I have heard many attempt to say that they are searching for a middle ground between Arminianism and Calvinism. The impetus of this is peace. They see the issue as too divisive, and they believe that by finding a middle ground, they can end the need for conflict.
Though I highly respect the sentiment, ultimately such a project will fail. There can be no middle ground between Calvinism and Arminianism. Why? Because they are too similar.
“Too similar? I thought that Calvinism and Arminianism were opposites!” Actually, no. If we consider Arminianism and Calvinism to be on a scale of understanding divine action and human response, they would not represent the opposite poles. On the one side you would have Pelagianism; on the other side Fatalism. Calvinism and Arminianism would actually be two positions right next to each other. If Pelagianism is a 1, and Fatalism a 10, then Calvinism is a 9 and Arminianism an 8.
Name the following doctrinal position:
God created humankind to be in His image, and thus, humanity was created perfect. But, when Adam and Eve fell, them and all of their descendants became so entrenched in sin that it became impossible for them to accomplish any true good. Their hearts became devoted to evil. But God, in His mercy did not want humanity to fully suffer from its sin. So, He provided for each human an amount of grace to prevent them from reaping the full measure of their sin. God also wanted to redeem humanity. So, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, so that whoever would have faith in Him would be redeemed by the cross. But, because of humanity’s depraved state, no one can generate such faith. Therefore, God provides sufficient grace, so that whoever comes to have faith in Christ alone does so by that grace of God.
The truth of the matter is that both Arminians and Calvinists can affirm the above statement. That is a lot of common ground. The difference between the two is simply how God dispenses His grace. Everything else that we disagree about derives from that basic disagreement.
In truth, Arminians and Calvinists are as far apart from each other as the living room is from the hallway. Its just a thin wall. However, they are also separated by a wall. The difference is a very real and significant difference. It is easy to find a middle ground between opposites but not between neighbors.
“Calminians” are basically people trying to sit on the wall, not really understanding the context of the debate. They have overly simplified understandings of Arminianism and Calvinism that project them as opposites. Seeing them as opposites, they view their own position as somewhere in the middle. But when you actually look at the true defining wall of Arminianism and Calvinism, they always fall on one side or the other.