Roy Ingle, “The Pre-Conversion, Enabling Grace of God: Arminius’ View”

, , Comments Off on Roy Ingle, “The Pre-Conversion, Enabling Grace of God: Arminius’ View”

Arminianism is a system of grace. Often Calvinist theologians term their theology as “the doctrines of grace” in comparison say, to Arminianism, which they deem as doctrines of works. But in reality Arminianism strongly believes in grace, and we believe that we are saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:8-9) and not by our own good works or our own self-righteousness (Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:23; 6:23; Titus 3:5-7). Arminianism, from beginning to end, teaches that all of salvation is a work of God through His grace. Before a man can be saved, he must be convicted of his sins by the Spirit of God (John 16:8-11) through the Law of God (Romans 7:7; 1 Timothy 1:8-10), and this is by the grace of God (John 6:44). From regeneration to glorification, the entire life of the disciple of Jesus is by God’s grace.

James Arminius taught that before conversion we possess the “power of willing” – that is a capacity for acting either righteously or sinfully. In other words, Arminius believed that while people are born depraved, we don’t have to always be as evil as we can be. Calvinists believe much the same. Of course, Arminius did not hold that even good works done by us before conversion contribute anything to our salvation. He believed that salvation came only by faith in Christ Jesus. Therefore, mankind needs the grace of God to enable them to believe and be saved.

About this pre-conversion, enabling, prevenient grace Arminius wrote:

In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded,
maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened, but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and
lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be
assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as excited by
divine grace. For Christ has said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing,’…..The
mind, in this state, is dark, destitute of the saving knowledge of God, and,
according to the Apostle, incapable of those things which belong to the spirit
of God…Exactly correspondent to this darkness of the mind, and perverseness of
the heart, is the utter weakness of all the powers to perform that which is
truly good, and to omit the perpetration of that which is evil

Arminius went on to cite Matthew 7:18; 12:34; John 6:44; and 8:36 as Scriptures which back up his views on grace.

Arminius differed with John Calvin over the idea of irresistible grace where Calvin taught that God’s grace was absolutely sovereign in salvation and that the elect were drawn by grace unto Christ and unto faith. Calvin denied the freedom of the will and taught that such a teaching would result in works salvation in that man would be seen as cooperating with God in salvation. Arminius disagreed. Arminius believed that the fall did not destroy the free will of man but nonetheless the will is still warped by sin, and apart from the grace of God mankind could not be saved. Arminius saw the freedom of the will as part of a loving God’s gracious intention to save all who would come to Him through faith in His Son (John 3:18). Arminius further saw the issue of free will not as cooperation with God’s grace but submission and surrender to God’s grace (Acts 5:32; Romans 10:9-10). Man is not cooperating with the grace of God but conceding.

Arminius believed that all of the Christian life was of grace. From prayer to the Lord’s Supper – all was of the grace of God. He denied that we are saved by grace and kept by works but are saved and kept by faith (1 Peter 1:5), and our perseverance is a perseverance in grace and not works. Holiness is by grace. Discipleship is by grace. Preaching is by grace. Even marriage is by grace. While good works flow naturally from a regenerated life (2 Corinthians 5:17; James 2:14-26), works by no means are our means of grace (Ephesians 2:10).

[Link to original post and comments at Roy Ingle’s website]