Friday, February 24, 2012

Who is an Arminian?

Roger Olson recently posted an interesting (although a bit out of character for him) discussion on the essentials of Arminianism: Who Is (or Might Be) an Arminian?

Three Litmus Tests:
1. Commitment to a basically Protestant theology: sola scriptura, sola Christi, sola gratia et fides, justification as a declaration of righteousness by God’s grace alone because of Christ alone, through faith alone.
2. Commitment to corporate election, conditional predestination, universal atonement, resistible prevenient grace, and the necessity of freely accepting God’s saving grace for salvation.
3. Belief in the universal love of God and God’s desire that all be saved.

Three Norms:

1. Belief in total depravity such that the natural person, apart from supernatural prevenient grace, cannot respond to the outer or inner call of the gospel.
2. Belief in non-compatibilist free will as power of contrary choice restored by means of prevenient grace in matters of salvation.
3. Belief that God is not the designer of evil or innocent suffering in the world, but that these exist only because of the fall which God permitted but did not desire or plan.

Five Reasons why one cannot be:

1. Denial of the supernatural and miracles (as in liberal theology, not cessationism).
2. Denial of the deity or humanity of Jesus Christ.
3. Denial of the unique inspiration of the Bible.
4. Denial of God’s omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence.
5. Denial of God’s eternal, unchangeable character as loving and just (nominalism).

I'm certainly no expert on this subject, but I definitely resonate with all of these!  I especially appreciate how he included total depravity, and how he also made a point to define Arminian by conservative / orthodox theology.  (Some seem to automatically equate Arminian with either liberal or pelagian, both of which his definition denies)

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