Four hundred years ago, the followers of Jacob Arminius wrote a series of Remonstrances which threatened the Church and its orthodox theology. These Arminians insisted on five key points against Calvinism. For this reason, the Dutch Reformed Church summoned a Synod meeting at Dort to create orthodox Canons to expose the errors of Arminian theology. These Canons of Dort are better known as the five points of Calvinism: Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace, and Perseverance of the saints.
I believe that Arminius and his followers developed their humanistic theology because they did not know God properly. They did not know how holy God is, so they did not understand why man needs to be saved unconditionally. They did not know how gracious God is, so they did not understand the irresistible and unfailing grace of God. They did not know how wise God is, so they attempted to understand God’s unsearchable plan of salvation with their own reason. Therefore, they humanistically interpreted God’s Holy Word.
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!” (Romans 11:33)
Even in our day, erroneous humanistic theology threatens the Church. As I am doing church planting, I get to know on the frontline how close this threat is to the Church. At a recent Bible study, a man who used to go to a liberal Presbyterian church became unpleasant and a bit upset about the truth that God elects His people to salvation before the foundation of the world. He thought that he is saved by his faith, which was his own decision apart from God’s direct help. However, his rebellious heart settled down once we got together to read Romans chapter 9. At another Bible study, I taught an overview of the New Testament with a woman who was a former Roman Catholic. We reached the book of James and Jude. I explained that these authors are children of Mary, the mother of Jesus; she became very uncomfortable about Mary not continuing to be a virgin throughout her life. However, as we went over the Scriptures, she saw the truth about Mary, and her heart was settled. Thankfully, she even came to understand the dignity of marriage which God instituted.
Humanistic theology hinders men from properly knowing God and worshiping Him in truth. Therefore, the Church’s duty is to preach the special revelation of God to neighbors with the love of God. People need to know Jesus Christ who is the Word of God come in the flesh. Then their rebellious and unpleasant hearts will be changed to thankfulness and peace. The Spirit of God will work where the Word of God is rightly preached. Please pray that Covenant Bible Presbyterian Mission will remain filled with God’s truth and grace to lead many people to the Lord.