Dear Editor of the Standard Bearer:
In response to the contribution of Mr. A. Nobel, Jr., in the April 1 issue of the Standard Bearer, I would like to place the following comments in the Standard Bearer.
1. I must disagree with Mr. Nobel’s contention that Dr. Payson’s quote is “a spiced Arminian pill” and the “rankest type of Arminianism.” This conclusion is reached by Mr. Nobel, not from a fair interpretation of what Dr. Payson wrote, but by unjustly imposing inferences, deductions, and implications of his own upon the statement of Dr. Payson. By ‘such methods it is not difficult to make any author the “rankest Arminian.”
2. Mr. Nobel contends that the quote denies total depravity, teaches the Arminian lie that “the human is able and willing to turn to Christ” without the grace of God; that we take the initiative by applying for a cure of our spiritual malady and that we cooperate in this. These are inferences by brother Nobel. They are not the statements of Dr. Payson.
3. We appreciate brother Nobel’s fear of Arminianism and his strong emphasis upon the truths of total depravity, the importance of the WORD in salvation and the truth that “it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12, 13). When a fair interpretation is given to the statement of Dr. Payson, we fail to see where these truths are denied or jeopardized.
4. Dr. Payson speaks of the “symptoms of spiritual decline.” This immediately presupposes that he is speaking of and to the spiritually living, i.e., the regenerated. A spiritual decline is possible only in them and not in those that are dead.
Dr. Payson sounds a warning where such symptoms are in evidence. “Be alarmed! Your spiritual health (note: not ‘life’) is in danger!” Need we be reminded that the sounding of such warnings is according to Scripture?
“Ye shall even warn them (brethren) that they trespass not against the Lord, and so wrath come upon you and upon your brethren; this do, and ye shall not trespass.” (II Chron. 19:10).
The sounding of the warning is imperative, also today! Do you see any symptoms? There is no Arminianism in preaching the warning!
Dr. Payson gives advice where the symptoms of spiritual decline are perceived. Again, it takes eyes to see. The dead are blind but this instruction is for the living. The Dr. warns against the use of patent medicines, self-made remedies (cures of Armiuianism) but writes: “Apply immediately to the Great Physician.” Do you have better counsel? Did not the Great Physician Himself say: “COME TO ME” and His words did NOT “presume the structure of doctrine that Arminians would use.” Christ’s words harmonize with this: “ALL that the Father giveth unto Me shall come” just because “it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” The call is particular but the proclamation of it is general. And God works out the pleasure of His will through the means of warnings, exhortations and admonitions in the Gospel. (I Cor. 1:20). Let us not be remiss in sounding them nor accuse unjustly of Arminianism when they are sounded.
We have more but the allowed space for contributions is filled.
Fraternally in the Lord,
G. Vanden Berg