Thursday, March 10, 2011

Arminian priorities

Glancing through the more prominent Arminian blogs in the wake of the Rob Bell controversy, I notice that except for Brennan Hartshorn’s blog, Arminians would rather attack Calvinists who attack universalism than attack universalism themselves.

That’s very revealing. After all, nothing hinders them from attacking both Calvinism and universalism. And even if they think it’s premature to pounce on Bell, they could still use the occasion to critique universalism. But they don’t. They only use the occasion to attack Calvinism, while leaving universalism untouched.

This suggests two things:

i) Arminians are defined by what they oppose (chiefly Calvinism) rather than what they are.

ii) Arminians go easy on universalism because they have so much in common. 


  1. Surely there's some irony in the fact that one of the major (albeit unfounded) criticisms of Calvinism from the Arminian camp is that Calvinism demotivates evangelism. But what could demotivate evangelism more than universalism?

  2. I'd like to read Rob Bell for myself first because I want to quote him directly when I refute his errors. But I did post Tim Challies' review of Love Wins on my facebook for others to read. I think it is a bit premature to be calling out Arminians on this issue. I have read many comments on the Society of Evangelical Arminians' Google Groups page regarding Bell's forthcoming book (due out 15 March 2011), the majority of which were negative towards his Universalism.

    BTW, I've addressed Universalism here, and here on my site, and I have plans to read and review it when I can.

  3. That is a very unfair assertion. I mean really, Universalism and Armenians have very little in common. Most obvious is that universalistic doctrines state that everyone is going to go to Hell and Armenians believe that everyone can go to Heaven but only through Christ in true faith. Armenians have no qualms with the doctrines of Hell.

  4. That's not true my friend. On the 7th of March, a reasoned statement regarding Arminianism and Universalism was posted on the site of the Society of Evangelical Arminians:

    It is titled "Universalism and Arminianism at odds" I encourage you to check that site out regularly. It is chock full of information.

  5. How did Ben Witherington, Peter Lumpkins, Scot McKnight, and Roger Olson, as well as Arminian commenters at Justin Taylor’s blog like “Arminian” (a contributor to SEA) respond to the controversy? Did they take the occasion to critique universalism? No. They seized the moment to take another swipe at Calvinism while leaving universalism untouched.

  6. Kyle said...

    "That is a very unfair assertion. I mean really, Universalism and Armenians have very little in common."

    Well, it's true that Armenians like Rousas John Rushdoony have very little in common with Universalism.

  7. The two theologies may not be the same but the hermeneutic is.

    Once one takes the interpretation that Romans 5:18 (cf. 1 Cor. 15:22) refers to every single last human being, then the conclusion that Paul teaches that every single last human being will be justified in the eyes of God quickly follows.