Does a child of grace have the liberty to frequent Arminian ‘churches’?
Romans chapter 14 deals with subjects of indifference, but I don’t believe that the subject of a believer having the liberty to attend an arminian church falls into that category. Looking at Romans chapter 14, Paul starts out with what we eat (meat), then he goes onto whether we hold one day above another and look at all days alike. This whole chapter centers on what we eat, what we drink and what days we honor or show no honor to. All of these go back to the law.
12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.
13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
From these two verses, it shows that these topics are indifferent and it is up to the individual to be persuaded one way or the other and with whatever direction we go, we will give an account. I believe that we can throw the subjects of movies, TV, music, and some other topics in with this, but I think that there are plenty of scriptures warning us to stay away from false teachers which make this topic not indifferent.
17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.
20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Arminians are known for their fair speeches. Most of them are wonderful orators and very charismatic. They are deceiving the hearts of the simple.
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
The arminian churches spew out the philosphy of the world and free-will.
1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
Here is a warning for the elect to watch out for these people. And Arminians constantly talk evil about the truth of God’s sovereignty and his grace.
2 Corinthians 6:
14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
I realize that these verses talk about the idol worship that went on among the heathen worshippers. But, all of us still use verse 14 for those whom are believers to not have any part with those whom are not believers. We are not to marry a heathen after we have been brought to the knowledge of the truth. I also believe that this verse points to not going into a business venture with an unbeliever as well. Verse 14 to me is very clear and the Arminian church fits right in.
Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Another warning! To me, a warning means that we are not to have anything to do with them if at all possible. When we realize that they are what Christ and the apostles have told to beware, we are to mark and avoid them.
And now to Galatians
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.
9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
I understand that some might be saying that just visiting doesn’t mean that that person is removed from the gospel and that to include these verses seems to be a harsh statement. I by no means have any kind of judgment towards anyone in mind. But, my point is that the more we are exposed to error the more we can become removed from truth and start believing that error is truth. We are human and that is why Paul tells us to “mark and avoid” them.
Looking at verse 8: “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”
The words ‘preach any other gospel’ is just one word in the Greek. It means:
2097 ~euaggelizw~ euaggelizo \yoo-ang-ghel-id’-zo\
from 2095 and 32; TDNT-2:707, *; v
AV-preach 23, preach the Gospel 22, bring good tidings 2, show glad tidings 2, bring glad tidings 1, declare 1, declare glad tidings 1, misc 3; 55
1) to bring good news, to announce glad tidings
1a) used in the OT of any kind of good news
1a1) of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings
1b) in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation
1c) glad tidings are brought to one, one has glad tidings proclaimed to him
1d) to proclaim glad tidings
1d1) instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation
(I by no means am a Greek scholar. This is helps from my OnLine Bible program)
If we look at 1d1 which is just like number 1. If any one preaches things pertaining to salvation in any other way than that which Paul has preached, he says twice to let him be accursed. You mentioned that these verses are in reference to the Jews and their observing the law. That makes them rely on their works for salvation. Arminians rely on their choice (works) for their salvation. There is not much difference here. Both of them are still works oriented. And I think that scripture is clear that we are to have nothing to do with them.
I have tried really hard, and I think I have succeeded, to take all personalities out of this. By that I mean not to show any judgment with emotions, but simply on what scripture has to say. I do want to make one personal comment though, because there is no way of getting around it. If a person is frequenting an Arminian church because of friends or for any other reason, how far do we let it go? What if his/her friends were Mormon’s or Jehovah’s Witnesses or Catholics, or Buddhist’s or any other faith. Would it be ok for him/her to frequent their services at any time?
I do want to end this with a quote from Elder Beebe. You are probably already familiar with this letter, but I thought it was a good one. In fact, the whole article is on this web-site. It is Titled: “Union, Fellowship and Harmony”
“...And while abiding in the doctrine and fellowship of the apostles of the Lamb, the saints are prepared to travel harmoniously in the breaking of bread, and in social worship. But under no circumstance are the saints at liberty to extend their fellowship where there is not a hearty reception of the word, in faith and practice, and a steadfast continuance in the apostles’ doctrine. The moment our fellowship exceeds these New Testament limits, it ceases to be christian union, or gospel fellowship,. and becomes a wicked perversion of the word - a mere giving of flattering titles one to another.”
My hope with this is not to try and convince you that I am right. I am just trying to explain why I cannot in good conscience ever tell anyone that it is ok to enter the doors of an Arminian church.
One in hope,