so to speak?
In order for God to effect the salvation of His church and remain Just, the sins of the church must be punished totally. This punishment must be meted out upon one with the same existence as the Church, yet on one so great that He could endure the wrath due to all the elect, not just one. The wrath of God must be meted out upon a being so great, infinite, and eternal that an eternity of eternities worth of wrath could be endured.
The only one who could fulfill this was Jesus Christ, He was "very man and very God".

I say all this to show that if God poured out His wrath towards every individual in its totality upon Christ, then a Just God could not of right punish any man. God can not, and will not punish a man for sins and sin nature that has all ready been punished in Christ.
The only way this works, is if Christ died for the elect only, and suffered the wrath of Almighty God, for the elect only.
The elect are now safe, heirs of Christ, and purified in Him.

Though countless volumes could be written upon the attributes of God, and the nature of Christ's finished work I will stop here and move on to mankind and our total inability.






So, what is man? To find out we must begin at Creation. Mankind was created in the image of God, perfect in every area. Mankind was able to experience true communion with God, and man's nature was pure. Man was created with a "Free Will", able to chose what he desired and a "free agent" so to speak.
This would seem to agree with Arminians would it not? This is only so because I have not yet mentioned the Fall. All the above changed with the Fall. Man is now bound to his sin nature, and is unable to experience communion with God in his fallen state. Now our inclination and will is only evil continually, all our actions are done with sinful motivations.

As long as we are "In Adam" we are in Sin, and dealt with accordingly. We are dead in sin, and unable to change this fact. Fallen man by nature hates God exceedingly. How can a dead man who hates God, choose and desire God and communion with Him?
The Arminian claims that this desire is a result of the Will of man. Man's will is bound to sin, every action is under the bondage of his sin nature. Therefore the Arminian's claim is an impossibility.

What is the correct answer? God regenerates the will of man, changes his inclination, and instills a love for God in his heart. As a result of this, man repents of his sins, and strives to live in accordance with the Word of God.


The only way the Arminian doctrine works is if God is impotent and fickle, and if man is a free moral agent and not in bondage to sin and sin nature.






Rom 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
Rom 1:23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

I believe this applies to all idolatries, Arminianism included. Theology is not a frivolous matter, it is serious business. It is this alone which motivated me to write this short dissertation on Arminianism. The Glory and Name of God is my passion, and it fills me with Righteous anger to see God portrayed as He is not. I know I am not very concise and eloquent in my arguments, and I realize I bounce around alot in my writing. However, I pray this helps you in your walk with our Saviour.


For the Crown Rights of Christ Jesus,


R.G. Miller

3 comments:

Bonnie said...

Right on, brother!
We're with you!
AJAX

Anonymous said...

Excellent RG! I agree with you, that all other 'denominations' or religions that try to portray God as other than what the Scriptures say He is, are idolatrous. One of the things that frustrates and nearly angers me the most are those people that try to claim to be, 'Four-point Calvinist'. There absolutely can be no such thing as a four point Calvinist if the person truly believes in God's sovereignty, or even if he believes in any one of the 5 points, he must believe in the rest for they are inseparable. It has to be all or none.

I remember reading in Robert Lewis Dabney's book on Thomas Stonewall Jackson a portion describing Jackson's understanding of God's providence and man's free will. At the time it was the best explanation that I had ever heard/read any where of how God in his sovereignty predestines the elect and then causes the Holy spirit to change our will in conformity with His so that we still choose of our own free will, but our free will has been liberated from sin so that we will then choose Him according to His will. I think it said something about that, once liberated from sin, our free wills become agents of God's will.

Anyway, have you read Kenneth Gentry's book ' A Biblical Defense of Predestination'? I read it after a discussion with someone who claimed to be a four-point Calvinist and after doing so it lead me to believe that many people that call themselves such, or embrace Arminian doctrine, do so out of a lack of understanding of the nature of God, man, and the Scriptures. The book was so well written, mostly just siting Scriptures and then expounding upon them using other supporting Scriptures, that I think if a person was truly trying to objectively understand the Scriptures for what they say, they could not help but become a 'Calvinist'- (I really don't like that term) or shall I say Reformed?- after reading it. If you haven't guess, I highly recommend it.

RM said...

A.J.,
Thanks man!


Mell,
Thanks! I agree, a four point Calvinist is a misnomer. I will have to look for that book, and read it. Oh, and yes I prefer the word Reformed as opposed to Calvinist. Proper nomenclature is key to reclaiming the culture, however I sometimes use the term Calvinism as most understand that term, yet I always bring it around to a new term once people understand what I am talking about.


R.G.