Arminianism FAQ 2 (Everything You Always Wanted to Know…)
by Roger Olson
July 7, 2014
FAQ: What’s the difference between Arminianism and Wesleyanism?
Answer (A): Not all Arminians are Wesleyans. Certainly Arminius wasn’t! He lived a century before Wesley.
Free Will Baptists, many Pentecostals (e.g., Assemblies of God), and Restorationists (e.g., Churches of Christ/Independent Christians) are Arminians without being Wesleyans.
But all Wesleyans (that I know) are Arminians (although not all like that label).
Wesleyans ADD to Arminianism the idea of “Christian Perfection” (which different Wesleyans define differently). Non-Wesleyan Arminians do not believe in “entire sanctification.” (Although, interestingly, my own study of Arminius has led me to think he MAY have agreed with Wesley and Wesleyans about that.)
FAQ: Does Arminianism include belief in absolute free will? If so, how could God have inspired the authors of Scripture?
A: No, Arminianism does not (and never has) included belief in “absolute free will.” Not even God has absolute free will: "God’s will is governed by his character."
Arminianism focuses on sin and salvation. It says (with regard to free will) that the sinner’s will is bound to sin until freed by God’s prevenient grace (thus, “freed will,” not “free will!”).
Arminianism includes no particular belief about whether or to what extent God manipulates the wills of men (human persons) with regard to bringing his plans (e.g., Scripture) to fruition.
FAQ: Doesn’t Arminianism rob God of his sovereignty?
A: No, not at all. It only says God is sovereign over his sovereignty. In other words, God can (and apparently does) limit his power to permit humans to oppose his will–up to a point. Everything that happens (Arminianism says) falls within the sovereign will of God–either God’s antecedent will or God’s consequent will: God’s antecedent will is that all be saved; God’s consequent will (consequent to the fall) is that all who believe be saved.