(Arminianism the Lie) 

As Based on the Canons of Dordt, Popularly known as the Five Points of Calvinism. 

Divine Sovereignty 

1. ARMINIANISM is that rejected error which has become the most insidiously devised heresy ever to lay claim to Biblical support. Its allure and popular appeal arise from its subtle flattery of depraved human nature, and in its apparent Scripture basis. In loud tones it pretends to the sovereignty of God. “He sovereignly controls all creation, universal nature and the whole of mankind; His supremacy pertains to all things, everywhere. Nothing escapes His surveillance and all-pervading control. ‘The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good’ (Prov. 15:3). It includes our lives; for ‘in Him we live.’ It embraces our actions, for ‘in Him we move.’ It extends to our very being, for in Him ‘we have our being’ (Acts 17:28). We devise our own plan, but the Lord ‘directeth our steps’ (Prov. 16:9). Yet His superintendency is so exercised that God is not the ordainer of sin, but only by His providence permits it. Neither does He coercively prevent it, and thus infringe upon man’s free will and responsibility. Indeed, in that province God does not allow His sovereignty to interfere; for He has created and maintains man’s free will inviolate. Hence Joseph says of the crime of his wicked brethren, ‘But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive’ (Gen. 50:20). In the spiritual realm, God tenders His primary will that men be saved by obedience to the covenant of works (Gen. 3). When man brake that covenant, He, according to His ultimate will, employed an emergency plan—the cross—that men be saved by compliance with the conditions: ‘except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish’ (Luke 13:3, 5).” Here is the lie fostered that man takes central position at the hub of the universe. Man is almighty man. 

CALVINISM has for its first principle, “In the beginning God!” He is the center of the universe. “For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things: to whom be glory for ever! Amen” (Rom. 11:36). In the realm of creation, nature and providence, absolutely nothing occurs without God’s appointment; but He works all things according to the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11). Nothing happens by chance, but by the direction and ordination of our gracious heavenly Father. “My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure: . . . yea, I have spoken, and I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed, I will also do it” (Is. 46:10, 11). Also God does more than to permit evil: He gives the power to perpetrate it: “Thou couldest have no power against Me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11). Further, He sovereignly determines beforehand that the evil shall be done according to His eternal counsel (Acts 4:27f). Though Joseph’s brethren wickedly sold him into Egypt, it is nevertheless true that it was not they, but God who sent him there; for it was God who ordered their evil act (Gen. 45:8). Even the evil of war is God’s work: “For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts, that they should come against Israel in battle, that He might destroy them utterly, and that they might have no favor, but that He might destroy them” (Josh. 11:20). In fact, man acts only when activated by God. “In Him we live and aye moved” (Gr., passive). So that we cannot turn to what is right unless God turn us. “Turn Thou us unto Thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned” (Lam. 5:21). This, because God’s will alone is absolutely free; and man’s will is always subject to His. “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” (Dan. 4:35). God is equally as sovereign in the field of grace. The saving death of Christ was designed chiefly for the praise and glory of God, not merely as a means to rescue souls from hell. “To the praise of the glory of His grace,” “that we should be to the praise of His glory,” and, the whole of “redemption (is) unto the praise of His glory” (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14): “Unto you (God’s elect people only) . . . a Savior . . . (Why? primarily for man’s betterment? No!) Glory to God in the highest!” (Luke 2:11, 14). The highest truth of Scripture is that God in His eternal purpose seeks His own glory. God is God! 

Total Depravity 

2. ARMINIANISM, however, under its breath croons the siren song of man’s essential goodness. Man is only “very far gone from original righteousness,” not really nor utterly dead in sin, nor destitute of all powers to spiritual good, but is wounded, badly corrupted, and left half dead (Luke 10:30). Though he be totally depraved, yet he remains a free moral agent, and can still hunger and thirst after righteousness and life (Matt. 5:6); he can believe (Acts 16:31), if he will; he can will and choose, or not to will and not to choose Christ and all manner of good which may be presented to him: “How often would I have gathered thy children . . . and ye would not” (Matt. 23:37), and, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Josh. 24:15). Therefore the initial grace of God is not that almighty power whereby He raises us out of death into life; but is only a gentle advising whereby God does not produce the consent of man’s will; but merely proposes that consent to the will, and leaves man to comply and convert himself: “Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). 

(To be continued)