When Calvinists Defend Arminianism…

A big thank you to John Piper for doing the honors again,

John Piper, “Is Faith Meritorious?”

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11 Responses

  1. Dear Brother in Christ,

    May I draw your attention to the text in the message below! I find it impossible to read anything below the title heading without forwarding it to myself in 12pt. Arial text!

    Your choice of text size and colour must be for young people who have very good eyesight!

    Kind regards and Blessings,

    Afton Turner

  2. Afton,

    What message below? Are you referring to how this appears in your email (if you get it by email)? I don’t get those messages, so I don’t know what they look like. Are you talking abut the font size in the post here at the site? Unfortunately, I can’t control that. I could go to another template (and I will look into some again when I get the chance). The reason I have stayed with this template is because it has two side bars for links. They don’t have any other templates that provide that. But maybe it isn’t that important. I have been considering making a change anyway. We’ll see.

  3. That analogy of Piper though, is typically used by Calvinists. Specially the Presidents pardon letter. <– that's not very Arminian is it?

    For God so loved all the prisoners in that jail facility… 😀

  4. @rex

    That’s what I was thinking. The pardon was only given to a certain few who will accept (Calvin) and not a prison wide pardon of which only a few ultimately take accept (Arminian). So I don’t see how this is really defending Arminanism, except for faith being non-meritorious part.

  5. rex,

    The extent of the pardon is not the point. Regardless of whatever spin a Calvinist might put on it, Piper still well illustrates why faith does not have to be irresistibly caused for it to be non-meritorious. So in that way, he is essentially defending Arminianism and undercutting a major Calvinist polemic against Arminianism.

    alaskazimm,

    Yes, faith being non-meritorious as Piper describes is what was meant with regards to his defending Arminianism.

  6. kanga

    Gotcha, thanks for the clarification!

  7. @ben, oh ok. I wonder then how he interprets John 6:28-29.

  8. It always astonishes me how many Calvinists are willing to throw Romans 4:1-5 right out the window. They want so badly to accuse Arminians of preaching works-based salvation, that they’ll ignore Paul explicitly contrasting faith and works. I’ve already bookmarked the article for the next time this comes up. Thanks!

  9. Good to see this on your site! As you mentioned above, Piper’s limited atonement (which he smuggles into the article parenthetically without explanation) has absolutely no relevance to the analogies he presents. The analogies at heart are properly Arminian: Jacob Arminius used a similar example to describe his view of faith: http://m.ccel.org/ccel/arminius/works1.iv.xxiv.html (note: he begins with a statement that he then rebuts). Notably, we have at least two examples of people who have refused their presidential pardons, because they didn’t want to plead guilty and refused to present the pardon in court – they were sentenced as guilty and served punishment for the crime, despite the available pardon which had already been issued (see George Wilson vs. United States, and Burdick vs. United States). This provides an approximate analogy of the many people who resist the pardon of God because they are obsessed with their own self-righteousness (Romans 9:31-32).

  10. The idea that faith is not meritorious because it results from irresistible divine causality (accordingly to the Calvinist) is problematic for Calvinists anyway, since they are compatibilists and believe that divine determinism is compatible with human responsibility. The idea that an action is not meritorious because it is caused by God is at odds with compatibilism. Thus, in the end, if they want to be consistent, they have to insist, as Piper does here, that “faith” and “works” in the biblical sense are intrinsically different from each other.

  11. That is an excellent point Dave. SEA member Dan Chapa has pointed this out before and taken further to argue that this also creates a problem with respect to total depravity for Calvinists and makes them closer to Semi-Pelagianism than Arminianism is! You can see his arguments in “Prevenient Grace and Semi-Pelagianism” http://evangelicalarminians.org/prevenient-grace-and-semi-pelagianism/ and in “Calvinism’s Problems with Total Depravity” http://evangelicalarminians.org/calvinisms-problems-with-total-depravity/.

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