Thursday, September 16, 2010

John MacArthur on Arminian theology

 Can you talk a little bit about Arminian theology? Is it biblical? And, if a church embraces that theology, are they saved? [Can somebody who holds an Arminian view be a Christian?”]


Yes, if you’re talking about Arminian theology. We always want to make the distinction between Armenians and Arminians. Armenians [are] a people; Arminian is a theology from Arminius. Let me just say this. This debate comes up all the time, and I like to answer the thing by saying I really don’t land, necessarily, with labels very comfortably. You know, you can be called a Calvinist or a Hyper-Calvinist or a Four-point Calvinist or…I’ve been called a Four-and-a-half-point Calvinist… One guy called me a One-point Calvinist--I don’t know how he came up with that. And people can be labeled Arminian.

I understand what they mean by that, but I, personally, try to resist those labels because those labels are loaded with different content for different people. And people love to slap a label on you and then everybody defines that label in a different way. So, I really run from those labels.

At the same time, to put it simply, the debate of Calvinism and Arminianism falls along five simple lines that we all know about called T.U.L.I.P.: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and the Perseverance of the saints--T.U.L.I.P.

John Calvin rightly interpreted the Bible to teach that man is totally depraved. What that means, is that, not every human being is as sinful as he could be or she could be, but that every human being is sinful to the point that they’re incapable of altering their condition. That is to say, total depravity means you can’t do anything to save yourself. You can’t even make a right choice. You can’t awaken your spiritual deadness. You can’t give life where there is death. You can’t come to a right conclusion on your own. Total depravity means that everyone, is by virtue of their own will and their own power and their own choices, incapable of redemption. That’s total depravity.

Arminius would say--Arminian theology, Palagian theology, as it’s also called--would say “man is capable.” That while man is, in the general sense, a sinner, he has capacities within himself to choose to be saved. That is the debate. I don’t think that’s biblical. I think we are dead in trespasses and sin, and dead people don’t make choices. Dead people can’t make themselves alive. So, I think there is a clear distinction there.

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abcampbell said...

It is unfortunate that Mr. MacArthur has either not read The Five Articles of Arminianism or is deliberately lying about Arminian theology. Based on this as well as previous posts, I can only assume the same of you.

"ART. III. That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free-will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. b: "Without me ye can do nothing."

ART. IV. That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of an good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without that prevenient or assisting; awakening, following, and co-operative grace, elm neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But, as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, inasmuch as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost, -Acts vii., and elsewhere in many places."

You would do well, brother to not endorse nor willingly act as he.

rrn said...

What is it about what John MacArthur's comments that qualify for your assessment that "either not read The Five Articles of Arminianism or is deliberately lying about Arminian theology." You would do well to consider at least 2 other possible conclusions. Those being you do not understand MacArthur's comments or are deliberately lying about his position and understanding of Arminianism. Please give evidence of your claim that MacArthur is guilty of either of your conclusions.

Love, rr