Archive for the ‘James Arminius’ Category
People often base their views of others based on preconceived opinions about them. Consider politics. If I say Republican what do you think of: white people, all for corporate America, lower taxes. If I say Democrat what do you think of: pro-abortion, liberals, welfare party. I know I just wrote those based on my own preconceived thoughts about those two political parties neither of which I am a member by the way.
The same is true theologically. If I could ask Arminians to describe Calvinists what would many say: sovereignty of God, God hates the non-elect, decrees all things and causes all things, wrathful, unfair, arrogant. I know that some of them are wrong and some are right but you see my point. We view each other through our lenses, our theology. The same is true of Arminianism. If I could ask say the angry Calvinists I have met (at times) on Twitter or other social media places, how would they describe Arminians: hates the sovereignty of God, free will, human centered, exalts the love of God above the holiness of God, denies the grace of God, denies unconditional election, foreknowledge, open theism. Again, some of those are correct and most of them are wrong.
Let me deal with some of the misconceptions I often encounter about Arminianism.
1. Arminianism is Man-Centered Theology.
I am not sure where this comes from other than Calvinists who would either A) have not read any works of Arminius or other Arminian theologians, or B) don’t really know Arminians. All the Arminians I know would clearly seek to avoid making human beings the center of our theology. Our passion should rightly be the Lord Jesus. Jesus is the center of all true biblical theology. There is no doubt that we do teach two truths about humanity that would differ with Calvinism. First, Arminianism does teach that Jesus died for all people. Secondly, Arminianism does teach that God does allow the person that hears the gospel the will, through grace, to either reject the gospel or accept the gospel. We believe God’s grace frees the will to believe. Where we stand with our Calvinist brethren is that we believe that all people are bound in sin and cannot earn their salvation apart from the grace of God. Like Calvinists, we believe that sinners are bound in their sins and apart from the work of the Holy Spirit, they will not believe.
However, I would deny that Arminianism is man-centered. Arminius wrote:
The Object of our Theology being clothed in this manner, so abundantly fills the mind and satisfies the desire, that the apostle openly declares, he was determined “to know nothing among the Corinthians save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor. ii, 2.) To the Phillipians he says, that he “counted all things but lost for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus; for whom he had suffered the loss of all things, and he counted them but dung that he might know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings.” (Phil. iii, 8, 10.) Nay, in the knowledge of the object of our theology, modified in this manner, all true glorying and just boasting consist, as the passage which we before quoted from Jeremiah, and the purpose to which St. Paul has accommodated it, most plainly evince. This is the manner in which it is expressed: “Let him. that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth.” (Jer. ix, 24.) When you hear any mention of mercy, your thoughts ought necessarily to revert to Christ, out of whom “God is a consuming fire” to destroy the sinners of the earth. (Deut. iv, 24; Heb. xii, 29) The way in which St. Paul has accommodated it, is this: “Christ Jesus is made unto us by God, wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord!”(1 Cor. i, 30, 31.) Nor is it wonderful, that the mind should desire to “know nothing save Jesus Christ,” or that its otherwise insatiable desire of knowledge should repose itself in him, since in him and in his gospel “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom, and knowledge.” (Col. ii, 3, 9.)
Arminius wrote further about the study of God:
In God, who is the primary object of the Christian religion, three things come in order under our consideration:
(1.) The nature of God, of which the excellence and goodness is such that religion can honourably and usefully be performed to it.
(2.) The acts of God, on account of which religion ought to be performed to him.
(3.) The will of God, by which he wills religion to be performed to himself, and that he who performs it be rewarded; and, on the contrary, that the neglecter of it be punished.
So God is the object of true theology.
2. Arminianism Focuses on Free Will.
How often have I heard that Arminians champion free will. In fact, this may be what we are most known for. The reality is that free will only comes into play concerning the nature of the gospel and whether sinners can reject the free offer of the gospel. Otherwise, Arminians hold that the will of mankind is bound in sin. Notice this from an often quoted section of Arminius:
In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace. For Christ has said, “Without me ye can do nothing.” St. Augustine, after having diligently meditated upon each word in this passage, speaks thus: “Christ does not say, without me ye can do but Little; neither does He say, without me ye can do any Arduous Thing, nor without me ye can do it with difficulty. But he says, without me ye can do Nothing! Nor does he say, without me ye cannot complete any thing; but without me ye can do Nothing.” That this may be made more manifestly to appear, we will separately consider the mind, the affections or will, and the capability, as contra-distinguished from them, as well as the life itself of an unregenerate man.
You’ll notice that Arminius clearly held that humans are dead in their sins (Ephesians 2:1-3). Humans are not running around with their free will and doing what they like and then coming to Christ for salvation when they want to come. No! We all need the divine aid of God. We need His grace to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). None can come to Christ apart from the drawing power of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44). Yet we teach that if the gospel is preached, the Spirit of God works through the gospel to draw sinners to the Savior (John 12:32). We believe the gospel draws the lost (Romans 10:17). We would differ with our Calvinist brethren over the issue of irresistible grace. Calvinists would say that once God has sovereignty chosen a person to be saved (unconditional election) then that person will come and be saved once God graciously calls them (effectual calling). We deny this. Yet we equally deny the Pelagian view that man is born innocent and can freely come to God by their own free will powers when they so desire.
Exactly correspondent to this darkness of the mind, and perverseness of the heart, is the utter weakness of all the powers to perform that which is truly good, and to omit the perpetration of that which is evil, in a due mode and from a due end and cause. The subjoined sayings of Christ serve to describe this impotence. “A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit.” (Matt. vii, 18.) “How can ye, being evil, speak good things?” (xii, 34.) The following relates to the good which is properly prescribed in the gospel: “No man can come to me, except the Father draw him.” (John vi, 44.) As do likewise the following words of the Apostle: “The carnal mind is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be;” (Rom. viii, 7;). Therefore, that man over whom it has dominion, cannot perform what the law commands. The same Apostle says, “When we were in the flesh, the motions of sins wrought in us,” or flourished energetically. (vii, 5.) To the same purpose are all those passages in which the man existing in this state is said to be under the power of sin and Satan, reduced to the condition of a slave, and “taken captive by the Devil.” (Rom. vi, 20; 2 Tim. ii, 26.)
3. Arminianism Denies the Sovereignty of God in Salvation.
For a while there I was being sent one YouTube video after another from various Calvinists featuring sermons from Calvinist preachers on the issue of the sovereignty of God in relation to salvation. These clips were meant to show that Calvinism truly exalts the sovereignty of God in salvation while Arminians deny this. Yet that is not accurate. Like our Calvinist brethren, we are monergists in salvation and synergists in sanctification. We believe that the work of regeneration is done by God (John 3:3). God is the one who must give new life to a sinner (2 Corinthians 5:17; Titus 3:5-7). The sinner does not contribute to salvation. The work of salvation is accomplished sorely through Christ alone (Romans 4:5).
Arminius said that the vocation of God to salvation comes through the preaching of the Word of God:
The external cause, which outwardly moves God, is Jesus Christ by his obedience and intercession. (2 Tim. i, 9.) But the instrumental cause is the word of God, administered by means of men, either through preaching or writing, which is the ordinary method; (1 Cor. xii, 28-30; 2 Thess. ii, 14;) or without human assistance, when the word is immediately proposed by God inwardly to the mind and the will, which is extraordinary. And this is in fact both the word of the law and that of the Gospel, which are subordinate in the operations apportioned to each other.
And here humans can resist the Word of God by their sins:
The accidental result of vocation, and that which is not of itself intended by God, is the rejection of the word of grace, the contemning of the divine counsel, the resistance offered to the Holy Spirit. The proper and per se cause of this result is, the malice and hardness of the human heart. But this result is, not seldom, succeeded by another, the just judgment of God, avenging the contempt shewn to his word and call, and the injury done to his Holy Spirit; and from this judgment arise the blinding of the mind, the hardening of the heart, “the giving over to a reprobate mind,” and “the delivering unto the power of Satan.” (Acts xiii, 46; Luke vii, 30; Acts vii, 51; 2 Thess. iii, 2; 2 Cor. iv, 4; Psalm lxxxi, 11-14; Isa. lxiii, 10; vi, 9, 10; John xii, 37-40.)
Yet those who hear the gospel and believe the gospel do so because of God’s sovereignty:
But, because “known unto our God are all his works from the beginning of the world,” (Acts xv, 18,) and as God does nothing in time which He has not decreed from all eternity to do, this vocation is likewise instituted and administered according to God’s eternal decree. So that what man soever is called in time, was from all eternity predestinated to be called, and to be called in that state, time, place, mode, and with that efficacy, in and with which he was predestinated. Otherwise, the execution will vary from the decree; which charge of mutability and change cannot be preferred against God without producing mischievous effects. (Ephes. iii, 5, 6, 9-11; James i, 17, 18; 2 Tim. i, 9.)
4. Arminians Believe in Works-Righteousness.
I once had a talk with a Calvinist on the Internet and he continued, despite my saying no, to say that I held to works-righteousness. I would respond with Scripture such as 2 Corinthians 5:21 and he would come back and say, “You still hold to works-righteousness.” And why? Because I was not a Calvinist. He honestly believes that only Calvinism holds to true salvation by grace through faith (though I would argue that he holds to salvation by grace unto faith).
I have been saved for over 20 years and I have never met a person who was truly saved who held that we are saved by grace but kept by works. I have had long discussions with people who believed we had to keep the commandments to remain saved and I have had to clarify that teaching but I have never met anyone who was truly in love with Jesus Christ who would teach that Jesus saves us but we keep ourselves. It doesn’t take a theologian to read the New Testament and see that Jesus is our salvation. Period. Salvation is found only in Christ and kept only in Christ. We don’t keep ourselves. We didn’t earn our salvation and nor can we keep it by our flesh. We must look to Christ alone to keep us forever.
Now Jesus did say that if we love Him, we will obey His commandments (John 14:15; 1 John 5:1-4) and Jesus did say that we are to hear His voice and follow Him (John 10:27-29) which requires we read and study His Word (John 8:31-32). Jesus did say that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood which means that He is our total life (John 6:56). Paul called Jesus our life in Colossians 3:4. Jesus must be our love, our passion, our Savior, our God, our Lord. He is our everything (Galatians 2:20).
The vocation or calling to the communion of Christ and its benefits, is the gracious act of God, by which, through the word and His Spirit, he calls forth sinful men, subject to condemnation and placed under the dominion of sin, from the condition of natural life, and out of the defilements and corruptions of this world, to obtain a supernatural life in Christ through repentance and faith, that they may be united in him, as their head destined and ordained by God, and may enjoy the participation of his benefits, to the glory of God and to their own salvation.
How then can we sinful people love God? Arminius wrote:
The principal cause is the Holy Spirit, who infuses into man, by the act of regeneration, the affections of love, fear, trust, and honour; by exciting grace, excites, moves and incites him to second acts, and by co-operating grace, concurs with man himself to produce such second acts.
Through the Holy Spirit we are enabled to love God, fear God, and humbly obey Him as Lord. In my flesh, I will not love God nor obey Him (Romans 3:10-18) but through His Spirit, I can love God and obey Him. I am not perfect at this but the Spirit of God convicts and sanctifies me in this life.
I know this is just a little of the many misunderstandings about Arminianism and I know that I left much unsaid. I am sure that my critics could find holes in my reasoning and theology. However, I simply ask to be heard. I do love Christ. I love Jesus above Arminius or above Wesley. I am not saved by grace through faith in man but in Christ alone (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). Christ alone is the One who stands before the Father for me (Hebrews 7:25). Christ alone is the One who saved me by His own blood on the cross (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:14). I know that I don’t deserve His grace. I deserve His wrath but praise God for Romans 5:8-11:
8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
For more information on Arminianism please see my page for recommended reading.
Jesus said that we were called to make disciples (Matthew 28:19). He called us, saved us, transformed us – all this so that we would glorify His name in the earth and that we might be a light to draw others to Jesus Christ.
Sadly, some believe their job is to bring people to their point of view theologically. In other words, their job is to convert disciples to their particular views whether it be Arminians converting Calvinists to Arminianism or Calvinists converting Arminians to Calvinism. I know of two Calvinists in particular who see it their job to a) answer every Arminian out there on their Calvinistic theology and b) to convert as many people as possible to Calvinism. These men are passionate about Calvinism. They adore Calvin. They adore all Calvinists. Their passion is to teach others about Calvinism since, in their minds, Calvinism equals the gospel. They spend hours on Twitter and Facebook and other social sites trying to answer their critics or spread their Calvinism. Oh yes, they will occasionally praise God for something but in the end, it is Calvinism that is their passion and delight.
Why do they want to convert everyone to Calvinism? As I stated, they believe that Calvinism is the pure gospel. They believe that Calvinism along glorifies God and it alone is the true gospel of the Lord Jesus. They believe that Jesus Himself was the first Calvinist and from Him came the Apostles and eventually Augustine and eventually Calvin and so forth to this day. They believe that men such as Arminius or John Wesley are men who tried to pervert the true gospel. They believe that all other systems outside of Calvinism hold to works-salvation. You can assure them over and over again (as I have) that you hold to justification by faith and that you are kept by faith in Christ but they will in turn argue that your “faith” is a work and that you are not saved by God’s grace nor the gift of faith that He gives to His elect but you hold to salvation by works. When you quote passages about God saving you by grace through faith such as Ephesians 2:8-9 or Titus 3:5-7, they again will say that you still hold to works salvation since you believe that God saves you because of your faith. When you argue that your faith is not a work to be saved but is a humble confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 4:5), they will again claim you hold to works salvation since you still deny that your faith is a gift from God that came after He regenerated you so that you could believe. It is a never-ending cycle. I had one of these two Calvinists tell me that I needed to repent even after I assured him that I was saved by grace alone through faith in Christ alone. Yet since I am not a Calvinist, I am lost.
I pray that there are no Arminians like this nor that I am like this. My passion is to preach the gospel of Christ and not Arminianism. I want to see people saved. If they become faithful disciples of Jesus and fellowship with Calvinists, so be it. I only want to see souls saved. I am not interested in spreading the fame of Arminius or Wesley. I only want Jesus to be exalted. I thank God for Arminius or Wesley but do not believe they have ever saved one sinner. Jesus alone saves.
My heart here is to see us all, both Arminians and Calvinists and all in-between, preaching Christ and Him crucified. I asked one of the above Calvinists if he was more concerned that I was an Arminian or a disciple of Jesus. He answered, “A true disciple of Jesus will always be a Calvinist.” I deplore such thinking. I want people to be faithful followers of Christ and not a man. Calvin was a sinner. Augustine was a sinner. Luther was a sinner. Campbell was a sinner. Ravenhill was a sinner. Tozer was a sinner. Only Jesus saves sinners. I believe these men would tell us to look to Christ alone to be saved and not to flesh.
First let me allow Arminius to state his views regarding baptism.
ON BAPTISM AND PAEDO-BAPTISM
I. Baptism is the initial sacrament of the New Testament, by which the covenant people of God are sprinkled with water, by a minister of the church, in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost — to signify and to testify the spiritual ablution which is effected by the blood and Spirit of Christ. By this sacrament, those who are baptized to God the Father, and are consecrated to his Son by the Holy Spirit as a peculiar treasure, may have communion with both of them, and serve God all the days of their life.
II. The author of the institution is God the Father, in his Son, the mediator of the New Testament, by the eternal Spirit of both. The first administrator of it was John; but Christ was the confirmer, both by receiving it from John, and by afterwards administering it through his disciples.
III. But as baptism is two-fold with respect to the sign and the thing signified — one being of water, the other of blood and of the Spirit — the first external, the second internal; so the matter and form ought also to be two-fold — the external and earthy of the external baptism, the internal and heavenly of that which is internal.
IV. The matter of external baptism is elementary water, suitable, according to nature, to purify that which is unclean. Hence, it is also suitable for the service of God to typify and witness the blood and the Spirit of Christ; and this blood and the Spirit of Christ is the thing signified in outward baptism, and the matter of that which is inward. But the application both of the blood and the Spirit of Christ, and the effect of both, are the thing signified by the application of this water, and the effect of the application.
V. The form of external baptism is that ordained administration, according to the institution of God, which consists of these two things:
(1.) That he who is baptized, be sprinkled with this water.
(2.) That this sprinkling be made in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Analogous to this, is the inward sprinkling and communication both of the blood and the Spirit of Christ, which is done by Christ alone, and which may be called “the internal form of inward baptism.”
VI. The primary end of baptism is, that it may be a confirmation and sealing of the communication of grace in Christ, according to the new covenant, into which God the Father has entered with us in and on account of Christ. The secondary end is, that it may be the symbol of our initiation into the visible church, and an express mark of the obligation by which we have been bound to God the Father, and to Christ our Lord.
VII. The object of this baptism is not real, but only personal; that is, all the covenanted people of God, whether they be adults or infants, provided the infants be born of parents who are themselves in the covenant, or if one of their parents be among the covenanted people of God, both because ablution in the blood of Christ has been promised to them; and because by the Spirit of Christ they are engrafted into the body of Christ.
VIII. Because this baptism is an initiatory sacrament, it must be frequently repeated; because it is a sacrament of the New Testament, it must not be changed, but will continue to the end of the world; and because it is a sign confirming the promise, and sealing it, it is unwisely asserted that, through it, grace is conferred; that is, by some other act of conferring than that which is done through typifying and sealing: For grace cannot be immediately conferred by water.
Let me state first that I agree with Arminius at the beginning of his disputation on baptism in that I agree that baptism is given to the people of God. That is about as much as I agree with him over this issue other than that we are justified before God through faith and not baptism. Baptism expresses the reality of salvation through Christ and of itself, does not save us. Jesus saves us. Jesus is our salvation. Baptism is a beautiful picture of what Christ has done for us (1 Peter 3:21-22). It is not the reality itself.
That said, Arminius simply makes too many assumptions here for me. He states that the mode of baptism is sprinkling. On what basis? The Greek word literally means “to immerse or dip” and never sprinkling. The King James Version avoided any theological issues by translating the Greek word as a transliteration in the English with the word “baptism” or “baptize.” All English translations have followed this tradition.
Further, Arminius does not defend his views regarding sprinkling. He no doubt did this because Calvinists in his day would have practiced the same. There was no serious debate at this time over this issue. The Catholics, Lutherans, and the Calvinists all practiced infant baptism by sprinkling. It was the Anabaptists who were, at this time, under great persecution from nearly all of Christendom for their views regarding adult, immersion baptism. In other places Arminius called for the Anabaptists to be allowed to practice their faith in freedom. Most in Arminius’ day were calling the Anabaptists “heretics” and were seeking their deaths.
Lastly, the practice of infant baptism has no warrant. It is never taught in the New Testament. We have not one example of infants being baptized. The practice is based on tradition and not upon the teaching of the New Testament. In his book, A Biblical Critique of Infant Baptism by Matt Waymeyer, Waymeyer makes three main observations about infant baptism. First, we have the absence of a direct command to baptize infants. Second, we have the absence of a biblical example. Third, we have the absence of compelling evidence.
The command of baptism in Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 both imply clear repentance and the commitment to be Jesus’ disciple. Infants would not be included in this category at all.
Arminius makes the following interesting comments concerning sin and the fact that God permits evil. Arminius is clear that God does not cause evil nor does He create evil but He does permit evil in His divine providence and His infinite wisdom. We humans will never comprehend the wisdom of God nor His ability to take free decisions that are sinful and use them for His glory and honor such as in the case of Judas’ betrayal of Christ or the crucifixion itself as an act of indescribable love (Acts 2:22-24). That God permits evil is the view of the Arminian. That God causes evil must be the view of Calvinism.
X. The permission of sin succeeds, which is opposed to hindering. Yet it is not opposed to hindering, as the latter is an act which is taken away from the power of a rational creature by legislation; for, in that case, the same act would be a sin, and not a sin. It would be a sin in reference to its being a forbidden act; and it would be no sin in reference to its being permitted in this manner, that is, not forbidden. But permission is opposed to hindrance, in reference to the latter being an impediment placed on the capability and will of an intelligent creature. But permission is the suspension, not of one impediment or two, which may be presented to the capability or the will, but of all impediments at once, which, God knows, if they were all employed, would effectually hinder sin. Such necessarily would be the result, because sin might be hindered by a single impediment of that kind.
(1.) Sin therefore is permitted to the capability of the creature, when God employs none of those hindrances of which we have already made mention in the 8th Thesis: for this reason, this permission consists of the following acts of God who permits, the continuation of life and essence to the creature, the conservation of his capability, a cautiousness against its being opposed by a greater capability, or at least by one that is equal, and the exhibition of an object on which sin is committed.
(2.) Sin is also permitted to the will; not because no such impediments are presented by God to the will, as are calculated to deter the will from sinning; but because God, seeing that these hindrances which are propounded will produce no effect, does not employ others which He possesses in the treasures of his wisdom and power. (John xviii, 6; Mark xiv, 56.) This appears most evidently in the passion of Christ, with regard not only to the power but also to the will of those who demanded his death. (John xix, 6.) Nor does it follow from these premises, that those impediments are employed in vain: for though such results do not follow as are in accordance with these hindrances, yet God in a manner the most powerful gains his own purposes, because the results are not such as ought to have followed. (Rom. x, 20, 21.)
XI. The foundation of this permission is
(1.) The liberty of choosing, with which God formed his rational creature, and which his constancy does not suffer to be abolished, lest he should be accused of mutability.
(2.) The infinite wisdom and power of God, by which he knows and is able out of darkness to bring light, and to produce good out of evil. (Gen. i, 2, 3; 2 Cor. iv, 6.) God therefore permits that which He does permit, not in ignorance of the powers and the inclination of rational creatures, for he knows them all, not with reluctance, for he could have refrained from producing a creature that might possess freedom of choice, not as being incapable of hindering, for we have already seen by how many methods he is able to hinder both the capability and the will of a rational creature; not as if at ease, indifferent, or negligent of that which is transacted, because before anything is done he already ["has gone through"] has looked over the various actions which concern it, and, as we shall subsequently see, [§ 15-22,] he presents arguments and occasions, determines, directs, punishes and pardons sin. But whatever God permits, He permits it designedly and willingly, His will being immediately occupied about its permission, but His permission itself is occupied about sin; and this order cannot be inverted without great peril.
Here is a great post from Dr. John MacArthur on critiquing the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church is set to appoint a new pope. How should disciples of Christ feel about this? I believe Dr. MacArthur’s post is right on the mark about this. Both Calvin and Arminius had very harsh words for the Catholic Church and both viewed the pope as the “spirit of the antichrist.” I am reading some evangelicals who are fasting and praying for the Catholic Church, for the Lord to lead them in selecting a new pope. What we need to be doing is praying for the gospel to radically save Catholics and for Bible-believing missionaries in Catholic nations to preach the gospel and see souls saved (1 Timothy 2:1-7). This should be our heart, to see people saved by God’s grace through faith and apart from good works (Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5-7).
Can you imagine telling the great Reformers such as John Knox, William Tyndale, Martin Luther, Calvin, Arminius, or Wycliffe that you were praying for the Catholic Church as they select a new pope? Their reaction would probably be one of, “Praying for what? His salvation?” Can you imagine, if you could, speaking to the countless martyrs who shed their blood for the cause of Christ against the Catholic Church in books such as Foxe’s Book of Martyrs and telling them that you find no disagreement with the modern Catholic Church?
Friends, let us not fool ourselves. Catholics need the gospel. We are justified by grace alone, by faith alone, in Christ alone. This is the heart of the Reformation and are we willing to lay that aside for false unity? The gospel is what unites and the gospel is what divides.
Arminius saved his harshest words for the Pope writing:
First. The name of the Adulterer and The Pimp of the Church is his.
(1.) He is the Adulterer of the church, both by the public and mutual profession of each other; because he calls the [Roman Catholic] church his and she neither disowns the arrogance of this title nor is afraid of the odium [attached to such assumption,] and he is the adulterer in reality. For he practices spiritual adultery with the church, and she in return with him. He commands the apocryphal writings to be accounted divine and canonical; the ancient Latin version of the Scriptures, [commonly called] the vulgate, to be every where received as the true original, and under no pretense whatever to be rejected; his own interpretations of the Scriptures to be embraced with the most undoubting faith; and unwritten traditions to be honoured with an affection and reverence equal to that evinced for the written word of God. He enacts and rescinds laws that pertain to faith and morals, and binds them as fetters on consciences. He promises and offers plenary indulgences, and the remission of all sins, through the plenitude of his power. “He exalteth himself above all that is worshipped,” and offers himself as some god to be adored with religious worship. In all these acts the church, deceived by his artifices, complies with his wishes. He is, therefore, the Adulterer of the church.
(2.) But he is also the Pimp or Pander of the church, because he acts towards her as the author, persuader, impelling exciter and procurer of various spiritual adulteries committed, or to be hereafter committed, with different husbands, with angels, Mary and other deceased saints, with images of God, of Christ, of the Holy Ghost, of the cross, of angels, of Mary, and of saints; with the bread in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper; and with other inanimate objects.
X. To him likewise belongs the name of The False Prophet, whom the Scripture calls “the tail,” in opposition to “the head;” (Isa. ix, 15;) and this, whether it be received in a general acceptation, or in a particular sense and restricted to a certain and determinate person.
(1.) In its general meaning, whether it signifies him who teaches falsehood without arrogating to himself the name of a prophet, or him who falsely boasts of being a prophet, the latter of which seems to be the proper signification of the word. (2 Pet. ii, 1; Acts xiii, 6.) For, first, he partly introduced into the church many false dogmas; and partly those which were introduced when such a great mystery of iniquity was finished, he defends, maintains and propagates. Of this kind, the dogmas concerning the insufficiency of the scriptures without traditions, to prove and confirm ever necessary truth, and to confute all errors; that it is of the last necessity unto salvation for every human creature to be under subjection to the Roman pontiff; that the bread in the Lord’s supper is transubstantiated, or changed in substance, into the body of Christ; that in the mass Christ is daily offered by the priest as a propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the living and of the dead; that man is justified before God, partly by faith, and partly by works; that there is a purgatory, into which the souls of those enter who are not yet sufficiently purified, and that they are released from it by prayers, intercessions, watchings, alms-deeds, indulgences, &c. In the Second sense, this epithet is due to him, because he says that he is a prophet, who, on account of the perpetual assistance of the Holy Spirit, which is attached to that chair, cannot possibly err in things which pertain to faith and morals.
(2.) But it also belongs to him in the restricted meaning of the word; because the Roman pontiff is “the false prophet who works miracles before the beast, (Rev. xix, 20,) “out of whose mouth comes out three unclean spirits like frogs,” (xvi, 13,) and who is not improperly understood to be “the tail of the great red dragon, that drew the third part of the stars of heaven.” (xii, 4.)
Charles Spurgeon’s advice regarding how to pray for the Pope is as follows:
“It is the bounden duty of every Christian to pray against Antichrist and as to what Antichrist is no sane man ought to raise a question. If it be not the Popery in the Church of Rome, there is nothing in the world that can be called by that name. . .It wounds Christ, because it robs Christ of His glory, because it puts sacramental efficacy in the place of His atonement and lifts a piece of bread into the place of the Savior and a few drops of water into the place of the Holy Spirit and puts a mere fallible man like ourselves up as the Vicar of Christ on earth. If we pray against it, because it is against Him, we shall love the persons though we hate their errors; we shall love their souls though we loathe and detest their dogmas. And so the breath of our prayers will be sweetened because we turn our faces toward Christ when we pray.”
Amen! Let us love Catholics but let us love them enough to pray for their eyes to be opened to the truth of salvation and to pray that many Catholics hear and believe the gospel (Romans 10:4).