I have a problem this summer at home— it’s ants. Little tiny sugar ants. They keep invading our house and our food. They’re not carpenter ants or fire ants, thank goodness. They’re just hungry little dudes and they will stop at nothing to get that food. Not even Terminix has been able to stop them. So I have to admit that going to see a movie about ants, well, on first blush that did not sound like a rush to… Read more

The second volume in the Week in the Life series (IVP,$13.87, 292 pages), the first of which was my A Week in the Life of Corinth, focuses on the life of Roman centurion stationed in the unstable eastern end of the Empire. Appius is a centurion who is profoundly injured at Dura-Europa and ends up in more of an advisory capacity in Capernaum during the lifetime of Jesus. Gary Burge (NT prof at Wheaton) brings to bear his considerable knowledge… Read more

BEN: As we conclude this discussion, let’s talk about the practical implications of Arminius’ thought for today. It seems clear to me that Arminius, and Wesley as well, would have rejected recent ideas that have come to be called open theism. Am I right? What exactly would Arminius have especially have rejected about the cluster of ideas called open theism? KEITH: That’s right. Now Arminius agrees with open theists against pan-determinists that humans are gifted with libertarian free will. But… Read more

BEN: What are the four testimonies that can bolster assurance of salvation, according to Arminius? In what sense is clear belief in Christ as savior a basis for assurance of salvation? KEITH: Arminius delineates what I designate “a posteriori grounds of assurance.” In other words, these testimonies are not the foundations of assurance, but experienced phenomena to which Christians can point and perhaps confirm the “a priori grounding” in God’s universal love. The first testimony of salvation is the sense… Read more

BEN: What Arminius has to say about final justification seems to exclude the idea that works of piety and charity have anything to do with it (rather he opts for simple persevering in the faith as what is evaluated at final judgment). What then does he do with texts like 2 Cor. 5.10, or 1 Cor. 3 which suggests our works will indeed be evaluated at final judgment and there will be either rewards, or the lack there of for… Read more

BEN: Arminius seems to be clear on the possibility of both intellectual and moral apostasy by a believer. Can you unpack his views for us briefly? Does he take the malicious rejection of Christ or blasphemy of the Spirit by a former believer as the unpardonable sin? KEITH: Some older interpretations have claimed that Arminius did not think it is possible for a true believer to fall from saving grace. This erroneous interpretation is partly based on an inaccurate English… Read more

KEITH: Arminius did agree that the righteousness resulting from this reckoning comes to believers on the basis of Christ’s righteous obedience to the Father. Thus, in a sense, it is Christ’s righteousness that is imputed to us (but not “for righteousness”). Arminius does think that this exchange of sin for righteousness is taught in 2 Cor. 5:21: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”… Read more

‘Hey hey we’re the minions, and we’re just minioning around….’ Wait, wasn’t that supposed to be ‘hey hey we’re the Monkees’? No matter the years is 1968, and we are in B.G. time, which is to say, many years before Gru. The minions are desperately searching for a master bad enough for them to serve. But as the opening five minutes of ‘The Minions’ movie makes very clear, they are having a hard time keeping a villainous master. Their hijinks… Read more

BEN: One of the things that is not clear to me from reading your book is the relationship between the Holy Spirit and prevenient grace in the thought of Arminius. Does by grace Arminius simply mean the divine influence of the Holy Spirit in convicting, convincing, and converting people, or does he have a more abstract and even sacramental view of grace? KEITH: There is an intimate relationship between the Holy Spirit and grace. The operation of grace is the… Read more

BEN: Why was Arminius accused of Pelagianism or semi-Pelagianism if in fact he was clear that prevenient grace comes to a person purely by unmerited divine initiative? KEITH: This controversy is inherent in the Protestant Reformation itself. To the degree that the magisterial Reformation was a reaction to a perceived works-based salvation, energized by the central insight of salvation by grace alone through faith alone, there was a corresponding degree of worry about anything that seemed to leave room for… Read more

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