D.M. Lloyd-Jone's Calvinism vs G. Campbell Morgan's Arminianism

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Stephen L Smith

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I was reading with great interest a comment in Iain Murray's insightful biography of D.M. Lloyd-Jones. After Campbell Morgan died, Dr Lloyd-Jones assumed full responsibility for the teaching ministry at Westminster Chapel. Iain Murray's biography mentions that there was an liberal element at Westminster Chapel which did not like Lloyd-Jones preaching on sin etc. Although Campbell was a true evangelical, was it possible that his Arminian preaching did not emphasise the real problem of the sinfulness of sin and thus contributed to a liberal element being at Westminster Chapel?

One reason I mention this is that it seems to me that Arminianism is very weak in this area and perhaps this also helps to explain the growth of the emergent church.
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior
Really hard to examine the psychology of a congregation whose members are all dead. Also liberal may not be liberal in the sense of denying miracles and the supernatural... in this context it could mean a more traditionalist approach to christianity which sees the church of a social club. But this was probably the Dr's (not Dr. Who) opinion given to Iain Murray at some point in their relationship and thus written down.
 

Stephen L Smith

Moderator
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Iain Murray's biography vol 2 page 100-101 is the key. It mentions there
was a clear theological liberal element in the Congregational churches in
London at the time and Campbell Morgan was not able to weed it out. Some
were upset with Dr Lloyd-Jones clear and Calvinistic preaching. As Mrs
Lloyd Jones says (page 101) he preached to them as if they were sinners
and they did not like it!

So I do wonder if Morgan's Arminian presuppositions tended to water down
the seriousness of sin (and I freely acknowledge Morgan was a great
evangelical preacher of the time).
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I don't know that your thread will bear any fruit but I am so glad that you posted it. I too have read this and in addition, the older version of a short you tube interview with MLJ had a snippet in which MLJ is asked if Campbell Morgan's Arminianism caused any friction between them. If I remember correctly MLJ only said something like 'no, Campbell Morgan was a good man and a fine preacher of the word' (paraphrasing). The video has been redone and edited and now that snippet is not in it.

In another thread I showed my confusion re: 'the altar'. I am also somewhat confused about Arminianism. Not in what the theology declares, but whether it is "another gospel", and whether John Wesley, G. Campbell Morgan, and Arminian's in general are truly heaven bound saints or lost sinners ?
 

Steve Paynter

Puritan Board Freshman
I am also somewhat confused about Arminianism. Not in what the theology declares, but whether it is "another gospel", and whether John Wesley, G. Campbell Morgan, and Arminian's in general are truly heaven bound saints or lost sinners ?

What follows is something I wrote on this subject in another context. I hope it helps.

Historically, Calvinists have taken different positions on Arminianism, but by far the majority have maintained that Arminians are fellow believers, albeit mistaken in certain important particulars. For example, William Ames, a British Puritan who attended the Synod of Dort which responded to the Arminian Remonstrants, wrote:

... the view of the Remonstrants, as it is taken by the mass of their supporters, is not strictly a heresy that is, a major lapse from the gospel, but a dangerous error tending toward heresy. As maintained by some of them, however, it is the Pelagian heresy, because they deny that the effective operation of inward grace is necessary for conversion.

Furthermore, since Ames' day, there has arisen Wesleyan or `evangelical' Arminianism, which is even closer to the Reformation gospel, although ultimately, still synergistic. This means that blanket condemnations of Arminians are inappropriate, as J.I. Packer notes:

Ames' words alert us to the fact that Arminianisms vary, so that blanket judgements are not in order: each version of post-Reformation semi-Pelagianism must be judged on its own merits. Ames is right. The facts surveyed in this article show clearly the need for discrimination. Thus, it is surely proper to be less hard on Wesleyanism than on any form of Dutch Arminianism, just because (to the loss of clarity and consistency, yet to the furtherance of the gospel) Wesley's teaching included so much Reformation truth about the nature if faith, the witness of the Spirit, and effectual calling. Wesley's Arminianism, we might say, contained a good deal of its own antidote! Its evangelical and religious motivation, also, puts it in a different class from the Remonstrant position.

Various considerations go into this hopeful of assessment of Arminianism, apart from the crucial point that they do not require anything more than faith in Christ. One is that some
(although by no means all) Arminians, although affirming that people have libertarian freedom, baulk at the idea that they have turned faith into a meritorious `work.' Another consideration is that one is saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, not by faith in a particular doctrine of salvation which asserts that faith in Christ alone is by grace alone. However, the reason why failing to have a monergistic soteriology is potentially so important is that it might mean that one's faith is not properly in Christ alone, but in the adequacy with which one has added one's synergistic part. A mistaken soteriology of this kind may make shipwreck of one's soul. Arminian synergism, pursued relentlessly, may lead a person away from salvific trust in Christ. J.I. Packer speaks for many Calvinists when he writes:

The lapse [of Arminians from the biblical faith in the God of all grace] is less serious in some cases, more so in others, but in every case it calls for responsible notice and compassionate correction. The logical conclusion of Arminian principles would be pure Pelagianism, but no Arminian takes his principles so far (otherwise one would call him a Pelagian, and be done with it). Calvinists should therefore approach professed Arminians as brother evangelicals trapped in weakening theological mistakes, and seek to help them to a better mind.
 

JimmyH

Puritan Board Senior
I am also somewhat confused about Arminianism. Not in what the theology declares, but whether it is "another gospel", and whether John Wesley, G. Campbell Morgan, and Arminian's in general are truly heaven bound saints or lost sinners ?

What follows is something I wrote on this subject in another context. I hope it helps.
Indeed it does help. Many thanks!
 
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