We come to the 15th and final shift in thinking that occurred during the Enlightenment. Some may say I have saved the best for last. Actually, I have saved the worst for last.
In this final post of the series, I’ll outline a third and final objection raised as an internal conceptual problem for Arminianism. If valid, it is an important problem faced by Arminian soteriology (doctrine of salvation). After offering three responses, I’ll summarize all five points of the argument in favor of the Arminian understanding of predestination and free will which I’ve covered in these 19 posts.
Two potential internal conceptual problems remain for the Arminian understanding of salvation. If so, these are reasons to reconsider the strength of the other reasons I gave in favor of Arminianism. However, as I’ll argue today, at least the first of these remaining two objections turn out not to be an internal conceptual problem for Arminianism.
So far we’ve explored three external conceptual problems for the soft determinist/Calvinist view of freedom, and, thus the Calvinist view of election. Yet there are still two more external conceptual problems we must consider before drawing a final conclusion.
Last week I suggested our common experience of character formation is incompatible with the soft determinist view of freedom. Since Calvinism depends on soft determinism being true, this is another external conceptual problem for Calvinism. Yet the Calvinist may object on theological grounds. I’ll explore this response today.
After 34 years in ministry, I had the opportunity to take a sabbatical these past three months in order to be renewed, refreshed, and retooled for the next season of ministry. Little did I know a global pandemic would play a defining role in what God wanted me to learn. My sabbatical ended April 30, and as I look back over the past three months I find three lessons the Lord taught (or retaught) me during this time.
Last week I argued that two truths–the goodness of God and the reality of Hell–taken together are an internal conceptual problem for the Calvinist, but not for the Arminian. Two objections can be raised against my argument. I think these two objections fail. If so, this is further reason to embrace the Arminian view of our salvation: God’s election of us is conditional, based on His foreknowledge of our future (Libertarian) free choice to accept Christ as our Savior.
To answer this question we must determine the nature of our freedom—is it of the Libertarian or Soft Determinist variety? We must also answer a second question: are we predestined unconditionally (by God’s unconditional election) or conditionally (based on God’s knowledge of our choice to trust Christ)?