According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson
We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord
Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Common Questions and Misunderstandings about Classical Arminianism, Part 3

Arminianism FAQ 3 (Everything You Always Wanted to Know…)

by Roger Olson
July 9, 2014

FAQ: Doesn’t Arminianism lead to open theism?

Answer (A): Open theists and Calvinists both think so, but classical Arminianism don’t think so.

 According to classical Arminianism, God knows the future exhaustively–as already settled in his own mind although not already determined.

How God can know future free decisions and actions (ones not already determined by anything) is a mystery classical Arminians are willing to live with because they believe it (divine simple foreknowledge without comprehensive divine determinism) is taught in Scripture and because it is the only alternative to other views of God’s foreknowledge they (classical Arminians) cannot embrace.

There is no logical contradiction in this mystery. Every theology includes mysteries at some points. So do the natural sciences.

FAQ: Can an Arminian resolve the mystery of divine foreknowledge with Molinism?

Molinism - "Molinism, named after 16th Century Jesuit theologian Luis de Molina, is a religious doctrine which attempts to reconcile the providence of God with human free will. William Lane Craig andAlvin Plantinga are some of its best known advocates today, though other important Molinists include Alfred Freddoso and Thomas Flint. In basic terms, Molinists hold that in addition to knowing everything that does or will happen, God also knows what His creatures would freely choose if placed in any circumstance." - Wikipedia


A: Some classical Arminians think so. Others do not. Two unsettled questions bedevil this intra-Arminian debate:

First, is a philosophical one: Is “counterfactual of libertarian freedom a viable concept?”

Second, is a theological one: “Can God make use of middle knowledge (assuming he has such knowledge) in arranging human affairs without determining them?”

Classical Arminians are divided about these questions and their answers.

FAQ: Doesn’t Arminianism imply that the “decisive element in salvation” is the sinner’s free decision to accept Christ, thereby giving saved persons permission to boast of partially meriting their salvation?

A: No. Under no circumstances would a person freely receiving a free gift be thought to have merited it simply because he/she accepted it. A gift received is still a gift. Everyone knows this.

The only exception is Calvinists who accuse Arminianism of importing merit into the free acceptance of salvation. But those same Calvinists would never allow someone to whom they gave a gift to claim they merited it.

FAQ: Doesn’t Arminianism lead to liberalism in theology?

A: No more than Calvinism does.

Friedrich Schleiermacher, the “father of liberal theology,” was a Calvinist who became liberal without ever embracing Arminianism.

Many, perhaps most, 19th century liberals (in theology) were raised Calvinist and, seeing the damage it does to God’s character, jumped into liberal theology without ever even considering Arminianism.

Evangelical Arminianism is conservative theologically. Some evangelical Arminians are fundamentalists. Most have never been tempted by liberal theology.

There is no logical or historical connection between classical Arminianism and liberal theology.

FAQ: Is the first principle of Arminianism free will?

A: It is not.

The first principle is God revealed in Jesus Christ or, put another way, Jesus Christ as the full and perfect revelation of the character of God.

Arminians only believe in libertarian free will (power of contrary choice) because:

1) It is implied throughout Scripture,
2) It alone preserves God from being monstrous (Calvinism's divine election to hell, etc), and,
3) It is an experienced reality necessary for responsibility.

One might add that it (libertarian free will) was assumed by all the church fathers before Augustine.

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