Can Arminians Guarantee Assurance?

By Ben Campbell

This is part one of a two-part series on the doctrine of Christian assurance from a Reformed Arminian perspective. 

The assurance of salvation believers possess only takes place through a gospel-centered, Christ-focused, Spirit-empowered theology of salvation. In his work, All of Grace,Charles Haddon Spurgeon correctly remarks “If we are found faithful, it will be because God is faithful. On the faithfulness of our covenant God the whole burden of our salvation must rest.”[1] Insofar as many people conjure doubts in their life, assurance of salvation is a topic every Christian should affirm and enjoy throughout their lifetime. Assurance of salvation rests on the faithful God of the Bible. The delinquency arises, however, when different theological systems vex to the front of the line for the doctrine’s authenticity and truthfulness.

The Golden Chain Phenomenon

Reformed Arminianism is often caricatured as “Pelagianism” or “Semi-Pelagianism,” which is an altogether untrue description of the system of thought. In an article titled How Romans 8 Made Me A Calvinist, the author parodies this very subject, stating that Reformed Arminianism cannot guarantee salvation because of the belief in the possibility of apostasy. The author suggests, “If people can fall out of the chain at any point, then we can never know that all things will work together for the good of the called.”[2] Insofar as the author states, it is clear he believes that the only guarantee for salvation is through divine determinism or double predestination. Essentially, if one believes in the possibility of apostasy, there is no authentic guarantee for assurance and security in salvation.

Often, non-Arminians will portray Arminianism (in any form) as a synergistic form of salvation which lessens the sovereignty of God and heightens the responsibility of man. As one Calvinist author records, “The issues at the heart of the Calvinist–Arminian controversy are intimately related to the Gospel. The controversy deals with the nature of God’s sovereignty and human free will, the impact of sin upon human beings, the meaning of the atonement, the definition and power of God’s grace, the possibility of assurance, and much more.”[3] According to Calvinist theologians and thinkers, Arminianism is a gospel issue – which is simply not the case, especially in dealing with Reformed Arminianism.[4]

The Real “Question”

Reformed Arminianism – like other theological systems – can guarantee salvation, even while in disagreement with other theological systems. Reformed Arminianism does not begin with a Pelagian view of salvation. Instead, it begins and ends with Jesus Christ and his satisfactory death for His elect on calvary’s cross. Perhaps the reason many Calvinists often present Arminianism as an illogical system is because they do not truly understand the ins and outs of Arminianism entirely. Though a thorough critique of every comparison cannot ensue in these posts, the topic of assurance will be at the forefront of the thesis which will be a work of careful navigation through the Reformed Arminian doctrine of assurance of salvation.

The ultimate question is whether Reformed Arminianism can guarantee its advocates salvation or not. Thus, the aim of these two posts is to demonstrate the basis for assurance and to affirm real assurance of salvation within the Reformed Arminian tradition.


In next week’s post, I will define and examine what biblical assurance is and looks like through the lens of Reformed Arminianism, and demonstrate how Reformed Arminians can guarantee assurance to its subscribers.


[1] C.H. Spurgeon. All of Grace (Nashville: B&H, 2017), 161.

[2] Justin Dillehay, “How Romans 8 Made Me a Calvinist” The Gospel Coalition, accessed August 4, 2021, https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/romans-8-made-calvinist/.

[3] Keith Mathison, “Why I Am Not an Arminian” Ligonier, accessed August 4, 2021, https://www.ligonier.org/posts/why-i-am-not-arminian.

[4] While I claim this specific issue is not a gospel issue, there are other beliefs within different sects Arminians that might be characterized differently than Reformed Arminian doctrine and practice.

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