Are all the Arminians lost? If a Calvinist who embrace the doctrines of
grace and if he say that all Arminians are not lost is that Calvinist lost?
I believe there is a lot of confusion in the body here, and it had affected
me too, I have been deeply thinking about this issue and I hope we can
resolve this issue from the Word of God. I pray and ask that the Lord will
purify us and examine us today. Can we say who is finally saved and lost by
our self imposed judgment and do you believe that this is warranted by
It is a matter of record that the doctrinal sword, which seeks to slay
others, can destroy the one who wields it much like Goliath had his head
taken by his own sword.
Before I go any further, I want to clarify one matter, that is in this
sermon I am not saying that all Arminians are saved, I am not saying that
Arminianism is harmless without error. I will defend the doctrines of grace
at any cost. There are some Arminians who say God cannot save anyone unless
we permit Him to do so, this is totally incorrect as this is extreme
Arminianism. But there are people who do not even know that they are
Arminians but they believe man is corrupt and man has nothing to do with
salvation but the salvation is of God.
The great Puritan theologian John Owen made a treatise called, "A display of
Arminianism." He said, the Arminians deny the fundamental article of
original sin, then Arminians teaching that our nature is not guilty, not
depraved, not corrupted. During Owen's day there were some Arminians who
were truly Pelagius in doctrine. Then later in the article Owen made the
statement very clear, when he said, "Neither let any object, that all the
Arminians do not openly profess all these errors I have recounted."
Charles Spurgeon also promoted the ministry of Arminian D. L. Moody and
allowed him to preach in his pulpit. We believe this is wrong of Spurgeon
to do that. Does that mean Spurgeon is not saved?
I began to think when did I get saved? Was I saved before I embraced the
doctrines of grace or after? If I was saved after embracing the doctrines
of grace, then I had more questions. Was I saved finally believing all the
five points or the four points that I believed for a while? If I was saved
after embracing the doctrines of grace then was I not saved when I was a
missionary to the
Buddhism to the light of Christianity?
I found out I was not the only person, there were others in this fellowship
felt the same way. I knew before we go into more confusion, we have to deal
with these issues directly.
I began to study, what must a person need to do to be saved? What about
church history on saving faith, what did the church fathers believe, what
did the Reformers believe. The most importantly, what does the Bible say
about it? Well, that's not all. You may not agree with me but as Martin
Luther said, "My conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God, and
to go against my conscience or scripture is neither right nor safe." In my
studies, I never used any Arminian literature. All the authors were strong
I found out where we went wrong. There is a saying, "Little knowledge can
bring a lot of pride." And there was ignorance. We did not see the big
picture and instead we were seeing trees and bushes. We were quick to judge
our own Calvinist brothers. Thomas Watson said, "God is an impartial
Judge. He judgeth the Cause. Men often judge the person, but not the cause;
which is not justice, but malice." Thomas Watson
First of all what I would like to show you is that all these books were
written by fallible men, who can make mistakes. This encouraged me when
there was a time when I did not want to come and preach as I saw that people
that we used to believe ((I am talking of Calvinists) later when we see an
error we dump them, instead of seeing the big picture we haven been looking
for trees and bushes. Only the Bible is infallible, all the rest of the
authors and theologians were fallible men. I am going to show you from
Apostolic Fathers are the Fathers who are suppose to have lived before the
last of the apostle died, who were the disciples of the apostles. There are
six names of Apostolic Fathers.
Barnabas - Some regard him the person who was Paul's companion.
Hermas - Suppose to be the person mentioned in Rom 16:14
Clement - May have been the Paul's fellow worker named in Philip 4:3 -
Polycarp - Was a disciple of John - Bishop of Smyrna.
Papias - One of the disciples of John
Ignatius - Bishop of Antioch, lived in the days of the last of the apostles.
Church Fathers - Irenaeus, Origen, Tertullian and others.
These apostolic Fathers wrote many letters to the Churches. But there was a
tremendous change of their writing and the writing of the apostles of the
Bible. What was the change? They did not have the same freshness, depth and
clearness. Are we amazed? No. Because there was a change from infallible
authors to the fallible authors. That is why their books are not in the
cannon of scripture. The cannon of scripture or there was no Bible at this
time, that is why the church Fathers quoted oral tradition rather than the
written word. They lived too close to the apostles as they already had the
knowledge of Christianity so in their books Christianity was not a knowledge
to be exposed but the principle of obedience to God.
There was a little confusion when it came to faith and repentance of the
early Church Fathers. Faith and repentance sometimes depended on the will
of man, salvation depended on the grace of God, and they were leaning more
towards Arminianism. This shows that no body was correct as they were
fallible too. Let us see more examples of fallibility of man.
We know that Augustine is very popular and right on when it came to the
grace of God. But yet Augustine was fallible like everybody else, he was
very weak when it came to the atonement and faith. When it came to the
doctrine of the work of Christ, he was extremely weak in his teachings. He
did not believe that justification as forensic. Forensic means God legally
declares the believing sinner not guilty but righteous before God.
Augustine clearly fails to distinguish between justification and
sanctification. He includes sanctification under justification. Christian
faith was a faith that works by love; his conception of faith does not give
to that important saving faith as child like trust. Augustine also believed
that atonement by Christ was the most suitable way of salvation, God might
have saved sinners in some other way, making atonement relatively necessary.
Yet Augustine is regarded as one of the greatest theologians, we see that
Augustine was fallible.
Roman Catholic Church did not want the Bible to go to every common person as
they said; there will be all kinds of interpretation of scripture. The
Reformers knew about this but they said, when it comes to salvation even a
child will comprehend that he is a sinners beside the almighty God and trust
in God for salvation. The Reformers understood that saving faith does not
require a perfect understanding of every single point of doctrine or every
single point of systematic theology, you do not need to be a scholar to be
justified before God. Philippian jailor asked Paul, "What must I do to be
saved?" Paul did not say, you need to believe in the imputation of Christ,
no. Instead, Paul said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ..." That is bare
minimum. Later on when we grow in Christ in his grace we will understand
the imputation, election, predestination etc., When a missionary goes to the
ends of the world with the gospel to different tribes, people in the jungles
and remote areas, they are saved in this simple faith.
God first implant the seed of faith in the heart of man so he can exercise
this faith true saving faith. Reformers called this semen fidei. When the
Bible speaks of faith it generally refers to faith as an activity of man,
but first it is implanted by God in man's heart.
Reformers said one of the necessary ingredients for the saving faith is
notitia. (Notes) Meaning the bare minimum of content that we need to hear
and understand. According to Reformed theology there are three elements of
1. Notitia - an intellectual element of knowledge. This
knowledge comes by hearing the word of God.
Ro So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
2. Assensus - Agreeing the knowledge of truth, having a
conviction of the truth, this is the emotional faith.
If I say to you, do you believe that George Washington was the first
president of the
convicting truth and you know that this information is correct that George
King Agrippa understood what Paul said, and he knew what Paul said was true,
but yet he was not a Christian. Demons understand and believe as they
acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God but they do not have the saving faith.
Yet, having knowledge and agreeing with the truth will not save a person.
King Agrippa did not have saving faith.
Ac 26:26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak
freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him;
for this thing was not done in a corner.
27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a
3. fiducia - Trusting. This is the crowing element of faith.
Faith is not only the intellectual and emotions combined. But it is a
personal trust in Christ as Savior and Lord, surrendering our soul to him.
We can see this manifest when a person is going through much trials and
The Biblical object of faith is trusting in Christ alone. We need to see the
loveliness, the sweetness and the excellence of Christ so we can adore him.
1. "The Gospel" as The Doctrines of Soteriology - Those
teachings which describe in detail all that God does to save the sinner.
2. "The Gospel" as The Object of Saving Faith - Those teachings
which every truly regenerate person must and will believe.
It cannot be stated strongly enough that these are two different and
distinct uses of the word "Gospel". The doctrines which constitute the body
of Biblical soteriology are all true, precious, important doctrines.
Moreover, when they are properly understood, they help ensure that we
understand the second meaning (i.e. "The Object of Saving Faith") correctly,
and see it in its proper relation to other doctrines of life and faith.
However, it is false to say that one is unregenerate if he does not
understand and believe all the various facets of soteriology. It is also
false to assert that one is unregenerate simply because he has some
erroneous ideas about certain aspects of soteriology. We need to draw clear
distinctions concerning what is the essential object of saving faith, and
what merely describes God's great works of salvation.
We also need to leave room for a certain amount of growth and progress in
Christian doctrine and life.
Moreover, a person can simply be ignorant of certain Biblical doctrines.
When a person first receives faith, it is unlikely that he has a very broad
or deep exposure to Scripture. Where there are holes in his understanding,
there are likely to be false ideas filling those holes. But if he is elect,
then, as he progresses through the Christian life, our faithful Lord will
guide him into truth, replacing those false ideas with sound doctrine, as he
studies and believes God's Holy Word.
The woman with the issue of blood who touch the hem of Christ garment
trusted in Christ alone.
Lu And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent
all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately
her issue of blood stanched.
45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that
were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and
sayest thou, Who touched me?
46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is
gone out of me.
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and
falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for
what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made
thee whole; go in peace.
However it is false to say everyone must believe the imputed righteousness
of Christ to be saved. Reformers said, the saving faith is not only
assensus, (agreeing to the certain doctrines) but also fiducia. Saving
faith is trusting in the person, the resurrected ascended living Savior,
Christ Jesus. It is not only the academic knowledge or even agreeing with it
but a personal relationship with the person of Christ, a continual trust in
The thief on the cross.
Lu And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy
43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be
with me in paradise.
We know that the Lord did not give a crash course on doctrines of grace to
this man for him to believe.
We truly believe in the imputed righteousness of Christ as Christ was our
substitute, he bore the punishment for our sins, and the justice of God was
satisfied by Christ.
The Philippian jailer
The Philippian Jailer asked Paul, "What must I do to be saved." Paul did
not say, "You need to believe that God from eternity past unconditionally
chosen some to salvation, Christ died for the elect only, or did not give
the five points of Calvinism to believe.
Ac And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be
saved, and thy house.
32 And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in
The answer is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus, and thou shalt be saved..."
This belief is 'notitia, assensus and fiducia.' John Gill on commenting on
this scripture said, "Not with a bare historical faith as only to believe
that he was the Son of God, and the Messiah, and that he was come in the
flesh, and had suffered died and rose again, and now in heaven at the right
hand of God, and would come again to judge both quick and dead, for there
may be such a faith but no salvation, but to look unto him alone for life
and salvation, to rely upon him, and trust in him, to commit himself."
William Cunningham speaking on the Reformers on saving faith said, "What is
the meaning attached in scripture to the faith which justifies and saves?
Upon this question we agree with the Reformers thinking, that in the
scripture usage faith is applied, in its highest and most important sense,
only to a state of mind of which trust in Christ as a Savior is a necessary
constituent element." (Absolutely essential)
But this does not mean certain doctrines are unnecessary, no knowledge of
the truth is very important. A person who believes that salvation is
obtained wholly or partial by human merit is lost.
By the way who exposed the imputation of Adam's sin during the Reformation?
It is not Luther or Calvin. According to William Cunningham, "Beza brought
out this doctrine of the imputation of Adam's sin to his posterity more
fully and precisely than it had been before. He expounded and developed it
more fully than any preceding theologian. ...These more precise and definite
views had not occurred to Calvin."
Spurgeon said, "When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all
myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was
seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this.
The thought struck me, how did you come to be a Christian? I sought the
Lord. But how did you come to seek the Lord? The truth flashed across my
mind in a moment-I should not have sought Him unless there had been some
previous influence in my mind to make me seek Him. I prayed, thought I, but
then I asked myself, How came I to pray? I was induced to pray by reading
the Scriptures. How came I to read the Scriptures? I did read them, but what
led me to do so? Then, in a moment, I saw that God was at the bottom of it
all, and that He was the Author of my faith, and so the whole doctrine of
grace opened up to me, and from that doctrine I have not departed to this
day, and I desire to make this my constant confession, "I ascribe my change
wholly to God."
J. Gresham Mechen an outstanding Presbyterian theologian in 1920s and 30s
said, "At the beginning it is true, there may be much that we cannot
understand; there are things about the way of salvation that we may at first
have to take in the fullest sense "on faith" the greatest offense of all,
perhaps, is the wondrous simplicity of the gospel, which is so different
from the plans of which we in our part had made." He goes on to say, "Like
Naaman we may find, if we put away or pride, if we are willing to take God
at his word, if we confess that His way is best, that our flesh, so foul
with sin, may come back again like the flesh of a little child and we may be
clean. And then will be revealed to us the fuller wonders of salvation;
then as the years go by, we shall come to understand ever more and more the
glory of the Cross."
William Cunningham (1805-1861) said, "We do not set up the Reformers as
guides or oracles. We do not invest them with any authority, or believing
anything because they believe it. There is, indeed, no authority in
religion but that of God, and authority, in its strict and proper sense,
does not admit of degrees. The fact that certain doctrines were taught by
some particular class or body of men is either at once and of itself a
sufficient reason why we must embrace them, or else it is of no real weight
and validity in determining what we should believe. It is entitled to be
received as authoritative and determining, only when the men in question can
produce satisfactory evidence that they have been commissioned and inspired
by God. There is a sense, indeed, in which some respect or deference
(submission) should never be transmuted into anything like authority or
obligation. It may afford a valid call for careful attention and diligent
investigation, but for nothing more. It should have no determining or
controlling influence. The Reformers, with respect to all points in which
they were substantially of one mind, may be regarded as being upon the whole
entitled to more respect and deference than any other body of men who could
be specified or marked out at any one period in the history of the church.
But it holds true universally, that God has never given to any uninspired
man, or body of men, to rise altogether above the influence of the
circumstances in which they were placed, in the formation and expression of
their opinions upon religious subjects. And even the greatest admirers of
the Reformers readily admit that they, all of them, thou not in the main
features of their theological system, yielded more or less to the various
sources of error which prevail among men, and more particularly that they
exhibited, on the one hand, traces that they had not wholly escaped from the
corrupting influence of the system in which they have been educated, and on
the other hand, what is equally natural, that they were sometimes in danger
in avoiding one extreme of falling into the opposite one." (The Reformers
and the Theology of the Reformation)