Tuesday, July 28, 2015

James M Rochford, "Biblical Defense of Arminianism"

On his website Evidence Unseen, James Rochford has provided some excellent resources challenging Calvinism and defending Arminianism.  Here is an excerpt from his article, "Biblical Defense of Arminianism":

God desires all people to be saved
Arminians point out that God desires all people to have a relationship with him—not just some. Peter writes, “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).[2] Paul writes, “[God] desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). Jesus said that he would “draw all men to [Himself]” (Jn. 12:32), and the Holy Spirit would “convict the world”—not just the elect (Jn. 16:8). In the OT, God makes it clear that he doesn’t desire people to be judged (Ezek. 18:23; Jer. 48:31; Isa. 28:21).[3] However, under the Calvinist view, God would not desire all people to be saved, and he would desire to judge some sinful people.[4]
God allows humans to resist his will
There are two different words used for God’s will in the NT: boulē and thelō. Humans are said to thwart both of these.
1. Boulē (pronounced boo-LAY)
Luke writes, “The Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose (Greek boulē) for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John” (Lk. 7:30; c.f. Acts 7:51). This is the same word used for God’s will in Ephesians 1:11 (“predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will (Greek boulē)”. Here, Luke explains that the Pharisees were capable of thwarting God’s will for them. Likewise, in 2 Peter 3:9, a derivative of boulē is used (boulomai), when Peter writes of God not “wishing for any to perish.” Since some ultimately do go to hell, this must mean that God’s will (boulē) is not fulfilled.
2. Thelō (pronounced THELL-oh)
Jesus said, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted (thelō) to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling (thelō)” (Mt. 23:37).[5] Here, Jesus (God) wanted to do something, but this was thwarted by the religious leaders. Earlier in the same chapter, Jesus said, “[The King] sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling (thelō) to come” (Mt. 22:3).
Elsewhere, Jesus prayed that God’s “will” would be done on Earth, as it is in heaven (Mt. 6:10). This word (thelēma; pronounced THAY-leem-uh) is in the same word group as thelō. If God’s will could not be resisted, there would be no reason to pray for this. Moreover, Jesus claimed that we are permitted to line up our will with God’s (or choose not to). He said, “If anyone is willing (Greek thelō) to do His will (Greek thelō), he will know of the teaching, whether it is of God or whether I speak from Myself” (Jn. 7:17). These passages all imply that we are permitted to resist the will of God.
The full post is available here.

More resources from Evidence Unseen:

In another article, "Calvinism versus Arminianism ", Rochford provides the following links:
  • "TULIP The T.U.L.I.P. acronym explains the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism";
  • "Biblical Defense of Arminianism In this article, we make a hermeneutical case for a moderate Arminian view. We give hermeneutical principles for interpreting disputed passages and interpret many of these passages";
  • "Philosophical Defense of Arminianism Here we offer a philosophical critique of Calvinism and respond to common Calvinist objections to Arminian theology";
  • "Limited Atonement: A Critique Did Christ die for the entire world, or just the elect? We feel that many passages support the doctrine of unlimited atonement";
  • "Conclusions regarding Calvinism We offer some concluding concepts regarding this debate, including some of the positive components of Calvinism from our view";
  • "Further Reading for Calvinism-Arminianism We give a list of books and websites from both an Arminian and Calvinist perspective".

In "Biblical Defense of Arminianism" he provides links to explanations of the following passages:

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