Are Arminians cult or not?

Discussion in 'Cults & World Religions' started by Dao, Aug 23, 2009.

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  1. Dao

    Dao Puritan Board Freshman

    Where do we draw the fine line in Arminianism and not call them "Cult"? We call JW, Mormons, Roman Catholics and many others "Cults" (at least those names are listed under cults in Google). To some, we can call Arminians cult in the same ways as others. Some would say Arminians are not cults. Doesn't those that teach a different doctrine fit in the catagory, "Cult"?
  2. Reformed Thomist

    Reformed Thomist Puritan Board Sophomore

    What do you mean by 'cult'?
  3. ewenlin

    ewenlin Puritan Board Junior

    There are arminians who believe in a proper Trinity, view on Scriptures, justification by faith, substitutionary atonement, etc. Wouldn't see them as a cult but again depends on how you define it.

    I mainly see them as confused Christians. :p Who was it who said something along the lines of arminians will become calvinists before they go heaven because God will wash their brains before then. It was something of those puritannical jestings which I'm sure will sound better than how I'm phrasing it now.
  4. jambo

    jambo Puritan Board Senior

    Arminians do not claim to have special revelation or to have discovered a new truth nor would they claim a human leader or authority. I would not see them as a cult and I am sure Arminians would not consider the Reformed to be a cult either.

    I know many Arminian brethren and although would not be at one with them in the head, at least in the heart I consider them to be at one.
  5. Dao

    Dao Puritan Board Freshman

    Since at least the 1940s, the approach of orthodox, conservative, or fundamentalist Christians was to apply the meaning of cult such that it included those religious groups who used (possibly exclusively) non-standard translations of the Bible, put additional revelation on a similar or higher level than the Bible, or had beliefs and/or practices that were not held by current, mainstream Christianity.
    click here for the encyclopedia:Cult - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    What do we mean by mainstream Christianity?

    -----Added 8/23/2009 at 12:17:05 EST-----

    So we'll need to go back to square one. We'll start with the Bible. I've seen Calvinistic views on "God chooses you first" in plain view and also seen Arminianistic (is that a new word?) views on "You chose God first" in plain view (face value of the Bible). They sound equal but totally different foundation.They both sound like mainline Christianity. The Calvinist tells Arminians they're dead wrong and the Arminians tell the Calvinist they"re dead wrong. Some say I'm neither Calvinist nor Arminians. How is that possible? Suppose the Calvinist AND Arminians are ~NOT~ cults (or something not taught in the Bible) and the rest of the religious organizations are cults.
    Perhaps the word "Cult" and "Mainline Christianity" doesn't do us any good. Translating the Bible as best we can sounds good. I really don't like calling Arminians "heretics" or "cults" in religion like Rush Limbaugh does in politics. Sometimes "Cult" or "heretics" is useful as a strong word.
  6. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    I think these are the keys. They just don't meet the definition of a cult. They look to Scripture (they read and interpret it wrongly, but they are looking in the right place).

    If I were to add a 4th test, it would be manipulating their members.

    This is not to say, however, that some Arminians aren't in cults. But Arminianism itself is not a cult.
  7. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    My personal definition of what would constitute a cult is a denial of the Nicene Creed.
  8. Hungus

    Hungus Puritan Board Freshman

    I have said this in other places, but I truly believe you will be hard pressed to find an actual arminian today. That given, arminianism is error and many who claim to be arminian teach a different Gospel, but true arminianism is not a cult just erroneous.

    Philip which version of the Nicene Creed would you use at a litmus test? There are 3 versions in circulation that I know of. example the Filioque was not added until well after Nicea (like a couple hundred years).
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2009
  9. Dao

    Dao Puritan Board Freshman

    Are you saying Arminianism is outdated and mainline Christianity evolved into something different?
  10. Hungus

    Hungus Puritan Board Freshman

    I am saying that if you look at people who claim to be arminians you will find they are really semi pelagians. So evolved no, devolved yes.

    Remember all the good heresies are old heresies, we just give them new names. (JW => Arianism, Emergence => Gnosticism etc.)
  11. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    The Chalcedonian version--the filioque is moot, as its substance is at least strongly implied by the text (at least in my understanding).
  12. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    (Even though it is not accurate, I will lump Arminianism, semi-Pelagianism, and to a lesser extent Pelagianism into one word in my post: Arminianism.)

    Is Arminianism a cult? No. As someone mentioned, there may be some Arminian congregations that are cults but the same could be said of some self-proclaimed Calvinistic congregations. Listen, Arminianism is definitely doctrinal error. However, there are brothers and sisters in Christ who sincerely see it in Scripture (like many of us did at one point!) and who don't qualify for a cult status any more than we on the PB do, despite many theological disagreements. While on one hand it is vital to distinguish truth from error, it should be for the purpose of correcting our brethren so they may know the ways of God more accurately. If that is the fruit of this discussion, great! However, much of this separate gospel/cult status talk serves mainly to divide the body of Christ rather than unite it.
  13. Hungus

    Hungus Puritan Board Freshman

    Was it Spurgeon who said we are all saved as Arminians? Or was that some other theologian or aspect of my twisted imagination?

    In any case I believe the statement was meant to reflect immaturity in the faith which will eventually be grown out of (hopefully)
  14. Idelette

    Idelette Puritan Board Graduate

    When most people think of the term "cult" this is the definition that comes to mind:

    "followers of an unorthodox, extremist, or false religion or sect who often live outside of conventional society under the direction of a charismatic leader." Definition taken from here: WordNet Search - 3.0

    I think the key is "false religion". Anything apart from salvific truth should be considered a false religion, and I don't think that Arminianism in and of itself is a false religion. Of-course their theology is erroneous but nevertheless, they have a biblical view of the gospel (perhaps not a deep understanding of the doctrines of grace) but JW's, Mormons, RC's and other groups teach a completely different gospel! I wouldn't lump Arminianism as a whole with them!
  15. puritanpilgrim

    puritanpilgrim Puritan Board Junior

    I always thought it was funny how arminians become calvinists when it comes to marrying "the one." Suddenly, God had everything planed out from the begining who they would marry.
  16. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor


    and how "all things have a purpose" or "there is a reason for everything" ...
  17. Dao

    Dao Puritan Board Freshman

    What makes Arminianism not a cult and JW or Mormans a cult?

    -----Added 8/23/2009 at 08:10:15 EST-----

    Thats AWESOME! I had to put that on my facebook's thoughts. We ought to start a topic with one liners such as this one.
  18. MMasztal

    MMasztal Puritan Board Sophomore

    In error? Yes. A cult? No. I think one reason that Arminiasm is so popular in today's "church" is that it compliments man (self esteem), and also that so many churches are headed by pastors with no formal theological training leading independent churches where accountability is non-existent.
  19. LeeJUk

    LeeJUk Puritan Board Junior

    I would never consider an arminian a member of a cult. That would be like saying the methodists were a cult and the Wesley brothers were the cult leaders. Nuff said.
  20. Scott1

    Scott1 Puritanboard Commissioner

    I think we are getting to an understanding of this in this thread- we ought not overuse the word "cult."

    (In the non theological realm, the radio talk show host you mention has done an excellent job reminding us words have meanings, ideas have consequences. How much more this applies when handling biblical truth.)

    Arminianism as a belief system is but a part of an overall system, not at all meeting the definition of that word.

    A step-down form of the word is "sect" indicating a peculiarity of belief that identifies the whole group. I wouldn't even use that term to describe Arminianism.
  21. AThornquist

    AThornquist Puritan Board Doctor

    Thanks :) It came to mind when I was writing out my testimony.
  22. Dao

    Dao Puritan Board Freshman

    I've noticed that some of my Arminian friends liked that line on my Facebook, "To follow Christ was the best decision God made for me!" Seems like some were blind to what it said unless they think, God made the decision to save ~ALL~. I was hoping they would notice that but I guess they didn't.
    Should I put, "Note: I didn't make that decision". Do we make that decision after the regeneration and would it be proper to say, "I didn't make that decision"?
  23. ewenlin

    ewenlin Puritan Board Junior

    I think it is Spurgeon in his Defense of Calvinism sermon..

    Hungus is absolutely right. This is what Dr. McMahon says,

    (emphasis mine)
    See here for the full article.

    You will be hard pressed to find arminians that are historically arminianistic.
  24. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member

    Arminianism, in all it's branches, can be the precursor to becoming a cult or cult-like. Bad theology, if left unchecked, leads to more bad theology. In some cases erroneous doctrine can go all the way to it's logical extreme. This is why theology and apologetics is important.
  25. ewenlin

    ewenlin Puritan Board Junior

    I thought you were gonna push for confessionalism, Elder Brown! :p:p:p:)
  26. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    It is not appropriate to say "I didn't make that decision" because you did. You didn't regenerate yourself (a popular Billy Graham way of stating the connection between choosing Jesus and being born again - i.e., regenerated - is to say that "You chose Christ, and then he caused you to be born again."), but you have willingly chosen Christ - something you were unable to do before God regenerated you.
  27. Herald

    Herald Administrator Staff Member


    It's also why confessionalism is important. No need to worry. :)
  28. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    No, most of them just haven't come to a learning of the 5 points yet. If you get one to say that he chose Christ because he was righteous before salvation, then you have a person who should fear for his soul. Not many of them will say this. Otherwise, they are just like the rest of us......learning more everyday! God doesn't give each new believer the whole of His truth at once....we learn as we go. BTW, I wouldn't call the RCC a cult either.
  29. Joseph Scibbe

    Joseph Scibbe Puritan Board Junior

    Any one can develop a cult, not just non-calvinists. Would we consider EVERY non-calvinist a cultist? My answer to this question is a resounding no! In all honesty I would be very comfortable betting that there are Arminians that know plenty more about the Bible are are more godly that just about any of us here. I heard a college professor say once "no matter what side of the fence you are on, there is always someone that is more godly than you on the other". I say we need to stop holding arminians in contempt and love them like the fellow heirs that they are. I know this is a :worms: statement but I will say it anyways: I bet there are just as many lost calvinists as there are lost arminians.

    -----Added 8/24/2009 at 09:55:57 EST-----

    Let me put it this way: I am credo-baptist but I do not look at paedo-baptists as being cult members.
  30. Dao

    Dao Puritan Board Freshman

    At first, I thought the Calvinism documents claimed that God regenerated the elect as if the elect didn't have a choice to accept or reject. As I struggle with the definition of HyperCalvinist, It seems I'm back to square one. With all the documents combined and over time, it seemed like I'm back to the Arminian theory that it's really you that makes a decision or do the action. As I can see in this topic of this forum, I'm getting clues that historical and traditional Arminianism might be outdated and Christianity involved to new things and new ideas.
    "Behold, I stand at the door and Knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me." Revelations 3:20
    One opens the door when he hears Jesus knocks. If Jesus knocks and the door don't open, then this wouldn't be possible since all calls respond. Is it possible that some don't respond to a knock? If so, then ~All~ would include the goats and tares. To me, the outdated Arminian imagines there's a knock and opens his own door and imagines Jesus standing there when they never heard the knock or saw Jesus and claim their own salvation. Some say,"I'm neither Arminian nor Calvinist". Seems to me that they can imagine the knock and imagine Jesus entering until they understand the the knock/entering was real, ~later~. What theory does a non-Arminian/non-Calvinist follow, anyway?
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