It has been noted that historically, future generations of “Arminians” departed from the orthodox view of the Trinity, falling into the Unitarian heresy. The same sad state of affairs happened to many Presbyterian (i.e. Calvinistic) congregations during the eighteenth century. Therefore, it is puzzling how Arminianism is solely charged with inevitably leading one to a Unitarian understanding of God.
Monthly Archives For June 2010
Vincent of Lerins (early fifth century Christian writer in southern France) said that orthodoxy is “that which has been believed everywhere, always, by all.”1 What has been the orthodox view of the Church on the matter of God’s knowledge? Exactly what does God know, and is there any limitation to that knowledge? How does God know what He knows? Can He foreknow future free will decisions? And, what did Arminius believe on the foreknowledge of God?
The following is part of Geoffrey F. Nuttall’s address presented at the Arminius Symposium in Holland, August 1960: “The Influence of Arminianism in England.”
I am inclined to begin by recounting two recent incidents which together may serve as an interesting pointer. Among the papers required for a higher degree in one of the English universities is an essay with three or four alternative subjects, and one of these subjects a few years ago, I remember, was: “Since Wesley, we are all Arminians.”
One of the alternatives that year was an invitation to discuss the dictum, “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live” ~ so we need not assume that the assertion that Arminianism is now universally accepted was regarded as indisputable! It is interesting, nonetheless, that the assertion could be made.
Hello. I know our Friday Files have been lax for a couple of weeks. Because of this, I wanted to take the time to mention what the Friday Files is all about.
Our purpose is to provide resources for better understanding Arminianism. Because our primary objective is resources, and not our own thoughts or opinions, we primarily highlight the individual work of our members, and point to their sites.
The purpose of Friday Files is to highlight articles and blog entries from the archives here that we believe would be beneficial for you guys to look at.
This week, we are looking at Episcopius, who was an essential actor in the initial rise of that particular articulation of the truth: Arminianism. This blog entry gives a good brief run down on who he is. Those who are interested in the history of this debate may want to bookmark this piece:
You may view this article as a web page or as a downloadable .pdf file in it’s original formatting. To view it as a .pdf file, please click on the attachment located at the bottom of this page.
Thoughts on Original Sin
Bob Hamilton, Copyright 2000
The traditional view of “original sin” includes two related ideas:
John Piper was asked by Cathy Grossman, from USA Today, what he would tell the children who lost their parents on 9/11. She understood Piper to be suggesting that a victim should concentrate on the greater opportunities that God had granted to the children now, instead of focusing on their past loss. Piper responded that he did not suggest that scenario. Instead, he offered the following:
Taken from http://arminiantoday.blogspot.com/2010/06/jack-cottrell-on-free-will.html
QUESTION: Many (usually Arminians) argue that without free will in a significant (libertarian) sense, i.e., the ability to choose between good and evil, human actions would not be worthy of praise or blame. Thus in order to preserve moral responsibility, human beings must have free will in the libertarian sense—the freedom of opposite moral choice. But is this consistent with the freedom of God Himself, whom we assume to be the ultimate model for freedom? The following are said to be true of God:
1. God is surely the freest being in the universe. He is free to do whatever he pleases (Psalm 115:3), and all his choices are surely praiseworthy.
The following article by James H. Railey gives a brief critique of Open Theism and supports the traditional Arminian position that God foreknows all future events, including the free choices of His creatures.: Railey. Open…
It has been noted by some Calvinists that Calvinism was the dominant theological position of the Church throughout its history. For example, Calvinist Loraine Boettner writes:
- The great majority of the creeds of historic Christendom have set forth the doctrines of Election, Predestination, and final Perseverance, as will readily be seen by any one who will make even a cursory study of the subject. On the other hand Arminianism existed for centuries only as a heresy on the outskirts of true religion, and in fact it was not championed by an organized Christian church until the year 1784, at which time it was incorporated into the system of doctrine of the Methodist Church in England.1
Arminianism was condemned at the Synod of Dort (1618-19). And what of it? A group of supralapsarian Calvinists joined theological and political forces, calling on foreign political allies, to ruin the reputation, ministry, and systematic theology of some theologians who disagreed with their doctrines on soteriology. And this local phenomenon is supposed to carry weight in thwarting Arminianism? History itself is a witness to the sham of an operation under which the Calvinists instigated the hearings of the Synod of Dort.1
This list was compiled about a year ago by many members of The Society of Evangelical Arminians. I was asked to put it into blog form, and have finally sat down and gotten it done.
I hope for this to be a useful resource for any Arminian needing good scriptural texts that display his or her view. It should be cautioned that proof texting is far too easy for anyone to do, and with any of these verses the context should be considered. Far too often, context is ignored and erroneous interpretations are formed. So, use these verses, but corroborate their contexts. We strove to carefully consider the contexts and, in our minds, these verses and explanations faithfully represent the author’s intent, showing Arminianism to have strong Biblical support.
Also, if you see any verses that you think should be added, comment on the post and let me know.
Verses that show election is conditional:
I had previously listened to James White’s refutation of Molinism on the dividing line, but I just had a chance to listen to the full presentation on youtube. For the most part, it’s the same information, with one exception that caught my attention. In the dividing line presentation, James White argued that Molininism conflicts with mans’ freewill. However, the youtube clip (around 35 min. in) James White claims Calvinism provides greater freedom than Molinism; that Molinism makes man robots and Calvinism does not.
A cell phone goes off right in the middle of Dr. White’s speech. He makes a joke about it, then asks if he had to make that joke and claims he could have chosen not to. He then argues that in Molinism, such an ability is a problem.
Corporate election is the idea that election is primarily about a group and secondarily about individuals. It’s most clearly seen in the OT concept of Israel and the NT concept of the church. Philip Limborch addressed the objection that corporate election rules out individual election:
In the first place it is objected that the predestination we have defined, is not that of persons, but of faith; since faith is thereby predestined as a condition of salvation. Answer. He who elected faith as a condition to be performed by men if they would attain eternal life, has truly elected men under that condition, and in His decree has an immediate regard to people. Therefore these two things, viz., the person and his qualification, are never to be separated, but are always to be joined together. (Philip Limborch, A Complete System or Body of Divinity, both Practical and Speculative. P 344-345)
Scripture paints a manifold view of election:
I recently read Herman Bavinck on supralapsarian and infralapsarian predestination. (link) Bavinck’s approach is intriguing. He argues that both the supralapsarian and infralapsarian systems have their strengths and weaknesses, so he cherry-picks the strengths and discards the weaknesses as he presents his own unsystematized views on the subject of predestination. To be clear, he is not saying that he is unable to systematize predestination, but rather that the topic cannot be systematized.