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Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? #104070
10/29/08 11:35 AM
10/29/08 11:35 AM
Rick H  Offline OP
Group: Admin Team
3000+ Member
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,172
Florida, USA
I came across the building blocks of belief in the Adventist Movement and came across the tension between Calvinism and Arminianism. According to Calvinism:
"Salvation is accomplished by the almighty power of the triune God. The Father chose a people, the Son died for them, the Holy Spirit makes Christ's death effective by bringing the elect to faith and repentance, thereby causing them to willingly obey the Gospel. The entire process (election, redemption, regeneration) is the work of God and is by grace alone. Thus God, not man, determines who will be the recipients of the gift of salvation."

Thus they stand against the freewill of man being turned to God on its own as seen in the following statement...
"... and I will go as far as Martin Luther, in that strong assertion of his, where he says, ‘If any man doth ascribe of salvation, even the very least, to the free will of man, he knoweth nothing of grace, and he hath not learnt Jesus Christ aright.’ It may seem a harsh sentiment; but he who in his soul believes that man does of his own free will turn to God, cannot have been taught of God, for that is one of the first principles taught us when God begins with us, that we have neither will nor power, but that He gives both; that He is ‘Alpha and Omega’ in the salvation of men." (Charles H. Spurgeon from the sermon ‘Free Will A Slave’ (1855) referring to Luther's book The Bondage of the Will which is listed with other resources on this topic after this article).

So is Adventism Arminian (Free will) or is there a middle ground?

Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: Rick H] #104072
10/29/08 01:13 PM
10/29/08 01:13 PM
scott  Offline
Senior Member
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 442
Wyoming, USA
Hi Richard,

I would say that you'll have a hard time putting all Adventists in one category, but I've always thought that we, in general and doctrinally, are Armenian. There are, however, many Adventists who tend toward Calvinism. Once we had a Calvinist come on a different forum and present his beliefs in a very direct way and one of the members, who happens to be an SDA pastor, agreed with everything he wrote not knowing that this man was a Calvinist. When someone pointed out that this man was presenting a Calvinist view the pastor was dumbfounded.

God offers salvation to all men and we determine if we love salvation or love evil. Both the Armenians and Calvinists believe that God judges us according to His grace. I suggest that we judge ourselves according to God's revelation of grace in Christ. God keeps no one out of heaven! All men are drawn, all men are invited, and all men's wills are empowered to choose God. Some simply refuse because they love evil! Everyone, in the end, gets what he/she really love.


Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: scott] #104075
10/29/08 05:25 PM
10/29/08 05:25 PM
Rick H  Offline OP
Group: Admin Team
3000+ Member
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,172
Florida, USA
I was kind of shocked when I came across this tension between Calvinism and Arminianism as I have always been a believer in mans 'free will', but try to understand how God draws man to him. Here is a background on Arminianism as I myself had not really focused on this before, especially in terms of Adventism.

"Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609)[1] and his historic followers, the Remonstrants. The doctrines' acceptance stretches through much of mainstream, evangelical Protestantism. Due to the influence of Anglican priest and evangelist John Wesley, Arminianism is perhaps most prominent in the Methodist movement.[citation needed]

Arminianism holds to the following tenets:

Humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation (see also prevenient grace).
Salvation is possible only by God's grace, which cannot be merited.
No works of human effort can cause or contribute to salvation.
God's election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
Christ's atonement was made on behalf of all people.
God allows his grace to be resisted by those who freely reject Christ.
Salvation can be lost, as continued salvation is conditional upon continued faith.

Arminianism is most accurately used to define those who affirm the original beliefs of Jacobus Arminius himself, but the term can also be understood as an umbrella for a larger grouping of ideas including those of Hugo Grotius, John and Charles Wesley, and others. There are two primary perspectives on how the system is applied in detail: Classical Arminianism, which sees Arminius as its figurehead, and Wesleyan Arminianism, which sees John Wesley as its figurehead. Wesleyan Arminianism is sometimes synonymous with Methodism. In addition, Arminianism is understood by some of its critics to also include Semipelagianism or even Pelagianism, though proponents of both primary perspectives vehemently deny these claims.

Within the broad scope of Church history, Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines in common. Nonetheless, they are often viewed as rivals within Evangelicalism because of their disagreement over the doctrines of predestination and salvation....."

And some sites that explain the differences...

Last edited by Richard; 10/29/08 05:30 PM.
Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: Rick H] #104095
10/31/08 06:00 PM
10/31/08 06:00 PM
Rick H  Offline OP
Group: Admin Team
3000+ Member
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,172
Florida, USA
Here is a good quote to go over...

Many are inquiring, "How am I to make the surrender of myself to God?" You desire to give yourself to Him, but you are weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of your life of sin. Your promises and resolutions are like ropes of sand. You cannot control your thoughts, your impulses, your affections. The knowledge of your broken promises and forfeited pledges weakens your confidence in your own sincerity, and causes you to feel that God cannot accept you; but you need not despair. What you need to understand is the true force of the will. This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him. {SC 47.1}

Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: Rick H] #104097
10/31/08 08:41 PM
10/31/08 08:41 PM
Tom  Offline
Active Member 2012
14500+ Member
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 14,795
Lawrence, Kansas
Adventism's roots were from Methodism, so Wesley's ideas had a lot of influence. In the last 50 to 60 years many ideas have come into the church which didn't exist before.

Those who wait for the Bridegroom's coming are to say to the people, "Behold your God." The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love.
Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: Rick H] #104101
11/01/08 01:39 AM
11/01/08 01:39 AM
teresaq  Offline
Active Member 2024

Very Dedicated Member
Joined: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,984
spurgeon, if i understand correctly was a calvinist. a calvinist, to me, is a person who believes in predestination.

the key words are,
on its own

do any of us turn to God "on our own", without Him first drawing us?

Last edited by teresaq; 11/01/08 01:39 AM.

Psa 64:5 ...an evil matter: they commune of laying snares privily; they say, Who shall see them?

Psa 7:14 Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. 15 He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. 16 His mischief (and his violent dealing) shall return upon his own head.

Psa 7:17 I will praise the LORD according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the name of the LORD most high.
Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: Tom] #104102
11/01/08 01:49 AM
11/01/08 01:49 AM
asygo  Offline
Active Member 2023

5500+ Member
Joined: Feb 2006
Posts: 5,585
California, USA
Which of the Pioneers were Methodist? Weren't James White and Uriah Smith something else?

By God's grace,

There is no excuse for any one in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation. RH 12/20/1892
Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: asygo] #104106
11/01/08 03:48 AM
11/01/08 03:48 AM
Aaron  Offline
Regular Member
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 82
Mrs White was Methodist. James was a Congregational minister. Actually I think it was called Christian Connexion at that point. But even they were an offshoot of Methodist. I think alot of our churches view on things like Salvation stem from Wesly. Im sure some here know much more then me about it. I think Woody Whidden has written some stuff on our Methodist roots, its at least an interest for him. One thing the Congregationalists were big on was Arianism. I believe James went to his grave believing Jesus was created. I think it comes out in some of Mrs. White's early stuff like when Satan was jealous of Jesus because God decided to exalt Him to God's level. Thats a loose quote, I cant remember how SOP puts it. But the point is, why would Jesus need to be exalted? But Mrs White went away from Arianism along with most of our early church after James died. Besides that, Im not sure what else Christian Connexion believed.


Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: Aaron] #104110
11/01/08 11:16 AM
11/01/08 11:16 AM
Rick H  Offline OP
Group: Admin Team
3000+ Member
Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 3,172
Florida, USA
Here is some more background by Woodrow W. Whidden
Andrews University in his article 'Adventist Theology: The Wesleyan Connection':

"....While it is true that Adventist theology does not seem to be exclusively indebted to any one major Protestant theological tradition, the present article will argue that the more immediate and essentially formative baseline has been provided by the Wesleyan/Arminian Tradition.

It is quite clear that there are distinct emphases in the Adventist tradition, especially when it comes to eschatology (such as imminence of the Second Coming and the Millennium). These eschatological accents arose out of the broad impulse of American millennialist concern in the early Nineteenth Century.
Furthermore, there are some clear strands that have come down to the Seventh-day Adventist theological tradition from the Lutheran, Reformed/Calvinistic, Radical Reformation (Anabaptist), Puritan, Pietistic, and Restorationist Traditions. But I am suggesting that the way Wesleyans understood issues involved with soteriology and the closely related issues of the nature of man, law,[1] and sin were most directly formative for the core of Adventist theology.[2] ...."


Re: Is Adventism absolutely Arminian (Free will)? [Re: Rick H] #104118
11/01/08 03:44 PM
11/01/08 03:44 PM
Mountain Man  Offline
Charter Member
Active Member 2019

20000+ Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 22,256
Southwest USA
Is it possible that SDA theology is derived from Scripture?

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