Incarnatio: Responds to the Arminocalvinist spectrum

Incarnatio: Responds to the Arminocalvinist spectrum December 11, 2010

After being very gracious in his introductions, Matt O’Reilly says:

First, it is quite helpful to point out the differences (or spectrum of beliefs) within the larger Calvinist and Arminian groups.  There are things that Calvinists disagree on; the same is the case with Arminians as well.  Different people mean different things by these labels.  So, Adrian’s taxonomy, which utilizes qualifiers like hard, moderate, or soft, is very helpful in that it provides nuance to differing views within each larger position.  This taxonomy also nicely highlights the fact that some brands of Arminianism are closer to Calvinism that others.  For example, I probably fall in the “Reformed Arminian” group, which would likely put me closer to Calvinism that it would an open theist.  This is a benefit of the taxonomy because while both myself and an open theist might be labeled Arminian, I would much prefer that others see me as closer to Calvinism than open theism.

Second, while there are variations within the Calvinist and Arminian camps, we should remember that there are specific differences between them as well.  The divide comes down to whether or not God overcomes the wills of those whom he saves; that is, the divide is over the nature of grace, whether it is resistible or irresistible.  The spectrum of Calvinist views in Adrian’s taxonomy are united by their belief that God acts in such a way upon his elect to overcome their resistance, and that he does not act in this way upon those who have not been chosen.  All the Arminian groups, on the other hand, believe that God doesn’t act in such a way as to irresistibly overcome any person’s will.  So, while there is a spectrum of belief, we shouldn’t forget the divide in the midst of the spectrum.

Third, I’m very hesitant to grant the Arminian name to open theists, though many of them would want to adopt it. . .

To close this post out, let me say again that I appreciate Adrian’s work and think his post is quite helpful.  This debate needs more like him who will look for what unites us rather than bombard each other over what divides.  I hope this post contributes to just that.

Read the rest at Incarnatio: Spectrum or Divide? A Response to Adrian Warnock.

I do take your point about the Open Theists, but we have to put up with the Hypercalvinists who’s attachment to the doctrines of grace leaves them seeming graceless! I genuinely believe that is one of those debates where those closest to the middle, far from compromising, seem to be closest to the Bible.  Truth be told, sometimes the Bible itself sounds quite Arminian, and at other times I would argue it definitely sounds quite Calvinist!

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