WHY GO ARMINIANISTIC SOTERIOLOGY (5th and concluding part)

Desiderius Erasmus

Desiderius Erasmus

James Arminius

James Arminius

Philipp Melanchthon

Philipp Melanchthon

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) an erudite, international linguist who taught human freedom humanistically, did espouse a kind of Christian hedonism, justifying it from a religious perspective. Erasmus described himself as a poet and orator rather than an inquirer of the truth. Excerpt from The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy on Erasmus reads, “In the practice of Erasmus and many other humanists, rhetoric functioned as a sort of anti-philosophy, a rival to the dialectical philosophy that had ruled medieval scholastic thought. The term rhetoric did not mean the windy, verbose decoration of oratory and writing that the term implies today – ‘mere rhetoric’. Humanists regard it as a practical way to investigate questions on which dialectical argumentation based on logic had proved unable to produce certitude. As noted earlier, rhetoric was the procedure to be used in pursuit of conclusions that could not be proved beyond doubt but were the most probable choice among alternatives explored. Many humanists, Erasmus among them, thought that many (or perhaps all) conclusions about abstract issues, including theological questions, were beyond reach of human reason. Nevertheless, they believed, careful consideration of the various alternative solutions of a question could determine which was the probable opinion.

Thus for Erasmus, rhetoric is the art of probable argumentation, ending not in the certitude claimed by the logicians but in a conclusion that one of the outcomes was more probable than others and could tentatively be regarded as true.” This humanistic rhetoric employed by Erasmus resulted in a psychological inflammation of individualism, the spirit of which rose up to idealize the thought of aiding the already finished work of sozo in him, which he taught as a Roman Catholic priest. Erasmus used rhetorical argumentation based on comparative study of all relevant biblical texts as well as the Church Fathers and later theologians to because to him any biblical question is open to debate unless the Bible, the Church decrees and the Fathers dictate otherwise, in which case he will believe what the scripture declares and what the church determines even if he does not understand the reason.

Philipp Melanchthon (Feb. 15th, 1497 – Apr. 19th,1560) who allowed his humanistic approach to becloud his theological office, called for, in 1518, a return to Classical and Christian sources in order to regenerate theology and rejuvenate society. He laid more emphasis on law as a principle of sanctification. In his ‘Instruction for Visitors’ articles of 1528, he urged pastors to instruct in the necessity of repentance and to bring the threat of the law to bear upon men in order to instill faith. (Now you can, I believe, understand the emergent source of the Remonstrant 5th point). To Melanchthon what secures a believer is the coexistence of justification and good works. (Good works a la humanitas). Humanism is anthropocentric, with a well spring of Greek and Roman Classical, pagan thoughts, where the writings of Greek Plato or Italian Cicero were never outdated or worn out. “Humanism (from the Latin humanitas),” according to Britannica 2014, “is the development of human virtue in all its forms, to the fullest extent. It implies well beyond the modern word humanity (i.e. understanding, benevolence, compassion, mercy) to such as the more aggressive characteristics as fortitude, judgment, prudence, eloquence and even love of honour. It necessitates participating in active life. It included not only realistic social criticism but also utopian hypotheses, not only painstaking reassessments of history but also bold reshaping of the future. In short, humanism calls for the comprehensive reform of culture; the transformation of what the humanist termed the passive and ignorant society of the ‘dark’ ages into a new order that would reflect and encourage the greatest human potentialities.” This is the philosophy behind what James Arminius crept into theology.

Humanism embraces realism; and realism is a philosophy that rejects the traditional assumptions and aimed instead at the objective analysis of perceived experience. This is what those who influenced him strongly believed in. The fifth point of the Remonstrant says, “Believers are able to resist sin through grace and Christ will keep them from falling, but whether they are beyond the possibility of ultimately forsaking God or becoming devoid of grace must be more determined.” What this whole grammar is trying to say concisely is that: a born again Christian can lose his salvation! Many, who are of the body of Christ, do not see the danger posed by this 5th Arminian point. I, hereby, do uncover it. It engages the believer in the nursing of the fear of an eventual fall, this struggle may likely lead to a constant life of an uncomfortable fear! Can a true Christian really live a life of no sin at all? Is it absolutely possible (days of minor ‘flimsy’ doubts; wrong decisions/judgments; misplaced thoughts)? 2Timothy 1:7 says, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” The word ‘fear’ is deilia (di-lee’-ah): ‘timidity, fearfulness, cowardice.’ Deilia is different from the ‘fear’ we have in 1Peter 2:17, “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” Fear, in this verse is: phobeō (fob-eh’-o): (From phobos i.e. dread; reverence for one’s husband), it means: ‘to frighten, that is, (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy to be in awe of, that is, revere.’ Sōphronismos (so-fron-is-mos), which is what ‘sound mind’ is in the Greek, meaning: ‘discipline, that is, self-control.’

Are you aware of another sinister portent hanging ominously on Arminian perception of salvation? It is the annulling effect it wields on the magnanimity of the graceful assurance of soteriology. So misleading, what you started, James Arminius! Your perseverance point reeks of uncertainty. It makes one to think aloud, “This is a dicey situation.” The reason is simply that you do not know when you will die and what you are capable of doing at any given time of your life. We are left in the hands of the unpredictability of chance (or relentless luck). There is an objective revelation of God’s assurance to those who are truly born again in Romans 3:25, “Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;” where ‘forebearance’ is anochē (an-okh-ay): ‘selfrestraint, that is, tolerance;’ in 1John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.” The second ground stems from your need to exercise faith in God’s promise to save you in Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” His Word is life. He eats, first, with you so that you will learn and know how to keep supping with Him. This is the third: the subjective experiences of being led, answers to prayers and love for the brethren that nurture assurance in the believer’s life, Romans 8:24; 1John 3:21-22 & 2:10. Assurance scriptures are: Romans 4:21; Colossians 2:2; 1Thessalonians 1:5; Hebrews 6:11 & Hebrews 10:22, which reads, “Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” The noun ‘assurance’ is plērophoria (play-rof-or-ee’-ah) means ‘entire confidence,’ which comes from a root word   {plērophoreō (play-rof-or-eh’-o): to carry out fully (in evidence), that is, completely assure (or convince), entirely accomplish: – most surely believe, fully know (persuade), make full proof of)}. The economics, ceteris paribus, Latin maxim is not applicable in this spiritual matter. Does the Bible, anywhere, paint in the most obscure available picture of soteriological incertitude (definitely not in the light of 1Peter 1:2-5 and 1Timothy 2:15)? If God should decide to go half way of the salvific work and be expecting a fallible nature like mine to complete what He had begun, then He is definitely leaving me at the mercy of the relentless Lucifer.

Why will one not have every reason to gibe or fleer at notable Arminians like the global headships of the U.S. based Baptist, The Apostolic Faith, British based Wesleyans, Nigerian based Deeper Life’s W.F. Kumuyi, Redeemer’s E.O. Adeboye and the fire spitting D.O. Olukoya of Mountain of Fire (to mention a few) if any of them should beat his chest and say, “I’m heaven bound.” “You’re not sure!” I will readily pose a remembrance. In one of the periodic publications of Mountain of Fire & Miracles Ministries, “Fire In The Word,” a testimony of someone who experienced heaven after death was mentioned in the printed sermon. In it, the testifier was said to have been asked in heaven whether Christians were not dying on earth again to which he answered that several Christians had been dying. He said the one who asked the question said it had been a very long time someone had made it to heaven, because all who had been showing up were being sent to hell, which was why he was wondering whether Christians were not dying. For the General Overseer of this church, Dr. D.K. Olukoya, to preach this which got into their publication is an indication of his acquiescence of this erroneous celestial fact. The first thing is: No one goes to heaven and comes back to give a report of it, John 3:13. How can anyone say that no born again Christian had died in the last decade or so? Second no one can be said to have received any judgment to hell after having made an unrighteous appearance in heaven: because the sentence to hell will only take place at the White Throne Judgment. Third thing is that an egregious beclouding of Arminianism exegesis is solely responsible for an acceptance and a subsequent believing of such unscriptural testimony and this is the result of imbibing wrong exegesis. You, most definitely, do not know who and what you are as a born again Christian. Now let us see who a Christian is.

In the book of Deuteronomy 14:1,”Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.” The word ‘children,’ in the Hebrew is ben (bane): ‘a son (as a builder of the family name), in the widest sense (of literal and figurative relationship, including grandson, subject, nation, quality or condition.);’ ‘ben’ is from banah (baw-naw’): ‘to build (literally and figuratively).’ This is what a Christian is: building God’s family and name, as lively stones, yes, the choicest stones available in the eternity to come. Eternity, and that, is what God is looking at. Before the Holy Spirit enters anyone who is born again, that one would have satisfied God’s eternal gaze at this particular one. In the New Testament, in Matthew 5:9 we have, “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.” The word children in Greek is huios (hwee-os) ‘a “son;” those who in character and life resemble God; those who are governed by the spirit of God.’ This brings us to Romans 8:14, For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Verse 15, For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father;’ and verse 16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and I like to cap it all with verse 17, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” What gave us this sonship status is found in Galatians 3:26,For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” The truth is that the huios is traditionally a legality; the huios, from the very moment he is pronounced so assumes an equality of status with his father and whatever he says concerning his father’s business is as final as it is binding, why? Because he has been given the spirit of his father. When Jesus called Himself the Son of God, what happened? They, in John 5:18, “….sought the more to kill him….but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.” As long as you cannot show me from the New Testament scriptures, where a child of God loses his sonship or where the Holy Spirit leaves a born again person you cannot sustain the Arminian 5th point. Does he or she still from the core of the heart believe that Jesus is the Saviour of his life and her heart? Heaven, then, is a surety.

         Any Christian who cannot control his acts needs to check himself well, maybe he is faking regeneration. Is it not a sin to harbour, in your heart, fear? For fear is in a diametrical opposition to faith. Where God says, ‘It’s ok,’ fear drives you crazy with, ‘Ha! You are in the deepest trouble!’ So, I ask, how can you commence your walk with God in faith (faith in HIS Word, not yours) and decide to use the faulty works of carnality to bring to perfection what God started in the eternity past? With the kind of fear that Melanchthon has successfully planted in unsuspecting hearts, are many Christians not in spiritual trouble? I am not against this Arminianistic teaching because of any theological persuasion I feel towards Calvinism. I am in favour of Calvinist ‘perseverance of saint’ not because I love everything about John Calvin but for the fact that the Bible clearly approves it, no more no less. I believe I have just settled another scriptural controversy. Let the true word of God prevail in the lives of HIS people! Amen!!

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