Does God blind Arminians?

The general view of Christianity is that every individual is born an enemy of God, For this reason:

Romans 1

18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

The Bible also tells us that all are born (spiritually) dead in sin, and that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone. This faith evinces the desire to obey God’s commands, evidenced by good works, or, as a Jew would say, loving kindness:

Ephesians 2 

1. As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

The Bible also describes the natural man as blind and deaf to the things of God. Here’s a thing: God chooses either 1. to open blind eyes and deaf ears, which always leads to salvation or 2. to increase blindness and deafness in those who claim to see (the natural state of man), which may lead to damnation:

Jesus heals the blind man (John 9)

24 A second time they summoned the man who had been blind. “Give glory to God, ” they said. “We know this man is a sinner.” 25 He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” 26 Then they asked him, “What did he do to you? How did he open your eyes?” 27 He answered, “I have told you already and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you want to become his disciples, too?” 28 Then they hurled insults at him and said, “You are this fellow’s disciple! We are disciples of Moses! 29 We know that God spoke to Moses, but as for this fellow, we don’t even know where he comes from.” 30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly man who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 To this they replied, “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us!” And they threw him out.

Spiritual Blindness

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and when he found him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 “Who is he, sir?” the man asked. “Tell me so that I may believe in him.” 37 Jesus said, “You have now seen him; in fact, he is the one speaking with you.” 38 Then the man said, “Lord, I believe,” and he worshipped him. 39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.” 40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?” 41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.

After seeing the glory of God, the first preaching commission God gives to Isaiah is:

Isaiah 6

9 He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull
and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
 understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

Mark 4

10 And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside everything is in parables, 12 so that “they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand, lest they should turn and be forgiven.”

Acts 28

23 When they (the Jews) had appointed a day for him (Paul), they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. 24 And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. 25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: 26 “‘Go to this people, and say, “You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.”

27 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ (Acts 28:26-27, ESV).

The Bible says it is impossible for the spiritually blind and deaf to enter the kingdom of heaven. What, though, about the partially blind, for example, those who believe that Jesus can fail in his purpose to save. I’m talking about Arminians, namely, those who believe that Jesus is only a possible saviour, who can only save those the father gave him before the world began on condition 1. they permit Jesus to break their chains and 2. and they can, after being set free from slavery, decide whether they want to remain free or reclaim their chains.

What does the scripture say?

All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. 39 And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:37-40, 44, ESV).

Why do Arminians see “All that the Father gives me will come to me…And I will raise him up on the last day” as “All that the father gives me are those who will decided come to me…and I will raise them up on the last day?”

They’re either confused or refuse to believe that salvation is all of the Lord; they are confused or refuse to believe that they are not drowning in a cesspool, but lying bloated at the bottom. What they all do is refuse believe that they have no power to raise themselves to life. Surely they say, a deadish person can raise a finger or an eyebrow in consent to Jesus’ call.

Many Arminians are nonplussed by grace: they just can’t get it that the causal progression is Given – Come – Eternal life. If however, they see it clearly but refuse to accept that all those who are given will definitely come and will never lose their salvation because it is entirely up to God and not even a thimbleful to them, then the problem is far more serious.

Why do they refuse to believe the scriptures? It could be they are inconsistent. Or they are consistent: they deny that they are blind and stubbornly refuse to believe in a God that offers to save without their cooperation, without respectingthe dignity of their “free” will. They refuse to believe in a God that saves some, and passes others by. “It’s not fair!” They refuse to believe “’I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.’ 16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.”

Here’s the rub, in both groups, namely, those who refuse (and clearly see – as the Jews in the story of the blind man in John 9) and those who refuse out of confusion, God holds them responsible.

An inconsistent Arminian is partially blind. It seems that there is no reason why an inconsistent believer cannot be saved. And consistent Arminians; are they too blind to be saved. Hopefully not too blind that God will withhold his mercy. Arminians believe that God would not want to blind anyone to the point that they they cannot “see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed” Isaiah 6:10b. This is contrary to Isaiah 6:9-10 – 9 He said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding;
be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ 10 Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull
and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
 understand with their hearts,
and turn and be healed.”

In Arminian thinking, Jesus is knocking at the door of everybody’s heart pleading to be let in so  that it can change it. Alas, poor Jesus fails to save those the father would have given him if only they had opened that confounded door.

To answer the question: Does God blind Arminians? Yes. For the simple reason that, as R. C. Sproul sprouts it, there is not one rogue molecule in the universe.”Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”  21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? 22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? 25 As he says in Hosea:I will call them ‘my people’ who are not my people;
and I will call her ‘my loved one’ who is not my loved one,

I end with Eric Tuininga

There are certain vocal Arminians that my heart becomes heavy with concern with. For example, a prominent Arminian, when recently speaking against the Reformed view of God’s meticulous sovereignty over all things said, “The God of Calvinism scares me; I’m not sure how to distinguish him from the devil.” When I hear such rash comments coming from a person who claims to be a Christian I cringe because in reality they are essentially calling God, the devil. The heart is hardening to a point I consider to be playing with fire. Other Arminians may not be so crass but speak of the reformed view of God’s sovereignty and salvation by grace ALONE so mockingly that I again find myself concerned for their souls because, in fact, they are speaking this way about God and His word, not just another viewpoint. If the Reformed view is a true representation of God then they actually end up mocking God, a place I do not wish upon anyone.”

So, to sum up, a fully consistent Arminian is not saved – but to be fully consistent you would have to be an open theist or something like it. But some Arminians are inconsistent, truly trusting in Christ alone, grace alone, but not thinking through what that means when it comes to faith, perseverance, etc. They are very weak in their understanding, and need to be taught the truth. IF they resist that teaching, and cling to their own contribution to salvation, it may be evidence that they are not saved. If they receive the teaching, and say, yes, this is true – it is grace alone, and grow in this, then they are saved and perhaps were before, but not enjoying their salvation, because bogged down in inconsistently bad theology. Consider that if someone is truly regenerated by the Holy Spirit but has sit for years under the false teaching of his denomination, he will become resistant to hearing the truth, especially the first time because his tradition has largely replaced it. If confronted with Scripture long enough it is probable they will be stripped of all poor understanding and self-effort, BUT many of these persons will likely NEVER have the opportunity to be confronted on this in their environment, that is, until Jesus returns. There are many Christians in China in remote places who could not possibly come into contact with a theologically reformed church but the Holy Spirit may have quickened them while reading the Scriptures. I will not count out the fact that such a person may be saved. 

Every time you sin and every time you think wrong thoughts about God you are acting or thinking inconsistently. This does not mean you are unsaved. God often leaves us in weakness so we will trust more in what Christ has done for us. Having perfect theology certainly does not save us, Christ does, even if we understand this less than perfectly as I indeed do.”

So for some Arminians, becoming Reformed truly marks their conversion to Christ. Others I think are “reformed” without knowing it. They might call themselves Arminians, but they aren’t. That’s why I resist making blanket statements that “all Arminians are not saved.” (See Arminians who confuse and refuse: free will in coming to Christ)

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6 thoughts on “Does God blind Arminians?

  1. ‘But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God?”

    I would say, ‘But who are you, a human being, to know and interpret to others the whys and wherefores of God?’

      • I do believe that Jesus existed (but not as the Son of God). If I believed that the Bible were a true record of what Jesus said (which I do not–recorders and witnesses being fallible), then I would still ask him my question–believing, as I do, that Jesus was a human being and only a human being.

        Of all the priests, rabbis, prophets, saints, philosophers, sages, genii in the world, not ONE of them knows the nature of God. My question would apply to all of them.

        • Karen

          Matthew 24

          39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!” 41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the rebels who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

          Luke 16

          The Rich Man and Lazarus

          19 “There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and lived in luxury every day. 20 At his gate was laid a beggar named Lazarus, covered with sores 21 and longing to eat what fell from the rich man’s table. Even the dogs came and licked his sores.

          22 “The time came when the beggar died and the angels carried him to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 In Hades, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. 24 So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’

          25 “But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been set in place, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’

          27 “He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my family, 28 for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’

          29 “Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’

          30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’

          31 “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”

  2. A lot of food for thought in this post. The Apostle Paul didn’t make his own choice when he was thrown off his horse ? God called him and opened his blind eyes . How wonderful to see the calling of God in our lives. I don’t understand the reluctance to embrace this most wonderful truth in scripture. As for me I finally saw God in all His Sovereignty .

    • Pauline, you may have came across this:

      Charles Spurgeon, in his “The former and the latter rain,” http://m.ccel.org/ccel/spurgeon/sermons15.xxxiii.html says “there is a point in Grace as much above the ordinary Christian, as the ordinary Christian is above the worldling.” Spurgeon’s point is that it is not enough to rest on the fact that your sins have been forgiven, that you have been saved. There’s much more: there’s knowing God; knowing more and more who God is, and in so doing building up the “inner man.”

      One could also say that there is a point in Grace as much above the Arminian as the Arminian is above the worldling. It’s not right to know that Jesus is a possible savior, who only becomes a real savior with a blink from you.

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