Question from a Site Viewer
The topic of Arminianism versus Calvinism has stolen my attention lately, not in a bad way though. I am passionate about being right about this because I think that this is something that people should have the right idea about because both sides of the spectrum can’t be right. False teachers need to be set straight. I believe that as a Christian, part of my responsibilities are to come against false teachers and false teachings. The “elected to salvation” doctrine may seem harmless and void of any danger but it will have negative ramifications if subscribed to and taught because it is a distortion of the truth–and no distortion of truth should be taken lightly. I would even go so far as to say that it may be demonic in origin (the belief that God only chooses some to be saved. Satan’s aim is ultimately to blind the minds of the unbelievers but also to seek, kill, destroy/divide the body of Christ and I believe that the doctrine of “elected to salvation” is one of his favorite tools in this arena. The Apostle Paul encourages us to be proactive in coming against false teachers / teachings.
I understand your zeal both to understand this issue and to straighten out others who may have it wrong. Those who believe otherwise have the same zeal. I do not know if you have heard of A.W. Tozer, but I have known several people who were friends of his. One of those people, a saint who has now gone to his eternal home, told me that before he went to Seminary, Tozer took him aside and told him that at Seminary he would find a room full of people who were wrestling with the great issues of Calvinism and Arminianism. He warned him to avoid that room. His advice, rather, was to go to his own room, get on his knees, open his Bible, and seek God. At the end of three years of Seminary, Tozer said, those people will still be in the same room discussing the same issues. “But,” Tozer added, “after the same three years, you will know God.” The young man took Tozer’s advice and was greatly used by God in helping to relieve sufferings and grow the church in many areas of the world.
For at least the last several centuries Christians have spent a great deal of time attempting to figure out God’s role and man’s role in salvation. During the same period of time, people have died and gone to hell who have never heard of Jesus. I believe it is very helpful to study and understand. I think such knowledge gives us a solid basis to interact with others. But one thing is supreme, and that is to know God and do His will be ministering to the needs of others. And, not everything we know is helpful to share. There have been great men and women of God who were strong Calvinists. I would not call them false teachers. And I can name several, such as George Whitfield, Jonathan Edwards, Spurgeon, Chafer, Carey, Calvin himself, and Billy Graham, among many others. There have been great men and women of God who were not Calvinists. But I have known no people who have done great things for God who spent their lives arguing about Calvinism or Arminianism, or any of the other interesting doctrinal issues. If we are going to press one issue, I suggest that we press the cross of Christ as the answer to all of humanity’s ills.
I appreciate the desire for truth. I think that is what we want to drive us all. But erroneous thinking does not mean that people are false teachers. If this was so, we would all be false teachers because I submit that none of us has every bit of doctrine perfectly correct. But God looks at the heart and uses those who are willing.
I have people in my family who do not believe as I believe on this issue, and yet they are doing great things for God, serving him in many countries. They share my heart and passion. And I love them most dearly.
I pray that your passion will be His passion and that you will be known by your great love for God and for others.