Ben Witherington and Roger Olson, “Roger Olson’s Arminian Theology – Part 14”

, posted by Martin Glynn

BEN: It seems reasonably clear that Arminius took the Calvinistic view that regeneration precedes conversion. I suppose it depends on what one means by regeneration— the ability to repent? In any case, various later Arminians associated regeneration with the new birth or conversion, perhaps as a part of conversion itself. What is your view of what a proper Arminian theology should say on this subject?

ROGER: I have posited a “partial regeneration” in the reception of prevenient grace. But full regeneration, the “expulsive power of a new affection,” is a special work of the Holy Spirit antecedent upon (though chronologically simultaneous with) repentance and faith.

BEN: Let’s reflect for a moment on the Acts accounts of Paul’s conversion (Acts 9,22,26). It would appear on the surface that the vision of Christ over-powers Saul and makes him an offer he can’t refuse. I suppose we could say thereafter he could respond positively or negatively to the call to be baptized and take up his calling, but still the conversion itself seems to be monergistic. How would you explain those passages?

ROGER: I don’t think it was monergistic. I think God wanted Paul for his service so much that he exercised unusual intervening, persuasive power. But I believe Paul could very well have refused and gone on his way to kill Christians in Damascus.

[Link to original post on Ben Witherington’s blog]