Week2_7The_Weaknesses_of_Arminianism - B. The Weaknesses of...

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B. The Weaknesses of Arminianism The study of the history of doctrinal controversies seems to indicate that many movements usually begin as the result of the overstatement of a case in opposition to another system. The biblical theologian would do well to learn this lesson and be careful not to go beyond biblical revelation in the affirmation of doctrinal truth. Also, he should recognize the tendency of many to think only in extremes of dialectics. Therefore, when one states opposition of Calvinism, he tends to be labeled “Arminian” or “Pelagian” or sometimes “Semi-Pelagian.” In the minds of those who so label, these words all refer to the same doctrinal system known popularly as Arminianism. It is difficult for some to realize that one can seek a consistent biblical balance in his theology and in so doing oppose the extremes of both Calvinism and Arminianism. As Mullins notes, The sense of proportion in the emphasis upon truth may be easily lost in our admiration for the harmony and beauty of a systematic arrangement. A simple doctrine or conception, such as the sovereignty of God, or election, or human freedom, may be given a dominating position and all other truths modified to make them conform. Theological controversy may lead to one-sided systems. Thus Calvinism and Arminianism have sometimes taken on extreme forms and have led to unfortunate results. i Arminianism is that theological system originated by Jacob Arminius (1560-1609), while he taught at the University of Leyden in South Holland. Arminius was later condemned by the Council of Dort for his perceived teaching of a modified form of Pelagianism. While Arminianism and Calvinism today stand as two opposing theological systems, it has been suggested this is due primarily to the extremes of their respective followers more than the essential doctrines of their founding teachers. Actually, there is a substantial agreement in the basics or fundamentals of the faith in the teachings of Arminius and Calvin. Perhaps the best-known American teachers in England were John Wesley and John Fletcher. In America, this doctrinal system was popularized by such men as Francis Asbury and Charles Grandison Finney. Most holiness and Pentecostal denominations tend to be Arminian in theology; however, only a few Baptist groups are so identified. Perhaps no man has had a greater influence for God during his life and in the ensuing years than John Wesley. Also, God has used many holiness evangelists to do a great work in winning souls, establishing churches and schools, and sending out missionaries. While the author praises God for what has been accomplished by these men, he also recognizes that orthodoxy is not always determined by one’s ministerial successes. Also, God has greatly used many Calvinists who have opposed many of the fundamental tenets of Arminianism. In the determination of the theological orthodoxy of any Bible teacher, it is best to follow the Berean example and evaluate their teaching in the light of Scripture (Acts 17:11). When this is done, there are
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Week2_7The_Weaknesses_of_Arminianism - B. The Weaknesses of...

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