What I believe...
I believe that man suffers from a depraved nature which has a proclivity to run from, rather than to, God. This is the nature that we’ve inherited from Adam and Eve, which is evident from Genesis 3:8 which states: “They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Therefore, I believe that since man does not naturally seek God, God must seek man, if anyone is to be saved. I believe in the supernatural, life-giving, dynamite power of the Gospel, together with the goading of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of the lost. I believe that where God leads, God enables. I believe that God, for His part, is willing that all men be saved. I believe that God has a wonderful plan for everyone’s life, and that when a man perishes, he perishes by his own will, rather than by God’s will. I do not believe that these views are naive, no more than I believe that John 3:16 is naive.
I believe that God indeed loves the whole world so much that He gave it His only begotten Son Jesus, to suffer and die upon a cross in order to redeem the world from their sins, if they would only believe in Him. I believe that on the authority of the Word of God, that I can walk up to anyone, anywhere and at any time, and confidently tell them that God loves them, that Jesus died for them, and that He has a wonderful plan for their life, which begins with the salvation of their soul. I believe that Jesus comes to meet the lost sinner right where he is, and knocks upon the door of his unregenerate heart, and makes His plea to enter, in order to bestow eternal life. I believe that God is a truly good God.
I do not believe that God has created only some for Heaven, while creating the rest of mankind with an attitude of casual indifference. I believe that God, for His part, wants everyone to be saved, and I believe that how we view God is essential to the development of our character. I believe that we become who we idolize. If we idolize Jesus, then who Jesus is, and what He is all about, will inevitably filter down into our own being, until we adopt Christ’s heart and attitude as our own. Therefore, I believe that if we view God as the Bible describes, as being a God who is truly good and infinitely fair-minded, then such a view will inevitably take root in our own character as well. However, I also believe that if we mistakenly adopt a Calvinistic view, in that God did not create everyone with a kind and gracious intention, but that God turns a cold, compassionless, blind eye towards the spiritual need of the vast multitude of the lost, with all of the casual indifference of the Priest and the Levite of Luke 10:30-37, then I believe that there is an inherrent danger of such a view of God, eventually filtering down into our own heart and character as well. I believe that God placed the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden on purpose, but having done so with clear instructions. I believe that God did this in order to force His creatures into making a free will choice. I also believe that despite the fact that God has written His Word with clear instructions on His feelings towards the salvation of all men, such as with John 3:16, 1st Timothy 2:4 and 2nd Peter 3:9, God has also purposely written His Word with certain passages that have sufficient vagueness in order to be misinterpreted by false teachers, and I believe that God has done this in order to force men into making choices. I believe that God is a God who tests.
(1) Total Depravity
Due the inherited nature of fallen man, no one naturally seeks God, and therefore, for any man to be saved, God must seek man, and this God indeed does by seeking the lost (Luke 19:10), drawing the lost (John 12:32) and knocking upon the heart’s door of the lost (Revelation 3:20), while the Holy Spirit convicts the heart of the lost (John 16:8), pierces the heart of the lost (Acts 2:37), pricks the heart of the lost (Acts 26:14) and even opens the heart of the lost in order to enable positive response to the Gospel, while the Gospel itself produces faith (Romans 10:17), is spirit and life (John 6:63) and is living and active. (Hebrews 4:12) It is by these, and other similar preceding graces (otherwise known as “Prevenient Grace”), that God mercifully reaches out to fallen man, when presenting His bona fide offer of salvation, which abounds to all men indiscriminately and without exception (Romans 5:15), that whosoever-will may freely receive.
(2) Conditional Election
I believe that election with God to eternal life, and all of its associated blessings, are solely on the basis of our position in Christ, through whom we are elect, in terms that no one comes to the Father except by the Son (John 14:6), such that no unbeliever has election with the Father, being lost and condemned (John 3:18), until the unbeliever becomes a believer in Christ, so that through Christ alone we receive redemption by His blood and adoption into His elect family as a child of God. I believe that in the Old Testament, man was primarily physically born into Election ‘in Abraham,’ while in the NT, man is spiritually born-again into Election ‘in Christ,’ and thereby joins the elect race of the redeemed. (1st Peter 2:9) I believe that Election is both corporate in Christ, as well as individual, in that those in Christ have been foreknown by God. (Romans 8:29)
(3) Unlimited Atonement
I believe in a universal purchase of the lost and the particular redemption of the elect in Christ. I believe that no bona fide “offer” of salvation can be made to any man, indiscriminately, unless Jesus died on behalf of all men, without exception, which does not mean that all men will be said, but only that all men can be saved, if man will meet God the Father’s condition for eternal life by believing in His Son. (John 3:16)
(4) Prevenient Grace
If it is agreed upon, that God, having reached out to the lost “all day long” (Isaiah 65:2), may be considered an act of mercy and grace, then indeed God’s mercy and grace may be spoiled, wasted and rejected, expressly against God’s sincere intent and wishes. (Hebrews 2:3)
(5) Conditional Security
That there is security in Christ, there is no doubt, but whether it is possible that any man in Christ can come to the point where he is expelled by the Lord and is no longer in Christ, and must be re-Born Again, re-Saved again and become a New Creature all over again, remains a matter that charitably divides many Arminians.