Du Moulin: The Arminians Make God’s Love Mutable

XV. The Arminians do cover themselves against this shower of arguments, with that their distinction of the antecedent and consequent will of God. They say that God does love some men more than other by his consequent will, that is, by that will which is after the faith and repentance of man: For God does love them most, whom he forsees will believe, and by their own free will, are to use grace well. But by his primary and antecedent will, God does alike love all men, and does equally desire the salvation of all; and therefore he doth give to all men sufficient grace for faith, and so for salvation. And the cause why the Gospel is not preached to all, they say, is not the will of God, but either the negligence of Christians, or the indignity and unworthiness of the people, or else the sins of their ancestors, who have rejected grace, being offered.

XVI. Certainly this is a deadly speech, and is directly contrary, not only to the Scripture, but also to itself. For while they bring reasons, why God does not offer his Gospel to all, unawares they yield to our party; for they lay down the causes, why God does not equally love all: But the question is not, why God loves some men more than others, but whether God does love all men equally; therefore they entangle themselves. And how absurd that distinction is of the will of God into antecedent and consequent, how contumelious against God, in that sense in which it is taken by the sectaries, we have taught at large, Chap. 5.

XVII. Moreover, they teach, that God is often disappointed of his antecedent will, and that the love of God to us is then mutable, if he love us with his consequent will, that is, by his will which is after our love and faith, and our own will. It is a wicked thing to desire, that the immutability of the love of God towards us, should be after our love, and should depend on our will; for the love of God cannot be certain, if it be grounded on the love wherewith we first love him. That therefore the love of God to us might be certain and immutable, it must needs go before our love, as Saint John teaches, 1. Epist. 4. 19. You love him, because he loved you first.

Pierre Du Moulin, The Anatomy Of Arminianism (London, 1620), 267–68 [spelling modernized].

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    • Jae,

      It depends upon what one means by “brothers and sisters.” The Reformed confess a doctrine of the church in Belgic Confession articles 28-29. The Synod of Dort used very strong language regarding the Remonstrant/Arminian errors and about those who teach them.

      The confessional churches that I serve do not have any formal relationship with Arminian churches. So our formal relationship does not exist. That said, it is important to distinguish between officers (e.g., pastors) and laity and between the way we regard those with whom we have disagreements. I hope the Reformed and Remonstrant can disagree without being disagreeable. I recognize that there are those who hold Arminian ideas, who have never heard anything else. I think we should be gracious with everyone, always.

      I suppose I think of it on a case-by-case basis. I know Arminians whom I don’t regard as brothers and I know Arminians whom I do. We might ask the same about Roman Catholics and others with whom there has been a formal, ecclesiastical break and about whom there have been formal ecclesiastical judgments made.

      One more thing. My concern these days is less about what the Remonstrants/Arminians are teaching and more about the ways ostensibly (self-described) Reformed folk are importing Arminian teaching into Reformed churches and calling it Reformed. I wish Reformed folk would read Du Moulin and notice how well his description of Remonstrant/Arminian doctrine fits that which is being passed off as Reformed in some circles.

      I hope this helps.

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