The most prevalent and destructive heresy of the church today is Arminianism. This heresy began in the garden of Eden under the subtle guise of Satan’s ploy to destroy the proper relationship between God and man. Satan tempted Eve with the words, "You shall be like God…" Arminianism is simply this old lie redressed in new clothes.
James Arminius began conscientiously teaching his doctrine in the Universities of Europe during the early 1600’s. His teachings consisted in a summary of 5 points which bore direct witness against the last 1500 years of orthodox teaching, and completely against Biblical truth. He taught:
1) That though the fall affected man, it did not affect him completely to render him spiritually helpless.
2) That God based His election of people to salvation in Christ on foreseeing their faith down through the halls of time. Those who were seen as having faith in Christ, were elected.
3) That Christ died for all men universally, making the possibility of salvation open to all if they would have faith.
4) That the Holy Spirit’s work in regeneration could be resisted. That any man could reject the saving work of grace on his heart and resist the Spirit by his own free will.
5) That the believer can, by unbelief, fall from grace, and lose his salvation.
As a result of the teachings of Arminius, the Netherlands churches formed a council in the city of Dort in 1618 which was made up of many elders from all over Europe. They met specifically to challenge and examine the teachings of Arminius' Remonstrants. They were summoned before the council, and upon examination, their teachings were condemned and outlawed. Consequently they were banished from the country. In 1620 an official statement was released outlining 5 points as a rebuttal. The council drafted the response formally called T.U.L.I.P. (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the saints.)
When heresy enters the church, it takes a great deal of time to be rid of it. It is the intention of this page to briefly show that Arminianism does not teach what the Bible teaches. In all truthfulness, Arminianism teaches the exact opposite of what the bible teaches, and purports another Gospel. If Arminianism represents another Gospel and another Jesus, and most of Christendom believes this other Gospel, then the importance of this page becomes spiritually crucial.
We will look at the Bible and examine it against Arminianism through a series of 4 brief propositions and a concluding synopsis.
Proposition 1. The Bible teaches that all men have completely fallen in Adam and are at enmity with God at conception. Genesis 6:5 states, "And the Lord saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every intent and thought of his heart was only evil continually." Romans 3:1, "There is no one good no not one…" Psalm 51:5, "In sin my mother conceived me."
Arminianism teaches that all men have fallen in Adam, but not completely—only in part. Arminius could not give up the idea that man has lost his will to do good before God. Genesis 6:5 demonstrates that man cannot do good as it refers to man’s heart as wicked upon "every intent." Arminianism teaches, then, that man is not completely sinful, and that he may deem himself capable of good works. This denies Romans 3:1, "There is no one who does good, no not one." Arminianism is against the Bible on this point and ties to make man greater than he is.
Proposition 2: The Bible teaches that God is sovereign over all things, even the hearts of men. Proverbs 21:1, "The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will." God is sovereign over every aspect of the created universe. Even the king’s heart is under His complete control. Romans 9:18, "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." God softens some hearts and hardens others. His will is accomplished in every creature, whether to save them and show His mercy to them, or to pass over them, and leave them in their sin. He changes the heart of those he will save, and passes over others hardening them in their sin.
Arminianism teaches that God is not sovereign over the entirety of the created order. It teaches that men may frustrate God’s plan, resist the Holy Spirit, and reject God even if God comes to them to change their heart by His grace. Arminianism places the sovereign control of a human being’s life, not in the hands of the Creator, but in the hands of the creature. Man has the final say on whether he will allow God to work in him or not.
Proposition 3: Christ came to die for the sins of his own people (his sheep, his church, his elect) and not all men, ensuring their salvation wholly upon his merit and his death. Ephesians 5:25 states, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." Jesus died for His church. He did not come to ransom all men, for if he came to die for all men, and he is the Savior, then all men would be saved just because he dies for "all". But Acts 20:28 says, "Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." Jesus purchased the church, not the whole world. His church are the souls of his own people. Since he died for them, they will be saved, for his atoning death actually procures and seals their salvation. If Jesus has died for a soul, that soul shall be saved because of what Christ did alone.
Arminianism teaches that Christ did not save any man in particular, but that he died for the whole world and the possibility that they may be saved. In reality that makes the death of Christ of no affect. It would mean Jesus died on the cross he did not save a single person. His death really did nothing concretely, but only hypothetically. The Arminian would say that Christ’s death was a hypothetical atonement. Thus, the Arminian does not believe Christ is really the Savior, for if Jesus died for all men, then all would be saved. The Arminian says that the cross does not become effective until man makes a choice to believe in the work of Christ. This places salvation in the hands of men rather than on Christ. That would mean Christ ceases to be the Savior, and the will of man becomes the all determining factor in salvation. We then see that man becomes the "savior" instead of Christ
Proposition 4: The Bible teaches that once a man is saved through the atoning death of Christ, he cannot be anything but saved and will persevere to the end through the power and help of the Spirit of God. Philippians 1:6, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." John 19:30, "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost." The Scriptures teach that when Christ dies for an individual, he will be saved. God begins the work in the believer, and finishes that work. Through Christ’s finished work of redemption on the cross, and the work of the Holy Spirit, God applies it to all those whom he died for. Part of this application consists in preserving the sinner in grace until the day of redemption. This does not mean the Bible teaches perseverance of the sinner—that the sinner may still continue in his sin but be preserved—certainly not. The change wrought by the application of the cross pushes the sinner to good works before God. God is the one who motions us and keeps us upon the straight and narrow path. Hebrews 12:2 says, "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith." Jesus is the Author (He begins it in us) and the Finisher (he completes what he has begun) of our faith.
Arminianism teaches that man can fall away from God even after he has been regenerated and saved by the work of Christ. Again, this places the work of salvation in the hands of man. And if this doctrine were really true, and man examined his life as he ought, he would find himself falling in and out of grace every other second because he does not please the Lord with his whole heart at any time. Man can choose to walk away from salvation whenever he desires. Man, again, and not God, is the one dictating the terms of salvation.
Concluding exhortation: Arminianism teaches that,
1) man is not completely sinful,
2) that God is not really sovereign over all His creation,
3) that Christ does not really save anyone from his death on the cross,
4) that man can resist the pouring out of grace by the Holy Spirit and reject salvation even after grace has been introduced to him, and
5) that the work of Christ can ultimately be discarded and salvation lost even after one believes on Christ.
What error! The devil tempted Eve, and Eve tempted Adam, and Adam fell for the very same doctrine the Arminians propagate today: man can be ultimately in control—man can be like God. The irony of this is that the Arminian "god" is not really in control, and the Arminian Christ does not really have any power to save. Why then would anyone want to be like the impotent "god" which Arminius propagated? Arminians believe sincerely that they teach the Gospel, but they really teach a different one. Sincerity does not mean what you believe is true. Paul states in Galatians 1:9, "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." Paul does not say that those who preach a false Gospel will be forgiven when they die, he says they will be eternally lost and tormented among the damned of hell. How important is it then to have a right understanding of the Bible?
Arminianism is not the Gospel of the Bible. It is a grand delusion of the depraved mind. It is a damning heresy for those who continue in it defending it as the truth. Arminians believe that their faith is the determining factor of salvation, and they then treat Christ as the cosmic bell hop who caters to their every whim and fancy. Man is the sovereign and Christ is the lackey. In doing so, they have denied Christ, as Jude says in v. 4, as our only Sovereign and Lord. They have propagated a false view of God, of salvation, of grace, and of the redeeming work of the cross.
If you are an Arminian, and have read this tract, you are now in grave danger. If you reject the biblical teachings about God and Christ held herein, you then reject the God of the Bible, and you reject his Son. You then damn yourself for your unbelief in the truth about Christ and his work. You cannot believe in a fabricated god. You must take God at His Word. He has revealed the truth to you. If you reject it, you reject the sweetest doctrines of His pure grace. If you think nothing more about it these doctrines, and consequently stay complacent in your own beliefs, you will not only be damned for your heresy and false gospel, but you will be tormented with even greater punishment because you have gained a greater understanding and light about God. If you do not understand what has been said, then continue to wrestle with it. Wrestle until you understand it. And if you do believe what has been said, ponder continually how wonderful God is in saving you.