Thursday, July 01, 2010

Arminian liberals

Billy Birch

I started this blog more than three years ago in an effort to correct the misinformation promoted by Calvinists regarding Arminius's theology... Arminian scholar Roger E. Olson, complaining against the counterfactual statements of Calvinists such as Kim Riddlebarger, writes: "Typical is the claim by Kim Riddlebarger: "Arminianism is not only a departure from historic orthodoxy, but [also] a serious departure from the evangel itself." For centuries both Reformed and Lutheran theologians identified Arminianism with Arianism, Socinianism, Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, humanism or liberal theology"...Actually, each of those charges are baseless. Any person who even casually reads Arminius or the Remonstrants will be able to see that Arminianism has as much in common with Arianism, Socinianism, Pelagianism, semi-Pelagianism, humanism or liberal theology (and also Open Theism) as does Calvinism! Those who confess such things demonstrate (to their embarrassment) that they have never read Arminius or the Remonstrants...Why some Calvinists will not allow me or other Arminians to be called conservative (or sometimes Protestant, or in the Reformed tradition) is because of the theological confines which they have constructed, defining and at times redefining terms just so that anyone who does not abide by said definition(s) cannot be included. For example, Olson writes...

Roger Olson

As a classical Arminian, I find much more common ground between my theology and Sanders's than between mine and Helm's or Ware's. And I agree with 19C Arminian theologian John Miley who said that dynamic omniscience (John's term for open theism's view of God's foreknowledge) would not undermine any vital Arminian doctrine. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I cannot see how it undermines any Christian doctrine. In my opinion, the furor over open theism among conservative evangelical theologians has been over the top; it borders on hysterical, especially since no crucial doctrine of the Christian faith is denied or undermined by it...Open theism would be a heresy if it blatantly contradicted the plain teaching of Scripture or if it presented a doctrine that absolutely contradicted the gospel. I judge that neither is the case. I find problems in its interpretation of Scripture while admitting that it has much scriptural support. I know of no idea intrinsic to the gospel that it denies. I welcome John's version of open theism (as well as those of Clark Pinnock and Greg Boyd) into the Christian theological conversation especially as it is being presented humbly and as a theologoumenon–a hypothesis to be tested and not a new dogma to be adopted by everyone willy-nilly," Perspectives on the Doctrine of God: Four Views, 248-51.


  1. Thanks for the post Steve! I appreciate you keeping "Arminian Liberals" (Isn't that a redundancy?) accountable.

    FWIW, on some measure, it's probably a good thing that Olson has expressed his support for Open Theism.

  2. Yup. Arminian circles are the hotbeds of several 'less-than-orthodox' beliefs:

    New Perspective on Paul

    Denial of Inerrancy

    Open Theism and Process Theology

    The 'Social Change' Gospel (i.e. a toned-down version of Liberation Theology)

    Promotion of Homosexuality