1. Chapter One: Definitions
  2. Defining Reformed or Modified Arminianism
  3. Defining the Originator: Arminius
  4. Chapter Two: Historical Background
  5. Originator, Follower, and Teaching
  6. Jakob Hermanszoon
  7. The Remonstrants
  8. Thy Synod of Dort : The Teaching of the Remonstrants
  9. a)  Setting
  10. b)  Doctrine
  11. Conclusions and examples
  12. a)  Sin
  13. b)  Apostasy
  14. c)  Past, Present, and Future
  15. The English Movement: Thomas Grantham
  16. The American Movement: Free Will Baptists
  17. The Southern Movement
  18. a)  Palmer 
  19.     b)  Laker
  20. c)  Former Articles of 1812
  21. The Northern Movement
  22. a)  Benjamin Randall
  23. b)  Henry Alline
  24. c)  Free Will Baptists
  25. Summary and Conclusions

III. Chapter Three: Sin

  1. Gradation or Not?
  2. Disposition, Attitude, Spirit
  3. Chapter Four: Unbelief
  4. Unbelief and Sin
  5. Unbelief and Gradation
  6. Unbelief and Disposition
  7. Consequences:
  8. Perseverance or Preservation
  9. Turning to or Turning from
  10. Repentance: Necessary or Not
  11. Sanctification, Repentance and the “Holy Ought”
  12. Summary and Conclusions
  13. The Atonement
  14. Stating the Case
  15. The Basic Categories
  16. a)  Objective View
  17. b)  Subjective View
  18. c)  Classic View 
  19. Expansion of the Categories
  20. a)  Ransom theories
  21.    b)  Satisfaction theories
  22. c)  Exemplar theory
  23. d)  Governmental theory
  24. Temporal Principle of Classification
  25. a)  The Patristic period
  26. b)  The Medieval period
  27. c)  The Reformation period
  28. d)  The Modern period
  29. Observations
  30. a)  Diversity
  31. b)  One all encompassing view
  32. Proposition Four
  33. The Reformed Arminian View Stated
  34. Penal Satisfaction: One of the Six Tenets
  35. Penal Satisfaction: Defines all other views
  36. a)  Passive and Active imputation
  37. b)  The timeline: past, present, and future
  38. c)  The relation to gradation and disposition
  39. d)  Why unbelief and sin are separated
  40. Problems in the Reformed Arminian Application          

           of Atonement

  1. Theological Problems: the speculative
  2. a)  Past, present and future
  3. b)  Faith

                      (1)  Proverbs 21:4

                      (2)  “My Beloved Son”

                            (a)  Matthew 3:17

                            (b)  Hebrews 11:6

                            (c)  Faith of Christ

                            (d)  Continuance in salvation

  1. Historical problems: the facts
  2. a)  Sanctification
  3. b)  Imparted righteousness

                        (1)  Arminius

                        (2)  Henry Alline

                        (3)  Early Free Will Baptists

  1. c)  Atonement

                        (1)  Arminius

                        (2)  Butler and Dunn

  1. Final Summary and Conclusions      


The purpose of this writing is to examine and research the soteriology of the Reformed Arminian and his claim to being the exact, unchanged replica of the original teaching of James Arminius and the Remonstrants.  It is the intention of this writing furthermore to show that the claim of originality and consistency cannot be substantiated.  Neither history nor the present-day speculative theology will bear the claim that:

  1. The doctrine taught today as Reformed or Reformation Arminianism is an unchanged continuation of the original doctrine of James Arminius and the Remonstrants.
  2. That there is a verifiable link from the English General Baptists to Benjamin Randall; thus assuring an unbroken and continuing chain of doctrine as the Reformed Arminian maintains.
  3. That the teachings of the Reformed Arminian are identical to the commonly held Reformed views of sin, sinning, unbelief, repentance, and sanctification.
  4. That Free Will Baptists have always held to the same view of soteriology that is common today; especially the theory of atonement.

The intent of this writing is not to compare Reformed Arminians with other Arminian groups.  There will not be a discussion of the disparity between Arminianism and Reformed Arminianism.  Other modern Arminians may hold whatever view they choose and make whatever claims they desire about their association with their predecessors.  Any comparison or association of the Reformed Arminian with other Arminian groups or individuals will be incidental and made only in the event that it gives evidence to the proposition that he is unlike his original ancestors.

Since the Reformed Arminian also makes claim to being compliant to the Reformed viewpoint yet bears the Arminian label, it should be understood that he differs in predictable areas.  These areas include the scope of atonement, unconditional election, and irresistible grace.  At the same time he is alleging an agreement with other themes already mentioned and the other topics usually associated with the study of salvation.  These other themes are important because they pinpoint the real deviation of the Reformed Arminian.  Therefore, it is also the purpose of this writing to compare and contrast Reformed Arminian teaching with traditional Reformed viewpoints.  Particular consideration will be given to the theory of atonement and how it relates to a conditional view of continuance in salvation.  Therefore, the purpose of this inquiry is the narrow focus on the “Reformed Arminian” as contained in the denomination of the Free Will Baptists – his relationship to Arminius and the Remonstrants, the consistency or inconsistency of his history, how he differs from a traditional Reformed view in his definition of salvation and some of the peculiarities that apply to the doctrine of atonement.

It should also be noted that this arm of Arminian thought is in no way connected to the neo-Arminianism sometimes called “openness theism” which denies the omniscience of God.  The movement would distance itself from the modern element that casts doubt on Scripture.

CHAPTER I Definitions

  1. Defining Reformed or Modified Arminianism.

The titles “Reformed, Reformation, or Modified Arminianism” are all interchangeable titles for the same school of soteriology.  Those who hold to these titles seek distinction from all other Arminians.  They consider themselves to be the original Arminians and the exact historical descendants of the Dutch theologian.  These theologians seek to accomplish several things.  They desire:

  1. To unite Calvinism and Arminianism as closely as possible.
  2. To reconcile the conditional element they suppose is taught in the Scripture along with their speculative view of theology.
  3. To continue the distinction of teaching they consider being the original doctrines of James Arminius and the Remonstrants.
  4. To further the claim of being an unbroken link from the Remonstrants, to the English General Baptists, and finally to their own movement known as Free Will Baptists.

It is their opinion that they are establishing nothing new; they are simply “retracing the story.”  Picirilli offers a clear statement as to the spirit and sentiments of the Reformed Arminian and his belief that he is in adherence to his originator.  He states the following:

Therein lies the importance of going back to the beginning, (to Arminius and the Remonstrants).  Only by retracing the story can we put into its proper setting that movement I am calling Reformation Arminianism.  And only then can we evaluate the possibilities for such a brand of Arminianism today.[1]


Clearly he is saying that if one will understand and evaluate the prospects for the brand of Arminianism he subscribes to one must “retrace the story.”  This means one must return to the origin and source: Arminius and the Remonstrants.  According to this movement, Arminius defines himself as Reformed.  There are an abundance of phrases found in their writings in which Arminius is described in that exact terminology.  For example, they repeat phrases like the following:

  1. “Forged in the context of Dutch Reformed thought,”
  2. “Believed himself to be Reformed,”
  3. “Retained key Reformed concepts,”
  4. “Held in common with other Reformed thinkers,”
  5. “Reformed to the core,” and
  6. “He was Reformed in declaring.”[2]

They go to great lengths in trying to establish Arminius in the Reformed context and of having typical Reformed views.  Ashby asserts that the viewpoint that he and others hold was “forged in the context of Dutch Reformed thought.  Hence, it bears many of the identifying characteristics of that movement.”[3]  He is also candid enough to admit, “The brand of Arminianism that I am proposing will not be immediately recognizable either by those regularly acknowledged as being Reformed or by those who otherwise carry the label Arminian.”[4]  This is an unusual statement in light of the fact that this is supposedly the original view of the Dutch theologian and therefore hundreds of years old.

In stating their core beliefs, the tendency is to focus on the major and not the minor.  The theoretical is usually avoided and most tenets are concrete.  Their core dogmas are direct and concise and may be summarized in the following six short ideas:

  1. Total depravity,
  2. The sovereignty of God to control all things for the certain accomplishment of His will,
  3. The penal satisfaction view of the atonement,
  4. Salvation by grace through faith and not by works, from beginning to end,
  5. And that apostasy cannot be remedied.[5]

Obviously, there are important doctrines missing from this brief list.  There is no mention of eschatology, for instance.  Nonetheless, this cluster of five articles forms the bedrock and heart of their teaching.  As pointed out previously, there are other doctrines extracted from these that will be considered, but this, is the core of the system.

As to the name “Reformation Arminianism,” Picirilli explains why he chose to use that title.  He states in the following:

I do not claim that Arminius belongs among the magisterial Reformers.  But I felt the need to give this species of Arminian soteriology some name; ‘evangelical Arminianism’ is too broad, ‘Wesleyan Arminianism’ already in use with another meaning, and ‘Remonstrance Arminianism’ to likely to mean the Dutch Remonstrant Church, which is very different from the original Remonstrants.  I considered and finally decided against “proto-Arminianism’ as too clinical.[6]


He admits that his title may result in criticism, but he is convinced that Arminius’ theology was thought out in conscious consideration of the beliefs of the Reformers.  He concludes by stating, “I mean both to distinguish the thinking of Arminius and the original Remonstrants from some of the forms Arminianism has taken since, and to identify it with the chief emphases of the Reformation.”[7]

The particular interpretation of the “thinking of Arminius and the original Remonstrants” that he calls for is almost totally contained in the denomination called, Free Will Baptists.  They are the originators of the theological title and a critique of the Reformed Arminian is actually a critique of this branch of Free Will Baptists theology.  The Free Will Baptists movement is an association of churches.  The National Offices are located at Antioch , Tennessee .  It is comprised of more than 2,400 churches in 42 states and 14 foreign countries.[8]  While the Reformed Arminian viewpoint is certainly held by many in this movement, it is not held by all.  There is some plurality among the movement.

  1. Defining the Originator: Arminius

The challenge Picirilli proffers, as he says, is to present the thinking of Arminius and the original Remonstrants.   While this achievement may seem unproblematic, a reading of Arminius reveals that his writings can be ambiguous at times.  His writings are certainly extant, but the collection is assembled without the direction of Arminius himself as managing editor.  His writings would be more telling if arranged in a chronological order revealing his thought in the beginning and distinguishing those of his later mature years.  It is certain that Arminius did have changes of viewpoint in his teaching as he matured and as his thinking evolved, for he states, “Neither am I ashamed to have occasionally forsaken some sentiments which had been instilled by my own masters, since it appears to me that I can prove by the most forcible arguments that such a change has been made for the better.”[9]  For that reason, Arminius must be read carefully; especially by those who would desire to carry on his teachings.  Watson notes the importance of careful study if one wished to understand the original intent of Arminius.  He notes the following:

Arminianism, strictly speaking, is that system of religious doctrine which was taught by Arminius, professor of divinity in the University of Leyden .  If therefore we would learn precisely what Arminianism is, we must have recourse to those writings in which that divine himself has stated and expounded his peculiar tenets.  This, however, will by no means give us an accurate idea of that which, since his time, has been usually denominated Arminianism.  On examination, it will be found, that in many important particulars, those who have called themselves Arminians, or have been accounted such by others, differ widely from the nominal head and founder of the sect.[10]


It is interesting that in researching the comments of the Reformed Arminian, there is not one negative word offered concerning Arminius and his views or teaching.  This is an interesting phenomenon when one considers that there are major differences in their viewpoints.  In spite of this fact, the Reformed Arminian offers comments such as the following:

No doubt, many people who might pick up this book will ask themselves, “What is Reformed Arminianism?”  The answer to that question is simple: It is the view of Jacobus Arminius himself.  Arminius always considered himself to be Reformed, right up until his death.  And there were many within the Dutch Reformed movement who held his approach to theology.[11]


Instead of any critical analysis toward Arminius there is explicit confidence.  Ashby and Pinson state, “Forlines’ Arminianism, like that of Jacobus Arminius himself, differs from what most people think of as Arminianism.  Forlines emphasizes human inability in salvation, as well as the priority and necessity of divine grace for salvation.”[12] While this point of view is orthodox and certainly commendable, it may not have been the view of Arminius.  Fletcher offers an interesting bit of information concerning a tract written to a Dr. Adams by Rowland Hill (1744 – 1833), titled Pietas Oxoniensis.  Here Hill contends that Arminius “denied that man’s nature is totally corrupt; and asserted that he hath still a freedom of will to turn to God, but not without the assistance of grace.”[13]  If this accusation is true, then Arminius is not Reformed enough.  While this point cannot be substantiated, it certainly points to the fact that if true, it would taint the notion that the Dutch theologian was “Reformed to the core.”  It is also true that Arminius did tend to conceal some of his thinking.  In a personal letter to Adrian Borrius, quoted by Bangs, he states the following:

I transmit you my theses on free will, which I have composed in this [guarded], manner, because I thought that they would thus conduce to peace.  I have advanced nothing which I consider at all allied to a falsity.  But I have been silent upon some truths which I might have published, for I know that it is one thing to be silent respecting a truth and another to utter a falsehood, the latter of which it is never lawful to do, while the former is occasionally, nay very often, expedient.[14]


            Historians have taken these words and extracted different opinions about Arminius.  Obviously, some are hostile and some are sympathetic.  Sometimes offering critical analysis helps reveal the truth.  It can also reveal errors in thinking.  The point to be made in connection to this thesis is that the Reformed Arminian claims allegiance to all of the teachings of Arminius.  In reality, this is not the case.




To validate the claims of the Reformed Arminian, one must look to the historical source of this theology. This brings Propositions One and Two into focus.  The Reformed Arminian asserts that he holds to the same teaching as Arminius and the Remonstrants.  To verify this truth there must be:

  1. An understanding and comparison of its founder and followers to the current teaching, and
  2. There must be a verifiable proof that the Free Will Baptists movement maintains a continuation of original Arminianism.
  3. Originator, Followers and Teaching
  4. Jakob Hermanszoon

Jakob Hermanszoon was born into this world on October 10, 1560 in the town of Oudewater in Holland .  He was born slightly before John Calvin died and therefore never knew Calvin personally.  Facts about his early life are sketchy and little exists of his early childhood.  It seems certain that he received a solid education because he was admitted to university studies.  The first known use of the Latinized form of his name, “Jacobus Arminius,” happened when he enrolled at the University of Leiden .[15]  Arminius finished his studies in Leiden in 1581 at the age of twenty-two and traveled to Geneva .  Calvin had established an academy there in 1559 and Arminius would enroll there in 1581.  Arminius was trained in the very school founded by Calvin.  Here, he would encounter the successor of Calvin, Beza; the son-in-law of Calvin.  Beza not only knew Arminius, but wrote a letter to authorities in Amsterdam to appeal for his continued financial support.  Bangs quotes from the writings of Beza, stating:

To sum it up, then, in a few words: let it be to you that from the time Arminius returned to us from Basel, his life and learning both have so approved themselves to us, that we hope the best of him in every respect, if he steadily persist in the other endowments, and the discrimination of things.  If this henceforward be regulated by piety, which he appears assiduously to cultivate, it cannot but happen that this power of intellect, when consolidated by mature age and experience, will be productive of the richest fruits.  Such is our opinion of Arminius – a young man, unquestionably, so far as we are able to judge, most worthy of your kindness and liberality.[16]


Arminius certainly came into contact with the teachings of Beza and the two seemed to have a friendly relationship with each other.  However, it may be ill-advised to assume that the two were in agreement on theology.  Bangs notes that Beza commends Arminius for his ability and diligence and likewise Arminius commends Beza for his wonderful mind, but neither man commends the other concerning their theology.  In fact, “It is a mistake to say either that Arminius followed the content of the doctrines or that Beza did not know of the difficulties his students were having with these doctrines.”[17] To say unequivocally that anyone at this time knew the true persuasion of Arminius is conjecture.

One thing is certain; Arminius did not get along well in Geneva .  He offended a Spaniard named Petrus Galesius and found it advantageous to leave Geneva .  This event led to his move to Basel for study.  Arminius, however, wanted to return to Geneva .  This he did with the approval of Beza himself as noted in the quote above.  He signed the register at the academy in Geneva the second time in 1584.  Friends, such as Uttenbogaert, were also students with Arminius at this time.  Some of these friends would later be part of the Remonstrants; others would become judges who would condemn his teachings and that of his followers as well.  In the autumn of 1587, Arminius would leave Geneva and take up pastoral duties in Amsterdam .  Here he spent the greater part of his professional career as pastor.  During the last part of his life, he served as professor of theology.  He died at about noon, Monday, October 19, 1609 at about fifty years of age.[18] He had filled the chair of theology at the University of Leiden since 1603.  He would be replaced by his student Episcopius, one of the Remonstrants.

Arminius was recognized as a man who bore many gifts of God.  Both his admirers and his detractors understood that he was a man of scholarly achievement.  Hodge, in summarizing Arminius, states that he was, “a man of learning, talents and attractive accomplishments.”[19]

Arminius’ dissenting views were gradually realized in his formal writings and responses.  Nicole states that he “conceived some doubts with respect to the Calvinist tenets on the sovereign grace of God.”[20]  This view sees Arminius as holding one view and changing to the other.  Bangs, however, does not agree.  He states as follows:

He makes no point of having undergone a theological transition.  He constantly portrays himself as teaching an ancient position in the church and one widely held even among the Reformed pastors in the Low Countries .  He sees his opponents as innovators, not himself.[21]


It is certain that by 1602, the views of Arminius were fixed.  Whether he changed his viewpoint or whether these were his views all along is unclear.  Arminius’ revised or revealed views stirred up controversy in Holland , his home.  In 1608 he delivered his Declaration of Sentiments before the governmental authorities at The Hague .  These Sentiments were 20 arguments against unconditional predestination.[22]  This fueled the coming controversy that would produce the Synod of Dort, nine years after his death.

  1. The Remonstrants.

The Remonstrants were the immediate adherents who followed and disseminated the teachings of Arminius.  Many of these followers and adherents were more than mere associates; they were close friends.  These were people with whom Arminius had worked; many had been his students.  These men have been described as, “strong, cultured, and conscientious men, scholars of the upper class.”[23]  Some of the more outstanding of these men included Simon Episcopius, James Uytenbogaret, the layman John Van Barneveldt, and Hugo Grotius.  Bareneveldt is of note because he is described as, “a statesman of high standing, and one of the foremost men of the Dutch Republic . . . a staunch friend of Arminius, and a firm believer in the doctrine.”[24] These men were not only associated with Arminius, but sought to propagate his teachings precisely and accurately, orderly and exactly.  Barneveldt, for his devotion to his mentor, paid the cost with a martyr’s death.  Uitenbogaert had been a life-long friend of Arminius.  He knew him intimately and certainly well understood the theology and doctrine he taught.  These men, among others, presented to Holland in 1610 a series of articles known as the Remonstrance, hence the name, Remonstrants.  The opposing Calvinists were called Contra-Remonstrants.[25]

  1. The Synod of Dort : The Teaching of the Remonstrants

It was not until 1618, nine years after the death of Arminius, that the Synod of Dort

(1618 – 1619) was convened in Dordrecht .  The assembly lasted from the first of November 1618, to the twenty-sixth of April 1619.  The chief leader and major spokesman for the Arminians was Episcopius.  He was the distinguished professor of divinity at Leiden .  In fact, he had been called to the place vacated by the death of Arminius.  Both Arminius and the ardent Gomarus had taught Episcopius.  It would be the mantle of Arminius, however, that would fall on Simon Episcopius.  Episcopius became the leader of the movement later called “Arminianism” and the chief spokesman for the Remonstrants at the synod of Dort .[26]

     The Synod held at Dort was really an international Calvinistic assembly because 28 of the 130 in attendance were Calvinists from other countries.  The 13 Arminians who were part of this assemblage came before the meeting in the role of defendants.[27]

            Episcopius spoke for the Arminian party, beginning with an oration of nearly two hours.  It made such as impression on those in attendance that it drew tears from several of them.  After this, the assembly turned sour for the Arminian representatives.  Instead of being able to offer their views as a group, they were questioned separately.  They also had to render their answer to the Contra-Remonstrants’ questions in Latin.  These answers had to be ready and impromptu.  Again, deeming these responses to be in error, the Remonstrants were denied the opportunity to speak but instead, were judged by their previous writings.  The end result was that the Remonstrants were removed from their ministries and forbidden to preach or teach.  Episcopius especially was instructed, “Not to write either letter or books to confirm the people in the sentiments of the Remonstrants, or to seduce them from the doctrine of the Synod.”[28]

     The Five Articles offered by Episcopius and the Remonstrants, led by Episcopius, consisted of five doctrinal statements.  History has recorded these Articles in abbreviated form as well as longer form.  The following is the shorter form.  Later, the longer form will be offered to demonstrate the difference in teachings.  The Five Articles in the shorter form are as follows:

Article 1. That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ His Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this His Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ.

Article 2. That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by His death on the cross, redemption and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins except the believer.

Article 3. That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do any thing that is truly good (such as saving Faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through His Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly under-stand, think, will and effect what is truly good.

Article 4. That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of all good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without prevenient or assisting, awakening, following and co-operative grace, can neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements, that can be conceived, must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But as represents the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, inasmuch as it is written concerning many, that they have resisted the Holy Ghost.

Article 5.  That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being understood well that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost, and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled nor plucked out of Christ’s hands, according to the word of Christ, John 10:28: “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”  But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, or again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, – that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures, before we ourselves can teach it with the full persuasion of our minds.”[29]

            Episcopius was the leader and chief spokesman for the Remonstrants.  What he disseminated at the Synod of Dort becomes increasingly important and pertinent as one seeks to understand the original doctrine.  Therefore, it is important to hear the longer, original offering of the Five Articles delivered at Dort .  Watson gives testimony to this opinion when he states, “We subjoin[30] their opinions on the ‘Five Points’ in dispute between them and the Contra-Remonstrants, translated from the Latin papers which they presented to the Synod”[31] (emphasis mine).  Watson indicates that he is offering his own translation of the original Latin.  His translation is the first edition of the Remonstrant Confession of Faith.  While requiring a lengthy quote, it is necessary to show the obvious difference in the shorter and longer edition.  A much shorter version was published in 1940.[32]  From the Latin translation Watson offers the original longer rendering:

Article V. On the perseverance of true believers in faith. 1. The perseverance of believers in faith is not the effect of that absolute decree of God by which he is said to have elected or chosen particular persons circumscribed with no condition of their obedience. 2. God furnishes true believers with supernatural powers or strength of grace, as much as according to His finite wisdom He judges to suffice for their perseverance and for their overcoming the temptations of the devil, the flesh, and the world; and on the part of God stands nothing to hinder them from persevering. 3. (Emphasis added) It is possible for true believers to fall away from true faith, and to fall into sins of such a description as cannot consist with a true and justifying faith; nor it is only possible for them thus to fall, but such lapses not unfrequently occur. 4. True believers are capable by their own fault of falling into flagrant crimes and atrocious wickedness, to persevere and die in them, and therefore finally to fall away and to perish. 5. Yet though true believers some- times fall into grievous sins, and such as destroy the conscience, we do not believe that they immediately fall away from all hope of repentance; but we acknowledge this to be an event not impossible to occur, that God, according to the multitude of His mercies may again call them by His grace to repentance; nay, we are of the opinion that such a recalling has often occurred, although such fallen believers cannot be “most fully persuaded” about this matter that it will certainly and undoubtedly take place.[33]

In fairness, Picirilli gives a summation of the final or Fifth Article from the shorter text presented first.  It is inferior and not the original text.  The original, lengthier text offered by Watson is much more detailed and presents the views of the Remonstrants.  Picirilli commenting on the shortened version states:

This final article is the longest.  It shows that the early Arminians, although they had not fully made up their minds, were open to the view that one may be lost after being saved (emphasis mine). This had not been one of the key issues in the controversy, although it had been raised.  The statement represents a cautious and early feeling on the subject.[34]

            Before the differences in the two editions are pointed out, it is helpful to see the additional eight objections also offered by the Remonstrants.  These Eight Articles came at the conclusion of their Fifth Article.  Again, Watson offers more data than the usual versions.  His longer rendering is the original writing translated from the Latin manuscript offered by the Remonstrants at Dort .

            Therefore do we with our whole heart and soul reject the following dogmas, (emphasis mine), which are daily affirmed in various publications extensively circulated among the people namely, (1) (The notion is rejected that), ‘True believers cannot possibly sin with deliberate counsel and design, but only through ignorance and infirmity.’ (2) (The notion is rejected that), ‘It is impossible for true believers, through any sin of theirs, to fall away from the grace of God.’ (3) (The notion is rejected that), ‘A thousand sins, nay, all the sins of the whole world, are not capable of rendering election vain and void.’  If to this be added, ‘Men of every description are bound to believe that they are elected to salvation, and therefore are incapable of falling from that election,’ we leave men to think what a wide window such a dogma opens to carnal security. (4) (The notion is rejected that), ‘No sins, however great and grievous they may be, are imputed to believers; nay, farther, all sins both present and future, are remitted to them.’ (5-6) (The notion is rejected that), ‘Though true believers fall into destructive heresies, into dreadful and most atrocious sins, such as adultery and murder, on account of which the church, according to the institution of Christ, is compelled to testify that it cannot tolerate them in its outward communion, and that unless such persons be converted, they will have no part in the kingdom of Christ; yet it is impossible for them totally and finally to fall away from faith.’ (7) As a true believer is capable at the present time of being assured concerning the integrity of his faith and conscience, so he is able and ought to be at this time assured of his own salvation and of the saving good will of God toward him.  On this point we highly disapprove of the opinion of the papists. (8) A true believer, respecting the time to come, can and ought, indeed, to be assured that he is able, by means of watching, prayer, and other holy exercises, to persevere in the true faith; and that divine grace will never fail to assist him in persevering.  But we cannot see how it is possible for him to be assured that he will never afterward be deficient in his duty, but that he will persevere, in this school of Christian warfare, in the performance of acts of faith, piety, and charity, as becomes believers; neither do we consider it to be a matter of necessity that a believer should be assured of such perseverance.[35]

  1. Conclusions and Examples.

One is led to believe that these initial followers of Arminius would have been sincere and rigorous in stating the position of their founder.  His thinking was their thinking.  The first statement in the introductory proposal becomes important at this point.  Is the doctrine taught today as Reformed or Reformation Arminianism an unchanged continuation of the original doctrine of James Arminius and the Remonstrants?  The answer to this question is no.  Three examples will be offered to prove this point.

  1. a) Sin – There is a difference of opinion about whether or not sinning affects justification.  The Remonstrants state in Proposition Four of Article Five: “Yet though true believers sometimes fall into grievous sins, and such as destroy the conscience.”[36] The Reformation Arminian defines his point of view completely different from the Remonstrant.  Ashby states, “Committing sin after one is saved does not cause one to become unjustified before God.”[37] Brown states, “Apostasy is committed by willful unbelief, not by sin” (emphasis mine).[38] The emphasis here is that neither sin nor sinning affects justification.  In fact, Ashby states that the only way a person can begin to sin willfully is when he has “changed his mind about the efficacious blood of Christ.”[39]  The individual can set a course on the path of willful sinning only because he has rejected the only way of salvation.  He seems to be saying that one has free will as it relates to believing but not as it relates to sinning.  In other words an individual can choose not to believe, but he cannot be willfully sinning until he has stopped believing.  This is an obvious difference of opinion from that of the Remonstrants who state in Article Five: “True believers (emphasis mine) are capable by their own fault of falling into flagrant crimes and atrocious wickedness, to persevere and die in them, and therefore finally to fall away and perish.”[40]

The problem is exacerbated when the statements of Arminius himself are added to the mixture.  In his discussion of David’s sin, Arminius gives a summation that is in keeping with the statements of his followers.  He is explicit when he affirms: “If David had died in the very moment in which he had sinned against Uriah by adultery and murder, he would have been condemned to death eternal.”[41]  The Reformed Arminian would never agree with this viewpoint!  Arminius refers to Psalm 51 and makes note of the fact that the psalm was composed by David after he had repented of those crimes.  He then offers this window into his thinking: “God, at that time, according to the declaration of Nathan, restored the Holy Spirit to David”[42] (2 Sam. 12:13).  The statement of Arminius assumes that David had the Holy Spirit.  The Spirit was taken away and then was restored to David.  That is not the position of the Reformed Arminian.  The Remonstrants clearly are teaching that sin affects justification.  To use their terminology, true believers are capable of falling into grievous and willful sinning.  If they persevere and die in them (emphasis mine) they will perish.  The Reformed Arminian flatly denies this position.  There is clearly an antinomy in their viewpoints.

  1. b) Apostasy – In speaking of apostasy, the Remonstrants indicate that one can be renewed should he fall away.  They do not consider this falling away to be irreversible.  Proposition Five of Article Five states as follows:

Yet though true believers sometimes fall into grievous sins, and such as destroy the conscience, we do not believe that they immediately fall away from all hope of repentance; but we acknowledge this to be an event not impossible to occur, that God, according to the multitude of His mercies may again call them (emphasis mine) by His grace to repentance; nay, we are of the opinion that such a recalling has often occurred, although such fallen believers cannot be “most fully persuaded” about this matter that it will certainly and undoubtedly take place.[43]

            On the other hand, the Reformed Arminian states plainly, “that apostasy cannot be remedied.”[44]  He defines apostasy as “willful unbelief.”  There is a difference of opinion about how apostasy is formulated and whether it can be remedied.  This is another clear example of the difference of opinion between the Remonstrants and the Reformed Arminian.  They do not hold to the same doctrine concerning the results of apostasy.

  1. c) Past, Present, and Future – The subject of the timeline that relates to the forgiveness of sins is of interest.  In Proposition Four of the Eight Articles offered at the conclusion of Article Five, the Remonstrants reject the teaching that, “No sins, however great and grievous they may be, are imputed to believers; nay, farther they reject the notion that, all sins both present and future, are remitted to them” (emphasis mine).[45] The notion is rejected by the Remonstrants that future sins have no consequence and that future sins are already forgiven.  However, the Reformed Arminian affirms this viewpoint.  Brown states, “All the believer’s sins – past, present, and future, are forgiven.”[46] This is an obvious difference of opinion and in fact, is an antithesis.  The implications of this difference will be charted in the discussion on atonement.

            It is clear that there are major differences in the views of these two groups.  Since Episcopius was called upon to “defend the memory of his great friend and teacher,”[47]  it is certain that he did just that.  The result is that those who differ with the Remonstrants are also differing with Arminius.  Is the doctrine taught today as Reformed or Reformation Arminianism an unchanged continuation of the original doctrine of James Arminius and the Remonstrants?  The answer to this question is no.

  1. The English Movement: Thomas Grantham

One of the main characters that Reformed Arminians revere is the English General Baptist preacher, Thomas Grantham (1634 – 1692).  Historically it is established that by 1612 there was a group in England who shared the conviction that the atonement was general or universal.  This viewpoint earned them the name of General Baptists.  However, not all of them would affirm the freedom of the will or deny the doctrine of election.[48]  This means that one could hold the Arminian view of universal atonement but also hold to the Calvinian view of election or perseverance.  At the beginning the English General Baptists were described as mildly Arminian, but by the late 1600s or early 1700s many opted to become mildly Calvinistic.[49]  This fact may later give explanation to the seeming discrepancy in the 1812 Former Articles.  Since this change in doctrine occurred during Grantham’s lifetime, it seems that it would have affected his viewpoint in some regard.

The writings of Grantham are obscure and difficult to obtain.  In Curtiss’ Arminianism in History, published in 1894, there are numerous personalities mentioned of the Arminian persuasion.  Thomas Grantham, however, is never mentioned.  In fact, Toplady laments in a letter to Wesley that Grantham would never have been remembered had Wesley himself not “raised his ghost from the dead,” along with that of the independent Arminian John Goodwin.[50]

It should be understandable that the scant biographical information that may be obtained about Grantham is largely through secondary and Internet sources.  The best available information reveals that he was born in 1634 at Halton in eastern Lincolnshire , England , and made his living as a tailor and farmer.  He received no formal education.  He was converted as a teenager and joined a small General Baptists church.  In 1656, he was chosen as pastor.

He is generally credited with having written a confession of faith, which later became known as The Standard Confession, 1660 though his name does not appear on the original.  This statement or confession would be included in a plea for toleration to King Charles II and a pledge of loyalty to the crown.  All of this was to no avail and Grantham, along with other General Baptists, found himself in and out of jail during the 1660s.  By the late 1660s he had established himself as an author as well as itinerant preacher.  His most monumental work was Christianismus Primitivus, or the Ancient Christian Religion, published in 1678.[51]

From all indications, Grantham lived an exemplary life.  His character and integrity are unchallenged.  However, it should be noted that some of his personal preferences and Scripture interpretations are curious.  As men and women are products of their own time and culture, Grantham, no doubt, is a reflection of the times in which he lived.

Concerning public worship, for instance, Grantham had particular and peculiar views about singing and music.  He would allow no musical instrument, a parallel with another well-known American originated Arminian group.  If singing was done in the worship service, it had to be done by a male.  Women could not sing because women were to be silent during all church services.  Not only did the singing need to be rendered by a male, it must also be solo.  Mixed voices, done by a multitude, according to Grantham, should be considered “promiscuous singing.”  In fact, he considered group singing done by a multitude as unscriptural!  After all, if the entire group were singing together, there perhaps could be an unsaved person in the worship service.  If the unsaved person should participate in the singing, his participation would corrupt the spiritual effectiveness of the worship.  Not only were the songs to be done solo and by males only, they were to be psalms only.  There were to be no songs of human composition.  Manmade songs were considered to be dangerous.  Grantham considered any song of human composition to be equivalent to a written prayer or a sermon put to manuscript, which also should not be done.  If a multitude of singers were singing the same lyrics, there would be no spontaneity in worship.  Therefore, the Holy Spirit would not have the opportunity to lead in the worship service and He would be quenched.[52]  This attitude of Grantham stands in stark contrast to that of Benjamin Randall.

Grantham also had atypical views of the pastorate and pastors.  Since he had received no formal training, he saw no need for others who announced their calling to the ministry to be formally trained or educated.  He referred to formal training as the “approved” schools and he argued that those who received formal education often had insufficient knowledge of the right sort for gospel ministry.  It should not be surprising that it was frequently assumed that the General Baptists did not encourage the support and education of the ministry.  In his book, Christianismus Primitivus, Book 2, page 64, he states:

But all such as come not first, to repent of their sins, believe on the Lord Jesus and so baptized in his Name, for Remission of sins: But are only brought up in the Schools of humane Learning, to the attaining humane Arts, and variety of Languages, with many vain curiosities of speech:  Seeking rather the gain of large revenues than the gain of souls to God, such we utterly deny, for that they have need rather to be taught themselves, than fit to teach others.[53]


It is understandable that Grantham would take exception to one who had formal education in religion, apart from the new birth.  Men are not saved, redeemed, or regenerated by education.  However, it is unfortunate that Grantham did not recognize the advantage of formal training for those who are, in fact, born again and prefer the benefit of interaction with other learners.  After all, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (Lk. 12:48).   There are, of course, consequences for choosing ignorance and lack of knowledge, i.e. being opposed to education and especially good formal biblical training.  In time among the English General Baptists there was doctrinal laxity and backwardness of outlook as one might expect.  Picirilli notes this fact and admits that the English General Baptists, under the influence of Thomas Grantham, followed the distinctive doctrines of Arminius, “while they were yet sound in the faith” (emphasis mine).  One of the false doctrines that later tainted the English General Baptists was anti-Trinitarian opinions.[54] This fact is important in the consideration of any influence that English Arminian Baptists might have had on their American counterparts of the late 1700s.

Grantham is important to the Reformed Arminian because he is seen as the link between the Remonstrants and the modern day movement.  He is the champion personality who has brought the teachings of James Arminius and the Remonstrants down to the present time.  Unlike the Calvinist tradition or other Arminian traditions where there have been a multitude of players, the Reformed Arminian looks to only a scant number of individuals and primarily to one man, Grantham, as the primary link from the English Arminian Baptists to their American counterpart.

  1. The American Movement: Free Will Baptists

Cathcart contends, and rightly so, that the true Arminian Baptists in America can be traced to the Free Will Baptists movement.[55]  There is also the General Baptists movement, but it is understood that the modern movement in America bears no direct relationship to the English General Baptists.  The American founder, Benoni Stinson, had been influenced by General (Free Will) Baptists of North Carolina.[56] There has never been a close relationship between the two movements.  However, a portion of the literature used by General Baptists is now published by Free Will Baptists.  Of the two movements, the Free Will Baptists are the movers and shakers in the origination and propagation of Reformation Arminianism.  Since all writing and development of the soteriology titled “Reformed Arminianism” has originated with Free Will Baptists theologians or teachers, it is natural to focus on this movement.  Therefore, consideration will only be given to this particular Arminian movement and to the claims of this movement previously mentioned.

  1. The Southern Movement.

Tracing the origin of the Free Will Baptists movement, where today most Reformed Arminians reside, is a bit tedious.  They attempt to trace their linage through the southern movement because it lends to their idea of a continuum from Grantham.  Those who read the historical evidence, however, without trying to hang the movement on a doctrinal format, find the actual founding of the denomination in the northern movement.  This difference becomes important as the genealogical claim of the Reformed Arminian to be the direct descendant of Arminius is tested and tried.

Those who follow the southern movement look to the General Baptists in North Carolina and the ministry of one Paul Palmer as the path from Grantham to the present day.  Palmer is proclaimed by them to be the progenitor of the theology of Grantham and indirectly the primary contributor of the Reformed Arminian movement in America .  However, none of the Free Will Baptists historians can say with real certainty where Palmer originated and what finally became of him.  There are scant remains that delineate exactly what Palmer believed or taught.  It seems that the inclusion of Palmer is based on ad hominem.  For instance, comfort is drawn from the fact that Palmer married the step-daughter of one Benjamin Laker.  Laker had immigrated to Carolina from England , where he had been an active General Baptist.  This might cause one to draw conclusions about Laker’s theological views except, as already noted; the General Baptists was wide-ranging on his theology of perseverance.  Pinson notes that in Laker’s final will he mentions ownership of many English General Baptists books.  Among this collection was Grantham’s Christianismus Primitivus.[57]  From this scant bit of information, Pinson extrapolates rightly or wrongly that Palmer received the book from Laker and this became the definitive agenda for the fledgling Arminian Baptists church in America .  One need only note the reference is plural; this was one of several books left by Laker.  Later, Pinson notes again that Laker, “Left Christian books in his will to friends and family members.”[58] This would mean that he read other religious works and related to other religious thinkers besides Grantham.  Since these books were left to friends and family, one could only conjecture which books were given to whom and for what reason.  There is no information that establishes just how much or if Grantham influenced Palmer at all.  Neither is there information that spells out the true theology of Palmer.

The activity and influence of Palmer continues to be shrouded in mystery and uncertainty.  It is certain that he established General Baptists churches and had influence in the work that bears that name.  Davidson comments:

The date of Palmer’s death has not been established.  The mystery that had enshrouded his early life and ministry has continued to follow him even in death.  Whether it was caused by death or the infirmities of old age, Palmer’s ministry was cut short and by 1742, he had disappeared from the General Baptists field of action.[59]



            While it is certain that he predates the founding of Randall’s northern movement by about a century,[60] to date, no one has accused Palmer of beginning a denomination.  In fact, Pinson admits, “But these Free Will Baptists or General Baptists scattered across the South never formed a denominational structure” (emphasis mine).  This statement alone, coming from a Reformed Arminian, should be enough to cast doubt on the influence of Palmer. 

            There is one note of interest concerning the work influenced by General Baptists in the Carolinas .  There was the publication of a confession of faith which has come to be known as the 1812 Former Articles.  According to Pinson, this confession of faith is a condensed and revised version of the 1660 English Baptists Confession of Faith, written by Grantham.  One item found among the 1812 Former Articles is particularly enlightening.  Article Ten conclusively establishes that General Baptists of this era were Calvinistic in their view of perseverance.  It states, “We believe that the Saints shall persevere in grace, and never finally fall away” (emphasis mine) (Jn. 10:27-29).  Article Ten denies the possibility of falling away and affirms the final and continued perseverance of the saints.  Since this is a condensed version of the Confession by Grantham, does that mean that Grantham held the same view or does it mean that General Baptists in America had changed their doctrinal stance from that of Grantham?  Pinson admits, “The Free Will Baptists of the South defined themselves theologically in debate and interaction with Calvinistic Baptists rather than other types of Arminians” (emphasis mine).[61]  This seems to imply that they adopted one explanation of their theological views in private functions but another in public debate and interaction.  One would think that the foregoing statement would cause some embarrassment to one who claims a Reformed Arminian soteriology.  Pinson, however, wisps the inconsistency away by averring, “The tendency among General Baptists in England and America for the first 250 years of their existence was, if they erred, to err on the side of Calvinism rather than on the side of extreme Arminianism, such as Wesleyanism or Campbellism.”[62] His statement is interesting because the Wesleys did not draw up their guidelines for a Methodist society until 1743.[63] This means that a mere 69 years elapsed until the drawing up of the 1812 Former Articles.  It is profound that an Arminian movement could have exerted such an influence on another Arminian movement to cause them to restate such a cardinal doctrine!  Was this, in fact, the actual teaching of the General Baptists in America for some time or was a disingenuous statement made to avoid association with the Wesleys?  It certainly calls into question the integrity of the movement.  If doctrinal stances are hidden or misstated to avoid similarity, then the integrity of the movement is questionable.  Concerning “Campbellism,” the indictment is even more difficult to substantiate considering the fact that Alexander Campbell did not publish his views until the early 1850s.  Is the link from Arminius to present-day Reformed Arminianism routed through shrouded, veiled statements of faith that still need foundation?  Is the foundation for this movement constructed on hidden or concealed beliefs?  Careful consideration shows the difficulty of trying to ascertain just how much the southern movement actually influenced the northern movement established by Benjamin Randall.  More will be stated about this in the final summary and conclusion. 

  1. The Northern Movement

            It is the northern movement that carries more weight for most historians and earnest followers of the Free Will Baptists movement.  Historians, like Bordin and Baxter, have argued that the present-day Free Will Baptists movement be limited to the movement known as the northern segment.  Their focus is the work begun by Benjamin Randall in 1780.  This is easily recognized when one understands that there was never a denominational structure started in the southern movement.  Davidson acknowledges, “Baxter was correct in contending that the founding of the Freewill Baptists be traced to Benjamin Randall if by employing the term, ‘Freewill,’ he meant to indicate only the northern movement.”[64] This information becomes important when one understands that Randall did not become an Arminian Baptist by way of the General Baptists venue, that is, Grantham.  Davidson affirms, speaking of the streams of influence that helped to form Randall’s thinking:

His spiritual metamorphosis was unique in its direction.  Rather than developing through the expected channel of the General Baptists movement which had been present in New England for many years, it had passed from Congregational to Calvinistic Baptists sentiment before finally ending in the new Freewill Baptists doctrine.  The lack of General Baptists influence might be explained by the decline of the movement which had begun about the time of the Great Awakening.[65]


            This, of course, indicates a broken link in the chain from Arminius, to the Remonstrants, to Grantham, and then on to Randall.  Randall was not first influenced by the General Baptists and no claim has been made that he was a disciple of Grantham. Because of this fact, Davidson honestly admits, “Whatever the reason for the lack of General Baptists influence, it has been quite evident that the Freewill Baptists movement in New England had its beginning through a spiritual development that began in the Congregational background of its founder, and that it cannot be dated beyond 1780.”[66]

            It is of note that Randall made his spiritual journey through the Congregational Church in New England .  One would assume that Randall was at least familiar with current trends in religious thought during his generation.  This would include the theology of “The New Divinity,” a modification held by some in the Congregational Church at that time.  Among other things, these Calvinists believed in the governmental view of atonement rather than the penal-satisfaction view.  It is of interest that the Presbyterians and Congregationalists did most of the theological shifting during this period.  This shift in emphasis and interpretation led many Calvinists to a point not far removed from Arminians.[67] No one is putting Randall in this movement or assuming he had agreement with these viewpoints.  However, it would seem that Randall, being an independent thinker, would have been familiar with the theology of Jonathan Edwards, Jr. (1745 – 1801) and Timothy Dwight (1752 – 1817) who was president of Yale and the grandson of Jonathan Edwards.  These men lived concurrently with Randall and were his peers.

            It is certain that there were many theological voices crying out to be heard.  Just what influences there may have been in Randall’s thought is unclear.  It would be as unfair for one to connect him with “The New Divinity” as it would to connect him with Grantham.  This indicates the difficulty in trying to commixture the northern movement with the assumed Grantham inclined southern component.

            There is one man, however, who cast a great influence on Randall.  This influence can be documented and proved.  There was a farmer-evangelist from Nova Scotia named Henry Alline (1748 – 1784) who came to Maine with an anti-Calvinist treatise.  Though not a Baptist, Alline exerted more influence than any other single individual on Benjamin Randall and the Free Will Baptists.[68] His major writing was titled, Two Mites Cast into the Offering of God, for the Benefit of Mankind.  It was originally published in Halifax in 1781.  Randall was so enthralled by the book that he did a revision of the book and had it reprinted in 1804 in New Hampshire by the Free Will Baptists.  In fact, this is the only book in which Randall offered written commentary and the only book published by him.  Holifield describes the essence of the book.  He writes:

Alline envisioned the original creation as a spiritual “Out birth,” or emanation of an androgynous God.  The exercise of free choice led to a fall into materiality, but a “spark of the divine nature” remained intact within every human being, and Christ’s atonement enabled the “inmost soul” to follow the law of love and embrace the God who existed in an “eternal now” that transcended time.[69]


            It is also interesting and telling that Alline’s book contained themes and ideas from the English Methodist John Fletcher and the Anglican William Law.  Both of these men had influence on John Wesley and on Randall as well.  There is no mention of Thomas Grantham in the book.  There were also two editions of Alline’s Hymns published by Free Will Baptists.  These hymns were quite popular among the movement.[70] This, of course, indicates that Randall did not have the same reservations about manmade hymns that Grantham did.  Alline died early in 1784 at North Hampton , New Hampshire .  “The location of his death symbolized the future direction of his immediate influence, for it was not far from the home of Benjamin Randall, founder of the Free Will Baptists movement in the United States based largely upon Alline’s ideas.”[71]

The northern movement is important to the Free Will Baptists effort because it did become an authentic, tangible denomination.  By 1830, Randall’s and Alline’s vision of a God who redeemed “all that possibly can be redeemed” by restoring free agency was shared by around three hundred congregations.[72] His work has continued with lasting credentials and denominational enterprises.  It was the northern movement that became the largest body and certainly the best educated of the two movements.  Pinson curiously omits the fact that the northern movement began schools and a publishing company.  Hillsdale College in Michigan and Bates College in Maine were begun by Free Will Baptists of the Randall movement.  The present-day publishing facility of the denomination is called Randall House Publications.  Pinson curiously overlooks or neglects the two most outstanding educators of the period between Randall, Alline and modern-day Free Will Baptists: John J. Butler and Ransom Dunn.  Their joint endeavor of 467 pages, Lectures on Systematic Theology, published in 1891, marks the only major theological work of the movement during this period.  There is no mention of the Free Baptists Education Society formed in 1840 at Acton , Maine .  John J. Butler was part of this gathering that included 76 ministers and prominent laymen.[73]  While Dunn is not listed as part of the original Education Society, he was part of the building committee that had charge of the construction of Hillsdale College in Michigan .  In fact, the prayer of consecration was offered by Professor Dunn who “had unusual liberty of spirit on this momentous occasion.”[74] He later served on the facility at Hillsdale College .  The preface of the biography, Life and Labors of Rev. Ransom Dunn, describes him with these words: “If this sketch may bring to the memory of the old friends who have not gone on to meet him this energetic, consecrated worker, or recall to the alumni of Hillsdale College this genial, saintly professor whom all students loved, or stir some young hearts to more devoted Christian service, it will have achieved its object.”[75]  It seems unusual that these influential men are overlooked in the modern treatments of Free Will Baptists history.

While it is true that the majority of the Free Will Baptists movement was absorbed by a merger with the Northern Baptists in 1910, the remnant that remained and continued on with the work owed much to the work of Randall.  He is recognized in the honoring of his name still today among this movement.  His influence and labors are still noted.  However, in recent years he has been overshadowed by those who would recognize the ambiguous southern movement.  While it is certain that the southern churches later defined the denomination, especially following the merger in 1910, it is difficult to trace their influence in the initial denomination founded by Benjamin Randall.

  1. Summary and Conclusions.

The second statement in the introductory proposal becomes important at this point.

Is there a verifiable link from the English General Baptists to Benjamin Randall to the modern-day Free Will Baptists movement; thus assuring an unbroken and continuing chain of doctrine as the Reformed Arminian maintains?  Can it be verified that Thomas Grantham and Palmer are in a line of succession in influencing Benjamin Randall, therefore maintaining an unbroken and continuing chain of doctrine?  The answer is negative for the following reasons:

  1. In searching through the writings of Grantham, it is difficult to find significant statements about his view of Arminius.  It is difficult to find definitive teaching on his view of perseverance.  It requires an amount of conjecture in making Grantham and Arminius compatible in thinking.
  2. Were the 1812 Former Articles merely an extension of Grantham’s views adopted by the General Baptists in America ?  If not, then they must have been the actual view of the General Baptists themselves.  Steward points out that by 1825 the English General Baptists were “Calvinistic Baptists.”[76] This would explain the statement in the 1812 Former Articles.  This is not the viewpoint of Arminius or the Remonstrants.  If they were the views of Grantham, then it simply demonstrates again how different he is from the Remonstrants.
  3. No one has ever substantiated the fact that Palmer started a denomination.  In fact, even Pinson who calls for his inclusion in the founding of Free Will Baptists admits that Palmer never started a denomination.  It is extremely difficult to measure the effect on a denomination by one man who starts a few independent churches.  By 1827 most of his churches in North Carolina were Calvinist.  In fact, most of them had converted over in the late 1700s.[77]
  4. Because Palmer left no substantive writings, it is impossible to know with certainty what he taught or believed beyond basic doctrines.  Consequently there can be no linking of English General Baptists and Palmer.  It is simply impossible to chart the likeness or difference of individuals when there is no concrete knowledge of the individual’s opinions.  No one can say with certainty that Palmer ever read or accepted the doctrine of Grantham.  While it is true that Laker, father-in-law of Palmer, had these writings in his possession, it cannot be substantiated that Palmer ever read or retained the writings and therefore the doctrine of Grantham.
  5. Randall certainly came through a different heritage than did Palmer.  Randall was influenced by Congregationalists and then Baptists separatists before forming the Free Will Baptists movement.  Randall was converted under the preaching of Whitefield and was influenced by Henry Alline who was influenced by Fletcher.  Fletcher was a Methodist and Alline was not a Baptist.  Randall had no aversion to extracting and publishing Alline’s book that had been contributed to by Fletcher.  His affection for this writing demonstrates that Randall did not have the same aversion to Wesleyanism that the southern movement had.
  6. Benjamin Randall, the undisputed founder of the northern movement had already lived and died (1749 – 1808) while the southern movement was still trying to determine what it believed.  This is clear from the 1812 Former Articles.  There is really no good explanation for the security statement found in the 1812 Former Articles.  Any attempt to dispel the obvious seems to be only ad hominem.
  7. Randall had already established an Arminian denomination or movement that stated so overtly.  The northern movement was complete with publishing facilities, colleges, and a denominational structure.  The southern movement had none of these structures.
  8. One thing is indisputable; the southern movement has at this time moved farther away, not closer to the Remonstrants.  The Remonstrants would never have avoided their Arminian distinction.  They would never have hidden or stated their doctrine in esoteric language.  Given their stand at the Synod of Dort it is inconceivable that the southern movement equals or even compares to the commitment of the Remonstrants.

There is no connecting link between Randall and Grantham.  In fact, the General Baptists were in decline when Randall came on the scene.  Davidson has noted, “Whatever the reason for the lack of General Baptists influences, it has been quite evident that the Freewill Baptists movement in New England had its beginning through a spiritual development that began in the Congregational background of its founder, and that it cannot be dated beyond 1780.”[78]  The claim of the Reformed Arminian to have a connecting link through Randall, Palmer, Grantham and back to the Remonstrants cannot be substantiated.  Interchange between the northern and southern movements cannot even be substantiated until later as the movement began to expand and was already established.  In the Minutes of the General Conference of the Free Will Baptists Connection, there is only mention of the General Baptists in England .  There is no mention of General Baptists in America .  Benjamin Randall is mentioned constantly.  There is no mention of Grantham.  This reprint edition of the denominational minutes covers the years of 1827 – 1856.[79]




Having defined the Reformed Arminian and given his historical background, attention now turns to contrasting his theology with the Reformed viewpoint.  This examination is necessary because the Reformed Arminian asserts that he is in harmony with Reformed thinking. Proposal Three of the introduction of this inquiry stated this objective. Therefore, there will be comparison of his views on sin and sinning, unbelief, repentance, sanctification and perseverance.  Are the views of the Reformed Arminian essentially the same as Reformed understanding?   Are there some significant differences that indicate changes and modifications? The view of this inquiry will be that the Reformed Arminian deviates in his understanding and application of these basic doctrines in several ways.  Therefore, the intent of these next two chapters will be to offer examples of the differences in the two schools of thought.


The Reformed Arminian makes claim to simply be “retracing the story” from Arminius, the Remonstrants, Grantham, and on through Free Will Baptists.  He does not define himself as the originator of a new doctrinal view. This claim is specifically made in relation to basic doctrines; such as the doctrine of sin. The doctrine of sin is multifaceted.  It is certainly more than, “Thou shalt not.”  It is important to delineate carefully the view taken of sin – how it is defined, how it affects mankind and by what means it should be dealt. On the surface the position of the Reformed Arminian sounds acceptable and, of course, Scripture is called forth for support.  However, on closer inspection the definition is deficient and one-dimensional, lacking profundity.  His explanation will become more understandable when his view of the atonement and its application are delineated.

  1. Gradation or not?

One of the obvious differences in the understanding of sin as proposed by the Reformed Arminian is the question of whether there is gradation. This is especially germane to the believer and his transgression of the law. Arminius held to a gradation view of sin; Reformed Arminians do not indicate the same viewpoint.  Arminius states:

Because we say that ‘the wages of sin is death,’ we do not, on this account, with the Stoics, make them all equal. For, beside the refutation of such an opinion by many passages of Scripture, it is likewise opposed to the diversity of objects against which sin is perpetrated, to the causes from which it arises, and to the law against which the offense is committed.[80]


One example is enough to clarify the Reformed Arminian viewpoint.  Brown, stating the standard Reformed Arminian rationalization, appeals to Scripture for his definition and, of course, the Scripture he quotes is correct.  However, he uses his solitary Scripture quote as if it speaks for the whole teaching of Scripture.  He expounds on 1 John 3:4, saying:

It is simple in that it defines sin as any form of lawlessness as it relates to the law of God.  It is profound in that it is stated in such a manner that any violation of God’s law is sin.  It does not say that the willful violation of God’s law is sin, but is stated in such a manner that it certainly includes a willful violation.  Neither does it say that the accidental, or unknown, violation of God’s law is sin.  But again, it is stated in such a manner that it certainly includes any accidental or unknown violation.  Interestingly, it does not say that the violation of God’s law in deed is sin.  Nor does it make an attempt to cover sins of thought or motive.  The simple statement “sin is lawlessness” covers it all.[81]


In principle, most evangelicals would find agreement with the above mentioned assertions. The basic tenets may be stated as follows: 

  1. Sin is defined as lawlessness.
  2. Sin is a violation of God’s law.
  3. Sin may be carried out in deed.
  4. Sin may be done in thought or motive.

All of these observations are correct. Perhaps it is what is implied or perhaps not stated that is troublesome.  To assert that this verse or these statements offers the preponderance of biblical explanation and teaching on this important subject is an unjustifiable assumption.  No distinction or gradation is offered.  Brown further maintains:

Therefore, any (author’s emphasis) violation of God’s holy law is sin, whether it is known or unknown, whether it is willful or accidental, and whether it is a sin of great social consequence or one known only to God.  Any violation of God’s law, whether in thought, action, or motive, is sin.[82] 


Brown is saying that all transgression stands equal.  Known sin and unknown sin are equivalent violations to God and held in equilibrium. If God is the only one who is aware of the sin, that is, even if the perpetrator is unaware of his sin and has not discovered it, it is still equal to the willful known breaking of a commandment.  Any violation of God’s law for any reason under any circumstance is sin.  He is averring that there is no gradation to sin. 

            Do the Scriptures teach that there is no gradation of sin?  One needs only to recall the provision set forth in the Old Testament regarding the cities of refuge.  In Numbers, chapter 35, there is a proviso carefully outlined for one who “kills any person accidentally.” This opportunity was instituted by the LORD Himself,


Numbers 35:9 (KJV) And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,


In verse eleven the instruction is clear that


Numbers 35:11(KJV) Then ye shall appoint you cities to be cities of refuge for you; that the slayer may flee thither, which killeth any person at unawares.


There are to be six cities for refuge.  These six cities are for the children of Israel , the stranger, and the sojourner.  The distinction is carefully made between those who kill with deliberate intent and malice and those who take another’s life accidentally, such as throwing a stone and not knowing a person was there (v. 22).  In the event of an accidental action the manslayer shall remain in the city of refuge where he will be safe and unharmed, (v. 25).  Where willful intent is involved, the perpetrator is referred to as a “murderer.”  However, the term is never used of the man who accidentally kills another.  In fact, verse eleven uses the word nakah, a word that means to be killed or slain.  It does not carry the designation of murder and it is not the same word used in the later verses where the word “murderer” appears.  The word in verse sixteen and following translated “murderer” is ratsach.  It denotes, “to murder, premeditated murder, or an intentional slaying.”[83] The inspired writer is careful to differentiate the truth that different intent and different motive cause different consequences and a different response from the Sovereign God.  The man who kills accidentally, without willful intent, is never referred to as a murderer.  He does not receive the punishment of the murderer who “shall surely be put to death” (Num. 35:16). Both perpetrators have responsibility and have technically “transgressed the law.” Furthermore, the end result of either action leaves a person as deceased.  Nonetheless, it remains that the intent and motivation cause a different outcome.

            There is also an interesting passage in the New Testament that addresses the question of transgressing the law and accountability.  Hebrews 11:24-25, gives a description of Moses’ faith when he had grown up.  The phrase in Hebrews matches the same phrase found in Exodus 2:11.  There it is recorded, “And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens: and he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand” (Ex. 2:11).  The author of Hebrews seems to imply that by committing his deed, Moses was refusing to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.  Cockerill observes concerning this action:

Moses made this choice before he saw God at the burning bush and certainly before God manifested His power to deliver His people from Egypt .  Thus he made this choice when it was costly to choose God’s side.  People often think Moses acted unwisely in slaying the Egyptian.  They see this as an abortive attempt to deliver God’s people in his own strength.  The preacher says it was an act of faith, (emphasis mine) the time when Moses chose to be on God’s side.[84]


There is no doubt that the law condemns murder.  However, in this situation in Moses’ life his choice became an act of faith.  Moses was choosing to be on God’s side. This passage demonstrates that there are circumstances used by the LORD to accomplish His will.  While it may be classified as a transgression, it is also recognized as being an event that God used and a decisive act of faith.

In the New Testament there is the distinction which the Lord Jesus drew Himself, in stating, Matthew 12:31(KJV) Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

Clearly a gradation of sin is seen in this Scripture.  There is a category of sins that will be pardoned and one that will not.

Again, in the New Testament there is a clear distinction between known transgression and unknown transgression.  In John 9:41 we read, John 9:41 (KJV) 41  Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.


Clearly the Lord is showing a difference between known wrong-doing and unknown.  Jesus is saying because they knew better – but did not do better – therefore their sin remained.  Knowledge, motive, and intent make a difference.

Did the Reformers recognize gradation of sin? There can be no greater source in revealing the Reformed viewpoint than that of Calvin himself.  It is without doubt that Calvin maintained the gradation of sin and did not accept the proposition that all sin is on one level.  He states, “Some sins are mere delinquencies, others crimes and flagrant iniquities.” [85]   The graver sins deserve excommunication, but “lighter faults” should be only admonished. Calvin clearly saw gradations of sin in the Scriptures. Berkouwer has accurately noted, “Thus it is obvious that there is, in the Scriptural parlance, a certain irrefutable ‘more’ or ‘less’ in reference to man’s sin.  Nowhere do we meet with an ‘egalitarian sin-idea.’”[86]  The more or less idea has to do with the seriousness and the consequence of sin. Berkouwer offers a unique Scripture pointing out the “more” and “less” aspect.  It is seen in the distinction between the slave who knew what his lord desired and the slave who did not know.  Both slaves were disobedient.  However, the slave with knowledge received a severe beating, but the slave who acted in ignorance received a light punishment (Lu. 12:47-48).[87]  Again it is reaffirmed that God holds one responsible according to the degree of knowledge one has of His will. This is certainly a contrast to Brown’s notion that not reading one’s Bible, not praying as frequently as one could, not witnessing as one could, or failure to attend church – is identical to adultery.[88] While all of these are failures and while the Scriptures emphasize that “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God ” (1 Cor. 6:9), still, as Berkouwer correctly asserts, “there is no ‘equalizing’ of sins.”[89] Grudem refers to the Sermon on the Mount and declares, “Jesus distinguishes between lesser and greater commandments, thus implying that some sins are worse than other sins in terms of God’s own evaluation of their importance.”[90] These commentators are not saying that transgression is justified or overlooked by Almighty God, nor are they professing light views of sin.  They are simply recognizing what is in the Scriptures.

From the standpoint of ethics, there is clearly graded absolutism.  Hodge maintains that not every false enunciation or statement is false.  He concludes, “This enunciation may be made through ignorance or mistake, and therefore be perfectly innocent.  It may even be deliberate and intentional.”[91] Hodge understands the tension that exists in a world where there are unavoidable moral conflicts.  Some of these conflicts enjoin one to choose the higher moral over the lower. This is easily illustrated in the circumstance of Rahab (Josh. 2). Rahab hid the spies, lied about their whereabouts, sought escape for her family and ultimately is rewarded in the proclamation,

Joshua 6:17 (KJV) …only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.


Later she is mentioned as one of the great faithful heroines in Hebrews, chapter 11.

Hebrews 11:31 (KJV) By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.


She is also mentioned in the lineage of the Lord Jesus Himself (Matt. 1:5).  Hodge becomes understandable then when he concludes: “Intention to deceive, therefore, is an element in the idea of falsehood.  But even this is not always culpable.”[92] Here is an evangelical theologian who understands that the sin question cannot be summed up in limited definition and narrow parameters. He clearly understands the multifaceted aspect of sin and is a Reformed thinker. The problem with the Reformed Arminian seems to be over-simplification.  Brown avows that, “Any lack of perfect and absolute conformity to God’s law – any very minute violation (author’s emphasis) of His law – is sin.”[93] Brown defines and postulates only an egalitarian sin-idea.  It is clear that the Remonstrants did not agree with this position because they distinguish: “flagrant crimes and atrocious wickedness, grievous sins, and such as destroy the conscience, atrocious sins, destructive heresies and others such as this.”[94]  Here we find a clear discrepancy between the Reformed view and the Reformed Arminian.

The importance of this information will become clearer as conclusions are drawn together.  Because of the lack of distinction in sin, the whole perseverance system of the Reformed Arminian must be redefined. All transgression committed by a believer is seen as equal. To find consistency in a conditional soteriology, the Reformed Arminian must redefine and deal with the paradoxical problem of sin as it relates to unbelief.

  1. Sin as Disposition or Attitude

The Reformed Arminian often speaks of sin in the sense of an action or an

activity. He also speaks of thought and motive and it is stated that, “Any violation of God’s law, whether in thought, action, or motive, is sin.”[95] Still there is not careful observation or scrutiny of the real origin and strength of sin.  Sin is deeper than simply breaking or keeping rules. C. S. Lewis has well noted this fact when he comments,

We must not make the Christian life into a system of mere law, because it raises scruples when we don’t keep the routine or it raises presumption when we do.  Nothing gives us more spuriously good conscience that keeping the rules, even if there has been a total lack of real charity and faith on our part.[96]


Sin is not about rule keeping and does not originate with the action.  It is an attitude, a disposition, temperament, or a spirit. The outward activity or action designated as “sin” has its origin in the heart of man.  Jesus clarified it once and for all when He stated,


Matthew15:19-20(KJV) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, falsewitness, blasphemies: 20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.


Sin is a disposition and principle.  Therefore the principle is true that a corrupt tree brings corrupt fruit (Matt.7:17).  Plantinga observes, “Sin is more than the sum of what sinners do.  Sin acquires the powerful and elusive form of a spirit.”[97] Is this not the same spirit seen in the personality of Satan himself?


Isaiah14:12-14(KJV) 12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.


Sin is first and foremost a state of the heart; indwelling the heart (Rom. 7:17).  Berkhof succinctly notes, “And from this center (the heart) its influence and operations spread to the intellect, the will, the affections, in short, to the entire man, including his body.”[98]  This distinction is important and certainly one that has been recognized in Reformed circles.  Again the Lord Jesus clarifies this distinction when he proclaims,

Matthew5:28(KJV) 28  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.


That means that one has already committed adultery, even before the act, because of the spirit, state, and disposition of the heart.  When Jesus continues in the Sermon on the Mount to caution that it is better to pluck out the right eye or to cut off the right hand, (Matt. 5:29-30), He is certainly speaking in hyperbole, and He is certainly not teaching that temptation can be cured by plucking out eyes or cutting off limbs.  He is saying that one’s heart must be changed sufficiently so that sin as a disposition of the heart is conquered by the indwelling Holy Spirit.  This has been the goal revealed even in the Old Testament.


Ezekiel 11:19 (KJV) And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:


Sin as a spirit or a disposition makes the executor guilty before God. This truth will become important when it is applied to the Reformed Arminian view of continuance in salvation.  Both sin and unbelief find their origin in the heart.  Sin as a disposition should have direct bearing on the heart.  The same is true of belief and unbelief.  Therefore, the relationship between these dispositions becomes ultimately important to the doctrine of soteriology, especially in a Reformed Arminian proposal.

The distinction is made then between sin as a nature or disposition and sinning as the evidence of that disposition or nature.  Sin as a condition leaves all men


Ephesians 2:3 (KJV) and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.


The Reformed Arminian would agree completely that man is totally depraved and corrupted.  It is not the correctness of his view of depravity; it is his employment of the doctrine of sin that is problematic.

Brown states, “Nobody was ever saved because he stopped sinning.  He was saved because he started trusting in Christ.” [99] Ashby also offers the same sentiment: “It is not by quitting sinning that one becomes justified before God.  It is, instead, by faith in Christ.”[100] If these authors mean only that one’s effort of self-reformation is not enough to produce salvation, then there is no debate.  If they are stating that personal efforts and personal righteousness will never produce salvation, they are correct. Evangelicals agree that simply “stopping sinning” does not indicate that one has entered into a state of salvation. Again, the ability to keep rules does not cause one to be born of the Spirit of God.  Rule keeping does not bring about regeneration. However, it is not the insufficiency of self-reformation that the authors seem to have in mind.  There seems to be a dichotomy between the state of salvation on one hand and the ability for one to break the law of God without impunity on the other.  In other words, the authors state that sinning and entering a state of salvation are mutually exclusive. In these authors’ viewpoint, one can be in a state of salvation and the continuing life of sinning has only limited effect on his state in grace.  The problem with this speculation seems to be two-fold: (1) It does not adequately deal with the doctrine of regeneration, and (2) It seems to be an over-simplification of sin as a nature or disposition. While it can be stated, in the narrow sense, that “stopping sinning” does not save,[101] it cannot be stated de facto that “sin” as a nature is not affected when one enters a state of grace and therefore receives the benefits of regeneration and the resulting indwelling Holy Spirit.  The thoughts of Warfield are important at this point:

The Bible conceives salvation as the redemptive renewal of man on the basis of a restored relationship with God in Christ, and presents it as involving a radical and complete transformation wrought in the soul (Rom. 12:2, Eph. 4:23) by God the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5; Eph. 4:24), by virtue of which we become ‘new men’ (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10), no longer conformed to this world (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9), but in knowledge and holiness of the truth created after the image of God (Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10; Rom. 12:2).[102]


Warfield concisely notes the effect that entering a state of grace has on the believer. The point is this: Since entering a state of grace affects sin as a nature, a disposition, or spirit, then the accompanying product or fruit called “sinning” must also be affected.  Since it is the condition of sin as a nature or disposition that produces evidential “sinning,” it cannot be stated with infallibility that “stopping sinning” is not a condition of salvation. One has his relationship with sin changed as a result of the primary cause of regeneration and faith.  No informed evangelical would state that “stopping sinning” is a ground for justification.  However, given the weight, the magnitude, the certainty and guaranteed results of regeneration in affecting “sin” as a nature and disposition and as the source of “sinning,” it cannot be stated without qualification that one can trust Christ and it not affect his “sinning” as a result.  Grudem is correct as he succinctly observes, “When people are asked to characterize a regenerated person’s life, the adjective that comes to mind should not be ‘sinner,’ but rather something like ‘obedient to Christ’ or ‘obedient to Scripture.’”[103] It is an anomaly to assert one can be “in Christ” while at the same time having no change or little change appear in relation to the “sinning” problem.  The Reformed Arminian would agree that being “in Christ” would have an effect on sin.  However, it is his explanation of the relationship of faith and sin that is troubling because (1) He seems to offer an over-simplification of his view of sin and sinning that ultimately leans towards antinomianism, and (2) In his view one should sin less, but failure to do so only brings limited punitive consequences. These kinds of explanations that the modern Reformed Arminian suggests are never found in the original views of Arminius, Grantham, and early Free Will Baptists. These kinds of statements are not found in Calvin’s thought. Instead, the language of the Reformer is sounded in concrete descriptions such as the following:

Moreover, as hatred of sin, which is the beginning of repentance, first gives us access to the knowledge of Christ, who manifests himself to none but miserable and afflicted sinners, groaning, labouring, burdened, hungry and thirsty, pining way with grief and wretchedness, so if we would stand in Christ, we must aim at repentance . . . Christ came to call sinners, but to call them to repentance.  He was sent to bless the unworthy, but by “turning away every one” “from his iniquities.”[104]


There is no hint that sinning after one claims election does not affect the reality of one’s state of justification as Ashby declares.[105] This viewpoint of the Reformed Arminian is not found in Calvin.  Again, there is a distinction of the Reformer to the Reformed Arminian. There seems to be an under-developed teaching on the effect of sin as a disposition. 








Chapter Four



  1. Unbelief and Sin

This chapter is given its own title because of the treatment that the Reformed Arminian gives to the subject.  Reason might dictate that unbelief would be included in a discussion of sin and certainly in a soteriology that affirms a conditional continuance in salvation; however, this is unconscionable to the Reformed Arminian.  The fact of the matter is that the Reformed Arminian does not place sin and unbelief in counterpoise.  Sin and unbelief become two separate entities in their theology. It seems certain that the Reformed Arminian does not intend to create this division; nevertheless, in his application it becomes the praxis of his theology. The inferences extracted from his comments seem to affirm that obedience to the moral law has no bearing on salvation. Again, in principle the Reformed Arminian would never admit to that viewpoint; however, when his views are delineated on paper, his words affirm that position in theory.  Reformed Arminian thinkers may well disagree and say this is an extrapolation, but taking the plain statements offered, this appears to be the case.  The definition of apostasy that Brown offers is as follows: “Apostasy is committed by willful unbelief, not by sin” (emphasis mine).  Even a cursory reading of that sentence reveals the viewpoint that unbelief and sin are being separated into different categories. Ashby augments the viewpoint somewhat adding that “committing sin after one is saved does not affect one’s salvation” (emphasis mine).[106]  The point is well taken that apostasy is caused by willful unbelief; it is not effectuated by sin. Moral obedience has no bearing on salvation.  It is only willful unbelief that can affect one’s continued relationship with God. Sin is sin and unbelief is unbelief. It would be improper to conflate these two propositions into one. For the Reformed Arminian then, the two find only an innocuous association with one another.  If one takes the words of the Reformed Arminian literally as stated, then a sermon such as that by the thoroughly Reformed pastor, Charles Spurgeon, entitled, The Sin of Unbelief, would seem like an oxymoron![107]

It is interesting that from the standpoint of historical theology the Reformed Arminian links himself with the Roman Catholic viewpoint and, in counteraction, to a Reformed view.  The division he makes between sin and unbelief is not the Reformed viewpoint. The following reflection taken from Tillich’s A History of Christian Thought is quite enlightening.  He notes:

On the other hand, the doctrine of sin in the Reformers was based on the fact that sin is unbelief (emphasis mine).  Against this the Roman Catholic Church says: No, sin is neither unbelief nor separation from God (emphasis mine). Sin is understood as acts against the law of God.  This means that the religious understanding of sin was covered over by the Council of Trent.[108]


Tillich carefully notes that the doctrine of sin in the Reformers was based on the fact that sin is unbelief.  One may question Tillich’s later theology, but he has never been accused of lacking the scholastic ability to state the plain history of Christian theology. The interesting item is the contrary viewpoint of the Catholic Church.  Their view, as confirmed by Tillich, is that sin is neither unbelief nor separation from God (emphasis mine)!  This, of course, is the viewpoint of the Reformed Arminian! The quotes taken from Brown and Ashby are these exact sentiments: “Apostasy is committed by willful unbelief, not by sin” and “committing sin after one is saved does not affect one’s salvation.”  This is the Catholic viewpoint that sin is neither unbelief nor separation from God. This is not the traditional viewpoint of the Reformers.  Calvin, in speaking of Adam’s sin, affirms, “The promise, which gave him hope of eternal life as long as he should eat of the tree of life, and, on the other hand, the fearful denunciation of death the moment he should taste of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, were meant to prove and exercise his faith.”[109] Calvin sees that the problem of Adam’s sin was his unbelief.  His disobedience and his unbelief are interchangeable.  So the Apostle Paul would proclaim,

Romans 5:12 (KJV) Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:


Paul could have said, just as easily, that “unbelief entered into the world,” because the two are interchangeable.

Again, Tillich clarifies the viewpoint of Luther, stating:

I want to emphasize Luther’s doctrines of sin and faith very much because they are points in which the Reformation is far superior to what we find today in popular Christianity.  For Luther sin is unbelief. ‘Unbelief is the real sin.’ ‘Nothing justifies except faith, and nothing makes sinful except unbelief.’ ‘Unbelief is the sin altogether.’  The main justice is faith, and so the main evil is unbelief.’ Therefore the word ‘sin’ includes what we are living and doing besides the faith in God.[110]


Again, the author of the Reformation states plainly that “sin is unbelief” and “what we are living and doing besides the faith in God,” would, of course, be unbelief as well as sin.  In fact, Luther states that unbelief is the real sin.  When the Lord Jesus speaks in John’s gospel of the coming work of the Holy Spirit, He outlines His work and renders,

John 16:8-9 (KJV) And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9  Of sin, because they believe not on me;


Berkouwer, comments, “We do not read of a variety of sins but only of a single, all-inclusive ‘unbelief.’”  Then he adds, “But it does suggest that from this time forth all sins and aberrations from God will be focused or centralized in this one decisive act of unbelief or disobedience to Jesus.”[111] The point is made again that unbelief and sin are linked together so intimately that it is impossible to disaffect the two.  Smith notes that in John’s gospel, “the consummate evil is enmity with the light, namely, unbelief in Jesus.”[112]Smith defines unbelief as the “consummate evil.” How can something be the consummate evil and not be sin?  Smith again addresses the relationship of sin and unbelief, asserting:

John emphasizes that


John 3:18 (KJV) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.


Jesus’ determination of unbelief was that it is willful blindness (9:39-41).  That unbelief is sin is clear from 16:9: “because men do not believe in Me.”[113]


Again, Erickson notes:


One might ask what the major factor in our failure to love, worship, and obey God is.  I submit that it is unbelief.  Anyone who truly believes God to be what He says He is will accord to Him His rightful status.  Failure to do so is sin.  Setting one’s own ideas above God’s revealed Word entails refusal to believe it is true.[114]


Erickson is paradigmatic in his use of sin and unbelief.  It is interesting how the phrases, “failure to do so is sin,” and “refusal to believe” substitute for each other in the context. Again, there is testimony to the fact that sin and unbelief are interchangeable.

Perhaps the classic argument concerning sin and unbelief is that of John Owens offered as a question to the Arminian.  He observed:

The Father imposed His wrath due unto, and the Son underwent punishment for, either: All the sins of all men. All the sins of some men, or Some of the sins of all men. In which case it may be said: That if the last be true, all men have some sins to answer for, and so, none are saved. That if the second be true, then Christ, in their stead suffered for all the sins of all the elect in the whole world, and this is the truth. But if the first be the case, why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins? You answer, “Because of unbelief.” I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins![115]


The point in stating Owens’ argument is to demonstrate again that the Reformed viewpoint has always been that sin is unbelief.  Owens clearly sets the two in equilibrium; they are analogous.

Not one of these men – Calvin, Luther, Spurgeon, Tillich, Berkouwer, Smith, Erickson, nor Owens – is Arminian, Reformed or otherwise.  Yet, they all stand united in their viewpoint and discernment that unbelief is sin and sin is unbelief.  Ramm affirms, “Sin can only be sharply defined in terms of its transcendental dimension, i.e., it is a sin against God or it is a sin against Christ or it is unbelief before the law of God.”[116] The Reformed Arminian would agree that unbelief is the consummate evil, but both Ashby and Brown stop short of saying that sin or sinning is unbelief.  It seems that verses such as,


Isaiah 59:2 (KJV) But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.


should have bearing on a discussion of unbelief and sin. The fundamental reason for their reluctance for accepting this viewpoint will be seen in the chapter on Atonement.

  1. Unbelief and Gradation

The Reformed Arminian is blinkered in his acceptance of gradation in sin. He is resistant to the Reformed idea that sin is unbelief and unbelief is sin.  For the Reformed Arminian to state the same would mean that sin and unbelief would be of equal consequence. Given the fact that he subscribes to a conditional continuance in salvation and fears the label of works more than the label of sin, he will not accept that sin and unbelief are equivalent.  He refuses to see sinning as affecting salvation at all.  Though the Reformed Arminian claims close association with Reformed thinking, he obviously deals with perseverance differently. The Reformed Calvinist is not fixed or hindered by the same parameters in dealing with the subject of perseverance. Since God’s election is sure and a reasonable holy life is guaranteed on the basis of election, he can deal with perseverance in an unconditional way – actually a less inhibited, less complicated way.  Boettner affirms, “We can never know that we are elected of God to eternal life except by manifesting in our lives the fruits of election – faith and virtue, knowledge and temperance, patience and godliness, love of brethren.  It is idle to seek assurance of election outside of holiness of life.”[117] The Reformed Calvinist insists on the production of holiness of life. He does not fear the stigma of “works” or Pelagianism since the holy life is a guaranteed result and proof of election, which, of course, is based on grace by way of election, calling and regeneration.  Calvin, reflecting on the guaranteed result of sanctification, states:

This faith, however, you cannot apprehend without at the same time apprehending sanctification; for Christ ‘is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption’ (1 Cor. 1:30).  Christ, therefore, justifies no man without also sanctifying him.  These blessings are conjoined by a perpetual and inseparable tie.  Those whom he enlightens by his wisdom he redeems; whom he redeems he justifies; whom he justifies he sanctifies. But as the question relates only to justification and sanctification, to them let us confine ourselves.  Though we distinguish between them, they are both inseparably comprehended in Christ. Would ye then obtain justification in Christ? You must previously possess Christ.  But you cannot possess him without being made a partaker of his sanctification: for Christ cannot be divided.[118]


The Reformed Arminian, while agreeing in principle, is not nearly as comfortable in his explanation of the relationship between sin, faith, and unbelief.  Philosophically, he contends for a conditional soteriology and yet in praxis seems to defend an unconditional viewpoint. This is indicated by the fact that he insists that apostasy is “willful” unbelief. Apostasy comes as a result of willful choice. For the Reformed Arminian it is a conscious decision. He is especially pushed to this compromise by the dreaded stigma of the “works” label.  Still, one begs to understand how the Reformed Arminian describes the face of unbelief.  Unbelief must have a face. Since unbelief and sin are mutually exclusive, what does the face of unbelief look like?  If one who has been converted makes a conscious decision of “willful unbelief,” what does his willful unbelief look like?  Does it reveal itself in sinning?  Can it be revealed in another way? How can one know if this is a saved person sinning or a lost person sinning? How can one tell with certainty whether one has made the choice of willful unbelief? How can one discern the spiritual state since, “committing sin after one is saved does not affect one’s salvation?” Is it safe to assume that if sinning does not affect one’s salvation, then sinning is also not a forensic indicator of one’s salvation?  Apparently, the Reformed Arminian would not agree with Godet who affirms:

Every act of will, whether in the direction of good or of evil, as it passes into reality, creates or strengthens a tendency which drags man with increasing force, till it becomes altogether irresistible.  Every free act, then, to a certain degree determines the future.”[119]


The Scriptural answer that addresses this seeming dilemma is found in


Romans 8:5 (KJV) For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.


The point is this: If “committing sin after one is saved does not affect one’s salvation,” then how do we distinguish between those who have set their minds on the things of the flesh and those who have set their minds on the things of the Spirit?

  1. Unbelief and Disposition.

            The viewpoint of the Reformed Arminian does not become any less ambiguous when the relation of unbelief and disposition is discussed. Since he separates sinning and unbelief, by default he must also separate sin and unbelief.  This becomes somewhat problematic in a conditional view of soteriology; especially when the fact is noted that “sin” denotes a principle, spirit, disposition or state of the heart.

Matthew 15:19-20 (KJV) For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: 20  These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.


The Lord reveals the truth that sin originates in the heart.  In fact, Jesus makes it clear


KJV Matt. 5:28) that the intent is a sin even if it is never carried out. To that the writer of the Proverbs adds,

Proverbs 20:9 (KJV) Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin?


It becomes problematic when the truth is added that belief and unbelief also originate in the same heart. 


Romans 10:9 (KJV) That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.


Sin, belief, and unbelief all originate at the same source. The writer of Hebrews makes this point when he writes,


Hebrews 3:12-13 (KJV) Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13  But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.


Evil is sin.  An evil heart of unbelief is sin. This sin and “hardening” is found in the heart and called unbelief.  The peculiar problem for the Reformed Arminian then is how can one be unaffected by the other.  If it is willful unbelief, not sin, that affects one’s continuance in salvation, then how do these stand in mutual exclusion? The Reformed Arminian must resist the view that sin as a principle affects belief. Ladd would disagree.  Speaking of John’s gospel, he states:


There is a greater emphasis placed upon the principle of sin.  The Holy Spirit is to convict the world of sin (not sins) (16:8).  Sin is a principle that in this instance manifests itself in unbelief in Christ.  Everyone who lives in the practice of sin is in bondage – she or he is a slave to sin (8:34).[120]


Ladd says that, “Sin is a principle that manifests itself.”  He says that unbelief was manifesting itself in sinfulness. Sin is a principle that manifests itself in unbelief in Christ. Ladd speaks of unbelief in Christ and then in the next sentence speaks of sin, clearly placing these in counterpoise.

Now the argument must be drawn together somewhat. The viewpoint of the Reformed Arminian is problematic to those who believe in a guaranteed work of regeneration resulting in continued perseverance.  It is troubling to see him liken in his thinking adultery, for instance, as being equivalent to missed Bible reading and at the same time hear him qualify that “committing sin after one is saved does not affect one’s salvation.”  Taking that to be an axiom of Reformed Arminian soteriology, the result is antinomianism. Antinomianism is not a Reformed teaching.  

  1. Unbelief, Sin and Consequences.
  2. Perseverance or Preservation?

The Reformed Arminian deviates from the Reformed view of perseverance of the saints to a position of preservation of the saints.  The plain teaching seems to be that persons are preserved whether they persevere or not.  Not only are they preserved, they are preserved in sinning that does not affect one’s salvation. This is the language used by the Reformed Arminian himself as already noted.  Calvin could not disagree more.  He affirms,

Doctrine is not an affair of the tongue, but of the life; is not apprehended by the intellect and memory merely, like other branches of learning; but is received only when it possesses the whole soul, and finds its seat and habitation in the inmost recesses of the heart.  Let them, therefore, either cease to insult God, by boasting that they are what they are not, or let them show themselves not unworthy disciples of their divine Master.  The doctrine in which our religion is contained we have given the first place, since by it our salvation commences; but it must be transfused into the breast, and pass into the conduct, and so transform us into itself, as not to prove unfruitful.[121]


Of course, that does not apply to the Reformed Arminian since unbelief happens because of a willful choice, not sin.  He would not agree with Sanders, who affirms, “Only willful and unrepentant transgression brings condemnation, since that indicates rejection of God.”[122] Sanders, again, like others already named, draws a straight line between willful transgression, unrepentant transgression, and rejection of God; recognizing that moral behavior and unbelief are clearly linked and consequential.  The praxis of the Reformed Arminian then is preservation of the saints rather than perseverance.  Persons are preserved in their sinning which carries no separation as long as there is no willful unbelief.  Ashby, a Reformed Arminian, denies this charge stating, “Because of a change of mind about the efficacious blood of Christ, this individual sets a course on the path of willful sinning.”[123] In Ashby’s view, the individual changes his mind about wanting to be saved, and then strikes out on a path of willful sinning.  The willful sinning cannot occur unless one has decided to commit apostasy already. That notion puts the individual in an odd situation.  He does not have the ability to strike out on a path of willful sinning until he has changed his mind about the blood of Christ, but he has the ability to stop believing.

  1. Turning to or Turning from?

Apostasy, according to the Reformed Arminian, happens because of a turning from belief, or as Ashby states, changing one’s mind about the efficacious blood of Christ.  Apparently it is deciding that one no longer desires to be a child of God.  It is a willful decision to depart. This viewpoint begs the question: “Is apostasy only a turning from God?”  It seems reasonable to conclude that apostasy could also be a turning to something else.  Pieper ventures into this territory, noting:

What is the inner structure of this act of ‘voluntarily turning away,’ of this aversion that has here been ascribed to sin?  Do moral lapses really have the property, if one analyzes the phenomenon psychologically, of turning away?  Does one really ever “turn away” from something?  Is it not really the case that a person always aims for something?  Does it not usually happen in the normal course of things that man, insofar as he does something that he should not do, actually wants to have something? The thief takes something for himself that belongs to someone else.  The undisciplined man wants prestige, revenge, intoxicating pleasure.  People lie for their own advantage or because they want to be admired.[124]


The problem is that the Reformed Arminian has simplified apostasy to the point that it is now only a “turning from” God in willful unbelief. In other words, it has become a conscious decision, a deliberate act. However, the counterpoint begs for an answer. Does not human guilt primarily take on the form of turning toward something as much as turning from something?  To use Pieper’s language, is sin not a kind of conversio rather than an aversio?[125]  The Scriptures admonish,


Deuteronomy 11:16 (KJV) Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;


The word used here for deceived (pathah) means, “to be open; to let oneself be enticed, persuaded; to mislead (delude) with words.”[126] Clearly the Scripture warning is concerned not simply with a willful decision to depart from the living God but a turning away that is caused from deception (emphasis mine).  The writer fears that the hearts of the people will be open to enticement.  He fears they will be persuaded by something without and will ultimately be misled.  It is clear that the Scriptures are warning about turning to, not just about turning from. 

Another example is found in the Old Testament. It seems obvious that Solomon did not suddenly choose to turn from his knowledge of the true God.  Smith describes his deterioration thus:

He married some 700 wives of foreign extraction (to cement political alliances). There were Egyptians, Moabites, Edomites, and so on – they were those whom God had commanded the Hebrews not to marry because they would lead them away from Him.  As he grew older, Solomon began to follow the Sidonians, and Molech, the fire god of the Ammonites.  He built altars to the other gods his wives worshipped.  He gradually abandoned his devotion to God and became apostate.[127]


The Reformed Arminian will probably state that he agrees with these sentiments. However, the example of Solomon does not agree with the suggestion that apostasy suddenly happens by deciding no longer to believe. It is clear that Solomon not only turned from, but he also turned to another god.  Dayton recognizes the possibility of both turning to and turning from when he states:

For sin’s method is seldom a big, decisive dedication.  It is generally an accumulation of concessions, compromises, and indulgences that enthrones sin. One yields his capabilities piecemeal until the whole person is but a tool in the hands of unrighteousness.[128]


The Remonstrants would understand Dayton ’s sentiments.  They would also understand Paul’s admonishment,

Romans 6:13 (KJV) Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.


as a warning against the subtleness of sin that leads to apostasy. We glean from the statements of the Reformed Arminian that he is either unwilling or unable to allow for this distinction. Therefore, his stated view does not square with the perspective of Arminius, the Remonstrants, or even early Free Will Baptists. 

  1. Repentance: To continue or not?

The Reformed Arminian does not see the necessity of continued or future repentance because to him repentance is a one-time act.  That should not be surprising considering that it is willful unbelief, not sin, which causes one to fall away.  Ashby in his portion of the book, Four Views on Eternal Security, posits a footnote in which he praises the opinion of Volf.  He declares, “Judith Gundry Volf makes a succinct statement about Paul’s understanding of post conversion sin that reflects the Reformed Arminian position: ‘Paul does not make Christians’ final salvation dependent on their repentance from post-conversion sins, though he by all means views their repentance as desirable.’”[129] Future repentance is not necessary, though desirable. Perhaps the words of the Lord Jesus could shed truth here as He speaks to the churches in the Book of Revelation.  To the Church at Ephesus, a church that had grown cold in her love for Christ, Jesus spoke and admonished,


Revelation 2:5 (KJV) Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.



To the church of Pergamos, He admonished,


Revelation 2:16 (KJV) Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth.


To the church at Thyatira, He rebukes,

Revelation 2:21-22 (KJV) And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. 22  Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.


Jesus speaks to the church as Sardis stating,

Revelation 3:3 (KJV) Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.


Then to the church at Laodicea,

Revelation 3:19 (KJV) As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.


Is it fair to say that the Lord Jesus views repentance as a necessary and desirable remedy?  To use the language of Blacketer, it seems that the Reformed Arminian has become scholastic and speculative in his theology, while at the same time less biblical.[130]

The Lord Jesus Christ clearly necessitates repentance in a post conversion relationship.  Roberts clarifies the Reformed viewpoint when he states:

By His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus Christ provided the way of atonement for all repenting and believing sinners. He Himself paid their debt in full.  But He did not do so to enable them to begin to accumulate another debt of sin. No! This same death, burial, and resurrection of Christ made possible a life free of accumulating sin for every sinner who goes on repenting and believing. (emphasis mine) To suppose that one can enjoy the benefits of the atonement without living repentantly is a travesty against the mercy of God (emphasis mine) and is unthinkable for those who love God with their heart, soul, strength, and mind.[131]


            Again we see how the Reformed Arminian is not Reformed.  Repentance is something desirable but not necessary.  That teaching is a travesty against the atonement.  Instead of lauding the atonement, it is taking the work of Christ for granted.    

  1. Sanctification and the “Holy Ought”

The heading coined the “holy ought” points to another weakness that can now be demonstrated in the Reformed Arminian soteriology.  In this original title, attention is being drawn to the theme of sanctification. For instance, Ashby, in fixing the relationship between justification and sanctification, postulates the following viewpoint: “The Christian’s obedience to the commands of Scripture is related to the believer’s growth in grace.  It is a matter of progressive sanctification, not of salvation.”[132] Most understand and agree with the statement that, “The Christian’s obedience to the commands of Scripture is related to the believer’s growth in grace.”  It is an axiom that believers are to grow in grace, and this process of maturity will affect and increase their obedience to the commands of Scripture.  Obviously, as one becomes more knowledgeable of Scripture, obedience should follow and increase in the heart of the regenerated person being directed by the Holy Spirit. Sanctifying grace is more than propositional.  It brings with it its own reality as part of the salvation package.  That is why the last part of Ashby’s quotation is troubling.  When Ashby declares, “It is a matter of progressive sanctification, not of salvation,” (emphasis mine), is he stating that ongoing sanctification is not part of salvation? The words of Calvin already quoted still ring clearly, “Christ, therefore, justifies no man without also sanctifying him.  These blessings are conjoined by a perpetual and inseparable tie.”[133] Calvin recognizes that sanctification and justification are part of the salvation process together.  They are all of salvation.  One is not justified by grace but sanctified by works.  Berkouwer affirms, “As is evident already in the Old Testament, the holiness of God’s people is not a moral quality which arises from their own actions and achievements, but it is rooted in the sanctifying action of God.”[134] Even future or progressive sanctification is of grace, not of works lest any man should boast.  The apostle Paul, in relating his calling, speaks of the Gentiles and their opportunity to “receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith (emphasis mine) in me” (Acts 26:18). Bloesch gives a succinct description of the relationship and ongoing nature of the two:

Finally we need to consider the equally authentic biblical concepts of regeneration and sanctification.  It is not enough to be pronounced just: we must also be made just in our hearts and in our daily living.  The Psalmist declares: ‘Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!’ (Ps. 51:2).  In Protestant orthodoxy regeneration connotes the initial cleansing by the Holy Spirit and sanctification the ongoing process of interior purification which extends throughout life (emphasis mine).  In the theology of the Reformers regeneration includes both aspects of inner change.[135]


Bloesch clearly notes that in the theology of the Reformers regeneration includes both aspects of inner change. It is clear that the ongoing process of salvation, the interior purification which extends throughout life, the progressive, ongoing work of God in the heart of man, is part of salvation.  Roberts, commenting on this same subject notes:

How are we sanctified?  In the same way that we are justified: by faith.  Jesus Christ is as much our sanctifier as He is our justifier.  Sanctification occurs as the believer keeps on (emphasis mine) repenting and believing.”[136]


When the Reformed Arminian states that, “It is a matter of progressive sanctification, not of salvation,” he has made a dichotomy and over-simplification that is troubling. He gives an impression about post conversion sinning that is disconcerting.  This is where the “holy ought” finds expression. In other words, it would be nice if one repented of post-conversion sins or cultivated sanctification, but this is not part of salvation. It is not a necessity, though desirable. This sounds much like the popular doctrine that is sometimes taught called “the carnal Christian.”  Roberts describes this error:

There is the widespread teaching that there are three kinds of people in the world: natural people, “carnal Christians,” and spiritual Christians.  This strange doctrine has encouraged multitudes to believe that Christ’s lordship is optional and that they could choose to be either a carnal Christian or a spiritual Christian and still be saved.[137]


The Reformed Arminian would deny this teaching in principle.  Yet in praxis, he is teaching this philosophy.  Ongoing sanctification and repentance are seen as “works.” The Christian’s obedience is a matter of progressive sanctification, not of salvation.  This is similar to the argument offered in the previous chapter.  Obedience alone does not save an individual.  However, one who has been regenerated and filled with the Holy Spirit has a change inwardly that causes him to desire obedience on a consistent basis. “If a man love Me, he will keep My words: and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth Me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent Me” (Jn. 14:23-24). To divorce the fruit of obedience from the tree of regeneration seems to create a doctrine of preservation rather than perseverance. In this framework, holiness and repentance become a “holy ought.”  A person “ought” to do these things, but if he does not, there is no substantial consequence. Volf’s original statement substantiates this viewpoint.  Recall that Ashby footnotes Volf’s comments and states that it is the Reformed Arminian sentiment.  Volf states:

            According to Paul it is also possible to lose one’s membership in the “in-group”

            on account of immoral conduct, namely, by falsifying one’s Christian profession

            by one’s behavior.  This can happen in the case of ‘grievous’ sins. But when this

            happens continuity in actual salvation is not interrupted.  To say that ‘remaining     in the in-group is conditional on behavior’ is not the same as saying that

            remaining in salvation is conditional upon behavior.[138]


            All of the rhetoric about “in-group” behavior, no interruption in salvation, and the prospects of remaining in a supposed “in-group” may be standard pastime for some, but this was not the language of Calvin.  The result of regeneration for Calvin is more than a “holy ought” or being in an “in-group.”  There is little resemblance to Calvin and Reformed thinking in this form of teaching.  Calvin observes, “Moreover, as hatred of sin, which is the beginning of repentance, first gives us access to the knowledge of Christ, who manifests himself to none but miserable and afflicted sinners, groaning, labouring, burdened, hungry, and thirsty, pining away with grief and wretchedness, so if we would stand in Christ, we must aim at repentance, cultivate it during our whole lives, and continue it to the last (emphasis mine).”[139] Roberts commenting on the warning passages in Hebrews well notes:

At the heart of each of these warnings is the relationship between perseverance and genuine repentance. Far too many who call themselves Christians base their claim on something they did at some time in their past.  But true Christians do not cling to anything they have done.  Their sole hope is what Christ has done.  Because of Him they continually, repent, (emphasis mine) believe, and bear fruit in season.  Having begun in the faith, they persevere to the end.[140]


This was the view of Calvin.  The progressive nature of salvation includes a lifetime of cultivating sanctification and repentance. It is clear enough that Calvin does not agree with Volf or with the Reformed Arminian.  Calvin clearly admonishes anyone who stands in Christ to be increasing and abounding.  The person in Christ is to cultivate, that is to improve, prepare, grow, tend, promote, nurture, foster, and refine, spirituality during his whole life and continue it to the last.  With Calvin, repentance and holiness of life is clearly more than a “holy ought.” The Reformed Arminian, by his title, claims a continuum with Calvin and the Reformers, yet we see another area where there is a broken link in the chain.  The “holy ought” seems out of place when compared to such admonitions as, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (KJV Heb. 12:14) or “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present world” (KJV Titus 2:11-12). 

  1. Summary and Conclusions.

The Reformed Arminian differs from Reformed thinking in several areas.  Obviously, some of these are more important and have greater consequences than others.  The differences are as follows:

  1. The Reformers recognized gradation in sin.  While this distinction may not be as important as other aspects of the doctrine of sin, it does cause the Reformed Arminian, who does not recognize gradation, to have to redefine his views of continuance in salvation and the relationship of sin to unbelief.  In doing so, he positions himself away from his predecessors.
  2. The Reformers clearly distinguish between sin and sinning.  The Reformed Arminian does not. There is an over-simplification in the relationship of sin and unbelief, especially in the area of sin as a disposition, spirit or attitude.  The Reformed Arminian attempts to distinguish unbelief from sin in stating, “Apostasy is caused by willful unbelief, not by sin.” How does one commit unwillful unbelief?  What does unbelief look like?  Does it have a face?
  3. The Calvinistic view is stringent in stating that one who is elect will have a definitive change in his relationship with sin and sinning. He will understand the Scriptures that say, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren” (Rom 8:29), to express the guaranteed result that sin has its limitations.  The Reformed Arminian agrees in principle, but his fear of the “works” label hinders the strength of his doctrine of sin.
  4. The Reformers do not follow the Catholic view that sin is neither unbelief nor separation from God. The Reformed Arminian unintentionally does since he is committed to the proposition that committing sin after one is saved does not affect one’s salvation. Since he separates unbelief and sin, he puts himself in the uncomfortable position of agreeing with the Catholic viewpoint.
  5. The Reformers teach the perseverance of the saints.  The Reformed Arminian makes the same claim, but careful observation seems to place him more in line with the preservation of the saints.  While he would vehemently deny this suggestion, his view of sin and unbelief lends itself to this conclusion.
  6. The Reformers believe in continued repentance as a necessary result of the life in   Christ.  The Reformed Arminian sees it as “desirable.” While it certainly is not discouraged, it would not be seen as necessary by Ashby.  This is explained in their viewpoint of the atonement.
  7. The Reformers do not view sanctification as not of salvation.  They will not agree with the Reformed Arminian notion that it is a matter of progressive sanctification, not of salvation.  The Reformers would never present, even inadvertently, sanctification and repentance as a “holy ought.”  While the term would be rejected by the Reformed Arminian, it becomes the end result of his teaching.

The third statement in the introductory proposal becomes important at this point.  Are the teachings of the Reformed Arminian identical to the commonly held Reformed views of sin and sinning, unbelief, repentance, sanctification and perseverance?  After reviewing each of these categories and making comparison, it is clear that the Reformed Arminian viewpoint differs from Reformed thinking.

For all the discussion about the Reformed Arminian being like Arminius and carrying on the views of the Reformers, the comments of Olson bring a reality that will not disappear.  He states:

Carl Bangs argues for the view that Arminius’ theology represents an adjustment and development within Reformed theology.  While Arminius himself almost certainly understood his theology that way, Muller is nearer to the truth of the matter.  Arminius’ theology is thoroughly Protestant but not Reformed.  The Dutch theologian set out to reform Reformed theology and ended up creating a different Protestant paradigm altogether.[141]




  1. Stating the Case

This last chapter of this inquiry brings clarification and reveals how the Reformed Arminian has come to his conclusions concerning salvation.  It is his view of the atonement that structures his thoughts on sin and sinning, repentance, sanctification and preservation. His view of atonement also structures his doctrine of justification. In fact, everything hinges on his view of atonement.  It is not the purpose of this inquiry to champion or to challenge a particular viewpoint.  It is the purpose of this inquiry to substantiate consistency in his view as it relates to his already mentioned claims and as it relates to a conditional continuance in salvation.  In the soteriological system of the Reformed Arminian, there is no room for diversity in one’s view of atonement. He holds the common orthodox theory of Penal-Satisfaction Atonement.  It is not his orthodoxy that is the problem; it is the conflating of his view with Arminianism.  This is true with regard to his historical claims and his speculative theology.

 The Scriptures do not set forth one clear-cut teaching on the doctrine of atonement.  There is the truth that man has sinned against a holy God; and, therefore, atonement must be made for sin. There is also the truth that the fulfillment of atonement is found in the Lord Jesus Christ.  There is not, however, a specific explanation spelled out in the Scriptures that answers all the significant questions. The result has been a postulating of Scripture verses, ideas and theories. James notes:

But as we have seen, no single “theory” of atonement emerges from the New Testament writings.  Rather, they display a rich and multifaceted, yet interrelated, expression of truths about the redemption Christ has accomplished, set in language drawn from the experience of God’s people under the old covenant. In the first centuries of the church’s expansion, most Christian theologians seemed content to repeat biblical phrases without much systematic development.  Even so, certain elements tended to receive more attention than others, and it was not long before writers spoke of “theories” of atonement, attempts at encapsulating the biblical teaching, usually in terms of one or a few main images.[142]


  1. The Basic Categories.

In dividing up these theories or ideas about the atonement, the observations of Gustaf Aulen give a sense of the direction the atonement has taken through history.  He basically divides the history of the doctrine into three groups:

  1. a)      The objective theory – Anselm would be the representative of this theory.  He would see Christ’s death as reconciling the Father. 
  2. b)      The subjective theory – Abelard is the representative of the subjective theory.  He would see Christ’s death as inspiring and transforming us.
  3. c)      The classic theory – Against these two views Aulen adds a third dimension which he calls both “classic” and “dramatic.”   This view sees the atonement as a cosmic drama in which God in Christ does battle with the powers of evil and gains victory over them.[143]
  4. Expansion of the Categories.

These basic ideas have been broadened to create other categories defining the atonement.  First, there are the ransom theories of the atonement.  This motif recognizes Christ’s death on the cross as a ransom paid to the devil.  This payment brought freedom to fallen humans. Christ’s death is described as a deception over the devil and, therefore, victory.

       A second way of viewing the atonement is found in the satisfaction theories.  This is the objective theory mentioned above. The origin of this motif is traced to Anselm.  In this theory, sin is seen as offending the divine dignity.  The sinner must satisfy the dishonor he has brought to God’s dignity.  Since that is impossible, God in His love, sent Jesus to die on the cross to satisfy the dishonor man has caused.

       This view is augmented by the Reformers.  The debt of sin is no longer described in terms of dishonor.  The debt is defined in terms of punishment due the offender. Violations must be punished.  From this idea was born the penal substitution view of atonement.  Christ pays the debt of punishment by giving Himself in self-substitution. Christ took the guilt of sin upon Himself, and the Father accepts Christ’s sacrifice in forgiving the sinner. Christ’s death was a vicarious punishment.

       A third theory is the exemplar theory. This motif sees Christ as an inspiring example of love and faithfulness.  This theory follows a subjective approach.  Christ’s death is designed to influence the minds and behaviors of sinners.  In this view, there was no objective transaction in Christ’s death.[144] The exemplar theory would also include the moral influence idea.  Christ’s death helps us see that God loves us.

       A fourth view is the Rector or Moral Government theory. In this motif, the death of Christ demonstrates the lengths to which God will go to uphold the moral order of the universe.  The emphasis is on the preservation of order.  God’s government cannot be maintained if sin is not punished.  God could not forgive humanity without the cross.  To do so would destroy moral efficacy. God chose a way to reconcile both His holiness and love. Christ’s death showed that God was serious about sin and its punishment.[145]

  1. Temporal Principle of Classification.

There is another suggestion for classifying the various atonement motifs.  The various theories can also be divided by timeline.  This is referred to as the temporal principle of classification.  These periods include:

  1. a)      The Patristic Period.  This includes the views of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen and Clement of Alexandria.
  2. b)      The Medieval Period. This period recognizes Anselm and Abelard though their views were antithetical.
  3. c)      The Reformation Period.  Some leading figures of this period include Luther, Melanchthon, Calvin and Grotius.
  4. d)     The Modern Period.  Schleiermacher and Ritschl are representatives of atonement thinking during this period.[146]
  5. Observations.

These summaries are given to show the diversity in thought concerning the atonement.  Scholars have not always agreed in their understanding of this important doctrine.  There has been disparity at times even among the same branch of theology.  This has already been seen in the “New Divinity” thought offered by Albert Barnes, Jonathan Edwards, Jr., and others. This group broke from the orthodox satisfaction view and held the governmental view.  Dayton renders the opinion that in a demographic sense the predominant view of American revivalism and, therefore, modern evangelicalism has been the “moral government” view.[147] While this may seem shocking, it is indicative that there has not been one all-encompassing view or opinion. Vaus in his summary of the writings of C. S. Lewis on the subject of atonement, notes:

Lewis begins by saying that before he became a Christian he was under the impression that a Christian had to believe one particular theory as to what the point of Christ’s dying was.  What he came to see later was that no theory about the point of Christ’s death was really at the core of Christianity.  He maintains the core Christian belief is that Jesus’ death has somehow put us right with God and given us a fresh start.  Theories as to how His death did this are separate from reality.  He makes it clear in a number of places that he believes the Christian is not under any obligation to accept any one theory of the Atonement.[148]


In counteraction to the opinion of Lewis, the Reformed Arminian maintains that he and his fore-runners have always held to the same view of atonement and that his view alone is adequate. This brings Proposition Four into focus. Is the view of atonement as delineated by this movement today the same as that of Arminius without addition or modification?  Is their viewpoint totally compatible with a conditional soteriology? Can it be demonstrated that Free Will Baptists have always held to the same view of atonement that is common today or has there been a time in their history when another view of the atonement was taught? The answer to these questions will answer the goal of this inquiry.


  1. The Reformed Arminian View Stated.
  2. Penal Satisfaction: One of the Six Tenets.

In chapter one of this inquiry, the Six Basic Tenets of Reformed Arminianism were given to define and establish their particular teaching on salvation.  Number Four of the Six Tenets lists the Penal-Satisfaction view of the atonement as one of the pillars of truth.  There is a diligence in this movement of stating this theory of the atonement.  Pinson endeavors to separate the Reformed Arminian from other Arminians. He goes so far as to state that “most Arminians disagree with Jacobus Arminius.”[149]  He then indicates that Arminius was clear in his delineation of active righteousness imputed to believers enabling them to “stand righteous before God, clothed in the absolute righteousness of Christ.”[150] If this assessment is correct, it means that Arminius recognized both the passive and active righteous theories and went on record as believing such.

Ashby concurs with Pinson describing Arminius’ view of the atonement as agreeing with the Reformers and the Reformed Arminian. Christ’s atonement was not a passion play, an exhibition, a display of God’s displeasure toward sin, a moral influence or to uphold the public justice.  It was in line with Anselm.  Ashby claims:

Arminius asserted a penal satisfaction view of the atonement.  He invoked the image of God as a judge, and he argued that justification for the sinner could be effected in one of only two ways: either by fully keeping the law or by the righteousness of another being accounted to the sinner as his or her own.[151]


            Since mankind is unable to carry out absolute and perfect adherence to the law, there is required God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner through faith.  Ashby concludes that Arminius had no other options but to draw the same conclusion as himself.   The only conclusion left, according to Ashby, is the imputation of Christ’s active righteousness.  The Reformed Arminian concludes that Arminius holds to the Penal-Satisfaction view complete with the delineation of passive and active righteousness being imputed to the believer.

            As the Reformed Arminian begins to apply his view of atonement, he asks the question: Did the sacrificial, substitutionary death of Christ atone only for sins committed up to the point of conversion, or did His death atone for the believer’s past, present, and future sins?  Brown answers this question for the Reformed Arminian, stating: “Jesus’ shed blood on Calvary covers all the believer’s sins – past, present and future . . . The fact that Christ paid for all the believer’s sins – past, present, and future – does not teach carnal security.”[152] Ashby agrees with this view and states that to believe otherwise, there are “far-ranging implications for one’s continuance in the Christian life.”[153]

  1. Penal Satisfaction: Defines all other views.

Now it becomes clear why the Reformed Arminian has no need for a further development of the doctrine of sin.  As already stated, there is no developed teaching regarding gradation or disposition in his explanation of sin or sinning.  All sin and sinning have been dealt with and taken care of in his atonement view.  Sin as a disposition or as an activity is covered by the imputation of Christ’s active righteousness to the believer.  The Reformed Arminian recognizes no imparted righteousness.  Ashby explains, “Inherent righteousness, the Christian’s obedience to the commands of Scripture, is related to the believer’s growth in grace.”[154] He goes on to explain that this growth is not part of salvation.  He is saying then that the Christian’s obedience to the commands of Scripture is unrelated to salvation.  As a matter of fact, he considers these acts of obedience as so unrelated to salvation that he explains they are a matter of progressive sanctification, not of salvation.  Again, it is noted that a division is made between sanctification and salvation.

  1. Problems in the Reformed Arminian View of Atonement.
  2. Theological: Speculative Problems

First, there is the problem of trying to match a conditional view of salvation with the view that past, present and future sins are forgiven.  This antinomy takes us to the heart of chapters 3 and 4.  In those chapters, it was pointed out that the Reformed Arminian made a distinction between unbelief and sin. The point may have seemed mute at the time, but now it clearly reveals the contradiction in their viewpoint.  It was stated that apostasy came as a result of willful unbelief, not because of sin (emphasis mine).  The Reformed Arminian must make this division because of his belief in conditional salvation.  Since he subscribes to the idea that all future sins are already forgiven, he must make unbelief something else. Since he believes that it is possible to fall away, unbelief cannot be forgiven already.  If unbelief were viewed as “sin” or placed in the sin category, then unbelief as a future sin would be forgiven in the atonement.  The remarks of Owens, mentioned in chapter 4, are valuable to this discussion.  He states:

Why are not all men free from the punishment due unto their sins? You answer, “Because of unbelief.” I ask, Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not. If He did, why must that hinder them more than their other sins for which He died? If He did not, He did not die for all their sins![155]


The Reformed Arminian would believe that Christ died for all their sins, but he must still wrestle with the problem of unbelief and sin. This is the dilemma for the Reformed Arminian.  If unbelief is sin, then it was dealt with in Christ’s atoning work.  If future sins are forgiven already, then future unbelief would be forgiven as well.  That would mean that one could not fall away. Owens is correct in asking, “Is this unbelief a sin, or is it not? If it be, then Christ suffered the punishment due unto it, or He did not.”[156] The Reformed Arminian has two choices if he is persistent in holding that future sins are already forgiven.  He may choose between the following:

  1. He can admit that unbelief is a sin and admit that future unbelief has already been forgiven.  Of course, in so doing, he has either negated the possibility of falling away into apostasy or he opens the door for the untenable situation of a “redeemed unbeliever.”
  2. He can divide unbelief into some category that is not the same as sin.  This he has chosen to do and this is simply a contradiction in reason.  Unbelief becomes the great condemnation, but it is not the same as “sin.” It is something else that brings condemnation.

What does Arminius say about the subject of future sin?  When the opinion of Arminius is invoked, there is only more confusion because it seems that Arminius is distanced in thinking from his modern adherents.  Arminius states the following:

Sin is the meritorious cause of that act of the divine pleasure, by which He determined to deny, to some, spiritual or supernatural happiness, resulting from union with Himself and from His dwelling in man. “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God.” (Is. 59:2). Nor can that denial of happiness to man be considered otherwise than as punishment, which is necessarily preceded by the act of sin, and its appointment by the foresight of future sin.[157]


            Arminius differs with his followers in that he is obviously equating unbelief with sin in this quote.  It is obvious that unbelief can be exchanged for the word sin.  When he states that, “Sin is the meritorious cause of that act of the divine pleasure,” he could just as easily have said that, “Unbelief is the meritorious cause of that act of the divine displeasure.”  Sin has separated and the perspective of future sins also mentioned is condemning.  Is this not what unbelief does as well? The Reformed Arminian has a dilemma in his view that all past, present and future sins are forgiven because of his belief in conditional salvation.  His continuance is conditioned on belief, but his unbelief is not seen as a future sin.  If it were a future sin, then it would of necessity also be forgiven with all other future sins. The Reformed Arminian has categorized unbelief to make it something else.  Recalling the words of Brown that sin is, “Any lack of perfect and absolute conformity to God’s law – any very minute violation (author’s emphasis) of His law,”[158] does not help explain the dilemma between unbelief and sin.  Hebrews 11:6 states, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him” (KjV).  In light of the foregoing discussion this verse begs the question, “Is unbelief not sin?”  If it is sin then why is it singled out and not dealt with along with future sins?

            There is also the dilemma of faith.  This theme also looks back to chapters 3 and 4 and to the dilemma of unbelief and sin just mentioned.  The Reformed Arminian believes that one receives both the passive and active righteousness of Christ. On the surface, that seems to be a mute point and simply usual orthodoxy.  However, it seems to pose a unique dilemma for this brand of soteriology.  To receive the active righteousness of Christ means that one has received all of the virtues, merits or intrinsic worth of Christ’s obedient life.  All of the qualities of Christ’s obedient life are imputed to the believer.  Ashby recognizes this fact and gives affirmation to this proposition when he states:

Eternal life is in the Son.  It is ours if we have him (1 John 5:11 – 13). It is the same with “wisdom . . . righteousness, holiness [i.e., sanctification] and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).  These are ours by being in Christ Jesus.  None of these are abstract entities that I possess (emphasis mine).


            It is of note that Ashby clearly states that none of the qualities of Christ that the believer receives is abstract.  That means these qualities are concrete and real.  These qualities are not speculative, supposed or theoretical.  It is this fact that seems to produce an antinomy for the Reformed Arminian.  If he receives Christ’s active righteousness imputed to him, then he must receive all of the qualities of Christ’s virtues imputed to his account.  That means that Christ’s obedience, keeping of the law and virtuous life would be accounted to him.  This fact seems to produce a unique dilemma for the Reformed Arminian.

            The writer of Proverbs states in 21:4, “An high look, a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked is sin” (KJV).  Why is the plowing of the wicked, sin?  It is sin because it lacks faith.  The one plowing goes about his way presuming that he will have a crop and abundance and never acknowledges the God who blesses.  Therefore, this unbelieving and unthankful farmer is sinning in the fact that he fails to acknowledge God. For his labor and activity to be pleasing to God, there must be faith and the acknowledgement that God has blessed.

            In Matthew 3:17, the gospel writer states, “And lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’”  God the Father is the speaker in the verse and the statement is made concerning the Son.  Why is the Father pleased with His beloved Son?  Obviously, the Father is pleased because of the obedience of Christ.  Christ himself revealed, “For I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me” (John 6:38).  The Father is pleased with the obedience of His Son.  However, is there not more here that pleases the Father? Hebrews 11:6 teaches that “without faith it is impossible to please Him.”  That means that the Father is pleased with His Son for two reasons: (1) because of His obedience and (2) because of the faith He has in His Father.  As pointed out in Proverbs 21:4, there must be faith involved in our activity for it to be pleasing to the Father.  If one receives the virtues of Christ in active imputation, does he not receive the faith of Christ that made His obedience well-pleasing to the Father?  Can one receive the qualities of Christ’s virtuous life and not also receive the faith that produced it?  It seems reasonable to conclude that if one receives part of Christ’s virtue he would receive all.  Can there be a dichotomy made between receiving the obedience of Christ and not receiving the faith that produced the obedience? 

            The idea of the faith of Christ has provoked others such as Hooker and Hays to offer thoughts regarding Christ’s faith and justification.  Hooker observes the following:

Would we not expect Paul to think of Christ himself as being faithful to God’s will and trusting in him?  The answer is obviously ‘yes’, since obedience to God that is motivated by love must be based on trust.  As we have seen, righteousness is bestowed on those who have faith – who trust in God – but this righteousness is not their own righteousness but the righteousness of Christ, which they share because they are in him.  Christ is the righteous one, and if the righteous live by faith, as Habakkuk and Paul both affirm (Hab. 2:4; Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11), then presumably Christ himself had faith – or trust – in God.[159]


            Hooker recognizes the same necessity and quality.  She places obedience on the foundation of trust. Christ is the righteous One who lives by faith or trust in the Father. As she states, obedience to God is motivated by love and must be based on trust.  Hooker sees this quality as not being limited to Christ and His relation to the Father.  She broadens this truth to and applies it to the atonement, stating: “It is because Christ trusted in God that there is righteousness for all who believe” (Rom. 3:22).[160]

            Hooker is not alone in her suggestion that Christ’s faith is involved in salvation.  Hays refers to Galatians 3:11 which states: “But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for the just shall live by faith.”  Hays advances the proposition that the faith spoken of here is the faith of Christ.  He observes: “The exegetical considerations advanced here have pointed toward a reading of Gal 3:11 which places the primary emphasis upon Christ’s faith, rather than the faith of the individual Christian as a means of attaining life.”[161] It is the opinion of Hays that the faith spoken of is, in fact, the faith of Jesus Christ.  Certainly there is difference of opinion, but the point is made that the faith of Christ does play a role in justification.  If the believer has received the virtue of Christ, then it seems that he has also received the faith of Christ. As Ashby has stated concerning these virtues, none of these are abstract entities (emphasis mine). That being true, then the believer has received the faith of Christ as a condition of his salvation.  This faith is not speculative, supposed or theoretical.  If one has the faith of Christ imputed to his account through active righteousness then how does one ultimately fall away? Does the faith of Christ offset unbelief or not? The Reformed Arminian does not venture into this area but it seems that his viewpoint could be affected by his answer to this dilemma.

  1. Historical:  Factual Problems

As stated previously, the Reformed Arminian such as Ashby sees sanctification as something other than salvation.  Since this has been discussed earlier, it will not be discussed again.  Two points do need to be made at this point, however. 

  1. It is unfortunate that sanctification is seen only as something the believer does for himself in acts of progressive growth while justification is all of grace by faith. Ashby seems to be saying that justification is by grace through faith, but sanctification is by works and personal effort. 
  2. This was not the view of early Free Will Baptists.  Butler and Dunn give the definitive position of the denomination as of the late 1800’s.  They define sanctification as follows:

The term sanctify, in the Hebrew of the Old Testament and in the Greek of the New, signifies to make holy.  Hence holiness and sanctification are in the Scriptures synonymous terms . . . Sanctification is nothing less than for a man to be brought to an entire resignation of his will to the will of God, and to live in the offering up of his soul continually in the flames of love, and as a whole burnt-offering to Christ.[162]


            Early Free Will Baptists clearly delineate their view of sanctification in different language than the moderns.  Sanctification is seen basically as an inward work. It is a resignation of one’s will.  It is the offering up of one’s soul in the flames of love. This kind of language is not found in the modern movement.

Another historical difference is seen in the fact that the Reformed Arminian finds no need or place in his theology for imparted righteousness.  A couple of examples will demonstrate this point. Liddon notes:

There is no place in Scripture in which the Righteousness of Jesus Christ is said to be imputed, as distinct from being imparted.  When Scripture says that Faith is reckoned to a man for righteousness, it does not thereby say that the Righteousness of Christ is imputed without being imparted.  When Abraham believed God’s promise of a posterity, God accounted his faith as righteousness: and when the day of trial came, it proved to be righteousness, since the same faith which made Abraham believe the promise, made him sacrifice the child of promise.[163]


            Liddon clearly advances the cause of an imparted righteousness as well as an imputed righteousness.  This kind of language is not found in the Reformed Arminian.  Instead, there is the idea that obedience is a kind of personal growth that is separate from his salvation.  This was the criticism of Abelard years ago.  “He saw that real forgiveness had to mean ‘making the sinner better,’ but objective theories of atonement did not suggest that the sinner is changed inwardly at all.”[164] Bloesch also sees the inclusion of imparted righteousness in the atonement, stating:

The atonement is not only the source of pardon but also the spring of new life in Christ.   It consists not only in forensic justification but also in mystical regeneration.  It not only liberates us objectively from the powers of sin and darkness but also frees us inwardly from the compulsion to sin.  Holiness is not only accounted to us but imparted to us as we confront the cross of Christ in faith.[165]


            Ziesler gives a thorough discussion of the relationship between imputed and imparted righteousness.  He concludes that man is first accepted as righteous, and being accepted, is restored to right relationship.  It is because of that relationship that he lives righteously.  The combination of imputed – imparted is understood by Ziesler as the “double-headed” doctrine.  The consequence of the believer receiving both of these qualities in his salvation experience means that he is renewed relationally, forensically, and ethically.[166]

This was the viewpoint of Arminius. Arminius clearly spoke of imparting grace.  In his discussion of Romans 7, he speaks of the Holy Spirit who represses and subdues the power of sin.  He says that God has resolved to impart himself to us.  Arminius quotes Bucer and agrees with his observation that, “God, who is the Father of mercies, resolves more fully to impart himself to us (emphasis mine), and vouchsafes more bountifully to bestow the Spirit of his Son upon us, by this, his Spirit, he represses and subdues that power of sin which otherwise impels us against the law and authority.”[167]

Where did the early Free Will Baptists stand on the subject of imparted righteousness?  It is interesting to note that Benjamin Randall, the founder of the Free Will Baptists movement, never wrote or published a work of his own devoted to an exposition of theology.  This is somewhat unusual considering that Randall started a movement that separated itself from the Calvinistic Baptists for theological reasons.  Rawlyk notes that the Free Will Baptists did, in fact, have a theologian.  His name was not Benjamin Randall, however.  The theologian’s name is Henry Alline.[168]  It was Alline’s writings that Randall published.  In fact, it was the only theological publication that Randall ever endorsed.  To understand Alline is to understand Randall.  Alline’s comments on imparted righteousness are interesting.  He states as follows:

First, they are internally made partakers of the righteousness of Christ; not imputed as many imagine just, to cover up their sins; or any thing done for them in some distant region, to answer the penalty of some outward law; and thereby stand their intercessor at a distance; but the pure spirit of Jesus Christ in them: for the pure in heart, and they only, shall see God, and without holiness no man shall see the Lord: and therefore whoever depends on any righteous of Christ imputed without being, to them, imparted, will e’er long have cause to take up that bitter lamentation of the foolish virgins, give us of your oil for our lamps have gone out.[169]


            Whatever else may be said about the views of Alline, it is certain that he differs from the modern Reformed Arminian.  This is the voice of the early Free Will Baptists.  This is not the voice or view of the modern movement.

            It is the difference in the view of the atonement that really marks how the Reformed Arminian has changed from the view of his predecessors. As already stated, Number Four of the Six Tenets lists the Penal-Satisfaction view of the atonement as one of the pillars of truth.  As stated earlier, Pinson indicates that Arminius was clear in his delineation of active righteousness imputed to us enabling us to, “stand righteous before God, clothed in the absolute righteousness of Christ.”[170] It is his assessment that Arminius recognized both the passive and active righteous theories.

            Did Arminius, in fact, hold to both the passive and active righteous theories?  Did he state a position of this question?  Arminius was aware of the doctrine and also the controversy that arose concerning it during his own lifetime.  John Piscator, Professor of Divinity in the University of Herborn in Nassau , and the French churches debated this issue.  It was Piscator’s opinion that only the passive obedience of Christ was imputed.  It was the opinion of the French churches that both were imputed.  Which side of this issue did Arminius take?  The opinion of Arminius is as follows:

But I never durst mingle myself with the dispute, or undertake to decide it; for I thought it possible for the Professors of the same religion to hold different opinions on this point from others of their brethren, without any breach of Christian peace or the unity of faith. Similar peaceful thoughts appear to have been indulged by both the adverse parties in this dispute; for they exercised a friendly toleration towards each other, and did not make that a reason for mutually renouncing their fraternal concord. But concerning such an amicable plan of adjusting differences, certain individuals in our own country are of a different judgment.[171]


Arminius refused to take a position or state his opinion on the subject.  One is left to conjecture why he took this position. Perhaps it did not matter to him, or it could be that he actually agreed with Piscator.  It could be that he saw inconsistencies in trying to match the atonement view with his view of apostasy. One thing is certain, however, Arminius was not dogmatic about this aspect of atonement doctrine.  He even states that both opinions can be held without any breach of Christian peace or the unity of the faith. In fact, he states that there should be a friendly toleration of each view. For the Reformed Arminian to state that Arminius was clear and certain in a delineation of both passive and active imputation is incorrect. Arminius refused to state his position of the subject.  Bangs recognizes this same truth and observes: “Arminius refused to take sides, and his enemies used this against him.”[172]

The indisputable evidence that shows how the position of early Free Will Baptists has changed from the later movement is found in the writings of J. J. Butler and Ransom Dunn.   Butler and Dunn were two leading educators of the Free Will Baptists movement.  They wrote the only definitive theology treatise for the movement between 1780 when the movement started and 1910 when the movement was absorbed into the northern Baptists.  It is understandable that Pinson would not want to raise their ghosts from the grave.  There is no doubt from their statement that Free Will Baptists have changed in modern times in their atonement view.  Butler and Dunn differentiate between the passive and active aspects. They observe the following concerning active imputation:

We do not understand that Christ’s personal righteousness is imputed to the sinner, and that this constitutes his justification.  No such doctrine of imputation is taught in the Scriptures.  God never imputes either the sin or holiness of one being to another; nor does he punish or reward one for the deeds of another . . . We are not to believe, then, that the obedience of Christ was imputed to men; but that in consideration of this obedience God can justly dispense pardon to believers, and accept them for Christ’s sake . . . The personal righteous of Christ cannot become the personal righteousness of any other being.[173]


This is not the view of the Reformed Arminian.  This quote alone is proof positive that the view of atonement held by the modern movement is not the same as that of the 1800’s.  This information brings Proposition Four into focus. The claim that Free Will Baptists have always held the same viewpoint of atonement is incorrect.


  1. Final Summary and Conclusions:

The speculative theology of the Reformed Arminian movement has been defined.  The background and history of the movement have been traced, and gaps in the timeline have been stated.  There has been a comparison of the Reformed Arminian to traditional Calvinistic views of sin and unbelief. Finally, there has been a review of the current Reformed Arminian view of Atonement and how it compares with Arminius, the Remonstrants and early Free Will Baptists.  It has been demonstrated that the Reformed Arminian cannot make and substantiate the claim of being the unchanged, original Arminian for the following reasons:

It has been sufficiently demonstrated that there is no verifiable link between the General Baptists and the Free Will Baptists movement.  Stewart, in his history of Free Will Baptists, volume 1 that covers the first fifty years, notes that in 1827 a Rev. Jesse Heath, who was a General Baptist of North Carolina, corresponded with the Free Will Baptists leader John Buzzell.  This was the first formal correspondence documented between the Free Will Baptists movement and the General Baptists movement. After this, Rev. Elias Hutchins visited the churches in North Carolina and found that most of the churches founded by Palmer, now deceased, and Parker had joined the Calvinists.[174] This visit occurred 49 years after the Free Will Baptists movement founded by Randall had begun.  This visit was 21 years after Randall had died.  Stewart goes on to say that the churches in North Carolina that were still Arminian in faith and practice, “did not differ from their brethren of the same name in the North.”[175] This means that the doctrine held by this handful of churches would be the same doctrine that Randall, Alline, Butler and Dunn taught. Since the viewpoint of the Randall movement can be established, the viewpoint of these churches can also be established. The indication is that the Arminian adherents in North Carolina would also have been at variance with Grantham and the modern movement.

It is also interesting to note that Stewart’s history of Free Will Baptists from 1780 to 1830 makes no mention of Thomas Grantham.  If he had been a prominent contributor to the formation and establishment of the movement, it would seem that history would have recorded such. One of the scant references to the English General Baptists notes that after 45 years they did formally contact the Free Will Baptists in America .  The doctrinal position of the English General Baptists as of 1825 was Calvinistic. This fact probably sheds more light on the Calvinistic statement of faith found in the 1812 Former Articles. This brief correspondence between the two movements was soon terminated and the Free Will Baptists, “toiled on alone.”[176]

It has been sufficiently demonstrated that the original teaching of Arminius

differs significantly from the Reformed Arminian in the areas of sanctification, imparted righteousness and atonement. Another area not touched upon is the subject of perfection.  Arminius and the Free Will theologians Butler and Dunn agree in the possibility of some kind of perfection as the culmination of sanctification.  Neither entertained a doctrine of sinless perfection, but a relative perfection that would suit man’s present temporal circumstances. The Reformed Arminian stands at variance with the views of Arminius, Butler and Dunn on perfection declaring that the New Testament “does not entangle us with the depressing goal of moral perfection.”[177]

It has been sufficiently demonstrated that the Remonstrants did not hold the same view of continuance in salvation as the Reformed Arminian. The Remonstrants and Arminius are clear in their views; David’s sin is an example. 

It has been sufficiently demonstrated that the Reformed Arminian does not agree with the same delineation of unbelief and sin as the Reformers. The Reformers have carefully outlined their doctrine of sin.  Unbelief is clearly stated as sin in their view.

The Reformed Arminian’s viewpoint is certainly in the realm of traditional Protestantism, and there is no denial of the sincerity of its adherents.  This inquiry is not offered in the spirit of challenge to their integrity or scholasticism, nor is it a challenge or question of their love for the Word of God.  The claim of originality and consistency to the original teachings of James Arminius, the Remonstrants, and early Free Will Baptists, however, cannot be substantiated. Neither speculative theology nor historical evidence will allow for an unchanged continuum of thought from Arminius to the present.  The modern Reformed Arminian movement is just that – modern.  Like other modern movements, it is a reflection of the people and viewpoints of its generation.  It has acquiesced to current thought, trends and the schools that have taught its leaders.  It is painful that sometimes the end result is an intolerance of the thought and opinion of others.  May the words of the writer of Proverbs always be applicable: “Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding” (Pro. 23:23).




“Access Commentaries and Study Tools” [Online] Blue Letter Bible, Cited 7 March  

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Arminius, James. The Writings of James Arminius. Vol. 1-2-3. Grand Rapids : Baker

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[1] Robert E. Picirilli, Grace, Faith and Free Will ( Nashville : Randall House Publications, 2002), 1.

[2] Stephen M. Ashby, Michael S. Horton, Norman L. Geisler, and J. Steven Harper, Four Views on Eternal Security, ed. J. Matthew Pinson ( Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 2002), 138-142.

[3] Ibid, 138.

[4] Ibid, 138.

[5] Picirilli, I.

[6] Ibid, II.

[7] Ibid, II.

[8] J. Matthew Pinson, A Free Will Baptists Handbook (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 1998), 151.

[9] Carl Bangs, Arminius (Grand Rapids: Francis Asbury Press, 1985), 296.

[10] Richard Watson, A Theological Dictionary (London: 1832; reprint, Evansville: Fundamental Wesleyan Publishers, 2000), 40 – 41 (page citations are to the reprint edition).

[11] Ashby, 137.

[12] F. Leroy Forlines, The Quest for Truth, with a foreword by Stephen M. Ashby and J. Matthew Pinson ( Nashville : Randall House Publications, 2001), x.

[13] John Fletcher, The Works of John Fletcher, vol. 1, Checks to Antinomianism (Salem, Ohio: Schmul Publishing Company, 1974), 71.

[14] Bangs, 269.

[15] Bangs, 47.

[16] Ibid, 73 – 74.

[17] Ibid, 75.

[18] Ibid, 66 – 83; 330.

[19] Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, vol. 3, Soteriology ( Peabody : Hendrickson Publishers, 2003), 185.

[20] Roger Nicole, “Arminianism,” in Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, ed. Everett F. Harrison (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), 64.

[21] Bangs, 141.

[22] J. Kenneth Grider, Beacon Dictionary of Theology, ed. Richard S. Taylor (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1983), 51.

[23] George L. Curtiss, Arminianism in History (Cincinnati: Cranston and Curts, 1894), 52.

[24] Ibid, 52.

[25] Bangs, 52.

[26] Curtiss, 52 – 55.

[27] Earle E. Cairns, Christianity through the Centuries (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Press, 1954), 352.

[28] Watson, 503 – 509.

[29] Curtiss, 65 – 67.

[30] From Latin subiungere, “to add to the end”

[31] Watson, 511.

[32] Simon Episcopius, “A Remonstrant’s Confession of Faith,” [online] Christian History Institute, 1999, cited May 2006, available from< http://chi.gospelcom.net/pastwords/chl050.shtml>.

[33] Ibid, 514.

[34] Picirilli, 15.

[35] Watson, 514.

[36] Ibid, 514.

[37] Ashby, 187.

[38] A. B. Brown, A Modified Arminian Theology ( Wendell , North Carolina : by the author, 2001), 336.

[39] Ashby, 177.

[40] Watson, 514.

[41] James Arminius, The Writings of James Arminius, vol. 2, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), 502.

[42] Ibid, Vol. 3, 502.

[43] Watson, 514.

[44] Picirilli, I.

[45] Watson, 514.

[46] Brown, 336.

[47] Curtiss, 54-56.

[48] E. Brooks Holifield, Theology in America ( New Haven : Yale University Press, 2003), 279.

[49] John T. Christian, “A History of the Baptists Together with some Account of their Principles and Practices,” [online] History of Baptists, cited 2/3/2006, available from <http://www.trailofblood.com/History%20Of%20Baptists.htm>.

[50] Augustus M. Toplady, “A Letter to the Rev. John Wesley Relative to His Pretended Abridgement of Zanchius on Predestination,” [online] Reformation Ink, cited 2/3/06, available from< http://www.hompage.mac.com/shanerosenthal/reformationink/attoptowes.htm>.

[51] J. Matthew Pinson, A Free Will Baptists Handbook (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 1998), 4 – 6.

[52] Timothy Binion, “Seventeenth Century Baptists,” [online] The Baptists Beacon, cited 2/4/06, available from <http://www.pastortim.org/Baptistsbeacon/2000/seventeenth-century-baptists-tim-binion.htm>.

[53] William G. Moore, “The Kind of Man God Uses,” [online] Founders Journal, 2004, cited 2/4/06, available from <http://www.founders.org/FJ57/article.html>.

[54] John R. MacLennan, “The Origin of Baptists,” [online] Reformed Reader, 2004, cited 2/4/06, available from <www.reformreader.org/ccc/bgc.htm>.

[55] William Cathcart, The Baptists Encyclopedia. s.v.”Free Will Baptists” (Philadelphia: Louis H. Everts Publishing, 1881), 416-417.

[56] Pinson, A Free Will Baptists Handbook, 34.

[57] Ibid, 7.

[58] Ibid, 15.

[59] William F. Davidson, An Early History of Free Will Baptists (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 1974), 56.

[60] Pinson, A Free Will Baptists Handbook, 35.

[61] Ibid, 12.

[62] Ibid, 12.

[63] Watson, 572.

[64] Davidson, 28.

[65] Ibid, 38.

[66] Ibid, 39.

[67] Eerdman’s Handbook to Christianity in America , ed. Mark A. Noll, Nathan O. Hatch, George M. Marsden, David F. Wells, and John D. Woodbridge (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1983), 223.

[68] Henry Alline, Henry Alline: Selected Writings, ed. George A. Rawlyk (New York: Paulist Press, 1987), 52.

[69] Holifield, 279.

[70] Alline, 172

[71] J. M. Bumsted, “Henry Alline,” [online] Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online, 2000, cited 5/2/2005, available from< http://www.biographi.ca/EN/ShowBio.asp?Biold=35853&query=alline>.

[72] Ibid.

[73] Frederick L. Wiley, Life and Influence of the Rev. Benjamin Randall (Boston: American Baptists Publication Society, 1915), 263.

[74] Helen Dunn Gates, Life and Labors of Rev. Ransom Dunn (Boston: Morning Star Publishing House, 1901), 126.

[75] Ibid, vi.

[76] I. D. Stewart, A History of Free Will Baptists (Dover: Freewill Baptists Printing Establishment, 1862), 463.

[77] Ibid, 463.

[78] Davidson, 39.

[79] Minutes of the General Conference of the Free Will Baptists Connection (Dover: The Freewill Baptists Printing Establishment, 1859; reprint, Visalia, CA: American Yearbook Company, 1966), 83, 92, 111, 145, 180, 215, 364, 405 (page citations are to the reprint edition).

[80] Arminius, Vol. 1, 490.

[81] A. B. Brown, A Modified Arminian Theology ( Wendell , North Carolina : by the author, 2001), 335.

[82] Ibid, 335.

[83] “Access Commentaries and Study Tools,” [online] Blue Letter Bible, cited March 7, 2006, available from <http://www.blueletterbible.org/>.

[84] Gareth L. Cockerill, Hebrews (Indianapolis: Wesleyan Publishing House, 1999), 252.

[85] John Calvin, The Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge (Grand Rapids: WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989), 454-455.

[86] G. C. Berkouwer, SIN (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1971), 286.

[87] Ibid, 287.

[88] Brown, 335.

[89] Ibid, 299.

[90] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Leicester: Zondervan, 1994), 502.

[91] Hodge, Vol. III, 440.

[92] Ibid, 440.

[93] Brown, 336

[94] Watson, 514.

[95] Brown, 335.

[96] Will Vaus, Mere Theology: A Guide to the Thought of C. S. Lewis ( Downers Grove : Intervarsity Press, 2004), 105 – 106.

[97] Cornelius Plantinga, Not the Way It’s Supposed to Be (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1995), 75.

[98] Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1941), 233.

[99] Brown, 336

[100] Ashby, 187.

[101] The logic of this thinking must be carefully stated, else one could follow the opposite logic that “starting sinning” had nothing to do with being lost.  Somewhere this all becomes convoluted reasoning and problematic if stated in loose terms.

[102] B. B. Warfield, Biblical and Theological Studies (Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, 1952), 351.

[103] Grudem, 704.

[104] Calvin, Institutes, Book III, Chapter III, 526.

[105] Ashby, 187.

[106] Ashby, 187.

[107] Charles H. Spurgeon, “The Sin of Unbelief,” [online] Bible Bulletin Board, 2000, cited 9 March 2006, available from< http://www.biblebb.com/files/spurgeon/0003.HTM>.

[108] Paul Tillich, A History of Christian Thought, ed. Carl E. Braaten (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1968), 213.

[109] Calvin, Institutes, Book I, Chapter I, Section IV.

[110] Tillich, 245.

[111] Berkouwer, 223.

[112] David L. Smith, With Willful Intent: A Theology of Sin (Wheaton: Victor Books, 1994), 301.

[113] Ibid, 319.

[114] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1998), 598.

[115] John Owens, “John Owens Question for Arminians,” [online] CGR Community, 2000, cited 11 November 2002, available from< http://www.christianguitar.org/forums/showthread.php?t=38024>.

[116] Bernard Ramm, Offense to Reason: The Theology of Sin (San Francisco: Harper and Row Publishers, 1985), 110.

[117] Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination (Phillipsburg: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co, 1932), 191.

[118] Calvin, Institutes, Book III, Chapter XVI, Section I.

[119] Frederick Godet, Commentary on the Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1956), 254.

[120] George Eldon Ladd, A Theology of the New Testament ( Grand Rapids : William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002, reprint), 264.

[121] Calvin, Institutes, Book III, Chapter VI, Section IV.

[122] E. P. Sanders, Paul the Law, and the Jewish People (Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 1985), 111.

[123] Ashby, 177.

[124] Josef Pieper, The Concept of Sin ( South Bend : St. Augustine ‘s Press, 2001), 56 – 57.

[125] Ibid, 57.

[126] William Wilson, Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies ( McLean , VA : MacDonald Publishing Co, n.d.), 111.

[127] Smith, 203.

[128] Wilber T. Dayton, The Wesleyan Bible Commentary, ed. Charles W. Carter, vol. Vol. 5, The Epistle of Paul to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1977), 45.

[129] Ashby, 187.

[130] Raymond A. Blacketer, “Definite Atonement in Historical Perspective,” in The Glory of the Atonement, ed. Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004), 318.

[131] Richard Owen Roberts, Repentance ( Wheaton : Crossway Books, 2002),  77 – 78.

[132] Ashby, 183.

[133]Calvin, Institutes, Book III, Chapter XVI, Section I.

[134] G. C. Berkouwer, Studies in Dogmatics: Faith and Sanctification (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1972), 23.

[135] Donald G. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, vol. Vol. 1, God, Authority, and Salvation (New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1978), 151.

[136] Roberts, 81.

[137] Ibid, 301.

[138] Judith M. Gundry Volf, Paul and Perseverance (Louisville: Westminster / John Knox Press, 1990), 157.

[139] Calvin, Institutes, Book I, Chapter III, 527.

[140] Roberts, 214.

[141] Roger E. Olson, The Story of Christian Theology (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1999), 471.

[142] Frank A. James III, The Glory of the Atonement, ed. Charles E. Hill and Frank A. James III ( Downers Grove : InterVarsity Press, 2004), 210.

[143] Gustaf Aulen, Christus Victor (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1969), 2-5.

[144] James, 210-213.

[145] Thomas C. Oden, Systematic Theology, vol. 2, The Word of Life ( Peabody : Prince Press, 2001), 407-408.

[146] Vernon C. Grounds, Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, ed. Everett F. Harrison (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), 72-74.

[147] Donald W. Dayton, Evangelicals and Scripture, ed. Laura C. Miguelez Vincent Bacote and Dennis L. Okholm ( Downers Grove : InterVarsity Press, 2004), 87.

[148] Vaus, 86.

[149]  Pinson, A Free Will Baptists Handbook, 58.

[150] Ibid, 59.

[151] Ashby, 140.

[152] Brown, 336.

[153] Ashby, 185.

[154] Ibid, 183.

[155] John Owens, “John Owens Question for Arminians,” [online] CGR Community, 2000, cited 11 November 2002, available from< http://www.christianguitar.org/forums/showthread.php?t=38024>.

[156] Ibid.

[157] Arminius, The Writings of James Arminius, Vol 3, 147.

[158] Brown, 336

[159] Morna D. Hooker, Paul ( Oxford : One World Publications, 2003), 105.

[160] Ibid, 106.

[161] Richard B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ ( Grand Rapids : William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002), 141.

[162] J. J. Butler and Ransom Dunn, Lectures in Systematic Theology (Pawnee City: The School of the Bible, 1891), 292.

[163] H. P. Liddon, Explanatory Analysis of St. Paul ‘s Epistle to the Romans (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1961), 85.

[164] Stephen Finlan, Problems with Atonement (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2005), 74.

[165] Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, vol. 1, 161.

[166] J. A. Ziesler, The Meaning of Righteousness in Paul (London: Cambridge University Press, 1972), 169.

[167] Arminius, Works of James Arminius, vol. 3, 384.

[168] Henry Alline, Henry Alline: Selected Writings, ed. George A. Rawlyk (New York: Paulist Press, 1987), 46.

[169] Ibid, 116-117.

[170] Ibid, 59.

[171] Arminius, The Writings of James Arminius, vol. 1, 263.

[172] Bangs, 345.

[173] Butler and Dunn, 248 – 249.

[174] I. D. Stewart, The History of the Free Will Baptists, vol. 1, From the Year 1780 to 1830 (Dover: Free Will Printing Establishment, 1862), 463.

[175] Ibid, 463.

[176] Ibid, 464.

[177] Forlines, 243.