Calvinistic Articles on the Christian FaithReject the revival of Pelagius - Arminianism!
A 21st Century Doctrinal Plague: Arminianism
The landscape of modern religious thought, in particular the 21st-century church, is faced with a challenging predicament. What could this doctrinal aberration be, and from where does it originate?
The apostle Paul counsels in Titus 3:10-11, “A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.” (Titus 3:10-11).
As John Owen said, “One church cannot wrap in her communion Austin and Pelagius, Calvin and Arminius.” (Introduction to “A Display of Arminianism”).
The doctrinal system known as Arminianism fits this warning. It descends from the beliefs of Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism, which have been subtly influencing church doctrine for over a quarter of a millennium (Jude v.4). Well-known figures such as Charles Finney and John Wesley, charismatic as they were, spread the doctrine and resurrected the Pelagian misconception, thrusting the church of Christ back into turmoil. If we could step back in time, to when theological discourse between Arminianism and the Reformed churches of the Netherlands was at its peak, we would find individuals fervently propagating doctrines that diverged from the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The Synod of Dordt dealt with Arminianism when it reared its head through the direct teaching of James Arminius, through his Remonstrants. Dordt stated that in reaction to the Arminian and Remonstrant Articles and Opinions, that Arminius and the Remonstrants, “summon back from hell the Pelagian error.” They said that Arminianism “deceive(s) the simple,” “is an invention of the human brain,” is a “pernicious error,” “smacks of Pelagius,” “runs counter to the entire Scripture,” is “gross error,” “militate(s) against the experience of the saints and is contrary to Scripture,” “contradict(s) Scripture,” “attempt(s) to give the people the deadly poison of Pelagianism,” “contradict(s) the apostle” and “contradict(s) the Savior,” “is an insult to the wisdom of God,” “is opposed to the plain testimonies of Scripture,” “is a teaching that is entirely Pelagian and contrary to the whole of Scripture.” Christians should know that “the early church already condemned this doctrine long ago in the Pelagians,” “is obviously Pelagian,” and “nullifies the very grace of justification and regeneration.” (NOTES:  Synod of Dordt, Canon 2 Article 3 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 1 Article 1 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 1 Article 2 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 1 Article 3 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 1 Article 4 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 1 Article 5 in the Rejection of Errors, and Synod of Dordt, Canon 3 Article 4 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 1 Article 6 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 2 Article 1 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 2 Article 4 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 2 Article 6 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 2 Article 7 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 3 Article 1 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 4 Article 4 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 3 Article 7 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 3 Article 9 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 5 Article 2 in the Rejection of Errors.  Synod of Dordt, Canon 5 Article 3 in the Rejection of Errors.)
The orthodox professors, theologians, and ministers of Holland and England sought incessantly to suppress the teaching of the Arminians and to prohibit the exercise of that faith which they were firm in condemning as heretical. This they were able to do quite effectively by the convening of the Synod of Dordt. Arminianism, for these reasons, has always been viewed as not only error, but heresy.
The Arminians of today are not necessarily of the same ilk as those in the past. Historical Arminianism can indeed be viewed as doctrinal deviation; not merely error, but heresy. However, contemporary Arminianism is more convoluted; it blends a myriad of theological perspectives to form a sort of rotten theological stew. It’s important to acknowledge that contemporary Arminians might hold beliefs drastically different from their historical counterparts. But they are in error nonetheless.
Today, it’s crucial that we evaluate each “Arminian” church individually, as the theological understanding within 21st-century Christendom is often varied and somewhat ambiguous.
One should be cautious in categorizing all who identify as “Arminian,” as many might not fully understand the title, let alone adhere strictly to its historical implications. Approach any congregation with questions about Arminianism versus Calvinism, and you’re likely to receive a plethora of answers, many of which will deviate from accurate theological understanding. Nevertheless, some individuals remain firm in their allegiance to historical Arminianism, even operating various websites that further propagate its doctrines, and glorify this. John Owen, again, said that such people bring to light “the depths and crafts of Satan.”
In dealing with these theological differences, it’s crucial that we approach each “Arminian” on a case-by-case basis to evaluate their unique theological perspectives. Their beliefs may lean toward detrimental heresy, or they may merely be grappling with understanding God’s grace and human fallibility. Nonetheless, in all discourse, those who identify as Calvinists should remain fair, gentle, loving, and steadfast in communicating God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
Charles Spurgeon once rightly noted,
“It has been frequently claimed that the profound doctrines which we treasure and find in Scripture are immoral ones. I ask, who would be audacious enough to make such a claim when considering that the holiest individuals have been their advocates? I challenge anyone who labels Calvinism as an immoral religion to reflect on the character of Augustine, Calvin, or Whitfield, who in various ages were the principal proponents of the system of grace, or even the Puritans whose works are abundant with them.”
Why then, are Calvinists still viewed as in grave error while Arminians are seen as orthodox? The answer lies in a decline in critical thinking and an increase in susceptibility to misinformation. People tend to accept falsehoods readily, much like Eve in the Garden of Eden, causing these erroneous ideas to plague the church until they’ve run their course.
Throughout history, defenders of truth have risen against such theological errors – even during the Dark Ages, a time infamous for intellectual dormancy. Today, the boldness to stand for biblical truth seems to have waned, with many hesitating to challenge these misconceptions. John Owen, in his remarkable work “The Death of Death in the Death of Christ,” urged individuals to challenge the theological errors propagated by Arminius, Pelagius, and others. Unfortunately, such pleas often fall on deaf ears. We need more individuals to stand unflinchingly for truth, even when faced with adversity.
Deviant theological systems such as Arminianism and Pelagianism are not conducive to finding the Christ of the Bible. Instead, they hinder the search, for those who follow such doctrines risk becoming “twice the sons of hell” as those who propagate them. Sincerity does not always result in truth. Sincere, yet theologically misguided Arminians can be more destructive to the church than sincere Buddhists.
Arminianism is particularly dangerous because it cloaks itself so convincingly in Christianese language that people are misled into believing it to be genuine. It’s a masterstroke of deception sown by Satan, resulting in widespread confusion and a perpetuation of false teachings.
For those unfamiliar with Arminianism, it’s reasonable to ask for an explanation of why it’s considered a deviation. Well, this section of the website is replete with information on Arminianism and its tenets. For a more in-depth understanding of Arminianism, its roots, and what it propagates, I recommend the article I wrote: “The Pelagian Captivity of the Church.”
Though this website might not provide every answer, I aim to contribute more articles and share thought-provoking pieces that could assist the spiritual voyager in their quest to find the biblical Christ. I understand that some Arminians may find this section of the website unsettling. If you are among them, remember that 2 Timothy 2:24-26 advocates for a gentle, patient, and humble approach in teaching, with the hope that God may grant repentance, leading to a knowledge of the truth. Consider these Books on the subject.
As Jesus did with the Rich Young Ruler, true love involves sharing the truth, even if it causes sorrow. I hope to strengthen faith and guide the wandering back to Christ, in the chance that God grants them repentance. To those willing to listen, Christ promises, “My sheep hear my voice.”
In your journey, always consider God’s Providence first. This teaching from Ruth 2:2-3 offers insight into how God orchestrates everything for His purpose.
- “Kosmos” in John 3:16 – by AW Pink
- A Brief and Untechnical Statement of the Reformed Faith by B.B. Warfield
- A Brief Treatise On Predestination – by Anthonie Gylbie
- A Defense of Calvinism – by Charles Spurgeon
- A Sermon on Predestination – by Henry Bullinger
- A Treatise on Christian Faith by Herman Witsius
- An Antidote Against Arminianism by Rev. Christopher Ness (1621-1705)
- An Exegetical Look at John 3:16 – by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
- An Open Letter to Calvary Chapel of Ft. Lauderdale – by Mr. John Nolan
- Arminianism – by Augustus Toplady
- Arminianism is The Road to Rome – by Augustus Toplady
- Calvinism in History – by Mr. Loraine Boettner
- Calvinism in the Early Church (The Doctrines of Grace taught by the Early Church Fathers)
- Christ’s Last Design on His people by Robert Traill (1642-1716)
- Covenant, Universal Call And Definite Atonement – by Dr. Roger Nicole
- Dealing with Universalism and Limited Atonement – by Samuel Rutherford
- Decrees and Human Exertion – by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
- Depravity, Augustine and Pelagius – by Dr. RC Sproul
- Erskine’s Poems – by Rev. Ralph Erskine (1685-1752)
- Exegesis of 2 Peter 2:1 – To Buy or Not to Buy – Dr. Matthew McMahon
- Introduction to the Death of Death – JI Packer
- James Arminius (1560-1609)
- John Calvin’s view of Limited Atonement – by Dr. Roger Nicole
- John Knox on Predestination – by Rev. Brian L. Dole
- Predestination and Romans 9 – by Dr. William Twisse
- Providence by William S. Plumer (1802-1880)
- Reprobation – by AW Pink
- The “christ” of Arminianism – by Rev. Steven Houck
- The Case for Definite Atonement – by Dr. Roger Nicole
- The Chief Points of Religion – by Dr. Theodore Beza
- The Crook in the Lot by Thomas Boston
- The Myth of Free Will – by Walter Chantry
- The Predestination of the Saints – by Augustine
- The “god” of Arminianism is Not Worshippable – by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon
- Two Thoughts from Augustus Toplady
- What does the Bible mean by “All Men”? – by John Calvin
- What is the Gospel? – by Zacharias Ursinus (1534-1583)
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