Five Different Strains of Arminianism Today

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Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
To most of you, it is probably not an new fact that most synergist Christians do not want to be known as "Arminians," the term being somewhat one of abuse within various circles. The same is probably true for "calvinism," as many people use the label without knowing what they are talking about. Some ignorant evangelicals think that hyper-Calvinism and Five-point Calvinism are one and the same, and other synergists have sought to adopt a moderate position on grace, claiming to be neither Arminian nor Calvinistic, but somewhere in the middle of the road. In this short article, I attempt to classify Arminians into five different groups, based on their disagreements over certain points of their soteriology, and their historical origins.

There are obviously some problems that arise in trying to sort out Arminians based on their beliefs, as many of them do not want to be identified with any particular camps in the fear of being rejected by some. Ironically, this is somewhat the tactic that Arminius took in promoting his poisonous ideas, and even the Remonstrants were hoping to be accepted as part of the Reformed Church of Holland, believing their views, or at least portraying them as mild divergences from the doctrine of the reformers. Secondly, in classifying Arminians here, I am not trying to label ignorant laymen within evangelical churches who do not believe the doctrines of grace, as most of these people are simply too ignorant of theology to really know where they truly stand, adding to the fact that they have not carefully studied good exegetical works in defense of TULIP such as John Gill's "The Cause of God and Truth," in which he finally inflicts a last blow to the scholarship of the Arminians of his day. My goal is simply to outline the five most popular strains of Arminianism found within evangelicalism today, which are adopted by countless numbers of popular theologians and "evangelists" today, and in past history. It is possible that my classification system needs improvement, or that I might have omitted a sixth category of Arminians that you know to exist. If this is so, feel free to expand on the list.

Strains of Arminianism
While England had been the centre of both Arminian and Calvinistic strains of Protestantism over the past four hundred years, Christianity in America was almost exclusively Calvinistic in its soteriology for the first two hundred years following the arrival of the Pilgrims, and it was not before the 1800s that some Baptist and Congregationalist churches begun to move away from their Calvinistic roots to embrace Wesleyan Arminianism following several waves of revivalism, notably a large one lead by Charles G. Finney in the 1830s. It is also noteworthy to point out that the large majority of Baptists in the United States were all strong five-point Calvinists until the beginning of the twentieth century, when their seminaries begun to substitute the old Calvinist textbooks for Arminian ones, such as did the Southern Baptist Convention. Today’s Christianity in America, but also around the whole world is largely dominated by various strains of Arminianism, but not so much as to have actually overthrown the Calvinist camp, which is appearantly making a new ressurgeance. In the following section, I shall highlight various types of Arminianisms that are commonly found in today’s churches, having all evolved from the historic Arminianism of the Remonstrants, and yet differring from this latter on various points.


Historic Arminianism
As mentioned previously, Historic Arminianism is the purest form of Arminianism, which arose shortly after the Protestant Reformation, following the teachings of James Arminius and his followers. Historic Arminianism teaches that man has a libertarian free-will, and is thus capable for turning to God in Faith, apart from an effectual regenerative work of the Holy Spirit. Historic Arminians are quite few in numbers today, their view being perceived by many as "extreme," and heterodox. Historic Arminians included men such as Episcopius and Covinius.


Old Wesleyanism
John Wesley who grew up within an Arminian Anglican home, reformed the Historic Arminianism of his day so as to add some evangelical flavour to it, while also borrowing bits and pieces from Calvinism. Unlike Historic Arminianism, Old Wesleyanism maintains that justification is imputed on the believer on account of Christ’s righteousness, rather than infused progressively through repentance and good works. Sanctification, however, must be carefully sought by the believer following repentance, without which he may see his justification revocked, and be ultimately and eternally lost. There actually remains few Old Wesleyans today, and practically few Methodist denominations that have remained true to John Wesley’s Armimianism, most of them now adhering to the New Wesleyansim that I shall describe next. The Old Wesleyan process of salvation is descibed below, and proponents to this system of soteriology included Adam Clark and the Methodists. A very popular Old Wesleyan preacher today would be A. W. Tozer, who unlike many New Wesleyans, rejects the concept of "Lordship Salvation" as being optional for the believer.


Holy Spirit, Freed will (decision for Christ), Justification (imputed), Sanctification (infused and mendatory), Regeneration, Glorification.


New Wesleyanism
Following the Holiness Movement of the late 1800s a new strain of Arminianism made surface in America, which departed drastically with the traditional Wesleyan view of sanctification as being infused gradually into the believer. John Wesley who had promoted the theology of "perfect love" as a work of grace that is part of our sanctification, always refused to label it as a "second work of grace" that the believer must seek following his conversion. Indeed, it has been said that Wesley spent more time explaining what "Perfect love" was not than he did defining what he meant by the term. He did not want to identify it with the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" either, since that could have alluded to some mystical experience. The perfectionism that Wesley sought was somewhat too much of a complex nature for the average Wesleyan Christian to understand, in addition to being more conceptual than pragmatic. Wesley himself denied having experienced this "Perfect Love" that he theorized. Consequently, New Wesleyans reformed the perfectionism of Wesley, and taught instead that "Perfect Love" was a "second work of grace" that not all Christians have the previlege of experiencing, but should seek as part of their sanctification. This experience which they equated with "the baptism of the Holy Spirit," also known as "entire sanctification," a term coined by Phoebe Palmer, begun to be sought by a countless number of Christians and gave rise to Pentecostalism. New Wesleyanism basically maintains that once justified by faith, a believer may experience "a second work of grace," which is wrought by the Holy Spirit and eradicates all remnants of original sin, enabling him to live without sinning any longer. This experience is reversible, however, and even the "holiest" Christian living in the state of entire sanctification must guard himself from apostasizing. Moreover, in order to avoid making sanctification an optional process altogether, the majority of New Wesleyans still identify a type of sanctification termed "initial sanctification," which all believers have, but strongly encourage their adherents to seek the second work of grace of "entire sanctification." Just like Old Wesleyans and Historic Arminians, however, New Wesleyans still believe that salvation may be lost, even for those who abide in the state of entire sanctification. Some pentecostal denominations, as well as the majority of Wesleyan denominations left to this day hold to this type of Arminianism, including the Christian Missionary Alliance and Church of the Nazarene, although some of their pastors will lean more towards Old Wesleyanism. The New Wesleyan process of salvation is outlined below.


Holy Spirit, Freed will (decision for Christ), Justification (imputed), Initial sanctification (mendatory), Regeneration, Entire sanctification (optional), Glorification.


Dispensational Arminianism
Probably the most popular strain of Arminianism, especially among today’s Baptists that were formely strong 5-point Calvinists is what I shall call Dispensational Arminianism, because of a modification made to the soteriology of traditional Arminianism which arose largely within the circle of dispensationalism. Note that not all Dispensational Arminians are Dispensationalists, neither are all Dispensationalists Arminians, some like John F. MacArthurs holding to Calvinistic soteriology. Unlike Historic Arminians, Dispensational Arminians have found a way of reconciling the doctrine of "eternal security" with the other four articles of the Remonstrants, thus claiming to hold to the "T" and "P" of TULIP, while rejecting the other three points. Unfortunately, we shall see however that what they understand by "total depravity" and "preservation of the saints" is not quite the same as what historical Calvinists understand them to be. Calvinism maintains that total depravity is a complete sinfulness that is found in all unbelievers and is so diametrically opposed to the will of God that only a supernatural work of monergistic regeneration through "irresitible grace" can bring a sinner to repentance and faith. Consequently, from the Calvinist’s viewpoint, one cannot hold both to free will and to total depravity, these two doctrines being opposed in definition and meaning. I would personally challenge any Arminian to agree with Jonathan Edwards’ perception of the nature of man as being "half animal and half devil," to describe total depravity. Almost all of them will shy away from such a definition, ultimately embracing a more moderate definition of total depravity. As for dispensational Arminians, most of them will either hold to free will or Wesley’s freed will rather than embracing the true "T" of TULIP. Regarding the last point on the perseverance and preservation of the saints, I know not how they manage to reconcile it with their rejection of unconditional election, for preservation logically follows unconditional election as God cannot fail in his eternal decree to bring His elects through sanctification and glorification (Romans 8:30). As a consequence of their belief in preservation, many dispensational Arminians have opposed the concept of "Lordship Salvation" and maintained that sanctification is only an optional part of salvation that believers may experience if they will and set their minds to it. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see antinomianism creeping into dispensational Arminian circles, as well as the rejection of church discipline within such denominations, for professing Christians who live carnally are simply labelled as "carnal Christians" or "worldly Christians," and a distinction is maintained between disciples and believers, the former having experienced lordship, and the latter not necessarily. It is important to point out however, that most dispensationalists still try to promote holiness within churches through moralistic preaching and the use of the Carnal Christian doctrine as a means of encouraging people to seek sanctification through discipleship. Well known Dispensational Arminians include Rick Warren and Bill Bright, although Bright would inconsistently call himself a "moderate Calvinist," claiming to hold to two of the points of Calvinism. The process of salvation that most Dispensational Arminians hold to is outlined below. Note that they like to place regeneration before other Arminians to make their position look more "Calvinistic."


Free will (decision for Christ), Regeneration (Holy Spirit indwells), Justification (imputed), Sanctification (optional), Glorification.

Open Theism
Probably the most radical brand of Arminianism that is gaining popularity these days is known as "Open Theism" or Neo-Arminianism. Proponents to this view deny that God actually foreknows the future and they reject the concept of divine decrees altogether. They claim that whenever prophecies are given in the Bible, they merely happen to be "correct predictions" that God has made because of His extensive knowledge of past history, and ability to interract with His creatures. According to Open Theists, God is "open-minded" and not unchangeable in His nature and His decrees but is limited by time and the free will of His creatures. Many Open Theists also adhere to other doctrines that drastically depart from the general circle of evangelical orthodoxy such as Anahilationism. A Well known Open Theist today is Clark Pinnock. The process of salvation that Open Theists hold to is to indeterminate to be outlined here, and is probably a mixture of those outlined above.
 

Sonoftheday

Puritan Board Sophomore
Ive always heard that open theists are not christians. Judging from your outline here it would seem they are straddling the line between christianity and the occult. with open thiesm being such a broad belief system it is probably a mixture between really theologically messed up Sheep and even more theologically messed up Wolves.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
The Wesleyan Church in the USA (a Wesleyan/Holiness denomination very similar to the Church of the Nazarene) officially holds to what you describe as "New Wesleyanism" although I understand a good number of their ministers repudiate entire sanctification. A lot of pentecostal groups could probably be included in this category as well.
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
I think that you have covered all of the bases.

Which strain of Arminianism believes in the moral government theory of the atonement?

Are there any Arminians who believe that the penalty of sin is paid for twice- once by Christ's atonement and another time when a person goes to hell?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
It seems to me that labelling them all as variants of Arminianism just doesn't capture the essence of the issue somehow. To his credit, Arminius at least acknowledged the necessity of some grace (I say credit but still consider his doctrine poison). He saw in man an incapacity to come to God without grace given to man. The issue was the sufficiency of that grace to save (true of the RCCC as well).

The modern Evangelical Church is really closer to rank Pelagianism than Arminianism it seems to me. The idea there is any fallenness in man is completely foreign to most these days and the Gospel is more about self-realization than even an improvement upon our corruption in brands of Arminianism.
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
Answers to Questions

I think that you have covered all of the bases.

Which strain of Arminianism believes in the moral government theory of the atonement?

I think they all do. Most Arminians today will use Calvinistic terms such as 'Christ paying the penalty for our sins,' and thus depart from historic Arminians in that respect, for historic Arminians would deny that Christ payed any penalty, but rather that he suffered for all and every man. Being more scholarly, historic Arminians would be more consistent within their own system. A consitent Arminian must conceive that Jesus did not really die for any man in particular, but as John Piper puts it, that Christ died for God. Of course most most of them like to stress the fact that Jesus died "for the whole world," since this is the language that Scripture uses in many places. Unfortunately, they beg you to interpret "the whole world" to mean "every single person in the whole world." John Gill actually points out from various Rabbinical books that it was not uncommon for Rabbis to use 'world' to denote the 'congregation', and the best scholars including Calvin agree that the "whole world" in those instances such as 1 John 2:2 refers to the "whole church" as opposed to the Christian Jews only. It is likely of course that John and other apostles may not have had the time to ponder on the logic surrounding Christ's substitutionary atonement. We do know, however, from the writing of various church fathers that some of them obviously held to limited atonement in some sense. Anyway, the government view of the atonement is completely foreign to Scriptures.

Are there any Arminians who believe that the penalty of sin is paid for twice- once by Christ's atonement and another time when a person goes to hell?

That's a funny one. Toplady wrote a hymn about that. It is true, however, that many Arminians will claim that if Christ did not die in any sense for those who would reject him, then God cannot compound their guilt of unbelief. Some hyper-Calvinists would agree with them on that point and claim that the reprobates are not responsible to believe in Jesus, and that they will not receive a greater punishment for rejecting him. John Owen responds to this in his book "The Death of Death" by proving that nowhere does Scripture command unbelievers to believe that Jesus died for them. Rather, they are commanded to repent, and so it is for disobeying God's call to repentance that they will be punished further. Thus, in a sense they do like the idea of a penalty being paid in two parts; Christ having died for all their sins except unbelief, and finally the reprobates going to hell for none of their sins except unbelief. But you can probably see where this leads us: that those who die never having heard the gospel go to heaven, because they were never given a chance to believe. Most Arminians will deny this of course, since it is most heterodox. If it were true, it would mean that it is preferrable not to share the gospel and evangelize!
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
The modern Evangelical Church is really closer to rank Pelagianism than Arminianism it seems to me. The idea there is any fallenness in man is completely foreign to most these days and the Gospel is more about self-realization than even an improvement upon our corruption in brands of Arminianism.

If you listen to the television interviews with some of the evangelical luminaries today, Pelagianism is not too strong a term for it. The Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen types proclaim a message more akin to modern motivational speakers than the Christian Gospel.

However, I cannot but help believe that most of the evangelical mainstream believes that sin DOES separate us from God, that Jesus died to make atonement for sin, and that only those who repent and receive salvation will ever be with God in heaven. The variants of Arminianism (which I also consider poison) cited claim to be both orthodox and evangelical. Open Theism, In my humble opinion, represents a special case. Despite the high profile given it by Sanders, Pinnock, et. al., I do not believe it to be a stable system that will outlive the second generation of its proponents. Within a short period of time, those holding Open Theism will more likely continue migrating to the left so that their doctrine is unrecognizable as evangelical or orthodox.

BTW, while I was a college student, Pinnock was still publishing books defending inerrancy. Then, he became the champion for Arminianism. Now he has become the salesman for Open Theism. If he should live much longer, where will he eventually settle down theologically?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
The modern Evangelical Church is really closer to rank Pelagianism than Arminianism it seems to me. The idea there is any fallenness in man is completely foreign to most these days and the Gospel is more about self-realization than even an improvement upon our corruption in brands of Arminianism.

If you listen to the television interviews with some of the evangelical luminaries today, Pelagianism is not too strong a term for it. The Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen types proclaim a message more akin to modern motivational speakers than the Christian Gospel.

However, I cannot but help believe that most of the evangelical mainstream believes that sin DOES separate us from God, that Jesus died to make atonement for sin, and that only those who repent and receive salvation will ever be with God in heaven. The variants of Arminianism (which I also consider poison) cited claim to be both orthodox and evangelical. Open Theism, In my humble opinion, represents a special case. Despite the high profile given it by Sanders, Pinnock, et. al., I do not believe it to be a stable system that will outlive the second generation of its proponents. Within a short period of time, those holding Open Theism will more likely continue migrating to the left so that their doctrine is unrecognizable as evangelical or orthodox.

BTW, while I was a college student, Pinnock was still publishing books defending inerrancy. Then, he became the champion for Arminianism. Now he has become the salesman for Open Theism. If he should live much longer, where will he eventually settle down theologically?

I'd like to think that was the case but it's not simply the Osteen's teaching this. The reason Osteen gets so much traction is because his views are largely mainstream I fear.

My experience, such as it is, is that Churches will talk about sin because it is obligatory to do so. You can't escape that the Scriptures talk about it. But I was in a large PCUSA Church visiting family this past October and the basic message of a baptism for some kids was that God wanted to help parents "...raise G-rated kids in an X-rated world...." (His words exactly). When he got to the Sermon he actually spoke about sin but sin was more of a lack of self-realization than anything else.

There is an interesting interview that Mike Horton did with a Theology Professor around the August timeframe. I'll try to get the link to the MP3 but the WHI site is down right now. The professor was arguing that many Evangelicals labelled "Arminian" today are mis-labelled as Arminius had a much stronger view of the necessity of grace than most today.

I think it's borne sadly out as Shane Rosenthall has a habit of going into Pastor and bookseller conferences and asking questions about basic Christian beliefs. It's frightening what comes out of the mouths of people.

Churches of today aren't like the Arminian-leaning Churches of yesteryear that used to have a modicum of doctrinal grounding. People used to hear the stories of the Scriptures and heard about sin and what the Cross did. The combination of the neo-Pentecostal movement and the Seeker-sensitive approach has removed all doctrinal expression from many pulpits.

People "encounter" God today and, as the short article on the home page notes, most have a view of God equivalent to moralistic, therapeutic Deism. You find a lot of people that find "spirituality" is important but, if you ask them to explain what "fills up" that spirituality in terms of doctrine, they honestly can't explain it. They're simply excited about being excited and spiritual about being spiritual. They have a sense that sin is bad and Jesus died for some reason but they can't really articulate it.

Don't get me wrong, as far as identifying different strands of Arminianism goes, I think it was a good article but I think we need to recognize that most American Christianity has flattened out to a form that does not really fit into the five points of the Remonstrants or the others. There are always going to be some that fit the categories well but a vast majority today are simply "Spiritual". They honestly wouldn't detect any difference between the different strains and, like the Emergent Movement, would be content to just meld them all together into a mishmash of spiritual ideas.
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
It seems to me that labelling them all as variants of Arminianism just doesn't capture the essence of the issue somehow.
Agreed~
The modern Evangelical Church is really closer to rank Pelagianism than Arminianism it seems to me. The idea there is any fallenness in man is completely foreign to most these days and the Gospel is more about self-realization than even an improvement upon our corruption in brands of Arminianism.

Perhaps a study of the relationship between the degree of Semi-Pelagianism to each of these groups would bring more light to the situation?
 

DMcFadden

Puritanboard Commissioner
The modern Evangelical Church is really closer to rank Pelagianism than Arminianism it seems to me. The idea there is any fallenness in man is completely foreign to most these days and the Gospel is more about self-realization than even an improvement upon our corruption in brands of Arminianism.

If you listen to the television interviews with some of the evangelical luminaries today, Pelagianism is not too strong a term for it. The Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen types proclaim a message more akin to modern motivational speakers than the Christian Gospel.

However, I cannot but help believe that most of the evangelical mainstream believes that sin DOES separate us from God, that Jesus died to make atonement for sin, and that only those who repent and receive salvation will ever be with God in heaven. The variants of Arminianism (which I also consider poison) cited claim to be both orthodox and evangelical. Open Theism, In my humble opinion, represents a special case. Despite the high profile given it by Sanders, Pinnock, et. al., I do not believe it to be a stable system that will outlive the second generation of its proponents. Within a short period of time, those holding Open Theism will more likely continue migrating to the left so that their doctrine is unrecognizable as evangelical or orthodox.

BTW, while I was a college student, Pinnock was still publishing books defending inerrancy. Then, he became the champion for Arminianism. Now he has become the salesman for Open Theism. If he should live much longer, where will he eventually settle down theologically?

I'd like to think that was the case but it's not simply the Osteen's teaching this. The reason Osteen gets so much traction is because his views are largely mainstream I fear.

My experience, such as it is, is that Churches will talk about sin because it is obligatory to do so. You can't escape that the Scriptures talk about it. But I was in a large PCUSA Church visiting family this past October and the basic message of a baptism for some kids was that God wanted to help parents "...raise G-rated kids in an X-rated world...." (His words exactly). When he got to the Sermon he actually spoke about sin but sin was more of a lack of self-realization than anything else.

There is an interesting interview that Mike Horton did with a Theology Professor around the August timeframe. I'll try to get the link to the MP3 but the WHI site is down right now. The professor was arguing that many Evangelicals labelled "Arminian" today are mis-labelled as Arminius had a much stronger view of the necessity of grace than most today.

I think it's borne sadly out as Shane Rosenthall has a habit of going into Pastor and bookseller conferences and asking questions about basic Christian beliefs. It's frightening what comes out of the mouths of people.

Churches of today aren't like the Arminian-leaning Churches of yesteryear that used to have a modicum of doctrinal grounding. People used to here the stories of the Scriptures and heard about sin and what the Cross did. The combination of the neo-Pentecostal movement and the Seeker-sensitive approach has removed all doctrinal expression from many pulpits.

People "encounter" God today and, as the short article on the home page notes, most have a view of God equivalent to moralistic, therapeutic Deism. You find a lot of people that find "spirituality" is important but, if you ask them to explain what "fills up" that spirituality in terms of doctrine, they honestly can't explain it. They're simply excited about being excited and spiritual about being spiritual. They have a sense that sin is bad and Jesus died for some reason but they can't really articulate it.

Don't get me wrong, as far as identifying different strands of Arminianism goes, I think it was a good article but I think we need to recognize that most American Christianity has flattened out to a form that does not really fit into the five points of the Remonstrants or the others. There are always going to be some that fit the categories well but a vast majority today are simply "Spiritual". They honestly wouldn't detect any difference between the different strains and, like the Emergent Movement, would be content to just meld them all together into a mishmash of spiritual ideas.

I find myself agreeing with almost all of your observations. In fact, your indictment of modern evangelicalism is one that resonates with me deeply. My point was simply that insofar as the Billy Grahams and Franklin Grahams are representative of some segment of contemporary evangelicalism, there remains a witness to the Gospel, albeit Arminian in nature. To return to the original article in this thread, most dispensationalists take sin pretty seriously.

This in no way separates me from your posting to any great degree. Open Theism and the Emergent Church are two particularly pernicious strands of heresy by those who have nothing to do with Osteen or Hinn. That is one reason why I seem so impatient with the critique of people like Sproul, Packer, or Piper. In a world of wackos claiming to be Christian (e.g., Hinn and Osteen), errorists who are seriously dangerous (MacLaren and Pinnock), and foolish folks who actually don't know any better, I celebrate all of those who are promoting God's sovereign grace and a return to 5 pt. understanding of the Gospel regardless of intramural differences on the details.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Roger all. Thanks Brother. I'm not as enthusiastic about the Franklin Graham Crusade as many. They called it a Festival here in Okinawa last year. I don't want to go into specifics but the fruit it bore was not of the Gospel variety.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
There is an interesting interview that Mike Horton did with a Theology Professor around the August timeframe. I'll try to get the link to the MP3 but the WHI site is down right now. The professor was arguing that many Evangelicals labelled "Arminian" today are mis-labelled as Arminius had a much stronger view of the necessity of grace than most today.

Here's that article: Modern Reformation - Articles

Very interesting when arminians are lamenting the decline Evangelical's appreciation of Grace.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I think that Classic Arminianism and Wesleyanism (I'm much more familiar with Wesleyanism) affirms total depravity but says that through God's prevenient grace everyone is given enough grace to exercise faith.
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
Secondly, in classifying Arminians here, I am not trying to label ignorant laymen within evangelical churches who do not believe the doctrines of grace, as most of these people are simply too ignorant of theology to really know where they truly stand, adding to the fact that they have not carefully studied good exegetical works in defense of TULIP such as John Gill's "The Cause of God and Truth," in which he finally inflicts a last blow to the scholarship of the Arminians of his day. My goal is simply to outline the five most popular strains of Arminianism found within evangelicalism today, which are adopted by countless numbers of popular theologians and "evangelists" today, and in past history. It is possible that my classification system needs improvement, or that I might have omitted a sixth category of Arminians that you know to exist. If this is so, feel free to expand on the list.

I hope I made my intentions clear, of course this system of classification does not cover all the synergists and various forms of semi-pelagianism that are found within American evangelicalism. Popery is altogether a type of semi-pelagianism while certain Pentecostals adhere to another form of semi-pelagianism. Charles Finney was not even an Arminian but a full-blown Pelagian who denied the substitutionary atonement of Christ. Billy Graham is also more of a semi-Pelagian too, and in fact an inclusivist who believes that people can be saved apart from Christ. As calvinists we have had the tendencies to call all non-Calvinists "Arminians," but this is not necessarily so. A significant difference between the Arminians of the past and those of today is that Arminians of the past used to verge on legalism, while those of today are largely antinomian, just as the large majority of evangelicals. Ironically, I think the holiness movement from which Pentecostals and New-Wesleyans have risen gave rise to more unholiness than any other movement in past history, as it provided Christians with an excuse of sinning on the basis of not having experienced "the second work of grace."
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you, Jean Davd for this helpful information. Actually open theism is not classified as arminianism, but is a heretical position. Wesley did understand and affirm the doctrines of grace, but may not have understand Calvinism. Many would classify him as "a confused calvinist." There are certainly Calvinistic Methodists, who would have followed George Whitefield.
 

thisistim

Inactive User
Billy Graham is also more of a semi-Pelagian too, and in fact an inclusivist who believes that people can be saved apart from Christ.

there's a slight difference to what billy graham said a few years ago (if we're referencing the same thing) and saying that he believes that people can be saved apart from Christ.

he, if i remember correctly, pleaded ignorance as to the fate of the unevangelized...that perhaps one may receive benefits of Christ's death without believing in his specific name. in other words, one may cast themselves at the feet of the Creator God that natural revelation reveals to them, and thereby fall under the benefits of Christ's atonement. so while they may not know the name of He who specifically saved them, they do trust God.

he's still wrong, but i doubt mr graham would claim that folks can be saved apart from Christ. and i'm not defending his position, it just popped into my head.
 

ReformedChapin

Puritan Board Freshman
Billy Graham is also more of a semi-Pelagian too, and in fact an inclusivist who believes that people can be saved apart from Christ.

there's a slight difference to what billy graham said a few years ago (if we're referencing the same thing) and saying that he believes that people can be saved apart from Christ.

he, if i remember correctly, pleaded ignorance as to the fate of the unevangelized...that perhaps one may receive benefits of Christ's death without believing in his specific name. in other words, one may cast themselves at the feet of the Creator God that natural revelation reveals to them, and thereby fall under the benefits of Christ's atonement. so while they may not know the name of He who specifically saved them, they do trust God.

he's still wrong, but i doubt mr graham would claim that folks can be saved apart from Christ. and i'm not defending his position, it just popped into my head.
Actually Billy Graham is a perfect example of relativism and universalism infecting the church. In the clips below he makes statements of salvation even if one has beliefs in other religions.

[video=youtube;Sow0gfXXHGY]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sow0gfXXHGY[/video]
 

ReformedChapin

Puritan Board Freshman
John Marcarthur also discusses relativism infultrating protestant and catholic views.

[video=youtube;mC2WPR7q4pU]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mC2WPR7q4pU&feature=related[/video]
 

SouthernHero

Puritan Board Freshman
The reason Osteen gets so much traction is because his views are largely mainstream I fear. - Semper

You may be right. Sad...
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
Billy Graham is a liar and is going to lead many to hell. If you have followed his ministry over the years he has clearly departed from the faith. I recommend that everyone read Ian Murray's book, "Evangelicalism Divided." Graham clearly gives many a false assurance of salvation. I used to respect this man until he started to align himself with Schuller and the Pope, who is the antichrist, that man of sin. It is my prayer that the Lord will raise up a new generation of godly men who will proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ.
 

Neogillist

Puritan Board Freshman
Billy Graham is a liar and is going to lead many to hell. If you have followed his ministry over the years he has clearly departed from the faith. I recommend that everyone read Ian Murray's book, "Evangelicalism Divided." Graham clearly gives many a false assurance of salvation. I used to respect this man until he started to align himself with Schuller and the Pope, who is the antichrist, that man of sin. It is my prayer that the Lord will raise up a new generation of godly men who will proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ.

:agree:

That the pope is an antichrist, I agree; that he is the man of sin, I ignore. It seems that Graham's success and popularity seem to have risen up to his head so as to corrupt him, just as it did to Bill Bright, C. G. Finney and many others. The duty of ministers is to denounce these false teachers for who they are, (as Paisley and others do) and feed the sheeps the true gospel of Christ and Him crucified.
 

Stephen

Puritan Board Junior
Billy Graham is a liar and is going to lead many to hell. If you have followed his ministry over the years he has clearly departed from the faith. I recommend that everyone read Ian Murray's book, "Evangelicalism Divided." Graham clearly gives many a false assurance of salvation. I used to respect this man until he started to align himself with Schuller and the Pope, who is the antichrist, that man of sin. It is my prayer that the Lord will raise up a new generation of godly men who will proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ.

:agree:

That the pope is an antichrist, I agree; that he is the man of sin, I ignore.

I subscribe to the original edition of the Westminster Confession of Faith, which states, "the Pope is that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalts himself in the church, against Christ and all that is called God. Unfortunetly, it is deleated from the revised addition used in many American churches, such as the PCA.

Thank you for your input. I always said that I had more respect for Ruth Graham than her husband.
 

FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
I might have omitted a sixth category of Arminians that you know to exist. If this is so, feel free to expand on the list.

Neo, thanks for the article. Maybe this is a bit much to ask, but it would have been helpful to have citations and references to help clarify the distinction between Old and New Weslyanism (though I'd agree with the distinction). I grew up in the United Methodist Church, and I was wondering if there might be a place for a 6th category of Arminianism, which I would call Liberal Arminianism. Of course, some of this hinges on whether we consider the people in this category Christians or not, but under the heading of purely a theological system, I encountered a lot of pastors under this heading in the UMC. Their system would have been deeply influenced by Tillich and a heavy pluralist leaning. It would hold up Christ as the great example of faith, and treat sin as the stuff in life that we've got to overcome, but it usually lacked a sense of a personal devotion to holiness. In many forms that I engaged with, it would be questioning doctrines like the Virgin Birth (ex. Barkclay) and miracles, but would put a heavy involvement of social activism as one's expression of growth in sanctification. The soteriology for this group would likely go along these lines:

Free will, encounter with Christ, illumination of the Spirit, social involvement (sanctification), glorification.

I'm having trouble fleshing it out, so maybe someone else can help me here.
 

CalvinisticCumberland

Puritan Board Freshman
That is interesting. My denomination fits very closely into the "Dispensational Arminian" category, excepting for the fact that the church is not dispensational! It is Covenantal.






T







Dispensational Arminianism
Probably the most popular strain of Arminianism, especially among today’s Baptists that were formely strong 5-point Calvinists is what I shall call Dispensational Arminianism, because of a modification made to the soteriology of traditional Arminianism which arose largely within the circle of dispensationalism. Note that not all Dispensational Arminians are Dispensationalists, neither are all Dispensationalists Arminians, some like John F. MacArthurs holding to Calvinistic soteriology. Unlike Historic Arminians, Dispensational Arminians have found a way of reconciling the doctrine of "eternal security" with the other four articles of the Remonstrants, thus claiming to hold to the "T" and "P" of TULIP, while rejecting the other three points. Unfortunately, we shall see however that what they understand by "total depravity" and "preservation of the saints" is not quite the same as what historical Calvinists understand them to be. Calvinism maintains that total depravity is a complete sinfulness that is found in all unbelievers and is so diametrically opposed to the will of God that only a supernatural work of monergistic regeneration through "irresitible grace" can bring a sinner to repentance and faith. Consequently, from the Calvinist’s viewpoint, one cannot hold both to free will and to total depravity, these two doctrines being opposed in definition and meaning. I would personally challenge any Arminian to agree with Jonathan Edwards’ perception of the nature of man as being "half animal and half devil," to describe total depravity. Almost all of them will shy away from such a definition, ultimately embracing a more moderate definition of total depravity. As for dispensational Arminians, most of them will either hold to free will or Wesley’s freed will rather than embracing the true "T" of TULIP. Regarding the last point on the perseverance and preservation of the saints, I know not how they manage to reconcile it with their rejection of unconditional election, for preservation logically follows unconditional election as God cannot fail in his eternal decree to bring His elects through sanctification and glorification (Romans 8:30). As a consequence of their belief in preservation, many dispensational Arminians have opposed the concept of "Lordship Salvation" and maintained that sanctification is only an optional part of salvation that believers may experience if they will and set their minds to it. Indeed, it is not uncommon to see antinomianism creeping into dispensational Arminian circles, as well as the rejection of church discipline within such denominations, for professing Christians who live carnally are simply labelled as "carnal Christians" or "worldly Christians," and a distinction is maintained between disciples and believers, the former having experienced lordship, and the latter not necessarily. It is important to point out however, that most dispensationalists still try to promote holiness within churches through moralistic preaching and the use of the Carnal Christian doctrine as a means of encouraging people to seek sanctification through discipleship. Well known Dispensational Arminians include Rick Warren and Bill Bright, although Bright would inconsistently call himself a "moderate Calvinist," claiming to hold to two of the points of Calvinism. The process of salvation that most Dispensational Arminians hold to is outlined below. Note that they like to place regeneration before other Arminians to make their position look more "Calvinistic."


Free will (decision for Christ), Regeneration (Holy Spirit indwells), Justification (imputed), Sanctification (optional), Glorification.
 

InevitablyReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
Is some of this discussion/debate/controversy not a direct result of Western society's apathy and/or relativistic view of truth? I.e.: there is no such thing as objective truth. I was listening to the MacArthur video about halfway up and it reminded me of a line in No Place for Truth (David F. Wells): "The passion for truth was replaced by the passion for souls" (pg. 110). I guess Robert Schuller and Billy Graham's (and many others) ministries have all but forgotten clear, theological truths set forth in the Holy Bible.
 
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