[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Monday, July 28, 2008

The miserable comfort of Arminian assurance


by Matthew

Armianians such as Wesley have often, surprisingly, had much to say about assurance.

Sometimes, Arminians (who reject eternal security) will boast that they can offer more assurance than the consistent Calvinist. Though the Calvinist will be saved in the end if he is among the elect, he may turn out to be merely a false professor and fall away. It is possible that the Arminian is right and he can have more assurance that at the present time she is truly a child of God (not that she necessarilly is).

However, this is surely the most miserable comfort of all. What good is it to me now to know I am a child of God this moment if I may yet spend the vastness of eternity in the lake of fire?

Supposing a man were on trial for some crime. Imagine if I said to him:

You should rejoice! You are a free man! You are innocent in the eyes of the law until you are found guilty!


What a comfort to him to know that he was under no condemnation until the court should find him guilty and send him to prison for the rest of his life!

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9 Comments:

  • I like the Bible view better than either of those. :~) I agree - what a miserable thing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, July 30, 2008 6:26:00 AM  

  • Hi, Matthew!

    So, FG believes that if a believer later rejects faith in Christ, she still has eternal life? Or is it similar to Calvinism in that a true believer will not reject faith?

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Wednesday, July 30, 2008 8:16:00 AM  

  • Missy

    FG holds that eternal life can never be lost. By definition, eternal life entails living forever.

    That does not mean that a believer cannot suffer such sanctions as chastening, premature death, loss of rewards and kingdom privilege. Some FGers would even say that believers may be excluded from the Millennial kingdom and spend that period in hell.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, July 30, 2008 12:32:00 PM  

  • Rose, it is good that you agree.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Wednesday, July 30, 2008 12:33:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Matthew. That's interesting.

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:29:00 PM  

  • This is somewhat confusing. The last example is clearly accurate. The man is innocent until proven guilty. The larger concern I have is the distortion or perversion of the concept of grace. Clearly, there is nothing that we can do to obtain grace. But once we have it, our lives ought to reflect that grace. It is not a voucher that I use to allow me to continue living the way that I have. Indeed, the grace that allowed Paul to endure what he endured to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom is the same grace that we have today.

    Suppose I walk into an ice cream store with no money, and order an ice cream cone. After the cone is prepared for me, I reach into my pocket and realize I have no money. The person behind the counter shows compassion to me and says that I can have the cone for free. After I receive the cone, the person behind the counter says that now I need to extend to someone else the grace that was extended to me. So, I walk outside and meet a person on the street. What do I do when I meet this person on the street?

    Under your philosophy, I would eat the ice cream myself and tell the other person that I got the ice cream for free. I would provide the location and let them go get their own ice cream for free at that store.

    Under true grace, I would recognize the cost the person behind the counter made, and instead of telling the person on the street that I got the ice cream for free, I would give that person my cone.

    It is because of that very grace that I am compelled to lay my own life down. Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a great book entitled "The Cost of Discipleship." I would encourage you to read it.

    By Blogger Ron, at Thursday, July 31, 2008 9:03:00 AM  

  • Ron, I have read 'The Cost of Discepleship'.

    "The person behind the counter shows compassion to me and says that I can have the cone for free. After I receive the cone, the person behind the counter says that now I need to extend to someone else the grace that was extended to me."

    Without wanting to send tedious, I would actually deny that one is being given the ice cone for free.

    The person behind the counter has not asked for money for the cone, but she has stipulated a condition for receiving it.

    Under English law this transaction would actually consitute a contract.

    The gift of eternal life, by contrast is free. There is absolutely no condition placed upon it anywhere in the Bible, though it be received by faith.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Thursday, July 31, 2008 10:17:00 AM  

  • Hey Matt,

    Great illustration.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, July 31, 2008 5:57:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Antonio.

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at Thursday, July 31, 2008 11:33:00 PM  

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