What Calvinists and Arminians Ought to Agree On

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DrJamesAch's picture

That being either Calvinist or Arminian are not the only theological positions one must be strapped to. "Non-Calvinist", "savableist" (Hankins' term), may not be the most attractive distinction, but nevertheless it's a distinction that needs to be acknowledged by both, Calvinists in particular who assume that any rejection of Reformed theology is a concession to Arminianism by default.

Dr James Ach

What Kills You Makes You Stronger Rom 8:13; 7:24-25

Do Right Christians, and Calvinisms Other Side

Pastork's picture

While I can register some basic agreement with Olson when he says that "Evangelical Calvinists and evangelical Arminians need to reach an accord, an agreement, to put down the long knives and cooperate with each other in opposing the real 'default heresy' of American Christianity—moralism," I would also want to make at least two observations.

First, I hope Olson really is willing to abide by this himself, since he has been quite egregiously unfair to Calvinists in the past, at least at times. Consider, for example, his assertion that "God of Calvinism scares me; I'm not sure how to distinguish him from the devil." He said this in an article entitled Calvinist view of bridge collapse distorts God's character, in which he set forth several misunderstandings about what Calvinism has historically taught (to which I have briefly responded here).

Second, I would hope that he would still advocate a hearty debate over the issues that divide Calvinists and Arminians, but without the persistent misrepresentations from both sides, of which he himself is guilty.

So, without wanting to get into a debate here myself over Calvinism versus Arminianism, I would simply say that I hope Olson will practice what he preaches.

Ron Bean's picture

While I have seen numerous attacks on and misrepresentations of Calvinism by non-Calvinists, I must have missed the similar actions by Calvinists on Arminians. Does anyone have any?

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture


Lorraine Boettner spends quite a few pages in his book titled "The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination" going after Arminians.  Here are a few:

The Socinians and Unitarians, while not so evangelical as the Arminians, are at this point more consistent; for after rejecting the foreordination of God, they also deny that He can foreknow the acts of free agents... (p.30)

We shall show that there is no great difficulty—no undue violence or straining required—to interpret consistently with our doctrine the passages which are brought forth by Arminians, while it is impossible, without the most unwarrantable and unnatural forcing and straining, to reconcile their doctrine with our passages. Furthermore, our doctrine could not be overthrown merely by bringing forth other passages which would contradict it, for that at most would only give us a self-contradictory Bible... (p.38)

If, as Arminians say, God is earnestly trying to convert every person, He is making a great failure of His work; for among the adult population of the world up to the present time, where He has succeeded in saving one He has let perhaps twenty-five fall into hell. Such a view sheds little glory on the Divine Majesty... (p.126)


"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Mark_Smith's picture

says the only consistent Arminian is an open theist. So, in his view, Arminianism is at least sub-Biblical. The only way to be an Arminian is to be inconsistent or into heresey.

Ron Bean's picture

Thanks for the examples.

I guess I'm spoiled. As a new Christian, my first exposure to Calvinism was a sermon on why the five points were unbiblical. That was followed by watching a young pastor confessing with tears that he had become a Calvinist and couldn't continue to be the pastor of his church. When i got to seminary, I asked a teacher about the matter and he suggested I spend my summer studying Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians (without any commentaries or footnotes...just the text.) When I finished, I knew what I believed. The next year I became friends with a fellow student who was a fundamental Arminian Methodist. We had some great discussion over our differences and similarities. He was the one who told me that most of the fundamentalists he knew were "one point Calvinists".

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan