Chris E said these three things:
<<Arminians are saved in spite of their theology. They are inconsistent. But they are still saved. They do believe the substitutionary work of Christ, they just hold to unlimited atonment at the same time. They fail to see their inconsistency here. That doesn't keep them out of heaven. Does it??>>
<<This is folly. Arminians are inconsistent and if only consistent thinkers will go to heaven then there is little hope for me. I cannot possibly know all the implications of my own personal views. I try to know as many of them as possible but I am sure that somewhere I am inconsistent.>>
<<They are inconsistent when they believe in Christ for salvation and at the same time hold to unlimited atonement. If they were consistent they wouldn't believe in Christ for salvation; but they do so they are saved. They continue to hold two inconsistent propositions. Now you show me where in Scripture it says that people who have inconsistencies in their theology
will go to hell?>>
I guess this is supposed to be my grand entrance; this is where I'm supposed to come in and bite your head off, chew it up, and spit it out, according to David. I am actually excited and praise God for this opportunity to once again proclaim the message of the true gospel. This makes the True Gospel List all worth while.
Before I get into the meat of the response, I want to say that your view, Chris, is by far the most common, popular view amongst those who profess to believe the doctrines of grace. You are most definitely in the majority here; you have a lot of company who would wholeheartedly agree with what you're saying. There isn't a popular Calvinist preacher today who would not be in full agreement with what you're saying about Arminians. So if majority wins, you're certainly the winner.
The following is the unpopular, hated, ridiculed view that all Arminians are lost. If you can refute it, please do so. I am also open to questions and requests for clarification if what I'm about to say is unclear or unbiblical in any way.
Your view, Chris, is that the difference between Arminianism and the doctrines of grace is merely one of consistency; i.e., those who believe the doctrines of grace are just more consistent Christians than Arminians, and a little inconsistency in these doctrinal areas do not mean that Arminians are lost.
Whenever we talk about saved and lost, we must talk about the gospel. This is the foundation of all such discussion. It is the starting point and the ending point of this discussion. The gospel has to do with the person and work of Jesus Christ. "For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Corinthians 2:2). In the gospel, the righteousness of God is revealed (Romans 1:17). What is this righteousness? Does it really matter whether or not someone knows, understands, and believes this righteousness? God says through the Apostle Paul that anyone who is ignorant of this righteousness is lost, guilty of trying to establish a righteousness of his own (Romans 10:1-3). Jesus Christ said that those who do not believe the gospel will be damned (Mark 16:16). Thus, it is imperative that we know what this righteousness is. It is a matter of life and death.
As I hope this discussion will make clear, the righteousness that is revealed in the gospel is how God, who is totally righteous and will "by no means clear the guilty" (Numbers 14:18), saves filthy sinners and yet remains righteous in punishing all sin. It shows how God is "just and the justifier of one who has faith in Jesus" (Romans 3:26). It shows how God is "a righteous God and a Savior" (Isaiah 45:21).
How is it that vile, rotten, hell-deserving sinners enter into fellowship with God, who is pure and holy and undefiled and hates sin? Here is where the precious gospel -- the good news -- is revealed. During this whole discussion, be sure to remember this: The gospel is the good news of salvation based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. In the perfect life of Christ, Christ's perfect sinless righteousness is imputed to (charged to the account of) all God's people. In the death of Christ, all the sins of all God's people are imputed to (charged to the account of) Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ fully paid the penalty that His people deserved. Thus, "It is finished" (John 19:30); all that needed to be done to secure the salvation of God's people was done by Christ's righteous life and atoning death. This is the good news. There will not be one sinner in hell whom Christ represented in His life and death.
In this gospel the glory of God, in all His attributes, is revealed. And God reveals throughout Holy Scriptures that He does all things for His glory. The glory of God is the reason for everything. And the glory of God shines forth most brightly in the gospel. When God regenerates someone, God glorifies Himself by causing that person to believe the true gospel of salvation based on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ.
So what about the Arminians? Are they merely "less consistent" Christians? Are those of us who truly believe the doctrines of grace on some "higher spiritual level" than those poor inconsistent Arminian brethren?
1. Partial Depravity. This is the belief that the sinner is not totally unable to come to God; instead, the sinner has a "free will" to be able to accept salvation or to reject salvation.
2. Conditional Election. This is the belief that God chose to save certain people before the foundation of the world based on what He saw they would do; God chose those who He foresaw would accept salvation.
3. Universal Atonement. This is the belief that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception; Jesus Christ paid the sin debt for everyone, made an atonement for everyone, redeemed everyone, including those who eventually end up in hell.
4. Resistible Grace. This is the belief that a sinner can resist God's will and remain unsaved even when God wants to save him.
5. Conditional Perseverance. This is the belief that one can lose his salvation after being saved and that one's continuing in the faith is conditioned on the person and not on Christ's work.
As all believers will immediately see, these are lies. Arminianism is absolute blasphemy against the work of Christ. Some of you might be saying, "But the preacher I know doesn't believe in a couple of these points." What you must realize is that a belief in JUST ONE of these indicates a belief in a false gospel. Let's take the lie of universal atonement as an example, as the atonement is the heart of the gospel. Those who believe in universal atonement say they believe in the substitutionary work of Christ. They say they believe that Christ is their only ground of salvation. Yet they also believe that Christ's blood atoned for the sins of all human beings without exception. Are these people Christians who are merely a holding to antithetical propositions? Or does this strike at the heart of the gospel to the point that we can say that all who believe universal atonement do not believe the gospel and are thus lost?
Remember: the gospel is the good news of salvation based on the work of Christ alone. Any "gospel" that conditions any part of salvation on the sinner is a false gospel. Now this is the crux of the matter: Those who believe in universal atonement do NOT believe that the work of Christ alone is what makes the difference between heaven and hell. They believe that Christ did the same thing for those in hell as he did for those in heaven. What makes the difference between heaven and hell to these people? The work of the sinner. This is a false gospel. In fact, it is the most blatant form of the false gospel; there is no subtlety here. It's salvation conditioned on the sinner, plain and simple. Remember when I mentioned Romans 10:1-3? These are people who are ignorant of God's righteousness revealed in the gospel. They do not believe in the true God who is both a just God and a Savior. They worship and serve a god of their own imaginations. They believe in a false christ whose blood was powerless to redeem all for whom he died. This false gospel is damnable blasphemy. And if anyone preaches such a false gospel, no matter what his reputation or outward appearance, let him be accursed (Galatians 1:8-9). If anyone does not abide in the doctrine of Christ, he does not have God (2 John 9).
Here is just a little bit about those such as you and Spurgeon and all the rest of the professing Calvinists, past and present, who know what Arminianism is and who say that Arminians are your brothers in Christ (including those who say that it is possible for an Arminian to be regenerate and that it is possible for a Christian to confess a false gospel): If anyone will speak peace to one who brings a false gospel, then he, too, is evil (2 John 11). In calling Arminians your brothers in Christ, you show that you do not know what the true gospel is, that you have not repented of dead works and evil deeds, and that you and Arminians have the same father, which is the father of lies, Satan. I do not say this lightly, nor do I go hunting for people whom I can judge lost. But, contrary to what David thinks, it is not out of unkindness that I say this. In fact, it would be the most hateful thing for me to do if I just affirmed you in your sin. The most loving thing I can do is to tell you that you are lost and your deeds are evil and to show you the remedy. When a doctor tells a patient that he has a deadly disease and tells him the cure, does that patient say, "Why, you're so unloving and mean to tell me that"? No!
The gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing. Those who are perishing say things like, "You mean to tell me that those who are ignorant of just this one doctrine are lost? Why, that's foolishness!" Or, in your case, "This is folly."
Chris, the gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned SOLELY on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Christ. I urge you to repent of ever thinking that the Arminian gospel is the true gospel, and I urge you to believe the true gospel. This goes for all others who will read this who are unregenerate Calvinists.
May God be pleased to turn your world upside down through His precious gospel.
To God ALONE be the glory,
Marc D. Carpenter
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