by James M. Leonard
Roger Olson has written a helpful volume entitled, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. Basically, he sets the record straight on a number of issues where Calvinist polemic has falsely depicted Arminian theology. He does this in a consistent and systematic way, first by detailing the false and extreme allegations made by mainstream Calvinists, and then refuting them by examining the theological trajectory on the given topic beginning with Arminius and passing through his earliest followers, then Wesley, and then the 19th century Wesleyan theologians, and then concluding with contemporary Arminian theologians.*
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Robert E. Picirilli, in his excellent work Grace, Faith, and Free Will, broaches the subject of Divine Foreknowledge of future events.
He’s very clear on the subject, and convincing. He draws from Arminius himself and from Richard Watson, although he admits that the 19th century theologian’s style is belabored. I’m not sure what is original either to Dr. Picirilli or to his sources.
In particular, Dr. Picirilli cites the simple illustration that we ourselves know with certainty specific events which occurred yesterday, but that none of us would claim that our present knowledge of yesterday’s events caused those things to happen or that such knowledge limited our choices when we were faced with them. In the same way, God’s knowledge of the future doesn’t cause events to happen or limit the human’s freedom to choose to do one thing or another.
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