Thursday, March 19, 2009


Over the last couple of weeks I have visited several “Arminian” blogs and I have been encouraged by many of the articles. This has been very welcome after months of being continually confronted and battered by Calvinists and their false teachings.

I have found that I am in agreement with most doctrine I’ve read on these websites. This agreement did not come about because I was conditioned by Arminius’ teaching, but because I studied and read the same Bible that Arminius studied and trusted the Holy Spirit’s teaching abilities.

Unfortunately, along with the good doctrine, I have also seen some evidence of a very unhealthy devotion to a man. Arminius is being given praise that is not due to him.
At times his teachings are mentioned in a way that gives the impression that they are THE means by which we understand truth and his teachings are held up as THE standard of doctrinal orthodoxy. In some cases this reliance on Arminius gives the impression that his teaching overshadows the value of scripture.

This situation is yet another example of man’s teaching being given too high a priority. Arminius was a man and the soundness in his teaching is due solely to its agreement with the scriptures. Go first to the SOURCE of scriptural truth and seek GOD alone for revelation through the Holy Spirit. Arminius (and other teachers) can later provide confirmation or otherwise of what we believe we have learned from the scriptures.

Promote the writings of Arminius as a valuable secondary resource by all means – but do not make him into a standard by which all teaching is judged. There is only ONE written standard of truth – the BIBLE.


Constantino della Brazos said...

Dear Omnesimus:

I did notice that you visited my blog. Although you have shown your alliegance to Arminianism, be aware that Eastern Orthodox often compare notes with Arminian Protestants. This goes back to John Wesley, who borrowed heavily from the Orthodox Church as he fomulated Methodist. You would be surprised to find that Eastern Orthodox are more like Methodists in their beliefs, thanks to Wesley, and more like Catholics in Archtecture, thanks to shar4ed history.

Be aware also that Armenianism is a Moderate Position between Eastern orthodoxy and Calvinism. I know that you critiqued my blog as if I were an Arminean, but I'm not Arminean, and I'm not even a Protestant.

If you have an interest in Eastern Orthodoxy, be also aware that the OCA also has two churches in your area of New South Wales. If you take in any of our services, go to the Saturday or Wednesday night services first. The regular Sunday services are simply too involved for the average Protestant. Easern Orthodoxy takes some getting accustomed to as a lot goes on during one of our services.

If you have to go to a Sunday Service, the April 19th Easter/Paskha service in the afternoon is the one you want to go to. Our Church Calender is different than yours since we use the Julian, not the Gregorian, calendar to calculate Easter.

The Orthodox Church is the hardest church to join, as the membership requirements are more demanding than other churches. Essentially, you have to visit them for about a year, and declare yourself a Cathecumen for another year before you are permitted to join. Even so, the requirements are nothing that a sincere dedicatted effort won't overcome.

As an aside, the Baptist Church is the hardest church there is to quit. It took me 5 years of dedicated effort to get removed fom their roles. Put another way, Baptist membership is very much an overestimate, wheras Orthodox membership is very much underestimated.

I do apperciate your interest in my blog, and I answered some of your questions in my last post. Basically, I feel that I'm not using the same Bible as the Calvinists (see the Edited, Not Translated setries), and I regard their standard work, the 1599 geneva Study Bible, as being a Bible where verses adverse to John Calvin's opinions have been removed. Calvinists play with a Bezique deck, wheras Orthodox play with a Canasta Deck, and when the four red threes hit the table, there's lots of shouting.


Onesimus said...

G'Day Constantino,
Thank you for your response.

I want to correct your impression that I have shown an allegiance to Arminianism. While I agree with a lot of what I've read regarding Arminiansism there are a few differences.

As I've noted elsewhere on my blog I have a problem with some of the theological terminology. The use of such terminology can do more than describe ideas - when used inappropriately it can create an idea that was not originally intended.

In particular I have objections to the use of the term "Prevenient grace". While the resulting effect is perhaps not as deadly - I find the use of the term no less of a problem than Calvinists referring to "Irresistible Grace".

To my reading of scripture - grace is grace; any suggestion of different categories grace is inappropriate and misleading.

I also do not hold to the term "Total Depravity". I think it gives an impression that goes far beyond the scriptural account of man's condition. This is demonstrated in the way that Calvinists have made man totally incapable of responding to God prior to (God instigated)regeneration.

Over the years I've had to completely overhaul most of my beliefs. After relying far too much on what I was taught by others I eventually turned to the scriptures for myself to see what the BIBLE teaches.

The ideas of "Total Depravity" or "Original Sin" are two such expressions of similar beliefs that I'm trying to work through at the moment. So far I've found no real evidence of "inherited" sin - but there is plenty of evidence of ALL men being guilty of sin. While my position has not yet become firm, I'm wondering whether man's sinful nature comes more from environmental causes rather than hereditary. We are sinful because we are corrupted by a world infested with sin as a result of Adam's disobedience.
But it will take a lot more time and study becfore I come to a firm conclusion.
I also see that our sinful nature was not intended to exclude us from God's mercy (as Calvinism promotes), but it was intended to put us all on a level status. We were all bound over to disobedience so that all of us can be recipients of God's mercy.

As for an involvement in an Orthodox church - such a thing is highly unlikely. I live in an average sized country town with no access to an Orthodox church.

Onesimus said...

An additonal note to my earlier comment.

My reason for questioning the traditional doctrines of "Total Depravity" and "Original Sin" is to find a SCRIPTURAL view of the truth that these terms are trying to describe.

I suspect that these traditional terms themselves may have coloured doctrinal understanding to the point that SCRIPTURAL truth has been mixed with tradition.

I see also that Constantino (on his blog) expresses another understanding of "Total Depravity" that is different to both the Calvinist and Arminian views. I think this proves my concerns about the way non-scriptural terminolgy can be less than enlightening if the same term can result in so many different interpretaions.
Maybe that is why scripture avoids the condensing of "complex" truths into convenient simplified labels.

Constantino della Brazos said...

You will note also that I avoid using terms like "Prevenient Grace" and "Reprobation", officially banning them under the heading of PROFANITY

I have used three different definitions of Total Depravity. 1) I have used it in the Calvinist sense to disprove the possibility of compiling and publishing a Legetimate Bible in a Calvinist Universe, as no Totally Depraved Man would have any capacity to do so. 2) I have used Total Depravity to characterize some of the deeds of the Calvinists such as editing the Bible and sacking the remains of St. Irenaeus (I know a certain Saint who is not going to Persevere on behalf of the Calvinists). and 3) to characterize the spitritual state of the self-avowed Totally Depraved, such as the marquis du Sade.

We are probably allies livin in different camps.