More than all else, Arminianism places man higher than God. In Christian churches this is evident in a number of ways. One of these evidences is the way churches – preachers, pastors and others – tend to make every effort to appear ‘relevant’ to the world. They try everything they know to be ‘side-by-side’ with unbelievers, because they honestly believe this is exactly what Jesus did.
To varying degrees, these folks think the idea is to ‘share’ in the common lot with unbelievers, so that we may ‘understand them better’ and can therefore ‘offer Christ’ as the ‘solution’ to all their ills. (This is part of the ALPHA course strategy). Typically, the wording on a church poster says it all:
‘Drugs? Divorce? Money worries? AIDS?
Come to Christ and know release and help!’
What nonsense! This puts Christ amongst one of many social services! It is like saying “You’ve tried the rest – now try the best!” Jesus Christ is not a mere panacea. Those who preach this kind of ‘gospel’ are blissfully ignorant of what the Gospel really is all about! In short, they preach a lie. It is a well-meaning lie, but, nevertheless, still a lie. Yes, being saved does help us to live better lives, but it is not what God is saying to us.
As Believers, we cannot ‘share’ or ‘offer’ the Gospel, even though we know the Gospel is the ‘good news’ for fallen Man. What can we do? We can preach it! It means ‘telling it as it is’. That is the only legitimate way we can ‘spread the gospel’. To put it bluntly and starkly – if folk do not listen, or they claim not to understand, it is irrelevant as far as God is concerned… our aim is to faithfully pass on what the Lord has told us through His word. The results are up to Him, through the Holy Spirit.
This writer has known of too many kindly, sincere souls whose lives have been wracked with guilt and worry because they “do not bring people to Christ” (ie save them). It is not up to us to save people! It is up to us merely to point the way to Christ. The rest is up to the Lord to work out. That is why Paul tells us that some sow and others reap!
Many Christians go into overdrive, trying to be ‘relevant’, and supplying answers to the many questions asked by unbelievers. They go so far as to place posters like the one quoted above, on church notice boards, in order to ‘draw them in’. This is not scriptural. How Jesus Christ sighed when thousands came to Him, not to hear the wonderful message of spiritual life, but for free healing and to see miraculous happenings! Much like today.
Jesus did not do miracles simply to draw the crowds; He did them out of compassion. More than that he did them to prove His claim to Godhood. But, in no way were they means to an end, mere advertising blurb. By majoring on questions asked by unbelievers, we show a distinct unease with the true Gospel message; we show that we have not got our priorities right.
The world will want to ask many questions, most of which are irrelevant, silly, or lacking in awe for Almighty God. By asking such questions, people can successfully avoid the Truth and make the Christian divert from the actual Gospel. For example, people will ask us to ‘show them God’… then they’ll believe. Or, they’ll demand to know “how can a loving God allow so much suffering?” and so on. They’ll gladly discuss social needs of the day. But, talk to them about the gospel and their own sin and they’ll want to leave!
The questions asked by the world have nothing to do with salvation; or, with their humanly-irreversible state of spiritual death; or, with their sin which automatically assures them of God’s wrath; or, with their after-life destination of hell. No, they will only want to ask mindless or superficial questions, at length.
Many of their questions are good questions, but they are irrelevant in the face of their own soul’s fast-moving route to eternal damnation! What is the point of discussing various ‘arguments’, when your questioner is dead in sin? (God tells all men that they know He exists, because He puts the knowledge in their very hearts – see Romans 1. So, why spend hours discussing social services and the poor, the existence-or-not of God, etc., when your questioner may die at any moment and will thus be cast into hell?).
No – all of that is a failure. The Christian task is to turn the world upside down, and that includes the world’s foolish concentration on moving the furniture around as the ship is sinking! Do not be distracted from your task: witnessing to the Gospel and how you were saved. Tell your questioners about Christ and His Truth. Tell them of their sin and of repentance. Do not let them twist things to suit their own devious ends.
And if the silly list of questions continues, do not hesitate to tell them that their questions are signs of their foolishness, not signs of seeking after Truth. Why? Because this is exactly what God says in His word! He says that NO unsaved man seeks after Him, because all are conceived in sin. We must not pander to the world. We are not at the beck and call of a fickle populace, whose only wish is to debate, and to avoid Truth and its consequences.
We are priests and princes of our Father’s heavenly abode. Our riches are beyond calculation. We have a salvation bought with a price. We should not dare to play around with the real questions of life, or with the Gospel of Light. By all means try to answer genuine questions, but do not get hooked on an endless conveyor-belt of trifling questions, no matter how grand or ‘deep’ they appear to be. Often, your questioner has no interest whatever in your answers: he just wants to watch you squirm, or to play their own game, using their own rules.
And, questions often lead to many more questions – fruitless chatter for its own sake. Just tell them you have no more time for their games, but to come back when they want to know more of our Lord Jesus Christ and His salvation. Only then will their questions make sense and have relevance to their own soul’s state.
Pandering to the obtuse or to the continuous questions of the world, when they lead us nowhere, is another aspect of Arminian theology. Yet, it is hardly recognized by Believers. By trying hard to answer every question put by a fickle world, we are diverted into godless territory, although we do not seem to understand that. It is to put men and their feeble avoidance tactics above the commands of scripture, which is the very word of God. And that makes anything else Arminian and therefore outside of God’s mandate.
Do not be fooled; many questions are often a signal for sport, not of a desire to seek God! Besides, those who are not regenerated cannot ever seek the Lord, so don’t force it.