Arminianism, free will, free choice, Calvinism, and hyper-Calvinism, are
terms we may hear discussed today. In more theological circles words such as; Pelegianism,
semi-Pelegianism, election, predestination, total depravity, irresistible grace, and
foreknowledge are also debated. Sadly, too often the discussion is merely an intellectual
contest, with a “winner take all” mentality. Calm humility rarely characterizes
those who discuss such areas of truth.
I believe, like many evangelists and Bible teachers, in the total
depravity of man, and the sovereignty of God in salvation. At the same time I believe man
is responsible for what he does with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus. Believing thus I am
persuaded that brother Spurgeon’s approach to preaching the Gospel is a sound
one—preach as if it all depends upon man, and pray as if it all depends on the Lord.
(1 Cor. 3:6)
My belief in God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility has
never hindered my preaching of the Gospel. On the other hand, neither has it hindered my
teaching of Scriptures which teach the sovereignty of God in our salvation. The same would
be true of those Bible teachers previously mentioned.
A greater concern should be whether we are faithful in preaching the
Gospel of Jesus Christ. Do we stress the love of God at the expense of His righteousness?
Do we stress the holiness of God at the expense of His love? Do we use
Biblical terms such as; believe, repentance, sin, death, hell, eternal damnation,
redemption , forgiveness, propitiation, or do we simply use terms that are vague or
meaningless? Do we take the place of the Holy Spirit and force professions of faith
where there is no repentance?
I continue to be overwhelmed with God’s grace that not only made
salvation possible and available, but which without I would have never come to faith in
Christ. Does this mean I cannot have fellowship with those who believe differently in this
area? To date it has never hindered my fellowship with those who love and preach the same
Christ. Sadly, there are some who have extreme views, but this is true in both ends of the
Men through the ages have held the two views, some working side by side to
take the Gospel to the lost. It is a concern to me that brothers and sisters in Christ
cannot discuss these views in a spirit of love and humility. No doubt there are many
common areas in which they do agree and in which they can rejoice. Certainly, they can
rejoice together in God’s amazing love and grace, and in their wonderful Savior.
They can also labor together to “spread the Word”of salvation through
faith in Jesus Christ.