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A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

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A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby remade » Mon Dec 04, 2017 3:13 pm

I've been reading a great book on Jacob Arminius's teachings about soteriology called "Grace, Faith, and Free Will" by Robert E. Picirilli. To put it in a nut shell, he makes some references to the fact that many self-proclaimed Arminians today, proclaim Arminianism more as a "Not-Calvinist," proclamation, assuming that all Free-will churches embrace Arminianism as Arminius taught it. In other words, Arminianism has become as diluted as say, the term 'Christian' - that, to the non-believer, Christian could encompass a myriad of things. And to the modern, theological-thinker, especially for the hard-nosed Calvinist, the term Arminian is sadly up there with terms like, "heretic," half the time.

The five articles of the Remonstrant might even make such an Arminian blush at times with the language used. Don't hear me wrong, there is probably 85% agreeable material to most Arminians who don't read Arminius to what he said, if not more (in other words, that percentage is a shot in the dark). And certainly foreknown, free-will contingent and conditional salvation is preeminent.

Picirilli lays out in the book that "direct descendants," of Arminius's teachings in the Remonstrant Church of Holland, like many centuries-old denominations, have all but departed Christianity long ago (see Remonstrant Brotherhood on wikipedia for a snapshot).

I wonder though, if there are any denominations that firmly embrace a Sovereignty, Grace and Gospel-centered, 'Reformed Arminian' point of view that isn't as - say - practical-theological type like Wesley. See this article for "Reformed Arminian" designation:

https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/meet-a-reformed-arminian/

I don't say this to slam, say, Nazarenes, Methodists, and Pentecostals - who no doubt carry the Gospel Message. But often times, these churches are saturated by evangelicalism - and the trends of the next greatest book, or teaching, or self-help sermons.

Perhaps one thing that has drawn me to the Calvinist teachings, is the fact that many of the Reformed pastors I have listened to, have an intense love for the Gospel itself, and most are expository preachers. Granted, it is preached in a Calvinistic slant, but justification by faith is preached, which was quite different from my upbringing in the Nazarene church where justification by faith may've been the topic of the sermon here and there, mixed in with, "How to pray better," or "What to do when your worried," or "Overcoming fear..." - you know, different topics. When it seems evident to me in Paul's letters that He desired to really know nothing among whoever he preached to but Christ and Him crucified.

Charles Spurgeon once said, "I have never found a text that had not got a road to Christ in it, and if ever I find one . . . I will go over hedge and ditch but I would get my Master, for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a saviour of Christ in it," which I think echoes Paul's admonitions.

All this to say, Picirilli states that Free-Will Baptists (his own denomination) have more Arminian-than-Wesley-inspired churches, but I wonder if there are other denominations like this, or if it's always going to be just a congregation thing?
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby ryan » Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:13 pm

Perhaps one thing that has drawn me to the Calvinist teachings, is the fact that many of the Reformed pastors I have listened to, have an intense love for the Gospel itself, and most are expository preachers. Granted, it is preached in a Calvinistic slant, but justification by faith is preached, which was quite different from my upbringing in the Nazarene church where justification by faith may've been the topic of the sermon here and there, mixed in with, "How to pray better," or "What to do when your worried," or "Overcoming fear..." - you know, different topics. When it seems evident to me in Paul's letters that He desired to really know nothing among whoever he preached to but Christ and Him crucified.


Sorry, no direct answer, but just wanted to comment that this paragraph really resonated with me. I was raised in, and am still a part of, a Wesleyan-Holiness denomination, and often find my self drawn toward wanting to attend a more Calvinistic church due to some of the same points. Though I disagree with many theological tenets of Calvinism, I find much I appreciate about their method and presentation.
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby mattrose » Wed Dec 06, 2017 9:30 pm

I think what both of you have noticed is that Calvinists tend to equate the term 'Gospel' with how someone is converted from damned to lost. Wesley believed the Gospel was much bigger than that. The good news covers not only our salvation FROM sin, death and damnation, but also our salvation TO holiness (personal and social).

I think you're right, though, in suggesting that Calvinist preachers are probably more 'exegetical' in their sermons (though that'll obviously vary pastor to pastor across denominations). I personally do like exegetical sermons. But I think it's quite obvious from the Scriptures that New Testament preachers did not preach exegetical sermons. They preached Scripture saturated sermons.
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby steve » Thu Dec 07, 2017 8:53 pm

Perhaps one thing that has drawn me to the Calvinist teachings, is the fact that many of the Reformed pastors I have listened to, have an intense love for the Gospel itself, and most are expository preachers. Granted, it is preached in a Calvinistic slant, but justification by faith is preached, which was quite different from my upbringing in the Nazarene church where justification by faith may've been the topic of the sermon here and there, mixed in with, "How to pray better," or "What to do when your worried," or "Overcoming fear..." - you know, different topics.


I see things quite differently. I do not see the church pulpit as the place to preach the Gospel of salvation. This is because the church is supposed to be a congregation of saved people, who have already heard, believed, and benefited from that Gospel. That Gospel is supposed to bring about salvation, and needs to be preached to the unconverted.

I am not saying that believers do not ever need to be reminded of the Gospel (if you never hear it, you might occasionally forget parts of it), but the Bible says that believers need to be "taught" to observe everything that Jesus commanded (Matt.28:19-20). This is what is lacking in most evangelical churches. They are often evangelistic services, where believers languish for lack of knowledge of how to live the Christian life.

Discipleship should be the aim in the proceedings of the Christian assembly. Everything is to be done to the edifying of the church (1 Cor.14:26). Teaching Christians how to pray and how to overcome fear are precisely the kinds of things that Jesus taught His disciples on the Sermon on the Mount—a very good curriculum for making disciples, apparently. Evangelism is for the unbelievers outside the church.

When it seems evident to me in Paul's letters that He desired to really know nothing among whoever he preached to but Christ and Him crucified


This actually is not so. Paul said that this was true of his ministry in Corinth, but complained that this had to be so. In 1 Corinthians 2:2, he said that "among you" he determined to know nothing but Christ crucified. However, this was because the Christians' growth in Corinth was stunted, not normal. In the following chapter (3:1-2), he says that he could only give them "milk" because they were carnal and infantile. He wished it was otherwise. After speaking of the limitations of his teaching to the Corinthians, Paul tries to lure them on to maturity (1 Cor. 2:6ff) by hinting at the kinds of things (solid food) that he would have given them, and which he does in fact give, to the mature Christians: "However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature—that is, not to the Corinthians, who are babes, and could only be taught the most basic milk, which Paul summarizes as "Christ, and Him crucified" (1 Cor.2:2).
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby remade » Fri Dec 08, 2017 12:48 am

Steve -

Your words have put a check on me. I agree whole-heartedly with you. I guess my point, is at times that churches who have topical series (which are by no means, not bad) such as: "Eight Ways to Pray Better," or whatever at times when I have given them listening in previous years, seem lacking.

My point, is that I firmly believe that preaching should flow out from the gospel. I note what Paul says to Titus:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

15 Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you.

Titus 2:11-15 ESV


Certainly verse 12 allows for preaching on other topics that may not 100% do with the Gospel of Salvation. However, Paul seems to bring those topics of spiritual maturity under headship of where those sanctifying graces flow from in verses 13-14, emphasis verse 14.

That's all I'm saying.

I did not mean to come across suggesting that a Pastor who gets up and preaches on "fear" or "prayer," or any random topic is in jeopardy of incorrect teaching and preaching. It is my hope in topical sermon series though that we don't preach overcoming fear for fear sake, and leave out how the Holy Spirit helps us in overcoming fear, or Jesus's overcoming the power of the world through the Cross is a place where we can rest our hope in.

I just fear that many pastors preach through topics like self-helps. Which in my opinion doesn't line up with the foundations of preaching that Paul suggests to Titus.

I hope this makes sense.

Thanks again for your thoughts.
God bless
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- II CORINTHIANS 5:21 ESV
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby mattrose » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:29 am

There's definitely plenty of 'self-help' and 'try harder' preaching around. I don't think there's any doubt about that. I agree that all preaching should flow from the Gospel and be Jesus-centered.
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby steve » Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:04 am

And I also agree with you both.

Of course, we may be using the word "Gospel" more narrowly than necessary. The Gospel of justification by grace through faith in Christ is definitely the aspect of the message that we often refer to as the Gospel (at least I tend to). Biblically, the "Gospel" or the "Good Tidings" refers more holistically to the entire message and story of Jesus (as Mark 1:1 seems to suggest). His death and resurrection are the featured events in that story that provide an understanding of justification, I think. The teaching and discipling of His followers would, apparently, properly fall under the broader rubric of the term "Gospel."
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby Singalphile » Fri Dec 08, 2017 11:59 am

Just in case anyone is unaware (I say sarcastically), it's 2017 and you can listen to sermons every spare minute of your day, and you'll likely never run out of them.

In choosing a group or denomination of Christians with whom you'll pray, encourage, edify, and serve with in your area, a 30 minute speech on Sunday morning (which nobody is obligated to attend or listen to, anyway) is of minuscule importance, I would say, provided the sermon isn't encouraging people to sin.
... that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. John 5:23
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Re: A Denomination More Arminian than Wesleyan?

Postby remade » Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:17 pm

Singalphile, I hear your points.

This thread was just concerning the "theology" of a church - if you will.

Obviously it's focus will be on the theology presented from a sermon.

I am friends with a Nazarene (that's the denomination I grew up in myself) who has accepted Reformed teaching. I have encouraged him to stay with his Nazarene church though because it is the community of believers that have been with him since he's been saved.

I agree that what one adheres to individually shouldn't have as much bearing on them as the body of believers that they've loved and have been loved by for years.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
- II CORINTHIANS 5:21 ESV
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