What is the heresy plaguing the modern church of the 21st century? And where did it come from?
“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).
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 Charles Finney and John 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 should never be the self-imposed duty 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; and most of them will be erroneous on every point. Yet, there are some today who do hold to historic Arminianism, and who do believe the depths of Arminian theology historically speaking. 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.”
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