A Look at Arminianism & Related Matters

I apologize for the dearth of posts on this blog. I  have been very involved in some courses I’m taking, etc. – but today I hope to get started again with a series of posts on Arminianism.

Arminianism, based on the teachings of Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius, was debated at the Synod of Dort (1618-1619) and was condemned by the State church. Later, however, it was granted official toleration by the State and has seeped into Protestantism in various forms. It was adopted by John Wesley and became the theological position of Methodism and the Wesleyan tradition.  It was propagated in America through Charles Finney. Today it is found in other denominations – the Nazarene, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal, Churches of Christ, Seventh-Day Adventists, and many Baptist groups. It is not subscribed to by any churches who hold an essentially Calvinist theological position. In fact, many of the Reformed persuasion considered it heresy at its onset and still do.

A key tenet of Arminianism is libertarian free will. This means that our choices are free from the determination or constraints of human nature and free from any predetermination by God [emphasis mine]. All “free will theists” hold that libertarian freedom is essential for moral responsibility, for if our choice is determined or caused by anything, including our own desires, they reason, it cannot properly be called a free choice.

The concept of libertarian free will raises serious questions in regard to the sovereignty of God. The big question, of course, is how biblical is libertarian free will? How biblical is Arminianism?

The next posts will include writings of many others and occasionally by me – but we’ll start off by a pertinent question posed by Phil Johnson:

“How is it that God inspired the Scriptures in such a way that every word—indeed, every jot and tittle—was what He determined?

Every standard evangelical definition of inspiration would emphatically insist that God used the personalities, vocabularies, intellects, and learning of the individual authors—and we completely agree. Let’s also stipulate that He did not employ dictation (except in a few cases where this is expressly stated).

Yet the product was still determined sovereignly by God. The words are avowedly His words (2 Peter 1:21; 1 Corinthians 2:13).

So how did this miracle occur?

I say you cannot answer that question without embracing the very essence of the Calvinist position regarding God’s sovereignty and human free will.”


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