Saturday, July 17, 2010

Comment by George Bryson

George Bryson left a comment on my other blog. I'm cross posting it here, where it is more likely to be read. Bryson is associated with Calvary Chapel, and is a non-Calvinist who does not consider himself Arminian. His comment deals with why he writes against Calvinism and not Arminianism.

Bryson is the author of several books that deal with the problems of Reformed Theology.(Calvinism: Weighed and Found Wanting, and The Dark Side of Calvinism: The Calvinist Caste System).

I just happened on your site (or as our Reformed friends would say, was foreordained to find you. One of the questions I hear a lot is "why don't you write a book against Arminianism" or why not explain "why it is that you are not an Arminian"?

For many years I thought about writing a book explaining why I am not an Arminian but never felt a need to write a book against Arminianism. The reason is that I am not against Arminianism the way I am against Calvinism. It never offends me and I do not see it as a threat to the health and well being of the church of Jesus Christ.

I do not see Arminianism on a agressive campain trying to win everone over to their views, even if it means misleading their potential converts. For these and many other reasons, I do not see Arminianism as a threat. So it is difficult for me to justify the kind of time it takes me to write a book that I would be happy with.

My disagreements with Arminians are real but not usually serious. When an Arminian scholar represents his views, he does not usually feel a need to hide anything or to hold anything back. They tell you what they believe and why

This is not always so for many Calvinists. I am happy to see a lot of Arminians representing themselves and I do not think they will find a need to become rude, personally attack those they disagree with, deliberately attempt to insult or offend non-Arminians. I am sure there are exceptions.

On many Calvinist websites to be rude and crude is considered cool and hip. May it never be so with Evangelical Arminians. In Christ, George


The Seeking Disciple said...

So what are his problems with Arminianism if you know?

SLW said...

It's reaffirming to see that someone without a dog in the fight notices the same rudeness so many Arminians have complained about.

Which, BTW, I think arises from Calvinists cold-blooded, intellectual approach to doctrine (which fits their conception of a dispassionately arbitrary electing god), rather than the warmth of Arminian theology (which has no disconnect with God being love).

Kevin Jackson said...

Roy - I'm not certain. My best guess is "eternal security", although of course there are a few Arminians who hold to that view.

SLW - yes it is, I agree.

The Seeking Disciple said...

Isn't Bryson from Calvary Chapel? I would like to know his problems. I have never read his book so I don't know if perhaps he shares about his views on eternal security. I would think that most Calvary folks would reject eternal security but I could be wrong since I don't fellowship in a CC church.

Kevin Jackson said...

Roy, yeah, Bryson is associated with CC. I think he does hold to "Eternal Security". Here's a quote from his book on Calvinism:

"The saved should persevere in faith and holiness to the end of their life on earth, thereby proving their love for the Lord. The truly saved, to the degree they fail to persevere in faith and holiness, have to that same degree demonstrated a lack of love for the Lord. Although saved, they experience a loss of fellowship with the Lord inthis life, and a loss of rewards in the next.John 15:1-14"

George said...

Dear George

How can you say that you are not an Arminian when many (if not most) theologians say that you must be one or the other?


I can say this based on the facts.

I disagree (agreeably) with Article 1 of the Remonstrance when it says:

That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ's sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end…

The Remonstrance view of election to salvation is eternal and conditional. It is God looking into the future and seeing who it is that will believe in Jesus Christ and persevere (in faith and holiness) in Christ until the end and then electing them accordingly. While I believe that God sees the future and who it is that will believe because He is omniscient and sees everything (past, present and future), I do not believe election is based on who will believe or believe and persevere(future tense) but on who did believe alone in Christ alone through Christ alone (past tense).

In my view, once a person believes he is elect for whatever it is that God elects a person to do or be. "Show me an elect person and I will show you someone who has believed in Jesus Christ for salvation. Show me someone who has believed in Jesus Christ for salvation, and I will show you someone God elected from the time he believed".

God of course, knows who will believe and who He will elect. But his election is not based on what He knows but on what He makes (i.e., an elect person of the believer) of the believer relative to faith in Christ.

I do not believe perseverance is factored into God making a person one of the elect or keeping an elect person an elect person. For the Remonstrance, if you fail to persevere in faith and righteousness to the end it may mean that you forfeit the benefits of what you were elected for; chiefly salvation.

For the Reformed it (failure to persevere to the end)would mean you were not really elect and saved in the first place. In both cases, salvation is ultimately discerned through performance of the saint relative to the perseverance of the saint (i.e., Arminianism) or the one who appeared (i.e., Calvinism) to be a saint. In Christ, George

Kevin Jackson said...

Hi Mr Bryson, thanks for the clarification. There are some Arminians that hold your position. Here's one: OSAS Arminian. The Remonstrants themselves were ambiguous on the question of perseverance.

Either way, as non-Calvinists we have much in common and as you say we can disagree agreeably. Thanks again for your thoughts. God bless.

Michael Gormley said...

The Protestant Doctrine of Eternal Security.

A Psychological Trap.

The Protestant doctrine of eternal security is a psychological trap, and one that is all too easy to fall into. By providing a quick, simplistic answer as to how we are saved, and giving the person the comfort of assured eternal salvation, it discourages further inquiry into the fullness of the truth on this most important matter.

This rather fast assurance of salvation helps to make Protestantism very popular. My personal feeling is that many people in the silent or quiet moments of their lives must know in their hearts that this fast, simplistic assurance of eternal salvation is too good to be true (Romans 2:14-16).

The natural law, the law written on our hearts of flesh, is calling us to seek the fullness of the truth in the Church founded by Jesus Christ (Jeremiah 29:11-13) (Deuteronomy 6:4-6).

Playing With Fire.

Many people in following the 16th century reformers are deliberately choosing to reject Catholic Church authority and the channels of grace available to them in the seven (7) Sacraments.

If they knowingly and wilfully did this, on such an important matter, they could find out (perhaps to late) that it will be more difficult for them to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

God will respect their free will and the decisions they made, along with the grace and truth that they have received, and will place them in the proper eternal location or condition.

The more grace and truth that they have received the more that will be expected from them (Luke 7: 47; 12: 48). Perhaps they feel they can live life their way, using their freedom to choose the truth when they want to, or abuse their freedom by choosing to do evil (Contraception, abortion, etc.) when they find it convenient.

You are only free to choose the good. Love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your spirit, and then do what you will.

Many people joining a "church" (faith communities) for convenience of life style, are "choosing not to know" the fullness of the truth in the Catholic Church.

They hope that they can somehow claim ignorance (or say it was controversial) and therefore escape culpability on their individual day of judgment.

Feigned ignorance will not allow anyone to escape culpability ( proverbs 24: 11-12 ). This is like playing with fire.

They choose not to turn and come closer to the fullness of the truth, which is a person Jesus Christ and who also is one with His Spouse, the Church (Ephesians 5: 32).

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