In Dave Hunt's book, What Love Is This? (published in 2002), he shockingly presents James Arminius (1560-1609) as someone who taught very similarly to Dave Hunt himself, regarding the subject of eternal security! If this gross misrepresentation was done innocently or intentionally, only God and Hunt know at this time. (It does appear that Hunt could have been deceived by Laurence Vance, who wrote an earlier book very similar to Hunt's entitled, The Other Side Of Calvinism. Unfortunately for Hunt's research reputation and the success of his book, he appears to have ignored the context of what James Arminius wrote about eternal security, as will be proven later in this Open Letter, and simply relied upon Vance, whom he quotes extensively.)
Dave Hunt and James Arminius
Furthermore, it appears that Hunt is making a strong appeal to the unlearned and misinformed Arminians of our day to push his new book, which is opposed to the first four points of Calvinism, but also openly declares Hunt's license for immorality known as eternal security. Hunt's appeal for the Arminians to support his deceptive book, which will spread eternal security, comes with his following compliments about James Arminius:... James Arminius was actually biblical in his beliefs ... (p. 76).
He stood uncompromisingly for sound doctrine and believed in the infallibility and inerrancy of the Bible as inspired by God (p. 76).
Arminius was evangelical in the gospel he preached (p. 76).
There are so many evangelical historians who praise Arminius as thoroughly orthodox in his doctrine ... (p. 78).
After all those amazing compliments about James Arminius coming from a staunch eternal security teacher, who has both proclaimed and tried to defend this horrible doctrine as included under the Christian Faith, Hunt's dangerous misrepresentation of James Arminius is stated on pp. 76, 77:
Dave Hunt Misrepresents James Arminius WritingsHe [James Arminius] also, with these words, defended himself against the false charge that he taught the doctrine of falling away: "At no period have I asserted ‘that believers do finally decline or fall away from faith or salvation.'"It seems that Hunt (or Laurence Vance), whomever it was (or both) that actually misread what James Arminius wrote, has lifted this statement entirely out of its context, just like he (they) do to try to make the Scriptures teach eternal security. The entire context of what Hunt quotes (and Vance as well) from James Arminius is cited below. The reader might have to review the entire passage twice, to better understand why James Arminius wrote that actual sentence.
[James Arminius wrote two articles in the context of the following quote. The second one is what is quoted below, which deals with the following: Is it possible for believers finally to decline and fall away from faith and salvation. On p. 738 this and another premise are cited. It is only the second one which James Arminius deals with in this article below. The first statement is: Faith, that is, justifying faith is not peculiar to the elect, which is mentioned in passing at the end of his article. The underlined part from the following quote is what Hunt (and Vance) has taken out of context to apply to James Arminius' view on eternal security. One more final word: please know that Dr. James Arminius was a very deep and analytical theologian, who carefully considered every word which he commented upon, as you will soon see.]
From: Jacobus Arminius, The Works of James Arminius, trans. James and William Nichols [Baker Book House, 1986], Vol. 1, pp. 741, 742.
James Arminius QuotesII. With regard to the Second Article, I say, that a distinction ought to be made between power and action. For it is one thing to declare, that "it is possible for the faithful to fall away from faith and salvation," and it is another to say, that "they do actually fall away." This distinction is of such extensive observance, that even antiquity itself was not afraid of affirming, concerning the elect and those who were to be saved, "that it was possible for them not to be saved;" and that "the mutability by which it was possible for them not to be willing to obey God, was not taken away from them,"—although it was the opinion of the ancients, "that such persons never would in reality be damned."—On this very subject, too, the greater part of our own doctors lay down a difference: For they say, "That it is possible for such persons to fall away, if their nature, which is inclined to lapses and defection, and if the temptations of the world and Satan, be the only circumstances taken into consideration: but that they will not finally fall away, because God will bring back to himself his own elect before the end of life." If any one asserts, "that it is not possible for believers, in consideration of their being elect persons, finally to fall away from salvation, because God has decreed to save them, "I answer, The decree concerning saving does not take away the POSSIBILITY of damning, but it removes damnation itself. For "to be actually saved," and "a possibility of not being saved," are two things not contrary to each other, but in perfect agreement.If Dave Hunt of the Berean Call had only read one sentence before the one he quoted, he would have easily detected his own gross misinterpretation of what James Arminius wrote. Here are those sentences together, again with Hunt's quote underlined:
I therefore add, that in this way I have hither to discriminated these two cases: And at one time I certainly did say, with an explanation subjoined to it, "that it was possible for believers finally to decline or fall away from faith and salvation." But at no period have I asserted, "that believers do finally decline or fall away from faith or salvation." This article therefore is ascribed to one who is not its author; and it is another offence against historical veracity.
I subjoin, that there is a vast difference between the enunciation of these two sentences: (1.) "It is possible for believers to decline from the FAITH;" and (2.) "It is possible for believers to decline from SALVATION." For the latter, when rigidly and accurately examined, can scarcely be admitted;—it being impossible for believers, as long as they remain believers, to decline from salvation. Because, were this possible, that power of God would be conquered which he has determined to employ in saving believers. On the other hand, if believers fall away from the faith and become unbelievers, it is impossible for them to do otherwise than decline from salvation,—that is, provided they still continue unbelievers. Therefore, whether this hypothesis be granted or not, the enunciation cannot be accurately expressed: For if this hypothesis (their perseverance in faith) be granted, they cannot decline; but if it be not granted, they cannot do otherwise than decline. (2.) But that first enunciation includes no hypothesis; and therefore an answer may be given to it simply, either that it is possible, or that it is impossible. For this cause, the second article ought to be corrected in the following manner: "It is possible for believers finally to fall away or decline from the faith;" or rather, "Some believers finally fall away and decline from the faith." This being granted, the other can be necessarily inferred,—"therefore they also actually decline from salvation."
Respecting the truth of this [Second] article, I repeat the same observations which I made about the First. For the following expressions are reciprocal to each other, and regular consequences: "Faith is peculiar to the elect," and "Believers do not finally fall away from the faith." In like manner, "Faith is not peculiar to the elect," and "Some believers finally decline from the faith."I therefore add, that in this way I have hither to discriminated these two cases: And at one time I certainly did say, with an explanation subjoined to it, "that it was possible for believers finally to decline or fall away from faith and salvation." But at no period have I asserted, "that believers do finally decline or fall away from faith or salvation."Dear reader, doesn't your righteous indignation for the truth regarding the soundness of James Arminius' doctrines and reputation flare up after reading just the previous sentence to the one Hunt (and Vance) lifted out of its context? So why did James Arminius state the part quoted by Dave Hunt, which has been misused? Because he (James Arminius) believed the following:... it being impossible for believers, as long as they remain believers, to decline from salvation.But shortly after that, he also clarified this with:On the other hand, if believers fall away from the faith and become unbelievers, it is impossible for them to do otherwise than decline from salvation,—that is, provided they still continue unbelievers.That is crystal clear as to the real view of James Arminius, but there is even more evidence that will help clarify this whole issue. Please note what else James Arminius wrote on this same subject:He punishes according to the rule revealed in the Law, by which it is said: "If thou shalt eat, thou shalt die." [Gen. ii. 17.](1)
For just as any one may be unwilling to be built thereon, so may the same man, if he has begun to be built, fall away, resisting the continuation and confirmation of that building. But it is not probable that Christ wished to signify by those words that believers cannot fall away from the faith, because that seems useless. For, since it is necessary for them to have their stability in the rock, and therefore always to rest and lie upon the rock, they will be more slothful in their care to adhere firmly to the rock in temptations, if they be taught that they cannot fall away from the rock.(2)
As regards the opinions of the Fathers, you doubtless know that almost all antiquity is of that judgment, that believers may fall away and perish.(3)
If you affirm that it is here said respecting all who are born of God, that they sin not, and that the seed of God remains in them, I shall take the word "remains" as signifying indwelling, but not the continuation of indwelling. But, so long as the seed of God is in him, he sins not unto death; yet, by degrees, through his own fault and negligence, that seed may be taken away out of his heart; and so that second communication may perish, just as his first creation in the image of God has died away. But this argument, I allow, is the strongest of all which can be adduced to this purpose.(4)
As to the sixth reason: As long as the members continue in Christ like branches in the vine, so long can they not die away; the life-giving power of Christ, to wit, dwelling in them. But if they have not borne fruit, then they shall be cut off. (John xv. 2.) But it may happen that the branches bear no fruit, even when grafted into the vine, not by the fault of the root, or of the vine, but of the branches themselves.(5)
No one, however, exists in Christ except by faith in Christ, which is a necessary means of our union with Christ. But, if it happens that any one falls away from the faith, he falls away from that union, and consequently from the favour of God wherewith He before embraced him in Christ. Whence also it is apparent that there is in this solution a begging of the question. For it is inquired "whether believers can fall away from the first grace," that is, "from the favour of God wherewith He embraces them in Christ." It is certain they cannot while they remain faithful, because just so long are they in Christ. But if they fall away from faith, they fall away also from that first grace.(6)
The example of David proves nothing. For, even if it be granted that David after commission of adultery and murder had not lost the Holy Spirit, it does not thence follow that He cannot be lost. For a man may sin still more grievously, and on this account lose the Holy Spirit. But what if I shall say that David did lose the Holy Spirit, after he had committed adultery and murder? You will reply that it appears from Psalm li. that the matter stands otherwise. I respond that that Psalm was sung by David after that, having been admonished by Nathan, he had repented of those crimes; but that God, at that time, upon the preaching of Nathan, restored the Holy Spirit to David.(7)
If David had died in the very moment in which he had sinned against Uriah by adultery and murder, he would have been condemned to death eternal.(8)
James Arminius Beliefs About King David In Adultery and Murder
Neither has that which AFFIRMS the contrary ever been reckoned as an heretical opinion; nay, that which affirms it possible for believers to fall away from the faith, has always had more supporters in the church of Christ, than that which denies its possibility or its actually occurring.(9)
Dave Hunt, we demand a public retraction of your misrepresentation of James Arminius beliefs of the believer's security which you have stated in your book. If you innocently made this grievous error, please make it right by going public with your mistake now. Had you and James Arminius been contemporaries, he would have refuted your teaching on eternal security as he did others who were also false teachers.
Dave Hunt, We Demand A Public Retraction
You also cited, in part, what his immediate followers (those who wrote the so-called Remonstrant Opinions, which demolish the various lies of Calvinism) declared under section IV:
James Arminius Immediate Followers Also Rejected Eternal Security3. True believers can fall from true faith and can fall into such sins as cannot be consistent with true and justifying faith; not only is it possible for this to happen, but it even happens frequently.Dave, these statements clearly refute your own personal view too. Those were true Arminians, not the so-called (counterfeit) Arminians of our dark hour that reject the first four points, but still teach eternal security like you. Dave, you are not an Arminian, even though you correctly reject the first four points of the Calvinistic TULIP.
4. True believers are able to fall through their own fault into shameful and atrocious deeds, to persevere and to die in them; and therefore finally to fall and to perish.
Dear reader, concisely stated, Dave Hunt's book chews up and spits out the lying teachings of Calvinism on the first four points, but also misstated James Arminius on eternal security and tries to make a distinction between eternal security and the Calvinistic Perseverance of the Saints. One must also question Hunt as to just how much real difference exists between the two being a license for immorality taught under the banner of grace, just like Jude stated all Christians are to contend against (Jude 3,4). Please notice that Hunt has taught the following about the sexually immoral man of 1 Cor. 5:
Dave Hunt's License For ImmoralityThe man who had "his father's wife" - a terrible sin - didn't lose his salvation thereby ....That unnamed man, who was committing sexual sin which even pagans didn't do (1 Cor. 5:1), was a Christian, according to author/teacher Dave Hunt. Hence, Hunt (and Laurence Vance) thinks there are Christian adulterers, who don't lose their salvation. This is just like the Calvinists who declare the same kind of lie about the elect, who stray into grievous sin (with David being an example) when in adultery and murder. (Detailed answers from the Bible, with documentation, are found in my book, The Believer's Conditional Security, mentioned at the end of this article.) No more needs to be said about the so-called differences which exist between Hunt's eternal security and the Calvinistic perseverance of the saints. These are nothing but surface differences. It's the same old lie the devil used on Eve in the garden, that is, sin won't bring spiritual death.
Again, both Hunt and the Calvinists are in perfect agreement about the saved never dying spiritually (losing their salvation) because of their sins. That is the essence of the eternal security definition. Because of this, both are essentially the same and must be resisted and boldly refuted by all God fearing Christians. Their false teachings about the believer's security have totally changed the image of what a real Christian is into the possibility that allows for gross wickedness in the life of one of the saints. Apparently, they don't realize their doctrine is a contradiction to the meaning of the word saint, which actually means holy one. Because of the teaching of eternal security, which Hunt is now again promoting in his book primarily against the first four points of Calvinism, this deadly lie will undoubtedly spread into misinformed Arminian circles. As a five point Arminian, I flatly reject Hunt's book, What Love Is This? as a book to be used to oppose the various lies of Calvinism. His tome is laced with spiritual poison and misinformation by teaching eternal security, misrepresenting James Arminius and trying to create a difference between Calvinism's fifth point and eternal security. Reading Hunt's book is like going into a restaurant and eating some good food and some poisoned. I fear for all the people who will think Hunt is sound about his objections to the first four points of Calvinism and will also think he must additionally be right about eternal security.
I can personally testify to the danger of books, like Hunt's, which are sometimes partly true, but also laced with the lie of eternal security. When I was a new Christian, I read a book refuting the teachings of the Jehovah's witnesses, but which also slipped into it the poisonous teaching of eternal security. I got deceived by this author and for a short time believed in the teaching of eternal security myself! This was before I read through the entire New Testament for myself and noticed the many Scriptures proving the believer's security is conditional. For Arminians to circulate Hunt's book to Christians will open these people up to the spiritual deception of eternal security, which leads to sin, ignorance of the Scriptures, lukewarmness, fruitlessness, etc.
For a much more detailed expose of Dave Hunt's unscriptural teachings on eternal security (with refutation), as well as an open letter from 1996, challenging him to a public debate on this doctrine, please consult our never refuted 801 page book, The Believer's Conditional Security. This book has gone around the world and into many seminary libraries. It has been used by God to change numerous eternal security people from the darkness of their doctrine into God-fearing, holy people drawing near to God, as the early Christians were. It is available through our ministry for $19.50 (softback or CD) or $29.50 (hardback), as is other important literature on this subject and others. Send your check into Evangelical Outreach, Box 265, Washington, PA 15301. If ordering outside the USA, add $10.00 for shipping and send an international money order or US dollars. This book, as well as other materials, can be ordered over the internet by coming to our web site www.evangelicaloutreach.org. It is the most exhaustive and comprehensive refutation of eternal security ever written. GOD BLESS YOU.
The Believer's Conditional Security
Additional copies of this dangerous misrepresentation of James Arminius by Dave Hunt are available through our ministry at cost (plus postage) for mass distribution.
1. Jacobus Arminius, The Works of James Arminius, trans. James and William Nichols [Baker Book House, 1986], Vol. 3, p. 195.
2. ibid., p. 455.
3. ibid., p. 455.
4. ibid., p. 457.
5. ibid, p. 457.
6. ibid., pp. 460, 461.
7. ibid., p. 463.
8. ibid., Vol. 2, p. 725.
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