J.I. Packer Calls Arminianism “an intellectual sin of infirmity”

In other words, Arminians are just stupid Christians who refuse to mature intellectually.  Here is the quote:

Calvinism is the natural theology written on the heart of the new man in Christ, whereas Arminianism is an intellectual sin of infirmity, natural only in the sense in which all such sins are natural, even to the regenerate. Calvinistic thinking is the Christian being himself on the intellectual level; Arminian thinking is the Christian failing to be himself through the weakness of the flesh. Calvinism is what the Christian church has always held and taught when its mind has not been distracted by controversy and false traditions from attending to what Scripture actually says. (taken from: J.I. Packer and Arminianism)

Roger Olson rightly concludes, “So, to him, Arminianism is sin.”  And we are told that Calvinism is supposed to promote humility in its adherents!?  However, it seems to me, again and again, that Calvinism’s “natural” effect is to promote pride and smugness in those who come to embrace it.  And of course, Packer’s last sentence is demonstrably Historically false (see here for several posts on the subject).  What is truly sad and alarming is that this comes not from misguided internet Neo-Reformed types, but from a mainstream Calvinist scholar.

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16 Responses

  1. Who gives a hoot what Packer thinks–about anything? If he wants to call the Scriptures sin, that is up to him, because the Arminian Theology is 100 percent biblically based, as opposed to Calvinism, which isn’t.

    Not only does Calvinism promote pride and smugness, as Roger Olson rightly points out, but I go even further than that. It promotes absolute arrogance and the frustrating thing is, Calvinists have nothing to be arrogant, prideful or smug about. it is quite to the contrary.

    Having been the target of Calvinists because I abandoned their theology/philosophy, I know of what I speak.

    I’m still laughing over the Calvinist response I received on John 1:29. “That does not mean he took away the sin of the world.” Like I told this fellow, “sure enough, friend. Behold!! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world means that he didn’t take away the sin of the world. I get it now. Thanks.”

    And Calvinists are prideful of their intellectual ability? Go figure!!

  2. Well that’s a shame to read, Ben! I thought J. I. Packer was one of those moderate types who is an okay Calvinists doing his thing but not out to bite Arminians. Obviously not. It’s hard to blame these these “Young, Restless, Reformed” folks for the way they act when they have role-models like that.

  3. Uh.. wow, just wow. This is either the funniest or saddest thing I have ever read. Calvinism allows for no free will and thus, no decisions, no logic and no ability to come to Christ based on the facts. I agree that the Holy Spirit must convict a sinner if they are to be saved, but the Calvinist ignores verses like the one that says the Holy Spirit is convicting the WORLD, and the ones that clearly show men chose to serve falsehood, rather than God. Calvinism promotes hatred of sinners, yet many Calvinists do not know which sinners to hate, so they hate all of them.

  4. I agree, Matt. And it also does not allow a PERSON, created in the image of God, to be related to as a person. The phrase “personal relationship with Christ,” doesn’t apply to Calvinists. They would have to use the phrase “a mechanical relationship with Christ,” if they are going to be consistent to their twisted theology.

  5. It is the ignorance and arrogance of this mainline teachers that makes dealing with Calvinists so frustrating.

  6. Packer nowhere called Arminians stupid Christians nor that they refuse to mature intelectually. Assuring that he did might be affirming more than what he wrote. JML states that Calvinism promotes pride and smugness while categorically declaring that Arminianism is 100% biblical as opposed to Calvinism, which is not (let’s be satisfied). Laughing at length over other’s interpretations is of little humility (yet Calvinists are the arrogant devils). John Wesley encouraged some to pray that God would stop the “plague” (How should Calvinists feel being regarded as a “contagious bacterial disease”?). Wesley should not be crucified for that. No need to make a post in order to riddle him with ease. We know that he was true a man of God, who blessed and led to salvation to many, as probably Packer has – surely more than us. After all, perfect role-models do not exist (bad news for the young reformed). Finally, saying that Calvinism promotes hatred of sinners is quite a simplistic statement. Only the sin of the man’s heart promotes hatred against others and Calvinism is not free from being sinfully understood and applied. Through Calvinist theology God has produced much love for the lost in the heart of many men so the problem is not the reformed view but how this is understood and applied (a problem very commonly seen in this site). What is truly sad and alarming is that this comes not from misguided internet Neo-Reformed types, but from mainstream moderate Arminians.

  7. I did make those comments you referred to and I figured anyone would understand the hyperbole involved.

    My reference to Calvinism in those comments are based on the reaction I have received from them after junking their system and adopting the Arminian Theology.

    It was vicious, to say the least. I’ve been called just about ever name in the book by these former “friends.”

    They certainly haven’t shown “love, one for another.” That’s fine, though. Life goes on.

  8. Patrick,

    You write:

    Packer nowhere called Arminians stupid Christians nor that they refuse to mature intelectually. Assuring that he did might be affirming more than what he wrote.

    It “might” be, but I think that is highly unlikely. If he didn’t mean to imply such things, he should have used very different language. Look at what he said,

    “Arminianism is an intellectual sin of infirmity, natural only in the sense in which all such sins are natural, even to the regenerate.”

    How can you read that and not conclude that to hold to Arminianism is to sin intellectually?

    “Calvinistic thinking is the Christian being himself on the intellectual level; Arminian thinking is the Christian failing to be himself through the weakness of the flesh.”

    Will you really say that such things do not suggest that Arminians are simply refusing to mature intellectually into the true Calvinist way of thinking, and that only true Calvinist thinking represents a Christian “being himself” (i.e. a true and natural, or mature Christian). The belief in Arminianism is therefore the result of the Christian sinning intellectually in such a way that he or she is not being “himself” (i.e. what a Christian should be) and falling short of true intellectual Christian thinking.

    “Calvinism is what the Christian church has always held and taught when its mind has not been distracted by controversy and false traditions from attending to what Scripture actually says.”

    Therefore, Arminianism is born of a distraction from what Scripture “actually says.” So Arminians are in a state of intellectual sin “failing” to “be [themselves]” (i.e. what a true mature Christian who is not sinning intellectually ought to be) and are distracted from “attending” to what “Scripture actually says” due to “controversy and false traditions.”

    Does it really need to be spelled out to you in such a manner? Are you really trying to defend such statements? Do you think that J.I. Packer really meant to say that Arminians are intelligent Christians, just as Calvinists are? Does it really seem like a misrepresentation to say that Packer is essentially calling Arminians stupid Christians who refuse to mature intellectually?

    John Wesley encouraged some to pray that God would stop the “plague” (How should Calvinists feel being regarded as a “contagious bacterial disease”?).

    Wesley witnessed firsthand some of the unfortunate spiritual consequences of the Calvinism of his day and was referring to that specifically (antinomianism). Still, saying that a belief system is harmful to the church and to spirituality is a far cry from saying that those who hold to it are guilty of an intellectual sin of infirmity and failing to be truly Christian in holding to it due to the weakness of the flesh.

    Finally, saying that Calvinism promotes hatred of sinners is quite a simplistic statement. Only the sin of the man’s heart promotes hatred against others and Calvinism is not free from being sinfully understood and applied.

    I think you are missing the point in that in Calvinism God hates the reprobate, hated them from eternity, and necessitated their unbelief and rebellion as well as their destruction by way of an irresistible eternal decree. If that is one’s view of God, one can see how one who believes that might feel more justified in hating those who disagree with them (though not necessarily so), especially if they see them as reprobates, etc. Likewise, in Calvinism God determines everything by way of an irresistible eternal decree, including “hatred of sinners” and the condition of the heart from which that hatred comes. Therefore, if Calvinism is true such statements as yours make little sense. Perhaps that is what that commenter was referring to (you may want to ask for clarification, since perhaps you are guilty of the same sort of “misunderstanding” that you believe me to be guilty of in my assessment of Packer’s comments).

    Through Calvinist theology God has produced much love for the lost in the heart of many men so the problem is not the reformed view but how this is understood and applied (a problem very commonly seen in this site).

    Care to clarify that last statement in the parentheses?

    What is truly sad and alarming is that this comes not from misguided internet Neo-Reformed types, but from mainstream moderate Arminians.

    Are you saying that the commenters here are such “mainstream moderate Arminians”, or did you have someone else in mind (someone comparable to Packer, perhaps?)

    You are entitled to your opinion and no one ever said that Arminians cannot be guilty of arrogance or any number of sins, but it is not wrong to point out that Packer is wrong to say that Arminainism is an intellectual sin of infirmity. Unless you want to defend his statements, I am not sure why you are so bothered by this post. It is also commonly admitted by many Calvinists that arrogance and smugness tends to be a problem among Calvinists, so I am not saying anything new here.

    God Bless,
    Ben

  9. It seems to me that, if you believe you are chosen, and that you cannot fall away, a natural consequence of this is pride and arrogance and I have certainly noticed these things in my dealings with Calvinists. As soon as I say that I am Arminian I get deluged with emails and tracts and so on from Calvinist acquaintances, determined to convert me to Calvinism, as if I hadn’t given a lot of thought to what I believe. Hence my possibly rather defensive blog name!

  10. […] [1]  Craig Brown and other Calvinists will actually take this a step further and say that Arminians embrace Arminianism and reject Calvinism, not just because Arminians are influenced by “western thought” or “American common sense”, but because Arminianism so strongly appeals to our sinful nature!  See the following posts to see such wild claims for yourself: The Five Dilemmas of Calvinism Part 1 and J.I. Packer Calls Arminianism “An Intellectual Sin of Infirmity”   […]

  11. How bizarre that believers of an Arminian persuasion are so upset by Packer’s words! I often hear that Calvinists are these hard-headed, unloving and dogmatic people. But these are the doctrines of GRACE!!….. That GOD in His wonderful provision for fallen and corrupt human beings has graciously stepped into the life of the sinner and done for him/her that which he/she could never do for themselves. For even repentance is a gift from GOD. Even our response of turning to GOD is enabled by the Holy Spirit.
    Oswald Chambers put it like this: Conviction of sin is best described in the words:

    My sins, my sins, my Savior,
    How sad on Thee they fall.

    Conviction of sin is one of the most uncommon things that ever happens to a person. It is the beginning of an understanding of God. Jesus Christ said that when the Holy Spirit came He would convict people of sin (see John 16:8). And when the Holy Spirit stirs a person’s conscience and brings him into the presence of God, it is not that person’s relationship with others that bothers him but his relationship with God— “Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4). The wonders of conviction of sin, forgiveness, and holiness are so interwoven that it is only the forgiven person who is truly holy. He proves he is forgiven by being the opposite of what he was previously, by the grace of God. Repentance always brings a person to the point of saying, “I have sinned.” The surest sign that God is at work in his life is when he says that and means it. Anything less is simply sorrow for having made foolish mistakes— a reflex action caused by self-disgust.

    The entrance into the kingdom of God is through the sharp, sudden pains of repentance colliding with man’s respectable “goodness.” Then the Holy Spirit, who produces these struggles, begins the formation of the Son of God in the person’s life (see Galatians 4:19). This new life will reveal itself in conscious repentance followed by unconscious holiness, never the other way around. The foundation of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses— repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for “the gift of tears.” If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin. Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.

  12. Mark,

    Thanks for commenting, but I have a hard time understanding how your comments are really related to the post. Nobody is denying the need for repentance or that the Holy Spirit convicts the world (not “people”) of sin. Not sure why you felt the need to go on and on about that. And you seem to rightly understand that repentance and faith are gifts in the sense of enabling, which is exactly the Arminian position. I do find some of what you have said here a little strange.

    First, you write: How bizarre that believers of an Arminian persuasion are so upset by Packer’s words!

    I am not upset by his words, I just find them outlandish. Do you agree with him that Arminianism is a sin of intellectual infirmity? Do you approve of such rhetoric?

    I often hear that Calvinists are these hard-headed, unloving and dogmatic people. But these are the doctrines of GRACE!!…..

    Of course, I would argue that Calvinists have grossly mislabeled their “doctrines” as it would be more appropriate to call them the “Doctrines of Limited Grace”, or the “Doctrines of Irresistible Grace for a Pre-selected Few”. That would seem to more honestly and accurately reflect what Calvinism truly means by such doctrines. For what I would call the Biblical doctrines of grace, see here:

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvation-a-summary-of-arminian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/

    And yes, it is surprising that those who claim to have a corner on “the doctrines of grace” so often behave in ways that seem devoid of any such grace.

    The foundation of Christianity is repentance. Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses— repentance is a gift of God. The old Puritans used to pray for “the gift of tears.” If you ever cease to understand the value of repentance, you allow yourself to remain in sin.

    Hmmmm. I agree that repentance is only possible through divine enabling (though I don’t think it is an irresistible enabling given only to some), but it seems strange that you would then proceed to prescribe ways to actively bring about repentance in our lives, repentance that we have no choice about in the first place. And then you write this…

    Examine yourself to see if you have forgotten how to be truly repentant.

    What good will examining myself do if I have no choice about repentance in the first place? If I should find that I have “forgotten how to be truly repentant”, what can I possibly do to remedy that since…”Strictly speaking, a person cannot repent when he chooses— repentance is a gift of God.” And how can we “allow” ourselves to live in sin if we have no choice about repentance in the first place? We “allow” ourselves to do what we cannot possibly avoid doing? That seems like a strange way to use language, don’t you think? For more on that see here:

    https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/john-piper-on-god-ordaining-all-sin-and-evil-part-1-an-arminian-response-to-pipers-first-question/

    OK then, if repentance is an irresistible gift that we have no choice about (strictly speaking), why not just continue in sin with the assurance that if God wants me to repent He will irresistibly cause that (give me that gift) in His own good time? In fact, in Calvinism, if I should try to make it happen (through praying for “the gift of tears” or whatever), that would likely quickly be called a “work” on my part, right? So are you suggesting that repentance is by works (and not really a gift after all), or are you just being inconsistent? Feel free to explain.

    Just to be clear, I have no problem with repentance or the need for repentance in a Christian’s life. I think it is a vital component of our relationship with Christ, and a necessary condition for coming to Christ in the first place. I am just a little surprised that you seem to point the finger for repentance in the face of those who would find Packer’s words outlandish and inaccurate, rather than at the one who made such comments in the first place (Packer). Maybe we are not the only one’s who should be examining ourselves.

  13. Brothers and sisters (coming from a former Arminian),

    The saddest part in this argument for me is this: Arminian believers think that God is not the primary actor in the salvation of His people.

    The decisive choice is up to the person which leaves boasting in the Lord as a meaningless idea (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

    The Arminian boast is this: thank you Lord for enabling all people to choose your gift of salvation and I thank myself specifically for making the wise choice of accepting that gift. All praise be to God.

    The reality is, very little praise goes to God when the decisive choice (whether we will be saved or not) is up to us. The person ends up being more thankful that they chose God then thankful for God’s work of salvation.

    The whole point of the gospel is that we have no way of saving ourselves and no desire to turn to God. We need salvation from outside of us. If I look to myself I see condemnation.

    The hardest thing for me to get over, as a former Arminian, was that God was unwilling to save some people in calvinist thinking. After consistently seeing calvinist theology in the Scriptures, I came to realize that regardless of if it were their personal choice or if God chose for them some people were not going to heaven. But the question became: who does the Scripture give credit to for salvation and who does the Scripture give credit to for damnation?

    1. Salvation:
    – No person is righteous before God and no person seeks God.
    Romans 3:11, ““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.
    – God saves us by grace through faith and it is not our own doing.
    Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”
    – Salvation is not dependent on man’s will or exertion toward God but is dependent on the mercy of God.
    Romans 9:16 “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”
    – God grants repentance
    Acts 11:18, “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.'”

    Therefore, man cannot will or exert himself to salvation and God grants repentance to whom He wants to show mercy on. What about damnation?

    2. Damnation
    – Whoever does not believe will be condemned
    Mark 16:16, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
    – The wages of sin is death. Thus we earn death for our sin.
    Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Therefore, if you do not believe the gospel, you are condemned because of your sin. Thus, we are responsible to believe.

    The Scriptures teach these two things together. There is no talk in the Scripture of a person receiving saving (effectual) grace and then not choosing God afterwards. God saves sinners. That is the reality we need to face and be okay thinking God has that kind of power. Even though we were dead set against Him, He chose to save some of us. Praise God! He could have sent us all to hell and it would have been good and right. He was pleased to show mercy to some and on his mercy we are dependent (Rom. 9:16).

    Lastly, I would just like to say that arguing online is a lot easier than in person and people can be a lot more rude on here. I think the majority of the people on here would say God judges the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Be kind to one another. The Scriptures are rich and complex. It can take time to reach a lot of these conclusions and whoever is right in all of this is still responsible to God for how they treat the brethren. I do expect to see a lot of you in heaven one day where you cannot hide behind a computer and I think we will be friends glorying in the Person and work of Christ.

  14. Curt,

    Though you claim to be a former Arminian, much of what you say below would seem to indicate that while you did not always embrace Calvinism, you probably did not really embrace Arminianism either, since you seem to badly misunderstand and misstate it in many ways. I would suggest to you, as I did to Mark, that you take the time to carefully read through the FACTS article to see what Arminians truly believe:
    http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvation-a-summary-of-arminian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/

    You write:

    Brothers and sisters (coming from a former Arminian),

    The saddest part in this argument for me is this: Arminian believers think that God is not the primary actor in the salvation of His people.

    The saddest part for me is that Calvinists like you continue to level this outlandish accusation against Arminians.

    The decisive choice is up to the person which leaves boasting in the Lord as a meaningless idea (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

    And this does not follow at all.

    Let me briefly explain why these accusations are entirely false before going on to address your further comments.

    First, Arminians hold firmly to total depravity and the need for divine enabling before anyone can come to faith in Christ. So unless God takes the initiative and intervenes to make faith possible, nobody can come to Christ. So if we are the “primary actor” in salvation, why can’t we just believe despite being totally depraved?

    Second, Arminians in no way believe that we can justify or regenerate ourselves. In short, we are powerless to save ourselves (more on that below). Only God can save us, and God can only do that because Christ laid down His life for us, making atonement for our sins, something we could never do for ourselves. Only through atonement can anyone be made right with God, and we can in no way atone for our own sins. The only way we can be made right with God is by God’s gracious application of the atonement.

    Third, God saves us in response to faith and faith excludes boasting and proves that we are powerless to save ourselves. That is why faith is the perfect condition for receiving God’s salvation. Put simply, the fact that we need to trust in Christ to save us, proves that we cannot save ourselves. If we could save ourselves, we would not need to trust in Christ to save us, now would we? It is just that simple. Faith is simply acknowledging our helpless state and looking to God to remedy it. That is why faith excludes boasting as it puts all the focus on the one doing the saving and takes all the focus off of the one needing to be saved.

    The very nature of faith makes it impossible to say that in believing in Christ to save us, we are the “primary actors” in salvation.

    So we are helpless to even believe unless God graciously intervenes and enables us to believe. We cannot atone for our sins, but are wholly dependent on Christ’s gracious provision of atonement, an atonement that could only be made by Christ. We cannot forgive ourselves. We cannot justify ourselves. We cannot regenerate ourselves. In short, we cannot save ourselves. And for that reason, we must trust in Christ to save us.

    Just think about that sentence for a minute: we must trust in Christ to save us. Who does the saving in that sentence? Obviously, it is Christ. All we can do is trust in Christ, as God enables us, to graciously do for us what we cannot possibly do for ourselves (save us). The very nature of faith then proves that we can take no credit for our own salvation. And despite all of this, according to you, we are still the “primary actors” in salvation and not God. What?? Do you not see how wildly inaccurate that claim is given these basic Biblical realties that all Arminians fully affirm?

    And yet, you continue:

    The Arminian boast is this: thank you Lord for enabling all people to choose your gift of salvation and I thank myself specifically for making the wise choice of accepting that gift. All praise be to God.

    Have you ever seen an Arminian say anything like this? Of course not. Making the choice to trust in Christ in no way means that we save ourselves or can praise ourselves in any way for salvation as explained above. I would suggest you take a look at this short post: http://evangelicalarminians.org/brian-abasciano-addressing-the-calvinist-challenge-why-did-you-believe-and-your-neighbor-did-not/

    Here is an helpful excerpt: As far as God is concerned, which is what matters, one cannot boast about faith because it receives a free gift. If someone offered you and your friend a million dollars, and you took it but your friend did not, would that mean you could boast about taking it? Not legitimately. There would be no merit to you for taking it, but your friend would be foolish for not taking it. That’s why faith is so perfect for God providing a basis for accountability that gives no glory to the believer/receiver, but all the glory to God, the giver, and at the same time heaps deserved condemnation and shame upon the unbeliever/rejecter. Hardly anyone would ever think that someone could legitimately boast for receiving a free gift. Still, someone can boast about anything they want to. The important question is whether it is legitimate boasting. In such a case, it would obviously not be. And most importantly, biblically it is not.

    Let me focus a little more on this idea of a gift. If someone offers you a gift and you freely receive that gift, with full power to reject the gift instead, does that mean that you earned or deserved the gift? Of course not. Does it mean that you bought the gift? Of course not. Does it mean that you gave the gift to yourself? Of course not. That would make nonsense of the very concepts of giver and receiver. Who then is responsible for the gift, the one who gives it or the one who freely receives it? Obviously the one who gives the gift.

    If we add to this that someone else was also offered the gift, but that person rejected it and you did not, does it change any of the above? Of course not. You still cannot say that you earned, deserved, bought or gave the gift to yourself.

    The reality is, very little praise goes to God when the decisive choice (whether we will be saved or not) is up to us.

    That is obviously false. That would be as silly as saying that in reality very little praise goes to the gift giver when the decisive choice to receive the gift is up to us.

    The person ends up being more thankful that they chose God then thankful for God’s work of salvation.

    And once again, that is a ridiculous and totally inaccurate assertion. If someone receives an unearned and undeserved gift from another, will you really say that this person should be more thankful to himself than to the one who gave them the gift? Of course not. Who receives a gift and then says, “oh thank me, thank me, for receiving this gift”? That would be totally absurd, and yet it is the very absurdity that stands at the bottom of your entire argument.

    The whole point of the gospel is that we have no way of saving ourselves and no desire to turn to God. We need salvation from outside of us. If I look to myself I see condemnation.

    Agreed, and Arminian theology in no way contradicts any of this as explained above. Again, you claim to be a former Arminain but this line of argument makes that hard for me to believe.

    The hardest thing for me to get over, as a former Arminian, was that God was unwilling to save some people in calvinist thinking.

    And that should trouble you since Scripture plainly states that God desires all to be saved, and that Christ died for all, every man, the world, the whole world, etc.

    After consistently seeing calvinist theology in the Scriptures, I came to realize that regardless of if it were their personal choice or if God chose for them some people were not going to heaven. But the question became: who does the Scripture give credit to for salvation and who does the Scripture give credit to for damnation?

    The Arminian answer is that all credit for salvation goes to God (as explained above) and all credit for damnation goes to man. If you did not understand that before becoming a Calvinist, I doubt you understood Arminianism. Being a confused non-Calvinist is not the same as being an Arminian. I will address the rest of what you have to say in a separate comment.

  15. Curt,

    You write:

    1. Salvation:
    – No person is righteous before God and no person seeks God.
    Romans 3:11, ““None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God.

    Amen. As an Arminian I fully agree. See the “T” (for “Totally Depraved”) section of the FACTS article:
    http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvation-a-summary-of-arminian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/

    – God saves us by grace through faith and it is not our own doing.
    Ephesians 2:8, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.”

    Amen, I totally agree. See the “F” (for “Freed to Believe”) section of the FACTS article.

    – Salvation is not dependent on man’s will or exertion toward God but is dependent on the mercy of God.
    Romans 9:16 “So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.”

    Amen. I totally agree. For more on that see here: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2012/09/05/dr-brian-abasciano-on-the-conditionality-implied-in-romans-916-and-its-connection-to-john-112-13/

    – God grants repentance
    Acts 11:18, “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.'”

    God grants repentance in a resistible manner, meaning he both enables one to repent and provides the opportunity for repentance. God does not grant repentance in the sense of irresistible causation, and the Scriptures never suggest that.

    Therefore, man cannot will or exert himself to salvation and God grants repentance to whom He wants to show mercy on.

    Man can only receive salvation from God by faith as God enables. Trusting in Christ for salvation in no way means that we save ourselves as explained above.

    God grants repentance resistibly as explained above, and God desires to have mercy on all (Romans 11:32).

    What about Damnation?
    – Whoever does not believe will be condemned
    Mark 16:16, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
    – The wages of sin is death. Thus we earn death for our sin.
    Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    Agreed.

    Therefore, if you do not believe the gospel, you are condemned because of your sin. Thus, we are responsible to believe.

    This is true, but we are also condemned for unbelief, which creates some serious problems with some major Calvinist tenets: https://arminianperspectives.wordpress.com/2010/03/08/provisional-atonement-part-3-the-integrity-and-justice-of-god-in-the-gospel-offer/

    The Scriptures teach these two things together. There is no talk in the Scripture of a person receiving saving (effectual) grace and then not choosing God afterwards.

    Saving grace becomes effectual only when it is received (even in Calvinism), so of course Scripture does not talk about people receiving saving grace and then not choosing God, since it is in choosing to trust in God that saving grace is received.

    God saves sinners.

    Amen, and nothing in Arminianism says otherwise.

    That is the reality we need to face and be okay thinking God has that kind of power. Even though we were dead set against Him, He chose to save some of us. Praise God! He could have sent us all to hell and it would have been good and right.

    In Arminianism, yes. In Calvinism, not so much (given the fundamental assumption of exhaustive determinism in traditional Calvinism)

    He was pleased to show mercy to some and on his mercy we are dependent (Rom. 9:16).

    Amen, He was pleased to show mercy on those who believe and in believing we demonstrate that we are totally dependent on His mercy for salvation (see above).

    Lastly, I would just like to say that arguing online is a lot easier than in person and people can be a lot more rude on here. I think the majority of the people on here would say God judges the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Be kind to one another. The Scriptures are rich and complex. It can take time to reach a lot of these conclusions and whoever is right in all of this is still responsible to God for how they treat the brethren.

    Good advice.

    I do expect to see a lot of you in heaven one day where you cannot hide behind a computer and I think we will be friends glorying in the Person and work of Christ.

    Well, it sounded good until this part: “where you cannot hide behind a computer.” Oh well.

    I hope this response helps you see that your charge against Arminians is unwarranted and inaccurate. I likewise hope that you will take the time to look at the resources I referred you to so that in the future you will at least be able to accurately and graciously represent the views you want to criticize.

    Normally, I would not entertain a long “why I am a Calvinist and why I can’t understand how you Arminians believe the things you believe” type of comment. But since it was riddled with so many inaccuracies, I felt it worth the effort. If you comment further, please make sure it is directly related to the OP. Otherwise, your comments will likely not be approved.

    God Bess,
    Ben

  16. I am former calvinist (twenty years preaching, teaching and studying it), I say assuredly that Calvinism is a very sick theology. I studied Calvin, J Edwards, Spurgeon, Berkhof, Bavink, C Hodge, etc (all the great calvinist heros). Without any pride, I can say I know Calvinism. As a pastor and teacher i used to make all I could to convince everyone that Calvinism was the gospel of the Bible. Thanks God, without anyone, just reading the Bíble with an open heart and mind, I could see the calvinist misconceptions and misrepresentations. Was it easy to renounce Calvinism? No! But I had to choose between the Bíble and my tradition. CALVINISM IS SICK!

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