Saturday, April 29, 2017

Sufficient grace

In classic Arminian theology, God confers universal prevenient grace. Everyone has sufficient grace to believe the Gospel. This doesn't ensure belief, but it enables belief:

According to classical Arminianism it is an operation of the Holy Spirit that frees the sinner’s will from bondage to sin and convicts, calls, illumines and enables the sinner to respond to the gospel call with repentance and faith (conversion).

So why do Arminians pray for the lost? If everyone already has sufficient grace to believe the Gospel, what is the Arminian asking God to do? Is he asking God to do something extra for that lost soul, over and above prevenient grace? But if God grants the request, isn't this unfair to all the other lost souls who never had that added advantage? 

This is even more paradoxical in the case of outright Pelagians like Leighton Flowers. 


  1. This is good and shows even more problems with prevenient grace. As I argued in print, if you go the prevenient grace route, then you gotta allow for all sorts of changes consistent with libertarianism. And that will make you look like a pelagian in that although people are totally depraved without grace, with grace you are just like Adam was before the Fall. And so no one is actually all that depraved.

  2. Steve, wouldn't middle knowledge solve the dilemma? In addition to God giving sufficient grace to all, he would know how each person would respond to that grace under various scenarios. God would just need to actualize those worlds. Don't you think that prayers for the lost would play a significant role in that case?

    1. Prayer for the lost would only play a significant role if that's additional to universal prevenient grace. But in that event, God does more to save some people that others, which cuts against the grain of freewill theism regarding divine equity.