Tuesday, December 15, 2015

An Arminian reviews an Arminian

Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed will appeal to many people. Fischer is an enjoyable writer with a knack for metaphor and honest candor. And I suspect many will find in his honest reflections permission to admit their own doubts and questions with Calvinism.

At the same time, I suspect this book will frustrate many more people because of what they take to be unfair and ultimately unsustainable critiques of Calvinist theology. And I have some sympathy with those frustrated readers. While Young, Restless, No Longer Reformed is barely more than one hundred pages, its brevity and loosely narratival structure cannot excuse it from presenting arguments that do not hold up under scrutiny.

To note just one problem, I am unpersuaded that Fischer’s appeals to libertarian freedom and transworld depravity are adequate to exonerate God from ordaining “the godforsaknness of the reprobate”. I’ll put it this way: In world 1, my daughter freely chooses Christ and is thereby elect. In world 2, my daughter freely rejects Christ and is thereby reprobate. How can I possibly understand the love of God if he elects to actualize world 2 rather than world 1? This question may be answerable, but it shows that Arminians don’t have things nearly as easy as the reader if this book might think.

This IS a familiar story, for many who have similarly embraced Calvinism at one point and then rejected it for similar reasons. But as you charge, there is a sense of being stuck with the same problems when you end up a Molinistic Arminian. Let me just toss out there that it seems to me that some version of open theism is the next logical step along the familiar trajectory...

Randal Rauser Mod  
That's one direction one can go. But it isn't much good where providence and evil are concerned. God need not have meticulous foreknowledge to prevent every evil: meticulous knowledge of the present (combined with divine lightning-fast reflexes) would surely be sufficient to stop most, if not all, evils. And yet, the open theist God still allowed the Final Solution to unfold over several years.

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