Within the churches of the Reformation, the terms “Calvinism” and “Arminianism” are traditionally used as a pair, expressing an antithesis, like black and white, or Roman and Protestant. The words are defined in terms of the antithesis, and the point is pressed that no Christian can avoid being on one side or the other. Among evangelicals, this issue, though now 350 years old (if not, indeed 1900 years old), remains alive and sometimes explosive. “Calvinism” and “Arminianism” are still spat out by some as anathematizing swear-words (like “fundamentalism” on the lips of a liberal), and there are still places where you forfeit both fellowship and respect by professing either. There remain Presbyterian churches which ordain only Calvinists, and Methodist and Nazarene bodies which ordain only Arminians, and the division between “general” or “free-will” (Arminian) and “particular” or “Reformed” (Calvinistic) still splits the Baptist community on both sides of the Atlantic. In evangelism, cooperation between evangelicals is sometimes hindered by disagreement and mistrust over this matter, just as in the eighteenth century the Calvinistic evangelicals and John Wesley’s party found it hard on occasion to work together. Nor is it any wonder that tension should exist, when each position sees the other as misrepresenting the saving love of God. The wonder is, rather, that so many Christians who profess a serious concern of the theology should treat this debate as one in which they have no stakes, and need not get involved.

Yes, and today there is still that once impassable gulf between the two theological parties. However, that gap has narrowed considerably and it has even been broached by some, including those who profess to be "Calvinists". Although Dr. Packer does an excellent job in presenting the historical and theological facts of this subject, he falters near the end, to which I have inserted our objection to his statement which is popularly known as "Tolerant Calvinism". One other note I think is important to point out... The term "Arminianism", which I have probably too often mentioned here and elsewhere, is typically used in a general sense, i.e., it rarely refers to historic Arminianism that was coined as such in the early 1600s after the great Synod of Dordt. But rather, the term Arminianism is used by most today to include semi-Pelagianism and everything in between. This is unfortunate for the Arminianism of the 17th century is extremely rare to find. What is mostly held among non-Calvinistic churches is semi-Pelagianism which is a far worse error/heresy. And in my estimation, to use the term Arminianism as being all inclusive is seriously detrimental in that it hides the severity of the doctrinal error being preached and taught throughout the world.

The article itself is most certainly worthy of one's time to read it and I do encourage all to do so. There is much good in it and information that is so little mentioned or known in our present day.

You can read this month's article now by clicking here: Arminianisms.

Or simply go to The Highway home page and click on the "Article of the Month" logo.

In His service and grace,

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simul iustus et peccator

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