Our intention was to get a basic level education together as a family and see if perhaps the Lord could use us in a full-time ministry capacity. My trouble started about the 2nd or 3rd day after we arrived in Homer. We were staying on campus at ABI in the married couple housing, we were not even unpacked yet. We were invited to a Bible study by the president of the school, a wonderful privilege I thought. We got there, prayed and began the study. It was not like any other Bible study I had ever been too. Our background is with the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church where open discussion is encouraged, not so at this particular Bible study.
The study just happened to be on Romans chapter 8. The president of the school/study leader got to Romans 8:29 which happens to mention predestination. When the study leader said the word "predestination" the gentleman sitting next to me slammed his fists on the table in anger and shouted "Don't tell me God predestines people!" He got up from the table and began pacing and ranting in anger. The study leader did not seem bothered and just said "Well the Bible mentions predestination, so we have to read it". I responded "What's wrong with predestination? The Bible teaches it and its a good biblical word."
I don't recall how the rest of the study went, but I distinctly remember wondering what kind of people I was surrounded with. You see, I was converted to Christ after reading the Bible from cover to cover, and God graciously reached down and saved my lost rebellious self-centered soul. I was not raised in an Arminian denomination/tradition. I simply believed what the Bible said - all of it. Whether I liked it or not. It does not contain the teachings of men but it is in fact (as it testifies of itself) the Word of God. And so the study ended and we got in the car to head back to ABI. The study leader had drove my wife and I. After we got in the car, the study leader leaned over, looked at me and said in a threatening manner,
"Don't you cause any trouble around here now."
My stomach sank with a horrible feeling. What in the world have I gotten myself and my family into. The Internet sight said all were welcome from all denominations etc. Apparently this was not true, at least it wasn't during our stay in 1999. And this was just the beginning of a very, very difficult experience at ABI, but a very wonderful experience of discovering what the Bible actually taught. As a matter of fact I probably got a way better education than I bargained for.
On the flip side, as "fate" would have it, I happened to get a job at the local print shop with two men who were leaders in a local church - Grace Covenant Church. They were both great guys and also wonderful Christians. One was actually the pastor of the church and had studied under John Piper. He began to teach me just what was actually happening at ABI. I found out the the school was an "Arminian" School, which I had never heard of before, you see, as I said I simply believed the Bible. Of course the Bible study leader said the same thing, but apparently he didn't really mean it. This became increasingly more evident as the school year went on. Almost every day we heard stories of how someone "lost out" in the end because he didn't keep up his good works and his faith in Christ.
I later came to learn that the Arminian view of salvation is that it is fallible. A Christian can lose his/her salvation. A believer is not eternally secure in his/her position as a child of God. According to Arminianism a believer can in fact be unborn again. This is not what the Bible teaches. I found myself raising my hand in class not a few times and commenting "but the Bible says...", or "but the next verse says..." In all good conscience I could not remain silent. It was a travesty to witness the kind of false teaching, miss-interpretation and eisegesis that occurred, and to my knowledge continues to occur at the Alaska Bible Institute. I am not one to gossip or talk behind someones back. I made every effort to reason with the leadership at ABI. The last thing in the world I wanted was to cause any kind of trouble or controversy, I mean this very sincerely. I recall specifically asking the president of the school if he was an Arminian. He said, and I quote "No I am not an Arminian, I am just a Christian and I believe the Bible". This seems to be a common response from those within Arminian groups, for example Dave Hunt says the same thing and yet everything he teaches lines up completely with Arminian theology. The difficulty is that this is also what Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholics etc. say.
It became imperative for me to dig deeper and find out just exactly what this man believed the Bible taught and whether or not it was accurate and consistent and most importantly true. I came to learn that "Arminianism" teaches something very different than what I had read in my Bible. That you can lose your salvation. As I mentioned previously, we heard this over and over again in the classroom at ABI. My thought was, then what good is it if you can loose it? Jesus didn't say He came to give us temporary eternal life, He said ETERNAL LIFE! In fact that very first Bible study in Romans 8 debunks the whole of Arminian teaching in the area of soteriology. Quite providential don't you think? Ever since then I have applied myself to the study of the Word of God even more intensely and prayerfully with the goal of actually understanding it. I came to find that what the Bible teaches is not Arminianism, but Calvinism. As Charles Spurgeon said "Calvinism is simply a nickname for the Biblical Gospel." I also found out that the pastor of the one Reformed Church in Homer had also had a run in with the same person that I did and he was accused of teaching a "doctrine of demons" after he had simply read and commented on Ephesians chapter one. Well now once again I was faced with a dilemma just like the one I faced before leaving the Roman Catholic Church; was I going to abandon what the Bible teaches so that I could be accepted into this group? How could I, for in it are the Words of eternal life, the words of Christ Himself.
And so the aim of this blog is to bring the truth of the Bible - the WHOLE Bible - to anyone who is open to it (as well as simply expressing my own personal view of spiritual things).
It may seem that I spend allot of time writing about predestination, but am I obsessed with it? Absolutely not! Perhaps, just perhaps I say, could it be that those of an Arminian persuasion are actually the ones obsessed with suppressing the truth about election/predestination contained throughout the entire Bible? It's been a long lonely road but I'll keep trusting the Lord and we'll see what happens. He never promised that this would be our best life now. I also would like to say that we made some wonderful friends during our one year of study at ABI, friends that we still have today. My hope and prayer is that things will change there (and perhaps they already have) and young believers will be able to be grounded in the whole counsel of God and not indoctrinated into a system/tradition that imposes its own beliefs onto the text of Holy Scripture.
I know that I am not the only one that has had this kind of experience at ABI but I hope I am one of the last. Another solution would be to openly state the doctrinal position of the school. If I had known ABI was "arminian", and teaches that Christians can lose their salvation I would have thought that's nice, but I'll look elsewhere for a school more in line with my own doctrinal convictions.
In conclusion, I would like to give an open invitation to ABI to dialogue the issues I have raised. I welcome an open public discussion. Would not the Christian thing be to lovingly correct my false beliefs and bring me back to the truth of the Bible, if in fact you believe me to be in error? Let's talk about it in the Spirit of Christ ...