On the heels of my recent post, I am still vying for the universality of the love of God for all people. Again, Fritz Guy writes, “If the preeminent characteristic of God is love, and…
The third verse of the hymn The Love of God reads as follows: Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And…
One of the questions we invariably get from Determinists is “But HOW does God know the future??” Determinists often seize upon the difficulty of understanding God’s knowledge, and insist that if God didn’t cause the future, then He could not have known it. Besides being a rather silly stretch, this claim requires several unfounded assumptions about the nature of God.
The Basic Views
Now before I jump in any deeper, let’s define what the major views of God’s knowledge in relation to free will are (this is just a basic list, variations of these views exist):
1. Determinism: God determines absolutely all that will be, making absolute foreknowledge trivial. There is no such things as libertarian free will, and our choices cannot be otherwise.
Affirms foreknowledge, but has the very unfortunate side-effect of making absolutely everything that occurs the will of God, and possibly essential to His nature, as we’ll touch on below.
I found this mockery at a Calvinist’s blog, who will remain nameless:
“Arminian ‘grace!’ How strange the sound, Salvation hinged on me. I once was lost, then turned around, Was blind, then chose to see.
“What ‘grace’ is it that calls for choice, Made from some good within? That part that wills to heed God’s voice, Proved stronger than my sin.
“Thru many ardent gospel pleas, I sat with heart of stone. But then some hidden good in me, Propelled me toward my home.
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Because of what we’ve done. We’ve no less days to sing our praise, Than when we first begun.”
I’d like to hear Chris Tomlin do something with that one! John Newton would have been proud of our Calvinist “friend.” Actually, I think Newton would have been disgusted. I think every Christian should be disgusted with the heresy mentioned in that re-working of a classic hymn. And if that encapsulated Arminian theology, I would never adhere to such nonsense.
“Consider the words of Christ to the church at Thyatria [sic.] concerning the prominent woman referred to as ‘Jezebel’ and His servants, who were practicing immorality and pagan customs, doubtless in a religious context after the manner of the cults:
“I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Rev. 2:20-22)”
By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son…
Today, 449 years ago, on October 10, 1559, Jacobus Arminius was born. At least, this is the date given by most critical scholars. Donald M. Lake wrote an excellent article entitled, “Jacob Arminius’ Contribution to…
James M. Leonard
[Editor’s note: Please remember that individual posts do not necessarily represent SEA’s official position, but represent the views of the individual author of the post. With regard to this excellent and informative post, please note that the author was careful to qualify many of his comments about Welseyanism as applying to “some” Wesleyans (rather than all).]
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).
by James M. Leonard Arminian Baptist 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…
Have you ever….
Been tempted? (Matt. 4:1-11)
Been misunderstood? (Matt. 13:53-57; Jn. 6:52-66; 7:35, 36; Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32)
Been ridiculed and mocked? (Matt. 27:27-31, 38-44)
Faced a difficult decision? (Matt. 26:36-46)
Been laughed at? (Matt. 9:23, 24)
Been angry? (Jn. 2:13-17)
Been envied? (Jn. 11:45-48; Matt. 27:18, 19)
Been falsely accused? (Matt. 26:59-63)
Been treated unfairly? (Jn. 19:4-16)
Felt alone? (Matt. 27:46; Mark 14:32-42)
Felt afraid? (Luke 22:39-46)
Been abandoned? (Jn. 16:32; Matt. 26:31; Mark 14:50)
Suffered unjustly? (Luke 23:13-25)
Been abused? (Matt. 26:67-68; 27:26-31)
Loved someone without being loved in return? (Luke 13:34; Mark 10:17-22)
Been frustrated? (Matt. 9:1-8; 12:22-29; 15:16; 16:21-23)
Gone hungry? (Matt. 4:2)
Been ignored? (Mark 1:40-45)
Been homeless? (Matt. 8:18-20)
Been unappreciated? (Luke 17:12-19)
Been wounded by a close friend? (Luke 22:54-62; Matt. 26:47-50)
On the benefits and promises of God, and principally of election to grace, or calling to faith. “1. But that man may not just perform the commandments of God thus far explained, but also willingly…
Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is…
(Disclaimer: the following is an attempt at satire on the issue of the universality of the atonement)
In this post we will take look at the extent of the atonement. By using proper exegesis of scripture it can be proven with certainty that Jesus died to effectually secure salvation for Paul of Tarsus. And for Paul alone.
First, let’s take a look at Galatians 2:20. This is the most important verse in the Bible, because it explicitly states the extent of the atonement (bold mine): “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.“
This post completes our series on Ralston’s defense of the Arminian belief in self-determinism. This is the grand finale where Ralston tackles the favorite argument against free-will, the doctrine of motives as presented primarily by…
Thomas Ralston now tackles the necessitarian objection that God’s foreknowledge of our actions renders the power of self-determination impossible. My comments are in bold print.
II. The next grand objection to the doctrine of free agency is, that it is supposed to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the divine prescience.
Necessitarians argue that free agency, in the proper sense, implies contingency; and that contingency cannot be reconciled with the divine foreknowledge. It is admitted by Arminians, and the advocates of free agency generally, that the foreknowledge of God extends to all things great and small, whether necessary or contingent – that it is perfect and certain.
Thomas Ralston now begins to examine and respond to various objections posed by “necessitarians” against the Arminian view of self-determinism. My comments are in bold print.
WE propose in this chapter, to examine some of the principal objections which have been urged against the view taken in the preceding chapter of the freedom of the will. Those most worthy of notice are the following, viz.:
I. It is said to be absurd in itself.
II. It is said to be irreconcilable with the Scripture account of the divine prescience.
III. It is said to conflict with the doctrine of motives.
We propose a respectful attention to each of these grand objections.
I. It is alleged that the view we have taken of the proper freedom of the will is absurd in itself.
Thomas Ralston now concludes his positive arguments in favor of self-determinism. My comments are in bold print.
(4) In conclusion, upon this part of the subject, we think it proper briefly to notice the absurdity of attempting to reconcile the doctrines of necessity with the proper freedom and accountability of man.
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
Ralston continues with his defense of free moral agency from Scripture. My comments are in bold print.
(2) In the next place, the Scriptures everywhere address man as a being capable of choosing; as possessing a control over his own volitions, and as being held responsible for the proper exercise of that control.
In Deuteronomy 30:19, we read: “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” And in Joshua 24:15: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve.” Now, to choose is to determine or fix the will; but men are here called upon to choose for themselves, which, upon the supposition that their will is, in all cases, fixed necessarily by antecedent causes beyond their control, is nothing better than solemn mockery.
Thomas Ralston begins his appeal to Scripture with his third evidence for self-determinism in his Elements of Divinity. My comments are in bold print.
3. Our third evidence of man’s proper free agency is founded upon the divine administration toward him, as exhibited in the Holy Scriptures.
Here we shall perceive that revelation beautifully harmonizes with nature; and those clear and decisive evidences of our free agency, which, as we have seen, are derived from experience and observation, are abundantly confirmed by the book of God.