This post is a continuation from something I wrote earlier this week that can be found here (Arminians, Not Pagans). The reactions to my last post varied, for some it was a helpful correction and for others it was condescending. To clear some things up, the post was intended for Calvinists, not necessarily Arminians, although I did expect some to read it. This post like the first, is intended for Calvinists, although I expect Arminians to read it as well.
There was some very disturbing dialogue that arose from the conversation afterwards. Many of you who are Calvinists believe without a doubt that YOUR way is the right way and if others aren’t completely onboard with you, then they are lost. It’s good to have strong convictions like that, even I do. HOWEVER, we need to move beyond that. If we think it’s our way or the highway, we have put God into a box and officially made our system of theology our god. I’m firmly convinced Satan loves us arguing about these kinds of things. Yes, it’s important to understand the doctrine of election, yes it’s important to understand the Spirit’s effectual call, and yes it’s important to teach these things, but don’t let them replace the main things. This is where I’ve failed time and time again.
Many of you think that Arminians save themselves and somehow the glory belongs to them because they chose to believe in Christ. I don’t want this to be the main focus of the post, but please educate yourself by reading some Evangelical Arminian theology. Roger Olson is a great place to start. While I would disagree with Dr. Olson on much, I’m firmly convinced that he is saved and that he believes it is all of grace. Here is a helpful debate on Calvinism/Arminianism that you can listen to between Michael Horton and Roger Olson.
Please hear me when I say that it’s important for us to stand by our doctrines that we’ve become convinced of by the reading of God’s word. More importantly than the tribe (Calvinist, Arminian, etc.) we are in, let’s be faithful to God’s word and pursue Him with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind. Calvinist’s like to emphasis the last in that list, a lot. And hear me out again, it’s important that we “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ” as the Scriptures teach. But more than anything, I really want to push you on to a life of holiness in Jesus Christ. We need to remember that the system we believe in doesn’t save us. We won’t be saved by being convinced of the “TULIP” and being able to recite each letter and what it means with clarity. We are saved by the work of Jesus and we receive that by faith and repentance which leads to a new life in Him. The new creation we become leads to a life of humility, because we know that we don’t deserve it. It’s a change that happens inwardly, not an outward change by quoting the Canons of Dort (although that would be impressive, it’s not enough to save!)
Romans 2:28-29 – For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.
So, I ask us: Can we be okay with fellow believers in Christ being Arminians? Can we be okay with brothers and sisters in Christ never becoming convinced of the Doctrines of Grace? I sure hope so, otherwise I fear our eternity.
“Satan does not care whether he drags you down to hell as a Calvinist or as an Arminian, so long as he can get you there.” – Charles Spurgeon