Arminianism teaches a False Gospel that cannot Save
I remember some time ago, somebody complained on Antonio's blog that Free Grace people are always attacking Calvinism and never Arminianism.
I cannot answer for Antonio, but I would ask two questions in response:
Q. Who did our Lord have more in common with, the Pharisees or the Saducees?
A. The Pharisees.
Q. Who did Jesus criticise more, the Pharisees or the Saducees?
A. The Pharisees.
Perhaps Jesus had more cricisms to make of the Pharisees becuause they were closer to the truth than the Saducees.
We have a lot of disagreements with Calvinism. We might even contend that at times some Calvinists may present a false gospel. However, we commend Calvinists for their belief and commitment to the Eternal Security of the believer. They may practically deny this doctrine and obscure it by demanding the Perserverance of all true believers, but at least in principle they accept the truth of it.
What is also of great merit in Calvinism is its commitment to the great truth of Justification. Calvinists may compromise this doctrine practically, nevertheless they believe that Justification is a once and for all operation of eternal consequence. We agree with the Calvinist that the justification of the sinner on the merits of Christ's death and resurrection can never be disqualified.
It is very difficult to see how the Arminian, in her denial of Once, Saved, Always Saved can have any meaningful doctrine of justification. On the Arminian system, justification becomes a sort of contract between God and the sinner that can be revoked at any time. This is a rather miserable kind of salvation that is utterly unworthy of the great presentation of justification in the epistles of Paul.
The Arminian essentially denies the salvation that Christ offers. She does not believe in the gift of eternal life.
36 He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
30 ¶ And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31 but these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.
Eternal life is a present posession that is received by faith. If I posess eternal life, then I will live forever. If there is a possibility that I will cease to live, then I do not have eternal life.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Arminians teach that they must continue to believe and perservere in the faith to receive eternal life. However, this is simply contradicted by Jesus:
35 ¶ And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.
If a person has once received this salvation, she shall never hunger or thirst. If there is the possibility of losing one's salvation, there is the possibility of being hungry or thirsty again.
Likewise our Lord said to the Samaritan woman:
13 Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again:
14 but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.
Whosoever receives this water never thirsts again. One taste is enougth to give a person eternal life.
The Arminian does not believe this. She believes that she may receive eternal life in the future. She does not have eternal life, but if she continues in faith she will be saved. But this is not the salvation that Christ offers. Christ offers actual posession of eternal life. If you believe in Him for a potential salvation, you will not get a potential salvation because He never offered such a thing.
The Arminian is among the fearful and the unbelieving (Rev 21:8). The Arminian does not believe that Christ's work is sufficent to save her. She believes that she must add her own works and her own efforts to what Christ has done.
The Arminian may protest that she believes that she is saved by grace through faith and not by works. She may argue that faith simply needs to continue. However, you ask her if she will still be saved if she commits an immoral act like adultery. The answer will be no. Ask her how she interprets James 2:17-26. She will tell you that faith must be accompanied by works.
It is instructive to understand the Jehovah's Witnesses' doctrine of salvation. Many Christians do not realise that the J.W.s teach that salvation is a gift received by faith (Reasoning from the Scriptures, p.132). They qualify this, however, by arguing from James chapter 2:17-26 that if faith is genuine, it must produce works. This is exactly what the Calvinists teach. However, at least the Calvinists differ from the J.W.s in upholding Once Saved, Always Saved. The Arminian doctrine of salvation differs from that of the Jehovah's Witnesses very little.
It makes no difference that the Arminians believe in the Trinity. Believing in the Trinity cannot save anyone. One must receive the gift of eternal life by faith (John 11:25-26). One must trust in Christ for eternal life and look to no other, including one's own perserverance.
This is not to say that all Arminians are unbelievers. There may be many Arminians who believed at their conversion that they were secure in Christ. Many people when they first come to believe in Christ are certain that they are going to heaven. Then the Arminian comes with her proof texts and casts a shadow of gloom on the new believer.
Let us be clear that Arminianism is a false gospel that has no more power to save than the sacramentalism of Popery or the legalism of the cults.