Misrepresentation of Arminius’ Teachings Making the Rounds Again: Pierre du Moulin From the Grave

, posted by drwayman

Arminius spent his later life refuting what people said about him and his teachings,   Some of his interlocutors were responsible and represented his views accurately, others seemingly intentionally distorted what he taught.

An apparent intentional distortion came from du Moulin in 1619 and has recently made its way onto a reformed history page (https://reformedcovenanter.wordpress.com/2019/09/17/pierre-du-moulin-on-reformed-and-arminian-views-of-adam-contrasted/ ) and into recent discussions between Arminians and other theologians. In his book, du Moulin states that Arminius taught, “God put in man that inclination to sin; which seeing it is an evil thing, God should be made the author of that which is evil, and to have inclined man to sin; which cannot be spoken without heinous wickedness. (p. 36).”  

One wonders where du Moulin would get such teaching about Arminius when Arminius explicitly stated in Vol 2 of his works:

OF THE FALL OF ADAM
1. Adam was able to continue in goodness and to refrain from sinning, and this in reality and in reference to the issue, and not only by capability not to be brought into action on account of some preceding decree of God, or rather not possible to lead to an act by that preceding decree.
2. Adam sinned freely and voluntarily, without any necessity, either internal or external.
3. Adam did not fall through the decree of God, neither through being ordained to fall nor through desertion, but through the mere permission of God, which is placed in subordination to no predestination either to salvation or to death, but which belongs to providence so far as it is distinguished in opposition to predestination.
4. Adam did not fall necessarily, either with respect to a decree, appointment, desertion, or permission (p 349).

 

It’s unfortunate that the reformed website just publishes du Moulin’s accusation without noting that du Moulin was answered at that time about his misrepresentation.  And…the article  is closed to comments and the author (reformed covenanter) of the site does not have a contact page to be able to inform about du Moulina’s actions and the rebuttal.

 

Dr Keith Stanglin, Arminian scholar and co-author of the book, Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace, noted:

“It is a near verbatim quote. Du Moulin was using the 1613 edition of “Epistola ad Hippolytum a Collibus,” with the “Articuli nonnulli,” (12.2), pg. 18. This is in Arminius “Opera theologica” (1629), p. 956, which I translated in Stanglin and McCall, Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace, p. 147 (also in London ed. of Works, 2:717.)

Corvinus is the one that Owen is later responding to. Corvinus was the Remonstrant minister in Leiden, one of the Remonstrants present at the Synod of Dordt, and a defender of Arminius’ writings. Corvinus wrote his response to Du Moulin in 1622: Censura.

The following is from page 101:

Corvinus said, among other things (and I’m paraphrasing the Latin in what follows), that Arminius was proposing these questions as problems for discussion, not as theses that he would defend. (The text of the articles itself bears this out. Bangs also mentions in his Arminius biography that it’s irresponsible or impossible to reconstruct Arminius’ thought based on this document alone. But that didn’t stop Du Moulin and company!)

Corvinus goes on to say that the prelapsarian inclination to sin is simply (and here I translate more verbatim) “a natural aptitude by which man could be moved to that which was forbidden by the Law.” He goes on to say, in other words, that man was not unable to sin, and he must have had some (natural) attraction to what was forbidden but that he ended up taking.

The point is: the very fact that they fell to temptation shows there was some inclination when the choice was presented; otherwise it would have been no temptation. This does not mean God is the author of sin.

I, not Corvinus, would add that all theologians said that prelapsarian man was still endowed with divine grace. Finally, to charge Arminius with calling the God the author of sin is the most extreme case in history of the pot calling the kettle black.”

 

It is unfortunate that such misrepresentation of Arminius’ beliefs continue into today, when the misrepresentation was effectively countered when du Moulin wrote such.

 

Arminius, J. The Works of James Arminius, Part 2. https://www.ccel.org/ccel/arminius/works2.pdf?fbclid=IwAR3S05s5DeHJX9AkKOw0AM2yB4JXV19fUqsT0Mq3GYooSrlLj8D__IWpqaU

Pierre Du Moulin, The Anatomy of Arminianism: Or, The Opening of the Controversies of These Times (Formerly Handled in the Low-Countries) Concerning the Doctrine of Providence, of Predestination, of the Death of Christ, of Nature and Grace, &c (1619; London: Nathanael Newbery, 1635), 6.1-2, p. 36

Stanglin, K.D. & McCall, T.H. (2012).  Jacob Arminius:  Theologian of Grace. Oxford University Press.  ISBN: 0199755671