A Response to Moderate Calvinists: “Only The True Gospel Saves!"
It seems there is a growing number of moderate Calvinists that are uncomfortable with the unequivocal and categorical refutation of the five points of Arminianism even though these five points contradict their own understanding of soteriology, i.e., TULIP. While these professing Calvinists do not openly applaud Arminianism, they certainly dismiss its threats by failing to call its errors “heresy” and to warn others of its total inability to save a sinner from God’s wrath.
In Job 12:11, the anguished man of God asked a question that every Christian should ask themselves and answer with a resounding “yes;” Job queried, “Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food?” Do you test words that you read and hear with the meticulousness that your pallet evaluates your food? If milk is sour, do you spit it out? If fish smells putrid, do you even put it to your mouth? God has equipped our human physiologies with protections to help us from digesting hazardous foods, but sometimes our souls are not so protective. Make no mistake, the Arminian gospel is no gospel at all! Therefore, it is religious food riddled with spiritual E.coli, salmonella, and botulism, and its sight and sound should induce immediate queasiness in the souls of everyone who fears God through the understanding of the Doctrines of Grace.
The Gospel of God's sovereign grace in sacred Scripture removes all human verve from salvation, from election to glorification, and this Gospel must be believed if a sinner is to be saved (Romans 10:8-15). However, if the gospel is a mélange of rival theological euphemisms, then perhaps it really doesn’t matter what we believe, as long as we all affirm Jesus. This ecumenical solution may be adequate to some, but it is not an option for those set free by the true Gospel of sovereign grace.
For those who believe that both the Arminian and Calvinistic gospels are gateways to eternal life, I warn you, these gospels strenuously disagree with each other, which means you cannot believe that God accepts both unless God Himself authored confusion AND contradiction. There is only one Gospel. And all others are false.
To my brethren who are uncomfortable with taking a stand against the false gospel of Arminianism which cannot save, I say to you, take a stand or you’ll wish you had someday. I implore you to lay aside the fear of man and remember Paul’s words in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."
There is only one gospel with the power to save and that is the Gospel of salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, that no one may boast, giving all the glory and honor to our Lord and Savior, Jesus.
In closing, if you have an Arminian friend or acquaintance, do not refer to them as your "brother in Christ," and do not anathematize them. Witness to them! Sonny Hernandez, Director of Reforming America Ministries, explains why:
When you call someone a “brother,” you are sending them a misleading message that they affirm the same Gospel as you. Arminians affirm contra-causal freedom and universal atonement—both of which cannot be found in Scripture—that no prophet of God, nor Paul or Christ ever proclaimed. And no Christian should ever anathematize an Arminian, but instead, should witness to them in lieu of calling them “brother.” Of course, moderates will argue that men who hold to this position are “perfect knowledge advocates.” But they appear to be refuting an argument that I have never made. To settle this dispute, one would need to appeal to Scripture, not superstition. Here is my point. John 10:5 states that "the sheep" will not follow the voice of strangers, but will flee. John used a future indicative for the word “flee" because the sheep "know not the voice of strangers." And in John 10:27, there are three present tense indicatives to make it clear that "the sheep will" hear, know, and follow their substitute and Savior. This is a statement of fact that "the sheep" are hearing, knowing, and following their Master in actual time. I am not advocating that a person must be able to articulate theology with precision. Liberal Calvinists love to accuse me of this. I am arguing that it is impossible for "the sheep" to follow the false doctrine of strangers (who teach free-will and universal atonement), and simultaneously reject the truth of sound doctrine that Christ preached (election and particular atonement). John 10 concurs. If one disagrees with my position, they would need to prove from Scripture how an Arminian—one who affirms universal atonement and libertarian freedom—is a Christian by showing where universal atonement and free-will are in the Bible or how they are essentials of the Gospel. Also, one would need to prove from John 10 how an Arminian can reject the voice of the Savior (who taught election and particular atonement), and follow the voice of strangers (who teach free-will and universal atonement). Sadly, all I have seen thus far are begging the question responses, appealing to ignorance or popular teachers to justify one’s position.
Richard Tory MacDonald is the Primary Teaching Elder, Pastor at THE CHURCH. A Biblical House of Worship, in Port Jervis New York.