[The following is my opening statement in a debate entitled "Are All Arminians Unsaved?" on the Logic Discussion Board.]

I am here to prove that all Arminians are unsaved.

Let us first define some terms.

An ARMINIAN is one who believes the doctrines of Arminianism, namely: partial depravity, conditional election, universal atonement, resistible grace, and conditional perseverance. Because the atonement of Jesus Christ is at the very heart of the gospel, we will concentrate on the Arminian doctrine of universal atonement.

UNIVERSAL ATONEMENT is the doctrine that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception.

UNSAVED means unregenerate (not regenerate, not born again). A person who is unregenerate is lost, who is dead in his sins.

P1: All who believe in universal atonement are unsaved.
P2: All Arminians believe in universal atonement.
C1: Therefore, all Arminians are unsaved.

I believe we would all agree with the minor premise according to the definition of universal atonement. What I need to prove is the major premise. Note that if the major premise is proved, it means that not only are all Arminians unsaved, but everyone who believes in universal atonement is unsaved, including the "partial Arminians" who do not hold to the fifth point of Arminianism (losing one's salvation) and the "partial Calvinists" who do not hold to efficacious atonement (the so-called "four-pointers.").

Let us now go into what "All Arminians are unsaved" does NOT mean, in order to nip some of the false accusations in the bud. I encourage my opponent to read all of these so he will not resort to these false accusations.

"All Arminians are unsaved" does NOT mean that all Calvinists are saved. In fact, most who would typically be called Calvinists are unsaved as well, as evidenced by their speaking peace to Arminians and/or holding to some form of salvation conditioned on the sinner (which is the topic of another debate).

"All Arminians are unsaved" does NOT mean that all non-Calvinists are unsaved. I am not a Calvinist (although I believe in the doctrines of grace, which are erroneously called the "Five Points of Calvinism"); I am a Christian. Thus, if I believed that all non-Calvinists are unsaved, I'd have to say that I am unsaved.

"All Arminians are unsaved" does NOT mean that every saved person knows what Calvinism and Arminianism are or knows about the debate between Calvinism and Arminianism. I couldn't care less if someone has ever heard of Calvinism or Arminianism. That makes no difference. What I care about is if the person believes THE GOSPEL. Having said that, there are certainly Arminians who have never heard of the term "Arminianism"; there are people who believe in universal atonement who have never heard of the term "universal atonement." Such people, although they have never heard these terms, are still lost, since they do not believe the gospel (as will be proven).

"All Arminians are unsaved" does NOT mean that I believe that there are certain prerequisites/conditions to salvation (regeneration in particular). I do not believe that salvation is conditioned on knowledge of certain doctrines, including knowledge of any of the doctrines of grace. Salvation is not conditioned on ANYTHING the sinner does or believes; it is conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ ALONE. How, then, can I say that all who believe a certain doctrine are unsaved? This is where the difference between a PREREQUISITE and a RESULT comes in. Knowledge of certain doctrines is not a PREREQUISITE to regeneration; however, knowledge of certain doctrines is a RESULT of regeneration. And not only is knowledge of certain doctrines a result of regeneration, knowledge of certain doctrines is an IMMEDIATE result of regeneration and an ESSENTIAL result of regeneration. When God saves a person, He causes that person to believe the gospel, which contains certain doctrines. But it is important to note that this knowledge/belief is NOT a prerequisite or condition; it is a FRUIT or RESULT of regeneration.

"All Arminians are unsaved" does NOT mean that all regenerate people have perfect understanding of all doctrines. However, there are certain doctrines (which I call essential gospel doctrines) that all regenerate people do believe. All regenerate people believe the gospel, and the gospel contains certain doctrines without which there is no gospel (a different gospel).

"All Arminians are unsaved" does NOT mean that all Arminians are going to hell, are non-elect, are reprobate. Judging a person to be unsaved is not the same as judging a person's eternal destiny. When I say that someone is unsaved, I am saying that the person is CURRENTLY unregenerate. Christians are not to judge who is elect and who is reprobate among unregenerate people. What Christians ARE to judge is that all who believe a false gospel are unsaved. Some unsaved people (including some Arminians) are among the elect, which means that God will save them in time, cause them to believe the gospel, and bring them to heaven. But when God saves them and causes them to believe the gospel, they will no longer be Arminians. They will no longer believe universal atonement, because they believe the gospel.

Now I will prove that all who believe in universal atonement believe a false gospel. We must first agree that all who believe a false gospel (all who do not believe the true gospel) are unsaved (Mark 16:16). If my opponent does not agree on this, there is no point in going further with this debate.

P3: All who do not believe the true gospel are unsaved.
P4: All who believe in universal atonement do not believe the true gospel.
C2: Thus, all who believe in universal atonement are unsaved.

In order to prove P4 to be true, it must be true that universal atonement is antithetical to the true gospel -- it is a false gospel; i.e., that one cannot believe the true gospel and believe universal atonement (a false gospel) at the same time.

What is the true gospel? We find it clearly defined for us in Romans. In Romans 1:16-17, God says that the righteousness of God is revealed in the gospel. What is this righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel? Romans 3:21-26 shows us what the righteousness of God that is revealed in the gospel is: "But now a righteousness of God has been revealed ..." This passage shows us that the gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on the PERSON and the WORK of Jesus Christ alone. Thus, the doctrines of Christ's PERSON and Christ's WORK form the heart of the gospel. Those who do not believe in the doctrine of Christ's PERSON (God-Man Mediator) are unsaved. Thus, people like the Jehovah's Witnesses are unsaved.

In addition, those who do not believe in the doctrine of Christ's WORK are unsaved. What is this WORK? This WORK includes the ATONEMENT. All who believe that Jesus Christ died for everyone without exception (universal atonement) do not believe in THE atonement of the Bible. They believe in a FALSE atonement (which is actually NO atonement), as we will see.

Two important concepts must be understood: SUBSTITUTION and IMPUTATION. SUBSTITUTION denotes an exchange of places. Jesus Christ TOOK THE PLACE OF certain sinners. Jesus Christ suffered ON BEHALF OF certain sinners. He REPRESENTED certain sinners. He suffered as a VICARIOUS SACRIFICE (Isaiah 53:5; Luke 22:19-20; John 10:11,15; Romans 5:17-19; Romans 8:32; 1 Corinthians 5:7; 1 Corinthians 11:24; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Galatians 2:20; Ephesians 5:2,25; Titus 2:13-14; Hebrews 2:9; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 2:21; 1 Peter 3:18). IMPUTATION denotes a legal charging to one's account. All of the sins of certain sinners, with all their guilt and condemnation, were CHARGED TO Jesus Christ (Isaiah 53:4-12; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; Hebrews 9:28; 1 Peter 2:24).

The differences between Gospel Atonement and universal atonement in the areas of substitution and imputation are as follows: In Gospel Atonement, Jesus Christ was the substitute of all whom God chose before the foundation of the world to be saved, and the sins of these people and these alone were imputed to Jesus Christ. In universal atonement, their "jesus christ" took the place of and took on the sins of every single human being without exception. We will see how this universal atonement is antithetical to the very heart of the gospel.

Having established that the sins of Jesus Christ's people were imputed to Him and He suffered in the place of His people, let us go into what The Atonement actually accomplished and compare The Atonement to universal atonement (which, as we will see, is really no atonement at all).

The Atonement fully and perfectly accomplished complete, absolute, entire REMISSION of all the sins of all the people for whom Christ died. To REMIT means to CANCEL, to FORGIVE, to PARDON, TO TAKE OUT OF THE WAY. Jesus Christ's bloody death on the cross totally canceled, totally purged, totally paid the debt for the sins of His people (Isaiah 53:5; Daniel 9:24; Matthew 26:28; John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Colossians 2:13-14; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 2:14; Hebrews 9:22,26; Hebrews 10:18; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 John 1:7; 1 John 3:5; Revelation 1:5). What of the "christ" of universal atonement? The "christ" of universal atonement died for everyone without exception. Did this death actually accomplish the remission, the cancellation, the pardon, the putting away of the sin of everyone without exception? It did not do anything even close to that. There are people in hell for whom this "christ" died, for whom this "christ" atoned, whose sins were supposedly "taken away" and "pardoned" and "paid for." Universal atonement advocates use John 1:29 to try to prove that their "christ" took away the sins of everyone without exception. Yet they also say that there are some who are burning in hell. Were the sins of those who are burning in hell TAKEN AWAY by the blood of their "christ"? If so, why are they burning in hell? It is because their "christ" actually accomplished NOTHING on the cross. There are people burning in hell for sins that were NOT pardoned or taken away. The blood of their "christ" is of no effect in and of itself.

The Atonement fully and perfectly accomplished complete, absolute, entire REDEMPTION of all the people for whom Christ died. To REDEEM means to BUY, to PURCHASE, TO PAY THE RANSOM PRICE for a possession so as to RESCUE or DELIVER that possession (Matthew 1:21; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; Acts 20:28; Romans 3:24; Romans 5:9; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Galatians 1:4; Galatians 3:13; Galatians 4:5; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14; Hebrews 2:15; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Revelation 5:9). What of the "christ" of universal atonement? The "christ" of universal atonement died for everyone without exception. Did this death actually accomplish the redemption, the purchase, the deliverance of everyone without exception? It did not do anything even close to that. There are people in hell for whom this "christ" died, for whom this "christ" atoned, who were supposedly "purchased" and "redeemed" by the blood of this "christ." Universal atonement advocates use 1 Timothy 2:6 to try to prove that their "christ" gave himself a ransom for everyone without exception. Yet they also say that there are some who are burning in hell. Did this "christ" give himself a RANSOM, BUY with his own blood, PAY THE PRICE for those who are burning in hell? If so, why are they burning in hell? It is because their "christ" actually accomplished NOTHING on the cross. There are people burning in hell who have NOT been purchased or delivered. The blood of their "christ" is of no effect in and of itself.

The Atonement fully and perfectly accomplished complete, absolute, entire PROPITIATION and RECONCILIATION for all the people for whom Christ died. To PROPITIATE means to APPEASE, to PACIFY, to ASSUAGE. To RECONCILE means to BRING BACK INTO FELLOWSHIP WITH, to MAKE PEACE WITH. God's wrath was fully appeased when Jesus Christ became sin for His people and suffered the just punishment for that sin. The blood of Christ made peace between God and all for whom Christ died (Isaiah 53:5-12; Romans 3:25; Romans 5:10-11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Ephesians 2:14-17; Colossians 1:20-22; 1 John 4:10; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:2). What of the "christ" of universal atonement? The "christ" of universal atonement died for everyone without exception. Did this death actually accomplish the appeasement of God's wrath for everyone without exception? Did it actually accomplish reconciliation between God and everyone without exception? It did not do anything even close to that. There are people in hell for whom this "christ" died, for whom this "christ" atoned, who were supposedly "reconciled" to God by the blood of this "christ," for whom God was supposedly "propitiated." Universal atonement advocates use 2 Corinthians 5:19 and 1 John 2:2 to try to prove that their "christ" was reconciling everyone without exception to God and that their "christ" was a propitiation for everyone without exception. Yet they also say that there are some who are burning in hell. Did this "christ" appease the wrath of God for those who are burning in hell? Did the blood of this "christ" make peace between God and those who are burning in hell? Did this "christ" reconcile to God those who are burning in hell? If so, why are they burning in hell? It is because their "christ" actually accomplished NOTHING on the cross. There are people burning in hell who are STILL UNDER the wrath of God, who are NOT at peace with God. The blood of their "christ" is of no effect in and of itself.

What will the Arminians say about this? They will say that the work of Jesus Christ is not effectual unless and until the sinner DOES something. Thus, it is not the work of Christ ALONE that saves; it is the work of Christ PLUS the effort of the sinner that saves. The work of Christ is a POTENTIAL work, not an ACTUAL work. This is the damnable heresy of salvation conditioned on the sinner. It denies the completely efficacious atonement of Jesus Christ.

True Christians believe that it is the work of Christ ALONE that ensures and demands the salvation of everyone whom He represented. True Christians believe that it is the work of Christ ALONE that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Arminians DO NOT believe that it is the work of Christ ALONE that ensures and demands the salvation of everyone whom He represented. Arminians DO NOT believe that it is the work of Christ ALONE that makes the difference between salvation and damnation. Instead, Arminians believe that it is the work and effort of the SINNER that makes the ultimate difference. This is the exact opposite of the true gospel.

Let us go back to our original syllogisms (in reverse order):

P3: All who do not believe the true gospel are unsaved.
P4: All who believe in universal atonement do not believe the true gospel.
C2: Thus, all who believe in universal atonement are unsaved.

P3 is agreed upon as true. I have proven P4. Thus, C2 is true.

P1: All who believe in universal atonement are unsaved.
P2: All Arminians believe in universal atonement.
C1: Therefore, all Arminians are unsaved.

C2 has been proven to be true; thus, P1 is true.
P2 is agreed upon as true.
Thus, C1 is true.

Thank you for your consideration.

To God alone be the glory,

Marc D. Carpenter

outsidethecamp.org

[It turned out that the person with whom I was to debate believes that not all who do not believe in Jesus Christ are unsaved. Thus, we could not even agree on the basic proposition that all who do not believe the true gospel are unsaved. OF COURSE this person would believe that not all Arminians are unsaved! The debate ended there.]


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