Sunday, February 26, 2006


A commenter came up with a new “thought”: “But interestingly, I did learn that Mormonism came about in 1800 so it's only a mere 200 some years old. And interestingly Smith was originally a Methodist. I find the entire thing amusing in that Mormonism is really the stepchild of Protestantism.”

I would tend to agree. The closer Arminian move to Rome, the more heretical they become. Each step away from the Reformers is a step closer to Rome. Each step closer to Rome brings more and more errors.

Let’s take a look at the sotierological acronym: TULIP, comparing and contrasting all three systems: Roman, Reformed and Arminian. (the “Roman” view is quoted from James Akin)

NOTE: In all but the “T”, Arminius (Father of Arminianism – Methodists, many Baptists, Pentecostals) stands with Rome.

The “T” (total depravity)

Roman: The accepted Catholic teaching is that, because of the fall of Adam, man cannot do anything out of supernatural love unless God gives him special grace to do so.

Reformed: Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel.

Arminian: Man's freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature.

“U” (unconditional election)

Roman: “If anyone shall say that the grace of justification is attained by those only who are predestined unto life, but that all others, who are called, are called indeed, but do not receive grace, as if they are by divine power predestined to evil, let him be anathema."

Reformed: The doctrine of unconditional election means God does not base his choice (election) of certain individuals on anything other than his own good will…The ones God chooses will desire to come to him, will accept his offer of salvation, and will do so precisely because he has chosen them.

Arminian: It was left entirely up to man as to who would believe and therefore as to who would be elected unto salvation. Thus the sinner's choice of Christ, not God's choice of the sinner, is the ultimate cause of salvation.

“L” (limited atonement)

Roman: Christ intended to make salvation possible for all men, but he did not intend to make salvation actual for all men--otherwise we would have to say that Christ went to the cross intending that all men would end up in heaven.

Reformed: Christ's redeeming work was intended to save the elect only and actually secured salvation for them.

Arminian: Christ's redeeming work made it possible for everyone to be saved but did not actually secure the salvation of anyone.

“I” (irresistible grace)

Roman: Vatican II stated, "[S]ince Christ died for all men, and since the ultimate calling of man is in fact one and divine, we ought to believe that the Holy Spirit in a manner known only to God offers to every man the possibility of being associated with this paschal mystery."

Reformed: By means of this special call the Spirit irresistibly draws sinners to Christ. He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. God's grace, therefore, is invincible; it never fails to result in the salvation of those to whom it is extended.

Arminian: He does all that He can to bring every sinner to salvation. But inasmuch as man is free, he can successfully resist the Spirit's call. The Spirit cannot regenerate the sinner until he believes; faith (which is man's contribution)

“P” (perseverance of the saints)

Rome: A Catholic must affirm that there are people who experience initial salvation and who do not go on to final salvation, but he is free to hold to a form of perseverance of the saints.

Reformed: All who were chosen by God, redeemed by Christ, and given faith by the Spirit are eternally saved.

Arminian: Those who believe and are truly saved can lose their salvation by failing to keep up their faith, etc. All Arminians have not been agreed on this point; some have held that believers are eternally secure in Christ -- that once a sinner is regenerated, he can never be lost


Pastor Rod said...


The Calvinist system is airtight, if you are granted all your assumptions.

But this robust system is like non-Euclidian geometry. It all holds together nicely but is of little value in the real world (of normal space).

In one of your posts you mention the "freedom" of knowing that God is in control. The "freedom" of Calvinism is little more than word play.

If I tell you that you can do anything you want but that I determine what you want, you wouldn’t call that freedom. You would call it manipulation one step removed.

Now, I have no illusions of changing your mind. But I think you need to understand that Calvinists do not have the corner on orthodoxy. You can get together with all your five-point friends and congratulate yourselves that you have decoded the true theology. But that does not make everyone else a heretic.

In the real world, Christians live as if they have real choices. (And I don’t mean the kind of “choices” defined by Calvinism.) The Bible assumes that people have real choices. The existence of the Bible presumes that people have real choices.

I think Calvinism is wrong and misguided. I think it is deleterious to spiritual growth. I think it is unlivable in the real world. But I don’t label you as a heretic. Maybe God has “predestined” you to treat me with the same respect.


Anonymous said...

Actually, Pastor Rod, it was Mormons (the ones that believe that Lucifer and Jesus are spirit-brothers, that Jesus is a created being, etc.) that I'd call heretics. If you read about my family - my dad and mom go to a Wesleyan/Christian church, my sister and brother go to a United Missionary church, my brother-in-law is a minister at a Free-Methodist church and my father-in-law was a Free-Will Baptist minister for 30 years.

I don't call any of them heretics - I call Mormons (and Oneness-Apostolics and others that have traveled through the orthodoxy of Wesleyan/Arminianism into heresy) - those I call heretics.

Pastor Rod said...

"The closer Arminian[s] move to Rome, the more heretical they become."

I did not put words into your mouth.

Anonymous said...

Let's just say I can't win, shall we?

I believe that the Scripture is closed.

Rome teaches that new revelation continues in the pope.

Apostolic Oneness churches and Mormons believe that new revelation continues in their prophets.

If you can show me a "mainstream" Arminian church that teaches continuing revelation, we can talk.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Rod, are you the one that comes up on sitemeter from Elmhurst?

My sister-in-law (the Baptist) is in Buffalo Grove and attends church in Mount Prospect. Whenever we are there, we enjoy worshiping with her.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to explain further.

I'm not saying that Arminians are heretical. Rome, I believe, is. I'm even going to say that Calvinism has it's share of offshoots that you could call heretical.

It's the process that I'm talking about.

Ok - you have your basic Arminianism (like my entire family). Fine, they are well within orthodoxy.

Next step: Charismaticism. Still within orthodoxy.

Next step: Pentacostalism (the variety that says that in order to be "effective" you have to speak in tongues.

Next step: in order to be "saved" you have to speak in tongues (works based salvation).

Now (the church that mine is partnering with): they deny the Trinity, they embrace "word of faith".

The largest groups like this (heretical) are mostly from Arminian denominations. That's the only point I was trying to make.

I worded that paragraph wrong, I will absolutely admit to that. It was not out of malice.

Pastor Rod said...

I'm in Elk Grove Village. If you go to my profile and then to the Kingdom Come blog, you will find a link to my church's Web page.

I still have a problem with your perspective that Calvinism is at the dead center of orthodoxy. It reminds me of those distorted maps of the U.S. from the perspective of New Yorkers. The farther from NY the more everything was crammed together.

Anonymous said...

None of us are at the dead center of "orthodoxy". Give me one person that believes they have it all right and I'll genuinely believe that they don't.

All of (at one level, one point, one belief) or another are heretics (believe wrong teaching).

That is why I have a "line in the sand". For me, one of the lines is Trinitarianism.

Pastor Rod said...

We'll have to continue our conversation later. Stop by my blog and check it out. Don't be put off by all the emphasis on "free will." :-)

Pastor Rod said...


I don't want to belabor the point. But you do see Calvinism as the center. You said, “It's the process that I'm talking about.” Then you say that “basic Arminianism” is “well within orthodoxy.” Then you say, “Next step… Next step… Next step… Now…”

Then you said, “The largest groups like this (heretical) are mostly from Arminian denominations.”

You say that your statement was not out of malice. I’m making the opposite point. I’m saying that your “measuring stick” for orthodoxy is Calvinism. And this “grid” is so natural to you that you don’t see it.


Anonymous said...

Fine. You can say that. I wouldn't expect you to think otherwise.

If you consider orthodoxy to be "salvation through Christ alone"
"belief in the doctrine of the Trinity"
"the Apostle's Creed"
"following Biblical principles of faith and conduct"

that's pretty much it.

Kind of leaves out Mormons and other anti-Trinitarians.

(yes, I consider most "mainstream" denominations to be "orthodox"

Pastor Rod said...


The "holiness" people have a similar map of orthodoxy with them at the middle.

I agree that we need to have some lines. I would settle for the ones in 1 John 2. But many Calvinists and Arminians would fail the test of verses 15 & 16.

One of the problems of focusing on systematic theology so much is that we tend to "intellectualize" and compartmentalize Christianity.

We start to see the Bible as a theology textbook, and it loses its power to transform us (Romans 12:2).

When someone buys into a system, that system can become more important than the thing (the Kingdom of God, the Bible) that it was trying to explain.

I believe that theology is important. But it must know its place.