Are Southern Baptists more Arminian than Calvinist?

I came across this quote below from an Arminian.

In his book, The Trouble With Tulip, Page argues that Baptist need to embrace a biblical theology that is not labeled with either Calvinism or Arminianism. In essence though, Page takes what he likes from Calvinism (which would be total depravity and perseverance of the saints, eternal security) and what he likes from Arminianism (which would be free will, unlimited atonement, resistible grace). A hybrid of both is what Page would like but what he ultimately does is he basically becomes a four point Arminian. I am happy with his position obviously as an Arminian but I think most Baptist including Page would not like to know that they are closer to Arminianism than they are to Calvinist. Most Southern Baptist like the thought that they are Calvinist despite otherwise being basically Arminian.

It is always interesting that while one may be a non-Calvinist or even anti-Calvinist it is rare that these folks want to claim to be an Arminian.  I’ve heard several folks say they are a three point Calvinist or even that they agree with two of the points.  I’ve never heard anyone say they are a two or three point Arminian though.  I wonder why?

I just thought that quote above is interesting in that if a Calvinist were to say something like that (which has been said many times) we may hear a charge of elitism or a “don’t label me”.

Interesting,

Mark

; Categories: Arminianism,Baptist,calvinism,Southern Baptist,theology
The above article was posted on June 25, 2007 by Mark Lamprecht.
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{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pastor Warren June 25, 2007 at 7:26 pm

A hybrid of Calvinism/Arminianism is a logical impossibility since the theological framework of each has points within it that are dependent upon one another. Pull one out and the entire system collapses. I’ve met many three/four point Calvinists who simply demonstrated that they did not understand enough about what they claim to believe. Not wanting to be labeled Arminian is understandable in today’s theological climate since it is treated as though it is barely one step away from heresy.

God bless

2 Howard June 26, 2007 at 12:01 pm

I have noticed this too. Good point.

God Bless

3 johnMark June 27, 2007 at 5:44 am

Pastor Warren, thanks I agree. Though people will still claim a don’t-label-me hybrid position.

Howard,

I like your new site. I can’t remember if I told you or not.

Mark

4 Churchmouse July 3, 2007 at 10:35 am

Hi johnMark,

I believe we are living in an age of hybrid churches, where one lowers the standard of the gospel in favor of agreement in the essentials. Yet, one can see Paul scratching his head in dismay if he were here today. Should we seek conformity? Or should we strive as children of God to understand the faith delivered to the saints in its fullness? Paul wouldn’t entertain the thought. Page needs to understand that, by seeking a hybrid, he seeks compromise between two theologies that are too distinct to ever find consensus. The Calvinist position is clearly not one of compromise and Page’s efforts to meld the two is a pipe dream at best. We love our Arminian brothers in Christ, but moreso, we must be true to what we believe Scriptures teach. If Scripture is the foundation then there can be no compromise.

Peace,
Ray

5 Keith Schooley July 14, 2007 at 1:30 pm

I think the reason that those who essentially are Arminians don’t like the term (besides the theological climate that Pastor Warren mentioned above) is that Arminians are not part of a conscious theological tradition stemming from a seminal theologian, as are Calvinists. Most self-identified Calvinists know who Calvin is and perhaps have read some of his work. Many who would identify as Arminians–and the vast majority who don’t, but have essentially Arminian views–have no idea who James Arminius was and know nothing of the Remonstrance. So far as they know, their views simply come from the Bible.

It should give Calvinists pause to know that the natural reading of Scripture leads almost everyone who hasn’t been taught anything different to convictions that Calvinists would label as “Arminian,” whereas a Calvinist soteriology seems to have to be taught. That in itself doesn’t make Arminianism correct–perhaps this is an area in which the truth isn’t made clear outside of more detailed study than the average believer does–but it’s something that I think Calvinists should grapple with, and I’ve seldom seen that happen.

6 Jack Brooks July 26, 2007 at 9:29 am

I don’t think that a “natural” reading of John 6, Ephesians 1, or Romans 9 leads to an Arminian conclusion. Arminianism is just as much taught to people by others as Calvinism is. And I’ve read plenty of testimonials by Christians who became Calvinistic in their beliefs as a result of just reading those three sections, without being indoctrinated by someone else.

7 T. Wilmoth August 8, 2007 at 9:06 am

Keith Schooley said,

“So far as they know, their views simply come from the Bible.”

I do not understand why Calvinists label those who do not agree with their theology “Arminianist”, and why Arminianist label those who do not agree with their theology as “Calvinists”. Since when are we limited to one or the other?
In my humble opinion neither of them are spot-on the full truth. How about we stop placing these two on a pedestal with Jesus at their feet and put Jesus back on top?

DeeperStill

8 Pastor Warren August 9, 2007 at 1:18 pm

It certainly is interesting to see how this thread has spread over the weeks. There are a couple of points I’d like to clarify/interject if the authors are still about.

Keith – You wrote “Arminians are not part of a conscious theological tradition stemming from a seminal theologian” and then just a few words later mention Arminius. Is he not considered a theologian on par with Calvin. Wasn’t he as much a Calvinist as Calvin himself and his protege Beza? Perhaps I misunderstood what you wrote.

Jack – of course we don’t just read Calvinist proof texts do we? We read the whole of the Bible and in doing so, many would refute your statement. Did Calvin develop this theology strictly from a natural reading of the Bible?

T Wilmoth – Amen. Jesus first and last. Calvin and Arminius far down the list. It is disturbing to see the growing trend of believing in “reformed theology” and defending it to the death while somehow forgetting Jesus.

Peace brothers

9 Keith Schooley August 19, 2007 at 11:30 pm

Yes, Pastor Warren, I stated that “Arminians are not part of a *conscious* theological tradition.” I mentioned James Arminius a sentence or two later, to the effect that most so-called “Arminians” have never heard of him. That was my point: regardless of how important a theologian he may or may not have been, his writings are not determinative of what most believers who are known as “Arminians” believe. Pace my brother Jack Brooks’s claims, I’ve yet to meet someone believing in a limited atonement (in the Calvinistic sense) who did not at least know what the acronym TULIP stands for, which connects them with Dort, which connects them with people steeped in the theology of Calvin and Beza.

10 johnMark August 20, 2007 at 6:10 am

Keith,

Your point being? Are you implying if what you say is true that this is some sort of way to validate the a theological tradition?

For now…
Mark

11 Keith Schooley August 20, 2007 at 6:09 pm

My point is that if we truly believe in sola scriptura,, then it should be sola scriptura, not sola scriptura plus the Westminster Confession.

12 crewbear August 20, 2007 at 7:59 pm

Mr Schooley,

Why did you refer to Westminster and not the LBCF?

BTW I am one of those Calvinists who became convinced by a natural reading the Scripture. I didn’t hear of TULIP until three years after the fact, and at the time I thought “Reformed” meant “Liberal.” The strength of Calvinism is found in exegesis. The strength of Arminianism is found in its flattering view of man. Arminians ought really to consider that last observation.

crewbear

13 johnMark August 20, 2007 at 8:09 pm

Keith,

Is someone positing sola scriptura plus the Westminster? How do you define sola scriptura?

It would seem like any confession throughout church history would be excluded from sola scriptura if I understand what you are eluding to.

Mark

14 sung August 21, 2007 at 5:57 pm

“The strength of Arminianism is found in its flattering view of man. Arminians ought really to consider that last observation.”
-crewbear

Observation considered…with some research…:

“In reference to Divine Grace, I believe…2. It is an infusion (both into the human understanding and into the will and affections,) of all those gifts of the Holy Spirit which appertain to the regeneration and renewing of man—such as faith, hope, charity, &c.; for, without these gracious gifts, man is not sufficient to think, will, or do any thing that is good.” (Arminius, Article IV in Declaration of Sentiments).

“No man believes in Christ except him who has been previously disposed and prepared by preventing or preceding grace to receive life eternal, on that condition on which God wills to bestow it, according to the following passage of Scripture: “If any man will execute his will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17)” (Arminius in “Certain Articles To Be Diligently Examined and Weighed”).

“”The decree concerning the gift of faith, precedes the decree of election;” in the explanation of which I employ the same distinction as in the former, and say, “The decree of election, by which God determines to justify and save believers, precedes the decree concerning the bestowment of faith.” For faith is unnecessary, nay it is useless, without this previous decree. And the decree of election, by which God resolves to justify and save this or that particular person, is subsequent to that decree according to which he determines to administer the means necessary and efficacious to faith, that is, the decree concerning the gift of faith.” (Article IV in The Apology Or Defense of James Arminius)

“In his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections, or will, and in all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, conceive, will, and perform whatever is truly good” (Arminius, “Declaration of Sentiments”)

“Free will is unable to begin or to perfect any true and spiritual good, without Grace. That I may not be said, like Pelagius, to practice delusions with regard to the word “Grace,” I mean by it that which is the Grace of Christ and which belongs to regeneration…I confess that the mind of a natural and carnal man is obscure and dark, that his affections are corrupt and subordinate, that his will is stubborn and disobedient, and that the man himself is dead in sins” (Arminius, “A Letter Addressed to Hippolytus A Collibus”)

“His spiritual senses are not awake; they discern neither spiritual good nor evil. The eyes of his understanding are closed…Hence, having no inlets for the knowledge of spiritual things, all the avenues of his soul being shut up, he is in gross, stupid ignorance of whatever he is most concerned to know” (Wesley, “Wesley’s Standard Sermons”)

“Though he strive with all his might, he cannot conquer; sin is mightier than he. He would fain escape; but he is so fast in prison, that he cannot get forth…Such is the freedom of the will; free only to evil; free to “drink iniquity like water”; to wander farther and farther from the living God, and do more “despite to the Spirit of grace”. (Wesley)

crewbear, so when you first read 1 John 2:2 you were thinking to yourself: obviously, this means all of the elect jews and gentiles. And concerning 1 Tim 2:3-6 you naturally thought up the Two Will mystery of God explanation? Even Piper admits that before he came to seminary, the idea of Regeneration before Faith flipped his previously persisting theological paradigm (See “Sovereignty of God”).

15 crewbear August 21, 2007 at 11:28 pm

sung,

Your posted quotes are all well and good, and for the sake of argument I would grant them. Unfortunately, they do not address the issue to which I referred. To be fair, I wasn’t exactly specific. But I was not addressing Arminian concepts of the depravity of man. I was addressing the flattering idea that man possesses a sovereign decision in his own salvation.

For no matter what preceding words might be written about man’s inability to do this or that in the absence of grace, all synergistic systems eventually terminate at a single decision. At this point, God will have done “all that He could” and so the man must make a choice by means of his sovereign autonomous will. Each man makes the choice – some for life, and some for death. But the choice is his own. And that is the flattering illusion – “My destiny is in my own hands.”

Of course, the redeemed could then be separated from the damned by some intrinsic characteristic of the redeemed. The redeemed undeniably made the wise decision. But why did they make that wise decision? The Arminian cannot attribute the difference to God, because that drags him into the Calvinist camp. So were the redeemed intrinsically wiser than the damned? Better? More intelligent? The Arminian will deny every postulation, but will never answer the question. For if they ever once did answer the question, they would be forced to admit that man has cause to boast in his own salvation.

So the Arminian lives in his inconsistent but ever so flattering world: “I am going to heaven because I of my own autonomous will made a very wise decision which (of course) reflects absolutely no credit upon me.” Men like to hear that they are autonomous. Arminianism simply made Christianity safe for that attitude.

crewbear

16 Pastor Warren August 22, 2007 at 2:53 pm

Keith – That’s an interesting notion but I don’t think it can be supported except by anecdotal evidence. In fairness, I believe you have to extend the same suggestion about those who attend “Reformed” churches? I doubt seriously if I walk into one of many mega-evangelical houses of worship this Sunday anyone will be able to identify Dort or the causes of division that brought the Remonstrants to present their theology resulting in the bloom of the TULIP. I spent my years in seminary with colleagues who claimed to be 3 and 4 point Calvinists which would indicate that they had either a) a misunderstanding of Calvinism, or b) a complete lack of knowledge of Calvinism since each petal of the TULIP logically follows from the previous; one cannot stand without the others. These fellow students were, by the way, largely from “reformed” churches whose theological statements derived from Calvin.

Backing up to your original post where you commented that “So far as they [Arminians] know, their views simply come from the Bible.” Isn’t that a big part of what the reformation was about? Sola Scriptura? Isn’t that why Tyndale was such a threat? Because God revealed the truths about himself such that His people could comprehend them?

17 Pastor Warren August 22, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Mr. CrewBear, perhaps you could enlighten us as to your statements “The strength of Calvinism is found in exegesis. The strength of Arminianism is found in its flattering view of man. Arminians ought really to consider that last observation.” If I parse this correctly, you are indicating that there is not any solid exegetical work that would lead one to adopt an Arminian theological position. I’ve heard that kind of accusation quite often. Can you help to educate us by positing a position of Arminian theology that is not supported by Scripture? Thanks in advance.

18 crewbear August 23, 2007 at 7:07 pm

Pastor Warren,

“Can you help to educate us by positing a position of Arminian theology that is not supported by Scripture?”

I thought I already did. A man can never have cause to boast in his own salvation. But arminian doctrine demands exactly that. What is the answer to my question, Pastor Warren? Why does one man believe even as another man raises his fist in rebellion?

crewbear

19 Jack Brooks August 24, 2007 at 2:20 pm

Pastor Warren, you didn’t answer crewbear’s question. What causes the will to choose anything? Or are you saying that choices have no causes — i.e., not motivated by anything?

Who turned the Egyptians’ hearts to hate the Jews, according to King David in Psalm 105:25?

Does an evil man with a wicked heart have the ability to make a virtuous choice?

20 Jack Brooks August 24, 2007 at 2:29 pm

I see also you believe in salvation by works, since faithfulness is a work.

I assume you don’t believe Christ is not praying for us in the manner in which He prayed for Peter. The reason Peter’s faith didn’t fail was because Christ prayed for it, that it would not fail (Luke 22:32). So if my faith can possibly fail, it is because Christ has not prayed for it to be preserved.

I also assume you don’t believe in substitutionary atonement, since Christ’s death (if subtitutionary) would have atoned for any future failure to persevere. God is not timebound, so when He sacrificed Christ on the cross He had all our future sins in mind.

21 Pastor Warren August 24, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Brother (or Sister) Crewbear – Unless there are some posts missing or I have not read carefully enough, I have not seen you interact with scripture at all in your commentary on the “flattering” view of Arminian believers. Would you please forgive me and provide the Arminian theological points not supported by Scripture? Perhaps also, you can support the supposition that you make regarding the Arminian doctrine that counters Eph 2:8-9?

Regarding your question regarding why one man rebels while the other believes? Without will and the capacity to exercise it, wouldn’t God have created a chess board on which he moves both the black and white pieces? The Calvinist decretal system not only makes God the author and grantor of salvation but, depending upon the particular lapsarian view you subscribe to, it also makes him the author of evil. Can it be otherwise?

Let’s see if we can find something to agree upon. I believe that this applies to the conversation at hand, don’t you?

God in his eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ his Son, before the foundation of the world, has determined from among the fallen, sinful race of ment, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who through the grace of the Holy Spirit, shall believe on his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through his grace.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. (John 3:36)

Peace

22 crewbear August 24, 2007 at 7:27 pm

Pastor Warren,

[That would be Brother Crewbear, btw. :-) ]

I have stated a doctrinal position on which both Arminians and Calvinists agree- that no man has cause to boast in his own salvation. If I have not justified this assertion from Scripture, it is because I felt no need to do so. When I discuss these issues with other believers, I can assume that some common areas exist. Just I would have felt no need to prove to you the deity of Christ, so also I felt no need to prove to you that no man has cause to boast in his own salvation.

You asked me to provide an Arminian position inconsistent with Scripture. I did as you asked. To demonstrate this inconsistent position, I pointed to a biblical doctrine which Arminians accept, and then asked you to reconcile the apparent contradiction between this doctrine and the Arminian concept of Free Will. It is a simple question – which I will ask again (since you did everything in your power to avoid answering it in your previous post.)

Why does one man believe even as another man raises his fist in rebellion?

The answer to this question cannot allow a man to boast for that would contradict an affirmed position of Scripture. But, if Arminians are correct about Free Will, the answer must also be rooted in an intrinsic characteristic of the one who believes. I believe that to be a contradiction without resolution. For if a man believes because of some intrinsic characteristic he possesses, then that man can boast about it. But I am willing to hear your answer. You would be the first.

crewbear

23 DeeperStill August 26, 2007 at 2:11 pm

Crewbear posted “Pastor Warren,

[That would be Brother Crewbear, btw. :-) ]”

I guess I am the only female in the group .

T.Wilmoth aka DeeperStill

24 Pastor Warren August 27, 2007 at 6:41 am

Hmmmm….two breathless posts labeling me a heretic. What to do, what to do…

Pastor Jack, your prescience regarding my beliefs is impressive. Perhaps you can help me with an issue that I have wrestled with for years; was UFO better with Paul Chapman or Michael Schenker?

Seriously, as a Pastor you should be more cautious about making aspersions regarding another’s theology without a thorough investigation. Your assumptions are the equivalent of ‘when did you stop beating your wife.’ You wrote “I also assume you don’t believe in substitutionary atonement, since Christ’s death (if subtitutionary) would have atoned for any future failure to persevere. God is not timebound, so when He sacrificed Christ on the cross He had all our future sins in mind.” How do you come to a conclusion like this? Is there any mention of Grotius in my writings, anything at all that denies substitution in my theology?

Let’s try this one: “I see also you believe in salvation by works, since faithfulness is a work.” Faith is a noun, faithful is an adjective. Can you direct me to where I implied, stated, or even suggested anything but salvation by grace? Are you generalizing your understanding of Arminian theology (the subject of this thread) as believing in salvation by works? If the latter is the case, I can only suggest that you consult a reference regarding the structure and beliefs of the Arminians since you will discover that this is an incorrect assumption. In doing so you will also find that there is a vast chasm between Pelagianism and Arminianism. As for your accusation, I can save you the trouble as you won’t be able to find it.

I’ll also assume that this ” I assume you don’t believe Christ is not praying for us in the manner in which He prayed for Peter. The reason Peter’s faith didn’t fail was because Christ prayed for it, that it would not fail (Luke 22:32). So if my faith can possibly fail, it is because Christ has not prayed for it to be preserved.” is linked to the previous issue so I suppose it has already been answered. If we were discussing the Hebrews warning passages I suppose it would be germane but again, you’ll need to quote more so I can discern what you’re talking about.

You also asked “Who turned the Egyptians’ hearts to hate the Jews, according to King David in Psalm 105:25?” Clearly, the Bible reads that God Himself turned hearts of the people but you must be much more precise in your exegesis. Helicoptering in to a single verse and using it in support of a very complex topic is irresponsible. In doing so, you have displayed your decretal beliefs and made God the author of the evil that the Egyptians visited upon the Hebrews. Ultimately, that path will lead you back to the Garden and the creatures he lovingly place there knowing in advance that He had created them to sin and therefore headed to perdition.

Finally, your question “Does an evil man with a wicked heart have the ability to make a virtuous choice?” can be answered by yourself. Corrupt, fallen, unregenerate people make good choices all the time. The car that just stopped at the neighborhood stop sign outside my office window, even though no one was looking, was driven by someone who might not know the Lord but still made a good choice to obey the law. If you are referring to the Arminian theological belief of humankind making a choice to receive the gift of grace offered benevolently by their Father, you need to be clearer on the ordo salutis that leads up to this. They are not unregenerate but, in that belief system, have been quickened by the Holy Spirit prior to the acceptance.

Pastor Jack, before you take this tack again I would hope that you would display a bit more of your pastoral sensitivity with others. Calling anyone, particularly another minister, a distributor of heretical beliefs must be approached more responsibly. God bless you and your ministry.

25 Pastor Warren August 27, 2007 at 11:15 am

Brother Crewbear – You would make an excellent lawyer because you have a way of avoiding answering questions while demanding answers to your own. This thread has evolved through a number of topics to this point where you ask “Why does one man believe even as another man raises his fist in rebellion?” The answer of course is that God created humankind in His image. This means that creatures are created with a will and the ability to freely exercise that will. The decisions that they make may be for good or for evil. The whole of the Biblical record demonstrates this. A theological position that denies this creates the following issues that I encourage you to address:

The automata that has no will or the ability to exercise it is not responsible for its actions.
If God has created humankind in such a way and He has predetermined every single action that these creatures lacking free will make, He becomes the author of sin.
Now, as to your assertion that you answered the questions asked repeatedly, you write “You asked me to provide an Arminian position inconsistent with Scripture. I did as you asked. To demonstrate this inconsistent position, I pointed to a biblical doctrine which Arminians accept, and then asked you to reconcile the apparent contradiction between this doctrine and the Arminian concept of Free Will. It is a simple question – which I will ask again (since you did everything in your power to avoid answering it in your previous post.)” Since you don’t want to clearly state your points, we are all forced to ‘read between the lines’ to derive your true meaning. If you are attempting to forward the notion that Free Will is the centerpoint of Arminian theology, you are simply wrong. This is a common error. It might be a good idea for you to quote directly from an Arminian theological source wherein one would find this to be a first principle.

You also wrote “The answer to this question cannot allow a man to boast for that would contradict an affirmed position of Scripture. But, if Arminians are correct about Free Will, the answer must also be rooted in an intrinsic characteristic of the one who believes. I believe that to be a contradiction without resolution. For if a man believes because of some intrinsic characteristic he possesses, then that man can boast about it.” Again, because you refuse to quote Arminian theology, it is difficult to discern what you want to say so we will once again read through your words. It appears that you have fallen prey to a mythology surrounding Arminian theology. Accepting the gift of grace offered from the Father gives no man or woman reason to boast. This in no way implies that humankind is the author of his own salvation nor does he initiate it. God is sovereign in His election of who will receive this gift; due to man’s total depravity it obviously cannot be rooted in any character trait or innate goodness that He or She possesses. You may be confusing Pelagianism or semi-Pelagianism with Arminian belief; they are not the same.

So, all of your questions have been answered and addressed. Now, would you mind addressing the following statement that you made earlier? You said:

The strength of Calvinism is found in exegesis. The strength of Arminianism is found in its flattering view of man.

Don’t assume anything please. Lay out your answer and support it from Scripture, theologians, etc. I asked you repeatedly to point out the part, parts, whole, etc. of Arminian theology that is not supported by exegesis. Remember, in order to support that assertion you need to state a theological point that is made up out of whole cloth with no basis whatsoever in Scripture.

Finally, I presented you with a statement that summarizes the idea of God’s sovereignty in the process of salvation. Please simply say yes or no whether or not you agree with this statement (repeated below):

God in his eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ his Son, before the foundation of the world, has determined from among the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who through the grace of the Holy Spirit, shall believe on his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through his grace.

I’ll look forward to your clear, quoted, documented answers. God Bless.

26 crewbear August 27, 2007 at 11:48 am

“You would make an excellent lawyer…”

A lawyer? Oh, the humanity! Please, sir. Call me a heretic. Call me a journalist, or an axe murderer. Perhaps even (dare I speak the word?) an … accountant. But to call an engineer a lawyer – even in jest – is beyond the pale of reasonable discourse. A fellow brother in Christ should not sink so low.

crewbear ;-)

(More later…)

27 Pastor Warren August 28, 2007 at 8:47 am

:-) My deeeeeeeepest apologies brother…”lawyer” slipped from my fingers in a moment of weakness…I shall repent…Thankfully, Tax Collector didn’t come to mind…be at peace

28 genembridges September 3, 2007 at 12:46 am

>>The Calvinist decretal system not only makes God the author and grantor of salvation but, depending upon the particular lapsarian view you subscribe to, it also makes him the author of evil. Can it be otherwise?

According to the Arminian order of decrees, God decreed the fall. So the “decretal system” is not unique to Calvinism.

The difference is that it is “bare” for the Arminians and in Calvinism, permission is not bare. I’d add that Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism are really irrelevant issues. The controversy between them has historically revolved around the consideration of men as men in the former before election/reprobation or as sinners in the latter, not over whether one makes allegedly makes God the author of sin by permitting the fall, for in both, the permission is effacious.

>>The automata that has no will or the ability to exercise it is not responsible for its actions.

A. Calvinists do not deny that men have wills.

>>If God has created humankind in such a way and He has predetermined every single action that these creatures lacking free will make, He becomes the author of sin.

A. This is an ethical objection.
B. It will ultimately be a philosophical objection for it depends on libertarian freedom.

> Now, as to your assertion that you answered the questions asked repeatedly, you write “You asked me to provide an Arminian position inconsistent with Scripture. I did as you asked. To demonstrate this inconsistent position, I pointed to a biblical doctrine which Arminians accept, and then asked you to reconcile the apparent contradiction between this doctrine and the Arminian concept of Free Will. It is a simple question – which I will ask again a (since you did everything in your power to avoid answering it in your previous post.)”

If you are attempting to forward the notion that Free Will is the centerpoint of Arminian theology, you are simply wrong. This is a common error. It might be a good idea for you to quote directly from an Arminian theological source wherein one would find this to be a first principle.

A. The problem here is twofold. First, in answering the question, “Why does Agent X do Act Y?” to answer basically “because he has a will” is unresponsive, for it only tells us that a person has a will – which nobody denies. Rather, why does that person act in such a manner?

What is being asked of you is, within the stated bounds of libertarian action theory, to answer the “why” question.

>> Free Will is the centerpoint of Arminian theology, you are simply wrong. This is a common error. It might be a good idea for you to quote directly from an Arminian theological source wherein one would find this to be a first principle.

A. Certainly, I believe you can find that claim in John Miley, for he said that human freedom is the Arminian fundamentum and went on to defend libertarian freedom. I believe you will find that in Volume 2 of his Systematic Theology around page 275, and it precisely this fundamentum that leads him to state that, therefore, the Arminian system holds the universality of the atonement and provisory nature of the atonement, and the conditionality of salvation.

“Theology gives importance to the question of freedom. Our position on so cardinal a question must influence our interpretation of the Scriptures as the source of theology, and chiefly determine the cast of our doctrinal system.[…] freedom is fundamental in Arminianism.” Systematic Theology, Vol. 2, p. 275.

>> If God has created humankind in such a way and He has predetermined every single action that these creatures lacking free will make, He becomes the author of sin.

1. This overlooks the difference between a necessary and a sufficient condition.

2. Calvinism does not deny “free will,” we deny libertarian freedom.

>> Faith is a noun, faithful is an adjective. Can you direct me to where I implied, stated, or even suggested anything but salvation by grace? Are you generalizing your understanding of Arminian theology (the subject of this thread) as believing in salvation by works? If the latter is the case, I can only suggest that you consult a reference regarding the structure and beliefs of the Arminians since you will discover that this is an incorrect assumption.

A. You affirm justification by faith, but Arminians, while not denying the necessity of grace, have denied its sufficiency. By locating the ground of election in human freedom, you thereby make faith a work.

>>Accepting the gift of grace offered from the Father gives no man or woman reason to boast. This in no way implies that humankind is the author of his own salvation nor does he initiate it. God is sovereign in His election of who will receive this gift; due to man’s total depravity it obviously cannot be rooted in any character trait or innate goodness that He or She possesses. You may be confusing Pelagianism or semi-Pelagianism with Arminian belief; they are not the same.

1. The assumption here is that grace is quantitative not qualitative. Where is the supporting argument?

2. and that grace is necessary but insufficient.

3. For, you are still left with man making a libertarian choice. Why does he, within the bounds of libertarianism do this?

>> I asked you repeatedly to point out the part, parts, whole, etc. of Arminian theology that is not supported by exegesis. Remember, in order to support that assertion you need to state a theological point that is made up out of whole cloth with no basis whatsoever in Scripture.

A. That would, of course be libertarian freedom. It is well known that libertarianism is prized not for being exegeted from the Scriptures but for its intuitive value.

And it isn’t as if representative Arminians do not admit this fact as in the following 3-part definition from Jerry Walls and Joseph Dongell in their popular book Why I am not a Calvinist:

(1) “The essence of this view is that a free action is one that does not have a sufficient condition or cause prior to its occurrence…the common experience of deliberation assumes that our choices are undetermined.”

(2) “…It seems intuitively and immediately evident that many of our actions are up to us in the sense that when faced with a decision, both (or more) options are within our power to choose…Libertarians argue that our immediate sense of power to choose between alternative courses of action is more certain and trustworthy than any theory that denies we have power.

(3) “Libertarians take very seriously the widespread judgment that we are morally responsible for our actions and that moral responsibility requires freedom” That is, a person cannot be held morally responsible for an act unless he or she was free to perform that act and free to refrain from it. This is basic moral intuition.”

Walls and Dongell end their definition of libertarian freedom by asserting that to prove the validity of libertarian free will “…Arminians rely on contested philosophical judgments at this point.” By their own admission, then they RELY on philosophy, not Scripture as an ultimate basis for their conjecture.

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