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Arminian Grace

I lifted this straight off of James White’s blog. I thought it was cute and I don’t think he’ll mind since I’m giving him credit!

Arminian grace! How strange the sound
Salvation hinged on ME
I once was lost then turned around
Was blind then chose to see

What “grace” is it that calls for choice
Out of some good within?
The part that willed to heed God’s voice
Proved stronger than my sin

Through many ardent gospel pleas
I sat with heart of stone
But then some hidden good in me
Propelled me toward my home

When we’ve been there ten thousand years
Because of what we’ve done
We’ve no less days to sing our praise
Than when we first begun

– Dennis Walter Cochran

7 Responses

  1. My mom always said that if I can’t say something nice, I shouldn’t say anything at all. But I’m really struggling to find a gracious tone for this.

    It would feel just as lovely to us if people made fun of Calvinism this way, I’m sure (and they surely could do it–like this (from the top of my head) “Amazing Grace, I love the sound. I have no work to do! When I was found, I sat around, and did what I wanted to do!).

    I know this is just to poke fun (and I rather enjoyed writing that), and I take it that way, but it also makes me mad because it perpetuates misunderstanding. It’s what any group does to misrepresent another’s position– by being overly simplistic, demeaning, etc.

    I’ve known some great Arminians would don’t believe that way at all. When I took the time to really dialog with them, I came away with a greater respect for them, though I still didn’t agree with all their doctrines.

    Anyway, glad we can be lighthearted, but it can also be really hurtful to Christianity in general.

  2. if we swing to “ungracious” in our defense of grace, we undermine all we stand for. so i agree to an extent and understand what you’re saying, anne. you’re right to remind us that it’s very easy for either side of a debate to slip into broadbrushing or hurtful expressions.

    on the other hand, it’s easy for us to get into the mindset that appreciates / finds the humor in the “arminian grace” because there’s been a lot of anti-calvinism around these parts lately. a lot of flak is going around.

    this phenomenon of concentrated one-sidedness (to the exclusion of any other viewpoint as remotely feasibly biblical) does naturally lead to the underdog feeling where you tend to want to cheer for the likely loser at the expense of the apparent leading brand.

    i know i’ve already written some serious pleas and i know pastor is working on revising his writings about this as well. this poem was a lighthearted reaction to very serious one-sided statements that are being made (“calvinism will kill fundamentalism” and so on). sometimes we let the context of what we’re experiencing influence what we do / do not find funny (i.e., whether we think “arminian grace” is an “it’s-about-time-someone-spoke-against-this-mentality” sort of permissible / appropriate / gracious thing or not).

  3. “There is a principle of self, which disposes us to despise those who differ from us; and we are often under its influence, when we think we are only showing a becoming zeal in the cause of God. I readily believe that the leading points of Arminianism spring from and are nourished by the pride of the human heart; but I should be glad if the reverse were always true; and that to embrace what are called the Calvinistic doctrines was an infallible token of a humble mind. I think I have known some Arminians, that is, persons who for want of a clearer light, have been afraid of receiving the doctrines of free grace, who yet have given evidence that their hearts were in a degree humbled before the Lord. And I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility, that they are willing in words to debase the creature and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord, yet know not what manner of spirit they are of. Whatever it be that makes us trust in ourselves that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party, is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit. Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines as well as upon works; and a man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature, and the riches of free grace. Yea, I would add, the best of men are not wholly free from this leaven; and therefore are too apt to be pleased with such representations as hold up our adversaries to ridicule, and by consequence flatter our own superior judgments. Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge rather than to repress his wrong disposition; and therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince, and puff up those whom they should edify. I hope your performance will savour of a spirit of true humility, and be a means of promoting it in others.”

    ~ more insight from John Newton

    (sure wish he were alive today.)

  4. I am the pastor of a church which have very aminian backrounds (expcept the fith point of losing grace). I am in the midst of teaching the doctrines of grace on wednesday nights, THey are accepting but it absolutly blows their minds and theology. I am used to reading Boice, White, Spurgeon, Calvin, Edwards, MacArthur….. I need to get more basic with them but am not sure how to. Is their a book called (and I mean no direspect) “Calvinism for Dummies”? The doctrines of grace I understand, are of the council of the trinity and are eternal thoughts, but maybe you know of an author that has a God given gift of simplicity. Thanks for your time.

  5. pastor sellers…

    pastor bixby will surely give you more titles,
    but i might suggest

    by Michael P.V. Barrett

    which is not about Calvinism
    but about the gospel

  6. Two books from Ligonier Press (R.C. Sproul)

    “After Darkness, Light” which outlines the 5 points as well as the 5 “solas”.

    Another is “Grace Unknown”. It takes the “reformed” view, but it’s a good outline of the doctrines of grace.

  7. You know what I’m struggling to find a gracious tone for? The Arminian gospel that is heresy down to the core! It’s a tool of Satan that contradicts the clear testimony of God’s Holy Word! And yes we should MOCK it.

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