Monthly Archives For April 2008

Theology and the Slave Trade

, posted by Kevin Jackson

I was recently reading the blog Ancient Christian Defender. The author Jnorm888 had a provocative post entitled Was Jonathan Edwards a racist?

It is a well known fact that Edwards was a proponent of slavery, and owned slaves himself. Unlike many contemporary slave owners, Edwards did not will freedom to his slaves upon his death. Due to Edward’s position on slavery, there is some division in the African American community today on whether or not he is a person worthy of being honored.

Jnorm’s post triggered some questions in my mind: Did the Calvinistic assumptions of Edward’s theology contribute to his support of slavery? How did prominent Calvinists of the era approach the issue slavery, and how did prominent Arminians address the issue? Was there a difference in their approaches?

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Arminius on the Doctrine of Election (An Introduction)

, posted by WilliamBirch

“Most of Arminius’ theological career was a process of discovery and Christology was at the very centre of this. Hence it would necessarily somewhat distort the picture to begin with a crystal-clear thesis . . . As we shall see, Bertius in his Funeral Oration came close to this approach by suggesting that everything resulted from a request to Arminius to answer Corneliszoon and Donteklok’s pamphlet, while in our own time Dekker and Kendall have taken as their starting-point that Arminius discovered that predestination is of believers and built up all his theology on that basis.

“But Arminius’ theology was not the result of startling revelation of unfamiliar truth early in his ministry, which he then worked out step by step. If it had, this study would have been easier to write.

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1 John 1:8-10: A Devotional

, posted by Ron C. Fay

If we would say that we have no sin, we would be deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we would confess our sins, he is faithful and just in order that he would forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we would say that we have no sin, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. (author’s translation)

It is important to note immediately that most of these verbs are in the subjunctive, meaning they have “would” as part of them. The “would” shows that the author is giving a real possibility to what could happen, but it is a possibility and not a certainty depending upon the circumstances.

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Who was Episcopius?

, posted by Godismyjudge

Simon Bisscop (better known by his Latinized last name, Episcopius) was James Arminius’ student and close friend. He attended the University of Leiden when the hot debates between Arminius and Gomarus were going on. He visited Arminius on his death bed and after Arminius died, Episcopius experienced persecution, being excluded from the Lord’s table and blocked from the pastorate. Episcopius was one of the authors and 43 signers of the 5 points of the Remonstrants. (link)

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Critique on the Articles of Remonstrance

, posted by Martin Glynn

by Martin Glynn Unlike Calvinism with Dordt, Arminianism doesn’t really have a singular document which defines us. However, there does exist the Articles of the Remonstrants which marks the first expression of a distinctly Arminian…

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The Nature of Saving Faith

, posted by Ben Henshaw

The subject of this post is to define faith from an Arminian perspective and demonstrate that the Calvinist charge that faith within the Arminian system would promote boasting, is inaccurate.

Saving faith, when Biblically understood, is the means by which we receive God’s gracious gift of salvation (Eph. 2:8, 9; Rom. 4:16; 5:1, 2). It is the way in which we come to be in union with Christ (Eph. 1:13; 2:17). It is a complete trust and reliance upon the merits of Christ’s blood (Rom. 3:25). It is a looking away from self [and self effort] to the person and sacrifice of Jesus Christ (Jn. 3:14, 15; 6:40).

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1 John 1:5-7: A Devotional

, posted by Ron C. Fay

And this is the message which we have heard from him and announced to you, that God is light and there is no darkness whatsoever in him. 6 If we would say that we have fellowship with him and we walk in the darkness, we are lying and we do not do the truth; 7 and if we would walk in the light as he is in the light, we are having fellowship with each other and the blood of Jesus his son is cleansing us from all sin. (note: author’s translation)

This short book of the Bible has intentional literary and theological connections with the Gospel of John, and one of those very strong connections is in the imagery of darkness and light, imagery that stands out starkly at the beginning of John’s Gospel (1:4-9) contrasting Jesus and the life (=light) He brings and the darkness that the world was in before He got there.

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Challies: Defending Arminians Unfair to Their Accusers

, posted by Patron

The content of this post was authored by J.C. Thibodaux and is posted on his behalf.

Recently, Tim Challies did a review of Roger E. Olson’s Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities,

He cites a paragraph from the book:

“When conservative theologians declare that synergism is a heresy, they are usually referring to these two Pelagian forms of synergism. Classical Arminians agree. This is a major theme of this book. Contrary to confused critics, classical Arminianism is neither Pelagian nor semi-Pelagian! But it is synergistic. Arminianism is evangelical synergism as opposed to heretical, humanistic synergism.”

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Book Review: Arminius on the Assurance of Salvation

, posted by Godismyjudge

If Dr. Keith Stanglin’s book, Arminius on the Assurance of Salvation, isn’t the best book out there on Arminius, it’s certainly in the top five. Stanglin’s description of Arminius’ views has a historic flare, similar to books like God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of James Arminius by Richard Muller, or Arminius: A Study in the Dutch Reformation by Carl Bangs.

Stanglin’s book has several unique features. First, it uses some of the 35 untranslated, unpublished Public Disputations by Arminius. Second, it examines Arminius’ fellow professors at Leiden and the teaching styles and methods common at the university. Third, Stanglin retranslates Arminius from Latin, making some important corrections to Nichols’ translation. This focus on primary materials, original language and context sets the stage for clearly understanding what Arminius had to say about assurance.

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Must Regeneration Precede Faith?

, posted by WilliamBirch

Romans 1.16-17, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘But the righteous man shall live by faith’” (NASB, and henceforth).

Christ’s gospel is effectual, “even” on an unregenerate spirit. That forces me to ask the Calvinist: What power does the gospel contain if one must first be regenerated in order to believe it?

Romans 10.14, “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”

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Why I’m Not A Calvinist

, posted by omelianchuk

In this post I give my autobiographical and intellectual reasons for rejecting Calvinism

This is a post I have been thinking about and working on for quite some time. It is not meant to be an exhaustive critique of Calvinism or an argument for the purity of non-Calvinist theology. It is a response to the genuine inquiries of those who ask why I no longer hold to the Calvinistic “doctrines of grace” and “sovereignty of God.” Confessional intellectual autobiography and polemical discourse are the genres in which I write, and hopefully it will be apparent at which places I vacillate between the two. I have made a concerted effort to downplay the use of technical jargon, though some will be necessary. When words idiosyncratic to the issues emerge I will do my best to explain them, but I plead for grace in advance for any presumed vocabulary that may be foreign to the gentle reader.

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1 John 1:1-4: A Devotional

, posted by Ron C. Fay

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life- 2 the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us- 3 that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4 And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.

John writes this “epistle” in order to elaborate on the importance of Jesus both in terms of one’s own theology and in terms of one’s own practice. In reality for John, there is no difference between theology and practice: belief = lifestyle and lifestyle = belief, though this becomes more evident later in the epistle.

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Weekend Devotionals

, posted by Ron C. Fay

Each weekend SEA will publish a devotional, typically on Saturday but sometimes on Sunday. The purpose of the devotional is to show how an Arminian understanding of the text enriches one not just theologically, but practically as well. The first series of devotionals will be coming from 1 John, either from the ESV or, more often, the author’s own translation.

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The Five Articles of Remonstrance

, posted by Justin Moser

[This document was originally created about 1610 by the Remonstrants, the followers of Arminius, to outline the doctrines of the early Arminians. The Five Articles were condemned at the Synod of Dort in 1619]

Article 1

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Do you really need a user account? And joining SEA

, posted by SEA

This is just a note to clear up something that could be confusing about the site at the moment:

Only SEA members who will be contributing to the content of this site need to create an account. And only members of SEA are allowed to contribute to the site. If you are interested in joining SEA, please see our “About Us” page and our statement of faith. Then, if you would like to join, please contact us with at least your first and last names and request to join the society. You may contact us through our contact page or at societyofevangelicalarminians @ gmail dot com.

On another note, regular blog posts should begin sometime this week.

Praise be to God!

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What Is Reformation Arminianism?

, posted by arminianbaptist


For those well acquainted with the Calvinist-Arminian debate, Reformation Arminianism (or Classic Arminianism) is a theological system which emphasizes universal atonement within a framework of Calvinistic total depravity and the penal satisfaction view of the atonement (explained in the paragraphs below).

For those less acquainted with such matters, Reformation Arminianism is first of all a way of understanding how salvation is accomplished within the main lines of Protestantism, which tends to emphasize God’s free offer of salvation to all of humanity rather than a deterministic/predestinarian approach which makes salvation an impossibility for the great majority of humanity.

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Churches: Beware of Calvinism on the Sly

, posted by arminianbaptist

Calvinist churches are but a small minority; most evangelical churches are Arminian or semi-Arminian. However, the Calvinist resurgence is producing full Five Point Calvinist pastors looking for work. The resurgence is also prompting Arminian and semi-Arminian pastors to embrace Calvinism. This dynamic is the source of considerable tension in the life of the local church, not to mention in the heart of such pastors as they hold to a view which is often at odds with their churches.

Of course, this is not a problem for those Calvinistic pastors who minister within the confines denominations which are pre-committed to Calvinism. However, this is a huge problem for Calvinistic pastors who minister in theologically mixed denominations. Such denominations would include Southern Baptist Convention, General Baptist Conference, Evangelical Free Church, American Baptist Churches and others, not to mention the many independent churches.

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