In their recent book Against Calvinism: Logical Arguments to Disprove the Doctrines of Grace; Including the Definitive Scripture List Refuting Calvinism, constructed by self-publishing CreateSpace, irenic Calvinists Jeff Peterson, Eddie Eddings and Jon J. Cardwell state: “Man is unable to do anything good or virtuous before God; he is unable to believe in God or come to Him; he is unable to understand the truth; and he is unable to seek God.”1 Arminius and Arminians wholeheartedly agree with this doctrinal statement. Arminius argues against his semi-Pelagian opponents:
Monthly Archives For September 2010
by Roger E. Olson I admit it. I am a fallibilist – with regard to human beings (except when being infallibly inspired by God). My definition of “theology” is human reflection on God’s infallible revelation….
Full length treatment on unlimited atonement published in 1846. (link)
Three letters reviewing the sermons of Cozens; published in 1860. (link)
Systematic Theology published in 1877-1879 by Methodist professor Miner Raymond.
by Roger E. Olson
Obviously, one posted message cannot begin to solve the problem(s) of God and evil. All I want to accomplish here is clear up some misconceptions about the Arminian view and ask some questions about the classical Calvinist view as some have articulated it here (and elsewhere).
First, all classical Arminians agree that evil is not a “thing” or a substance; it is strictly no-thing: the absence of the good. That is not a notion of evil unique to Calvinism. And Augustine did not come up with it, either. It is clearly articulated by Gregory of Nyssa before Augustine.
One of the problems with attempting to discuss the issue of Foreknowledge as it relates to Free Will is that the term itself prejudices the discussion, bending it in a certain argumentative direction that the use of different terms would show is not as inevitable as Calvinists insist.
by Roger E. Olson
Someone asked me why I am not an open theist. I respect open theists for their dedication to biblical exegesis and for their determination to emphasize the personal nature of God. I am also attracted to open theism as a solution to the problem of evil (which I, personally, do not think Calvinism can solve. Arminianism does a better job in that it does not say God foreordained or rendered sin and evil certain. The distinction between God’s antecedent will and God’s consequent will is necessary for any good theodicy). Most of the leading open theists are my friends and I would love to be with them on this issue. I have been their defender on many occasions.
The Orthodox Church Affirms Conditional Security, by Steve Witzki.
Click on attached PDF to read article.
by Roger E. Olson
Several readers seem to me to ignore an important presupposition of classical Arminian theology and of open theism. (I could probably list some other theologies that also affirm God’s self-limitation, but our discussion has been mostly about these.) That presupposition is that, in creation, as in incarnation (with important differences) God limits himself.
All Calvinists that I know affirm some kind of divine self-limitation, although they are much less likely to promote it as a crucial theological idea than, say, open theists. I argue that it functions as a “control datum” for classical Arminians as well. (Reformed scholar Richard Muller has found this through his own archeology of Arminius’ theological influences and ideas.)
by Roger E. Olson One of the purposes of my blog is to clarify Arminian theology and distinguish classical Arminianism from the all-too-common misrepresentations of it by some Calvinists, Lutherans and (ironically!) self-styled Arminians. One…
In Revelation 1, 2, and 3 John prophesies to the seven churches in Asia. The last group he addresses is the church in Laodicea. After addressing the Ladocians, he concludes with the following prophesy:
- (Jesus speaking) Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. -Revelation 3:20-22
This passage can be interpreted in two ways, both of which present problems for Calvinism.
Daniel Steele and J.W. Lindsay, Commentary on the Old Testament Volume 2: Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy — Commentary on the books of Leviticus and Numbers by Methodist professor Daniel Steele, and Deuteronomy by J.W. Lindsay; published in 1891
Daniel Steele and M.S. Terry, Commentary on the Old Testament Volume 3: Joshua – 2 Samuel — Commentary on the Book of Joshua by Methodist professor Daniel Steele and commentary on the books of Joshua through 2 Samuel by M.S. Terry, published in 1901.
A sister in the LORD spurred these thoughts this afternoon.
Our Calvinist friends are quick to tout their embrace of the five SOLAs of the Reformation. I don’t blame them at all, for we Arminians also embrace the same five SOLAs. Some Calvinists have even suggested dropping the TULIP in favor of promoting the Five SOLAs instead. I am not sure what they would think to accomplish by doing such because it would take away one of their war clubs.
How does a Calvinist reply after touting Five Solas only to hear “So what? We do too”? Only Scripture, Only Faith, Only Grace, Only Christ, Only God’s Glory … yeah that sounds about right, although I have wondered how you can have five “onlys” and still be true to any of them. It is kind of like being faithful to your only wife, all five of them.