9 thoughts on “Arminians Sometimes Disagree With Each Other

  1. I hear Peter and Paul even disagreed once. 😉

    The nice thing about being an Arminian is that we typically don’t eat our own. We generally disagree with grace, and without the need to burn someone at the stake.

  2. I wonder why Hays posted the disagreement. Was he just interested or was he trying to say that this made Arminianism weak somehow (though I couldn’t guess how. I think flexibility within a system demonstrates that it’s robust)

  3. Well, of course it is certain the hard determinists and combatalists are in perfect agreement?. Anything in perfect agreement over dogma is most likely classified as a cult.

  4. Hi guys,

    So Steve Hays is trying to argue that Arminianism is either false or weak because not all Arminians agree? Is that **his** argument?

    If so, he is a **total hypocrite** in this claim. He **knows** that professing Calvinists are not all in agreement, that in fact they are divided on lots of things (e.g., supralapsarian versus infralapsarian; believer baptism/Reformed Baptists versus infant baptism/Presbyterians; five pointers/John Piper versus four pointers/Bruce Ware; Calvin’s view of communion versus Luther and Zwingli’s views of communion; Covenant theology versus New covenant theology; Amillennial versus Postmillennial; Van Tillians versus Clarkians, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.). He also **knows** that their disagreements have often been acrimonious and divisive even among themselves.

    Hays is the graduate assistant to John Frame. This is significant because Frame wrote a chapter (“Machen’s Warrior Children”) in a book titled “ Alister E. McGrath and Evangelical Theology” Grand Rapids : Baker, 2003). In that chapter Frame talks about how divisive and acrimonious Presbyterians have been in their theological disagreements. He discusses **21 separate areas** of disagreement. Hays is aware of that essay, so he knows full well how divided Presbyterians are among themselves (and he is Presbyterian himself). So for him to post about Arminians disagreeing is just complete hypocrisy on his part. We are not as divided as they are, nor are our disagreements as full of vitriol as theirs are.

    And there is a simple explanation accounting for these various disagreements between people. It is not that God has exhaustively predetermined for all of these disagreements and hostile theological wars between Presbyterians to occur. Does anyone really believe that God desires for his people to be divided and hostile towards each other in this way? What purpose would this serve? How would he be glorified and pleased by this? No, it is the reality of choice which better explains differences among people. People are often free to make their own choices and they often do, resulting in people freely choosing various differing positions on things. And this freedom of choice and resulting disagreements is present among Christians as it is present any where that you find human persons.


  5. Tune in tomorrow when they reveal that Dan and I don’t even wear the same color socks!

    I seem to recall that same muddled form of argumentation from somewhere else…oh yeah, that’s right, Atheists use that line of reasoning all the time (“See? Christians can’t agree on everything, therefore Christianity must be incongruous!”). As Robert correctly pointed out, Calvinists are also often at odds with each other on theological issues, so why would anyone else having differing points of view within a broad area of belief even be noteworthy?

    Really not surprising material though, considering the source. When one is repeatedly shown to be incapable/unwilling to exercise sound reasoning, then sophistry and clutching at straws are really the only tricks that are left, which only further accentuate said inability to reason.

    The nice thing about being an Arminian is that we typically don’t eat our own.

    That’s true. We don’t even typically eat Calvinists for that matter…unless they’re Pre-Tribbers of course 😉

  6. I was talking with a friend and he brought up a really good example of the divisions among Calvinists. I am not sure if it was last year or the year before at his annual pastor’s conference at his church, John MacArthur did a message where he totally attacked Amillennialism going as far as to say that those who held to it did not really believe in the sovereignty of God. Well that got the chickens squawking quite a bit. Because most of the Calvinists are Amillennial in their eschatogical orientation. So for them to have the **host** of their little get together, argue publicly and openly for his preferred Premillennial view and against their Amillennialism, really got a lot of them angry. And of course if God predetermines all things as Calvinists mistakenly believe, then he wanted that little “incident” of hostility and confusion and divisiveness to occur between these adherents of the “doctrines of grace.” Grace indeed! 🙂


  7. On Adrian Warnock’s blog he gave a good description of the calvinist fued concerning MacArthur’s anti-Amillennialism message (diatribe?):

    UPDATE – More on this issue in Spurgeon and millenial mud-slinging
    Once again, it’s time to remote-blog a conference my friend, Tim Challies, is so helpfully live-blogging. In the first session of the Shepherds’ Conference MacArthur came out strongly in favour of premillennialism (no surprise there), but what was a surprise, it seems, was the strength of his opposition to amillennialism and other views — here is a quote from Tim’s report:
    “The thrust of the message was simple: of all people to be premillennialists, it should be the Calvinist — those who believe in sovereign election. Amillennialism is ideal for Arminians because, according to their theology, God elects nobody and preserves nobody. Amillennialism is consistent with Arminianism. Yet it is inconsistent with Reformed theology and its emphasis on God’s electing grace.
    For those who ‘get it’ that God is sovereign and the only one who can determine who will be saved and when they will be saved and is the only one who can save them, amillennialism makes no sense because it says that Israel, on their own, forfeited the promises. The central argument went like this: If you get Israel right, you will get eschatology right. ”
    So suddenly the Puritans, Edwards, and even Calvin himself are no longer truly reformed? Not surprisingly, this has somewhat put the cat among the pigeons. Certainly Tim’s report doesn’t make it sound to me like MacArthur was very fair to amillennialists — particularly optimistic amillennialists who actually begin to sound a bit like postmillennialists. Actually, what for me is the biggest and most important question in our eschatology didn’t seem to be addressed. As I asked a few weeks back — Should we be optimistic or pessimistic about the future?
    Fide-O has struck back vigorously for amillennialists everywhere. According to him, MacArthur was “mocking” and “misrepresenting” those who differ from his interpretation. Fide-O concluded “this was the grandest strawman burning I [have] ever witnessed” and “the most outrageous thing I have ever heard from a preacher in many years.” Fide-O also gives us examples of where he believes MacArthur’s “exegesis was noticeably biased and at times completely off base.” So, at least this talk has got people responding to it — there is nothing worse than a “nice” message. Fide-O reports one section of the talk as follows:
    “Amil should be left for Arminians because they believe God elects no one and preserves no one. Open Theists should be amil … Charismatics should be amil because they go in and out of salvation willy nilly … For those of us who get it — that God is sovereign … amil makes no sense because they believe Israel forfeited their promises.”

    Kim Riddlebarger has also responded, largely because he has had a bulging inbox of e-mails about this message:
    “All I can say is, “calm down.” OK, MacArthur fired a shot across the bow. But until I’ve read the transcript of his talk, I won’t respond to any specific points, other than to say, if (and that’s a big “if”) he’s been accurately quoted, then it really is too bad that someone of his stature would say the ill-informed things that he did.
    From what Tim Challies reports, I don’t recognize my own position in MacArthur’s critique. I am certainly self-respecting (to a fault), and I am a Calvinist, who is well-known for my advocacy and defense of the Reformed faith. I am also amillennial and think dispensational premillennialism defaults at a number of points.”
    Well, this is one that could develop into an interesting debate unless bloggers all simply hit the back button and get on with discussing the things that normally interest them. I, for one, am pleased to see the end-times discussed as I think we normally avoid it. But, from what I have read so far, I am far from persuaded that MacArthur is right to claim that every Calvinist should be a premillennialist. Over at the Pulpit Blog, they are citing the Church Fathers in defence of MacArthur’s position — always a sign of desperation in my book!

    Boy you can sure see the love they have for each other can’t ya! 🙂 And again according to their belief that God wants all of this to happen and predestines for it all to happen, “it’s all good”! And it all honors God. Right!


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