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Monday, September 7, 2009

Arminian Theology in View, Part IV


OK...it's been a while & I haven't posted anything about Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities by Roger E. Olson. I'm almost done with the book and am hoping to email professor Olson to get some questions answered that have not been really answered in the book. Overall I think the book is pretty good at describing what Arminius and his followers believed. What the book fails, in my opinion, to do is show us where these beliefs come from in the Scriptures. So far I'm on page 220 of a 246 page book and he's referenced 29 passages of Scripture (not including 3-4 references to an entire chapter)...but NONE of these passages are actually taken apart and exegeted!

John 3:16, 1 Tim 4:10, 2 Pet 3:9, etc are quoted over and over again but Professor Olson does not show how the verses support his claims/views. This is pretty sad and it's consistent with what I've found...nobody wants to go to any deeper argumentation than to say "John 3:16 says all and that's all I have to say about the matter!"
Sorry folks...this is not the way God's Word should be treated. I expect more out of pastors and teachers than just a few quoted verses and no explanation. Anyway...off my soapbox.
Here is a passage that made me go "Huh?!" On page 206 the author makes the following statement:

"Third, one charge frequently laid against Arminius's (and Arminianism's) doctrine of justification is that it makes faith the efficient and meritorious cause of justification, thus resulting in justification as a reward for a work of righteousness. How did Arminius regard the causes of justification? First, he stated clearly and repeatedly that faith itself is a work of the Holy Spirit and not a work of autonomous humans. 'Evangelical faith is an assent of the mind, produced by the Holy Spirit, through the Gospel...' Thus the Holy Spirit is the efficient cause of justification."

OK...here is my question; If the Arminian claims that the Holy Spirit is the efficient cause of faith and the efficient cause of justification then how can the same argue with limited atonement (I prefer to call it particular redemption)? If the Holy Spirit has to produce the faith through which we are justified then the Arminian would have to answer the question, "Why doesn't the Holy Spirit produce faith in everyone?"

I really wonder why this is not seen for what it is, and that's double speak. On the one hand he says that the idea of limited atonement is unbiblical...and yet on the other he says that the Holy Spirit has to produce the faith in order for someone to be justified. Anyone from the Arminian persuasion, please help me understand how this can be?
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