Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Arminianism… Still A Heresy.

by Rev. C. Matthew McMahon, Ph.D.

The heresy plaguing the modern church of the 21st century. What is it and where did it come from?

The system of doctrine known as Arminianism is heresy. It is an offshoot from Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism. It has been adversely affecting the church and its doctrine for over 250 years. Men like Finney and Wesley, being the charismatic personalities they were, propagated the doctrine and resurrected the Pelagian error from the pit of hell once again to persecute the church of Christ. Today’s Arminians are not necessarily the same caliber as those of old. Historic Arminianism is altogether heretical. However, contemporary Arminianism is often confusing; it melds together a number of different theological ideas to come up with a theological “soup”. Some things contemporary Arminians believe are radically different than historic Arminians. If we were to live in the days of old, when the caliber of theology for Arminianism reached its zenith in its contentions with the Reformed churches of the Netherlands, we would find men very much deceived and propagating doctrines of a different nature than the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Today, each case for an “Arminian” church must be taken on its own accord since much of 21st Century Christendom really has no idea what they theologically believe. It is not my purpose to condemn all men who hold a title of “Arminianism” since many do not know what the title means, much less believe all the historic aspects of the theological system. Walk into any church and ask the difference between Arminianism and Calvinism, and you will find a variety of answers. Yet, there are some today who do hold to historic Arminianism, and who do believe the depth of Arminian theology historically. There are even a variety of Arminian websites which propagate the doctrines. But for the most part, each “Arminian” must be dealt with individually in order to assess their understanding, or flavor, of theological soup. It may very well be that they are believing a damning heresy. It may very well be that they are simply confused and need help to understand the doctrines of God’s grace, or their depravity. But in any case, the Calvinist ought always to be fair, gentle and loving in his approach to preaching the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Spurgeon was correct when he said,

“I have heard it asserted most positively, that those high doctrines which we love and which we find in the Scriptures, are licentious ones. I do not know who has the hardihood to make that assertion, when they consider that the holiest of men have been believers in them. I ask the man who dares to say that Calvinism is a licentious religion, what he thinks of the character of Augustine, or Calvin, or Whitfield, who in successive ages were the great exponents of the system of grace; or what will he say of those Puritans, whose works are full of them? Had a man been an Arminian in those days, he would have been accounted the vilest heretic breathing; but now we are looked upon as the heretics, and they the orthodox.”

Why is this still so? Why are the Calvinists looked upon at the “cultists” and the Arminians as those who are orthodox? Men no longer know how to think, nor desire to do so. They simply do as Eve did in the garden, they accept the lie and the consequence of erroneous ideas then plague the church until they have run their due course.

It is in the course of these errors which the church has taken up their pens and fought vehemently against them. But even in our own day men take up the pen hesitantly in fear of other men and the consequence of a biblical stand for the truth. John Owen pleaded with men in his “Death of Death in the Death of Christ” to take up the pen and write against the errors of Arminius, Pelagius and the like. But men are slow to do so. We need more men to stand for the truth and not shy away from it when the cooker becomes hot with the flames of adversity.

Those who hold to and preach the deviant theological systems known as Arminianism and Pelagianism will not help people find Christ. They deter people from the Christ of the Bible because those who follow such doctrines do become twice sons of hell as those that propagate the doctrines. Sincerity does not necessarily breed truth. Sincere, theologically astute Arminians are more destructive to the church than sincere Buddhists will ever be. It is because the system of doctrine known as Arminianism clothes itself so well that people actually believe the crafty fox is a real live sheep. Satan has so sown the seeds of confusion among such men and such churches that this clever lie continues to breed and grow through the world.

Now some will say, “You have not told us what Arminianism is. How do we know it is bad theology if you do not have anything here comparing the system to the Bible?” Well, the articles to the right are filled with information about Arminianism and the ideas that it houses. In those articles there are a wealth of information about what it teaches. But that may take lots of study time that you, the reader, may not have today. So, to gain a clear understanding of where Arminianism came from and what heresies it teaches, read this article that I wrote on its history and theology: The Pelagian Captivity of the Church, by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon. It is in the Historical Theology section of this website. It not only covers the history of Semi-Pelagianism, or Arminianism as it is called, but also its roots in the Pelagian heresy. That will give the reader a clear understanding of what Semi-Pelagians believe, and what contemporary Semi-Pelagians have said in sermons, on the TV, and in books.

It is not that this part of the web site offers every answer. As I am able I hope to write more articles, and post other like-minded articles and papers which may help the traveler who is searching for the biblical Christ find Him.

Some who hold a banner for Arminianism may be readily offended at this website and especially at this section of the site. I am truly saddened that some would feel this way. I do not think this part of the site contradicts 2 Tim. 2:24-26, “And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth, and that they may come to their senses and escape the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him to do his will.” I believe loving men begins with telling them the truth in love. Jesus did this with the Rich Young Ruler. He loved him in that he preached the truth to him. But alas, the Rich Young Ruler went away sad.


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