Thursday, July 10, 2014

Arminianism and related resources

tldr: If you don't believe in Calvinism, but don't know why you don't believe in Calvinism, there are really cool links below. If you're waffling on it, then the links below are even more important. Also, if you don't know what Arminianism is, click here.

Some time ago, I saw this post, titled "Needed: Robust Arminian Theology for Lay People (Especially Youth)," writted by Roger Olson. In it, Olson describes the recent rise of the "New Calvinism" movement (or "Young, Restless, Reformed"), and how it's especially noticeable in younger Christians (late teens and twenties) especially. More people are becoming Calvinist.

And he attributes this rise to a "doctrinal vacuum" in evangelical churches: A vacuum that occurs when churches hold to doctrines of free will and meaningful choice (aka not irresistible grace and predestination), but take those doctrines for granted. They hold those doctrines, but don't talk about them, don't defend them, don't explain them.

I know that's how I grew up: Assuming that humanity had free will, that God called us and that we could answer that call - or not, if we chose. But I can't recall a single time before college that anyone had told me why that was, or explained to me what "Calvinism" was and why we didn't believe that instead. And that's problematic, because Calvinists have that down. And so when someone from that tradition that assumes but doesn't really teach about free will runs into a Calvinist, they're suddenly going to hear legitimate arguments and reasoning from the Bible for Calvinism, and they won't have anything to balance that out. And so they often come away from those encounters believing that Calvinism is the only biblical doctrine.

This bothers me. But it's not until recently that I really realized the resources that exist, right now, to alleviate this.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago: My good friend Danny M. links me this post, titled "John Piper Asks, "Where's the Arminian?" and Receives an Answer." John Piper (the leading figure in Calvinism) takes some pot-shots at Arminianism, and Credendum (the author of the blog) lays down the freaking law. And in the process, he links to some extremely helpful resources. Here are my two favorite sites so far:

Arminian Theology: What makes this blog awesome is the bar of popular topics right at the top, which provide a fantastic intro to Arminianism. Right off the bat, you get:


                       And, of course, the killer:

Arminian Perspectives: This blog has a lot more stuff on it, and it seems to update more frequently. You got all kinds of stuff on here:

There are dozens (hundreds?) of posts here, and those are just two of the resources here. I went on an enormous binge over the Fourth of July weekend, and I learned so election can be corporate, how context really helps...See, before this, I only had "common sense" objections to Calvinism. Now, I have something more. And I think you - yes, you - should have that as well. Click some of these links. Give them a read. Let me know what you think.

Also: I guess I'm pretty much Arminian? I mean, there are some funny distinctions, like the way they insist that salvation is monergistic rather than synergistic, which seems to be solely for the purpose of dialogue with Calvinists. But still, it is neat to see certain things that I've personally thought through over the years, all codified and official, with biblical support and everything.