Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The witness of the Spirit

Arminian theologian Roger Olson is appealing to the witness of the Spirit as a safety net, which makes it okay to deny the inerrancy of Scripture. But that’s incoherent:

i) Our direct knowledge regarding the person and work of the Holy Spirit comes from the Bible. So you can’t cite the witness of the Spirit to salvage your denial of Biblical inerrancy, for your understanding of the Spirit is, itself, contingent on the veracity of Scripture. So the witness of the Spirit can’t protect you against an errant Bible.

ii) The Holy Spirit is the primary author of Scripture. To invoke the witness of the Spirit to rationalize an attack on the plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture is an attack on the work of the Spirit.

iii) Scripture forewarns us to distinguish between competing spirits:

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 Jn 4:1).

You can’t invoke the Spirit to justify an attack on the Bible, for Word and Spirit don’t function independently. It’s a mutual witness. You can’t set them at odds. Without the one you lack the other. 

Olson’s position reveals the state of modern Arminian theology, and it isn’t pretty.


  1. The question that is raised in mind after reading this is I wonder just what participation the Spirit has in modern day Arminianism?

  2. The authority of any word or writing whatsoever depends upon its
    author, as the word "authority" indicates; and it is just as great as
    the veracity and the power, that is, the auqenti<a of the author.
    But God is of infallible veracity, and is neither capable of deceiving
    nor of being deceived; and of irrefragable power, that is, supreme over
    the creatures. If, therefore, He is the Author of Scripture, its
    authority is totally dependent on Him alone. (i.) Totally, because He
    is the all sufficient Author, all-true and all-powerful. (ii.) On Him
    alone, because He has no associate either in the truth of what he says,
    or in the power of his right. For all veracity and power in the
    creature proceed from him; and into his veracity and power are resolved
    all faith and obedience, as into the First Cause and the Ultimate
    Boundary. (Gal.. iii, 8, 9; 1 John v. 9; Rom. iii. 4; Tit. i. 2; Psalm
    i. 1-23; Gal. i. 1, 7, 8; John v. 34, 36; Rom. xi. 34-36; xiii, 1.)

    The Works of James Arminius, Vol. 1
    - - - - -

    This is the Bible -- The Book, by way of eminence -- the Book made by God -- the only book that is without blemish or error -- the book that contains the TRUTH, the whole TRUTH, and nothing but the TRUTH: that without which we should have known little about God, less concerning ourselves, and nothing about heaven, the resurrection, or a future state: the book that contains the greatest mass of learning ever put together-the book from which all the sages of antiquity have, directly or indirectly, derived their knowledge: by means of which, the nations who have studied it most, and known it best, have formed the wisest code of laws, and have become the wisest and the most powerful nations of the earth.

    The revelation which God has given of himself is a perfect system of instruction. It reveals no more than we ought to know; it keeps nothing back that would be profitable. It gives us a proper view of the nature and authority of the Lawgiver. It shows the right he has to govern us.

    Adam Clarke's Christian Theology part 1 - Th Scriptures

    Regarding Olson's Arminianism, how did the 80's commercial say it? "This is not your father's Oldsmobile..."