Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Gospel and its proclamation (part 6): Baneful effects of Amyraldism and crypto-Arminianism on Evangelism

[continued from here, here, here, here and here]

When one embraces neo-Amyraldian, Amyraldian or even cryto-Arminian soteriological views, which expresses itself logically in the theories of 'Common salvific grace' and the 'Free Offer of the Gospel', this would then translate into various practices in Evangelism which would compromise the message of the Gospel.

An example of such a distortion of the Gospel message could be seen in the evangelistic video at the center of the 'Just stop and think' controversy, where the statements that 'Despite all you have done, God still loves you', 'Regardless of anything you have done in your life, God still wants to love you', '...the God of the universe is proposing to you right now: I want to forgive you, I want to spend eternity with you', 'God is begging you; it's almost like He is on a knee begging you', 'The God of the universe is crazy about you and screaming out for your attention' are made. Central to all of this is the theory of the Free Offer of the Gospel, taken to its extreme of course. After all, only if you believe that God has some sort of favorable disposition towards all Man and sincerely desires their salvation can you make such statements which appeal to Man at Man's level. Instead of proclaiming the holiness of God and commanding their repentance, the Gospel message has been reduced to an anthropocentric message based upon the supposed love and grace that God has for all Man.

Now, of course, embracing the ideas of Common salvific grace and the Free Offer of the Gospel does not necessarily translate into such a distortion of the Gospel message (which is still a mild distortion compared to others which come from a purely Arminian, Semi-Pelagian or Pelagian perspective, however). However, that is its logical consequence. Due to the contradictory nature of the theories of Common salvific grace and the Free Offer of the Gospel with the Doctrines of Grace, the Amyraldian and neo-Amyraldian position can only be maintained by celebrating irrationality and deprecating logic, which is what people like Dr. Cornelius Van Till has done when discussing such matters[1]. However, as history has shown, compromise begets more compromise and heresy, and as such, the Gospel message would tend towards more and more distortion. Also, it is this tendency towards greater and greater corruption of the Gospel message that should be of grave concern, even more so than the slight distortion as seen in that video.

In conclusion, the embrace of Amyraldism, neo-Amraldism, or crypto-Arminianism would cause a distortion of the Gospel message along the lines of shifting the focus of the Gospel from the theocentric God's command for repentance to the anthropocentric need for Man to respond to the love for God. Of course, it is granted that repentance may be also present in the Gospel message of the Amyraldians, but the emphasis has shifted from God's command to Man's response and an unbiblical emphasis on and exageration of the love of God towards all Man, to the extent that God's special love for His elect could even be used of all Man in general, as can be seen in that 'Just Stop and Think' video. This, thus, is the baneful effect of Amyraldism on the presentation of the Gospel. If not halted, the downgrade of the Gospel message would continue as later generations would be more consistent with their theology and would tend to move towards the embrace of Arminian error, with the corresponding decline in the message of the Gospel.

We would now look more in detail into the proper way in which we should proclaim the Gospel message of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[to be continued]


[1] W. Gary Crampton, Cornelius Van Till: An Analysis of his Thought, The Trinity Review, July 1996. (

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Daniel,
something for you to read about Van Til.