Tag Archive for 'arminianism'

Spurgeon: A Defense of Calvinism (and Arminians)

In a sermon by C. H. Spurgeon popularly titled A Defense of Calvinism, Spurgeon also speaks highly of his Arminian friends. There are some quotable quotes in this message that those who are Reformed (of which I am one) often rightly use, but I thought I would point out another quote that may get overlooked:

There is no soul living who holds more firmly to the doctrines of grace than I do, and if any man asks me whether I am ashamed to be called a Calvinist, I answer—I wish to be called nothing but a Christian; but if you ask me, do I hold the doctrinal views which were held by John Calvin, I reply, I do in the main hold them, and rejoice to avow it. But far be it from me even to imagine that Zion contains none but Calvinistic Christians within her walls, or that there are none saved who do not hold our views. Most atrocious things have been spoken about the character and spiritual condition of John Wesley, the modern prince of Arminians. I can only say concerning him that, while I detest many of the doctrines which he preached, yet for the man himself I have a reverence second to no Wesleyan; and if there were wanted two apostles to be added to the number of the twelve, I do not believe that there could be found two men more fit to be so added than George Whitefield and John Wesley. The character of John Wesley stands beyond all imputation for self-sacrifice, zeal, holiness, and communion with God; he lived far above the ordinary level of common Christians, and was one ‘of whom the world was not worthy.’ I believe there are multitudes of men who cannot see these truths, or, at least, cannot see them in the way in which we put them, who nevertheless have received Christ as their Saviour, and are as dear to the heart of the God of grace as the soundest Calvinist in or out of Heaven.

Of which I agree. It pains me when people say otherwise.

I hope this isn’t taken the wrong way. It’s a note of love towards my Arminian friends. If it sounds condescending in any way, which I imagine to some it could, that’s not how the posting of this quote was intended or understood by me.

Arminianism Explained

I have mentioned in the past and have been noticing to a great degree lately that Calvinists and Arminians almost always misrepresent each other in the blogosphere. As Gordon Fee says,

Before you can say, ‘I disagree,’ you must be able to say, ‘I understand.’

As far as I can tell, 98% of people in each group misrepresent the position(s) of the other. And on top of that, the majority of Calvinists don’t really know what classical Calvinism is and haven’t read much of Calvin himself. I would guess the same might go for some who would call themselves Arminians. In addition, Arminianism is very different from Semi-Pelagianism or Pelagianism.

I also don’t believe it’s the job of the Calvinist to convert other Christians to Calvinism. We are to proclaim Christ and the basic sound doctrine clearly laid out in Scripture. There is a place for debate and some are gifted in presenting the case of Calvinism or Arminianism to a contemporary audience for the education of the listener or reader.

I think it’s important for us Calvinists to learn not only what Calvinism really is but also to understand what Arminianism is to dispel any misconceptions we may have and understand their position may not be as different from ours as we may have thought.

I came across this paper and thought I would pass it on:
A COMPARATIVE EXAMINATION OF SEMI-PELAGIANISM WITH THE TEACHINGS OF JAMES ARMINIUS: PRESENTED TO DR. RUSSELL WOODBRIDGE ~ CHR. THEO. I.

This deals with the difference between Semi-Pelagianism and Arminianism but also speaks pretty fairly of Calvinism. It’s interesting to read about how some Calvinists like John MacArthur may misrepresent Arminianism (which I’ve heard myself) but R.C. Sproul seems to have a better grasp of what it really is.

Also of interest is how Arminius admired Calvin’s writings:

Next to the study of the Scriptures which I earnestly inculcate, I exhort my pupils to peruse Calvin’s Commentaries, which I extol in loftier terms than Helmich himself [a Dutch divine, 1551-1608]; for I affirm that he excels beyond comparison . . . in the interpretation of Scripture, and that his commentaries ought to be more highly valued than all that is handed down to us by the library of the fathers; so that I acknowledge him to have possessed above most others, or rather above all other men, what may be called an eminent spirit of prophecy . . . His Institutes ought to be studied after the [Heidelberg] Catechism, as containing a fuller explanation, but with discrimination . . . , like the writings of all men.

I’ve started to read more of Calvin and will have a book review coming up within a week.

Calvinism and Arminianism

Here are some posts related to a passage that doesn’t usually come up in comparisons.
Luke slips in predestination… – He Is Sufficient
Acts 13:48 – “Appointed” or “Disposed?” – I follow Christ
Acts 13:48: Arminian? Calvinistic? – Connecting
Acts 13:48 An Exegetical Study – Love Acceptance Forgiveness

For books related to this subject:
Arminianism and Calvinism Books: A Starter List

Arminianism:
Arminian Perspectives
Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Arminian – Roger E. Olson

Psalm 139:16 TNIV
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Acts 13:48 HCSB
When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and glorified the message of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed.

Romans 8:29 HCSB
For those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers.

Romans 9:14-16 HCSB
What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! For He tells Moses: I will show mercy to whom I show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. So then it does not depend on human will or effort, but on God who shows mercy.
and also:
Romans 10:9-10 HCSB
if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 With the heart one believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses, resulting in salvation.

Ephesians 1:11 HCSB
In Him we were also made His inheritance, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will,

2 Timothy 1:9 HCSB
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began.

How these two sides of God’s truth—His sovereignty in choosing us (Rom. 9) and our responsibility to confess and believe (Rom. 10)—reconcile is impossible for us to understand fully. But Scripture declares both perspectives of salvation to be true (John 1:12-13). It’s our duty to acknowledge both and joyfully accept them by faith.

–John MacArthur

1 Timothy 2:4 HCSB
who wants everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

2 Peter 3:9 HCSB
The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.

Ezekiel 33:11 HCSB
Tell them: As I live”-the declaration of the Lord God-“I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked person should turn from his way and live. Repent, repent of your evil ways! Why will you die, house of Israel?