For follow-up discussion and general commentary on the topic. Comments are sorted chronologically.
I want to disagree with Mr. Brown's view that non-Calvinist Baptist being Arminian. Enough said in that in that regard. Non-Calvinist mainstream Baptists do not consider themselves Arminian in any way. They consider themselves in the middle between true Calvinists and Arminians.
Free Will Baptists emphasized the words "free will" originally to distinguish themselves from Calvinistic Baptists who did not believe in full free will with regard to salvation. Eventually, mainstream Baptists in America became more moderate with regard to their Calvinist views and accepted man's genuine volition when receiving salvation from God.
But, as I understand it, Free Will Baptists did not come from the mainstream Baptist camp but Anabaptists of mainland Europe.
I agree with you Larry. I know many people with a Baptist background, as some of the church groups I have attended have been baptist or had baptist roots.
Yet in those churches I have yet to meet one person who specifically labeled themselves as Arminian. Some identify with both, or classify themselves as somewhere in-between, hold to neither, or described themselves as staunch Calvinists.
"Not-Calvanist" is not the equivalent of being Arminian any more than not being pre-trib makes one automatically amillenial. They are both theologies derived by men in an attempt to explain spiritual concepts. I tend to see 'arminian' used by non-arminians to describe what they think someone else believes, or as a general adjective towards those who believe that Jesus died for everyone and that God desires all men to be saved. I've never actually met someone in person say "I'm an arminian".
In general, one can find a mix of beliefs in regards to these topics regardless of the stance of the umbrella church, as well.
I am both an Arminian, and a Calvanist, and at the same time neither one. The bible teaches both. In one place is says we were called before the foundation of the world. In another place it says, who soever will may come. Somewhere known only to God these two converge.
What is important to me is that you are a believer, and I don't care how you got that way. I do believe that once we are truly saved by trusting in Jesus alone we are saved for eternity. I find no other place in the bible that says you can be lost.
We are sealed by the Holy Spirit and cannot be lost no matter what. Otherwise, grace is not grace. When do we need grace? Only when we don't sin? No, we need grace in time of need which is when we sin. After being a believer for almost 70 years my faith has grown so much that I do not believe anything can keep me from heaven,
Because it all depends on my Savior and nothing else. I see far to many people that are depending on there own works to save them. I would be scared to death if I believed that.
It is not walking down a church isle and saying a prayer that saves you. It is trusting in the only one that can save you. Jesus Christ. You can get saved in a corn field. There is only one way to heaven and that is through that door. So, how you came to be a believer I don't care. There is only one salvation and that is by grace thru faith in Jesus alone.
Count on it. Rely on it. Depend on it.
Having said all of the above, I believe it is only a work of the Holy Spirit of God that can bring light to our souls. I believe He puts it in our hearts to seek Him. I can only praise Him till my dying day for what He has done for me. He works in me and through me to draw me close to Himself. Sometimes through tribulation, and sometimes through chastisement. Some times I just Love Him so much I think I will explode.
Let us give God all the Glory He is due. If I did not praise Him the rocks would cry out.