Friday, February 27, 2015

Where Did All These Arminians Come From?

In an earlier post I asked, “What’s contributing to the increase in X-Calvinists?” (Link). There I suggested two answers (or 3, if you include the obvious “there are more Calvinists”...): (1) Calvinism is not as deep and robust a theology as its leaders portray, and (2) Young Calvinists are growing up.  In this post I want to look at the other side.  That is, just because someone is post-Calvinist doesn’t mean they will embrace Arminian theology, yet many (maybe most?) do. Why?

Of course the real reason is a movement of God’s Spirit; the Spirit who “will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:13) -- this is the only explanation I can give for my own journey.  God cares when His holy character is maligned, and most Christians do too.  So the question, “Where did all these Arminians come from?” is really, “What means is God using to re-awaken Christians to Arminian theology?”[1]  Here are some of the suggestions I have come across:

    (1) “The slumbering Non-Calvinist ‘silent majority’ is starting to awake” (Kevin Jackson)

Back in 2008, Kevin Jackson, who blogs at Wesleyan Arminian, made a list of 4 "Signs of the growing Arminian Web presence".  Here is his list:
1) An Explosion in Arminian Blogs: A year ago Arminian blogs were few and far between. Roy Ingle’s Arminian Today was the first one I ever remember running across, and it took me a while to find that one. Now there are so many Arminian blogs I can’t keep up with them all. This is a fantastic development. For example, check out this list of blogs and resources that Billy from Classical Arminianism has come up with. A year ago I would have done a cartwheel for the list like that.
2) Networking: Arminians are starting to find each other, and outside of our respective denominational “silos”. Some of this is due to the blogging I mentioned above. Some it is also unfortunately due to excessively negative interactions with Calvinists. We have had to learn to defend ourselves. (May we be graceful in the process.)
3) A dedicated Arminian resource site: Evangelical Arminians. This site is beginning to make an impact. I hope that over time it will become the for Arminians.
4) The slumbering Non-Calvinist “silent majority” is starting to awake: This seems particularly evident in the Southern Baptist denomination, with the Building Bridges conference, and now the upcoming John 3:16 Conference. Limited Atonement is not an easy thing to get Bible believers to buy into (for obvious reasons). As insulated Christians become aware of this terrible doctrine, they will have a strong reaction against it. This awakening is starting to take place.
These factors are exactly what introduced me to Arminianism.  When I first told my Reformed friends that I could no longer consider myself a Calvinist, they challenged me to answer a stack of proof-texts.  It was Arminian blogs, and websites like Evangelical Arminians, that provided me with answers to their challenge.  On top of these, NOBTS Baptist Center for Theology & Ministry of the SBC (who don’t call themselves “Arminians”) introduced me to Arminian scholars like Robert Picirilli and J Matthew Pinson, not to mention the classic writings of Thomas Grantham.

Roger Olson’s blog was another significant influence for me.  For example, it was because of his endorsement of William Klein’s book The New Chosen People that I finally understood Corporate Election (Dr Olson called it, “The best Arminian exegesis of Romans 9” [Link], so I requested it through the University Library. Before this all I knew about C.E. came from John Piper's critique).

And more organizations continue to spring up.  Seedbed, for example, is another excellent online resource which I assume wasn’t mentioned in Kevin Jackson's list because it wasn’t around yet.

   (2) “Significant contributions to . . . the ‘Arminian Renaissance’ in contemporary theology” (Roger Olson)

Not only has the impact been online, but it has also been in scholarship.  I’ve already mentioned William Klein and the Baptist Center, which hosts the Journal for Baptist Theology & Ministry (and we could add to this all the contributors to Whosoever Will: A Biblical-Theological Critique of Five-Point Calvinism).  In addition to these, Brian Abasciano of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary has written what is probably the most intensive study of Romans 9 from an Arminian perspective in his three books in the Library of New Testament Studies series.[2]

In his post on Don Thorsen’s book Calvin vs Wesley,[3] Roger Olson credits Thomas Oden and Ben Witherington for what he calls “the renaissance of Arminian/Wesleyan theology and its emergence into mainstream evangelical theological life”:
One thing that excites me about Don’s work here and in other books (he’s authored several) is the evidence it provides that Wesleyan evangelicals are breaking out of their insularity and joining the larger evangelical conversation about theology and Christian life. When I was a beginning student of theology it wasn’t easy to find good Wesleyan theology for non-Wesleyans. Most Wesleyan theology was published by little known “Holiness” publishing houses operated by Holiness-Wesleyan denominations. Abingdon was publishing mostly liberal theology. Most evangelical theology was written by Reformed theologians. Exactly when and how that began to change is difficult to tell, but changing it is. I think that Thomas Oden has much to do with the renaissance of Arminian/Wesleyan theology and its emergence into mainstream evangelical theological life. Other Wesleyan scholars such as Ben Weatherington [sic] have done much to convince non-Wesleyan evangelicals that Wesleyans have much to offer evangelical scholarship.(Link)

In another post, while responding to two new books on Arminius, Roger Olson wrote:
These two books are significant contributions to what I call the “Arminian Renaissance” in contemporary theology. For centuries Arminius’s theology and Arminianism have been defined by their critics, mostly in the Reformed camp.
Henceforth, after the publication of these books, no person who claims to know what he or she is talking about should dare to criticize Arminius’s theology without reading these two books first. Of course, one can hope such critics would also read Arminius himself! But these two books are scholarly guides to his theology that must not be ignored or overlooked. Of course, Arminians should also read them. As especially Gunter points out, many self-identified “Arminians” know little or nothing about Arminius’s own theology; before calling themselves Arminians they should at least know the theology of the man himself. Either one or both of these volumes will guide them in that endeavor. (Link)

We can also look forward to the upcoming release of David Allen's book on the atonement,[4] as well as the reprinting of Thomas Grantham's works by Mercer University Press.

(3) Hopefully, and with much prayer, soon I will be able to add “Church planting” as a third factor, but I’m not sure we’re there yet (Link, and Link).


[1] This question, as well as the title for this post, are both adapted from Mark Denver’s list “Where did all these Calvinist’s come from?” at The Gospel Coalition.  Dr Denver posits his list as “12 sources God has used to reinvigorate Reformed theology in this generation”.
[2] These are:
[3] Don Thorsen summarizes some key points from his book here.
[4] David Allen’s chapter-by-chapter review of From Heaven He Came And Sought Her which ran on his blog from June-October, 2014 was also a great help to me.  The complete list is available here.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Highlighting an Arminian response to John Piper: Did God decree every sin you commit?

One of the "last straws" which finally turned me away from TULIP was when I seriously considered how I could consistently uphold the integrity of God's character within the determinist world of Calvinism.  How could I hold that God is absolutely good and perfect and holy--a God who hates sin and injustice (and says so)--on the one hand, and yet on the other, hold that He has decreed all things that come to pass, which must include every sin and all evil [1].  

When I would ask my Calvinist friends about this, they would point to teachers like RC Sproul or John Piper who, while holding that God decrees all things, seemed to switch their arguments and use language of permission or non-prevention as soon as consistent Calvinism meant that God is the author of sin.  These answers didn’t sit right with me. If all events were decreed by God from eternity, meaning that God has ensured every sinful action's "actual occurrence is rendered absolutely certain" (as Charles Hodge put it, Link), then permission language only seemed to distract from the issue rather than providing any sort of answer to it.  Permission only made sense under a more Arminian worldview like that held by AW Tozer, where rather than decreeing each act:
God sovereignly decreed that man should be free to exercise moral choice... When [man] chooses to do evil, he does not thereby countervail the sovereign will of God but fulfils it, inasmuch as the eternal decree decided not which choice that man should make but that he should be free to make it [2].

After I finally gave up Calvinism, I came across the post, John Piper on God Ordaining All Sin And Evil Part 1: An Arminian Response to Piper’s First “Question”, from Arminian Perspectives.  Not only does the author do an excellent job of showing exactly the inconsistency and switch that I noticed, but this post also responds to some of the key texts which are used to draw support for Calvinistic determinism; passages like Acts 4:23-28, or examples like Joseph in Genesis 50:20.

Here is an excerpt:
Since Piper relies on Edwards to explain how God can decree and necessitate sin and yet not be properly called the author of it, we shall here rely on early Methodist theologian Daniel Whedon to refute both Piper and Edwards:

In regard to Edwards, we may here note the very remarkable fact that, although his whole work aggressively maintains necessitation, yet when he comes to this point he defends only the theory of non-prevention!  He seems to forget to which side he belongs, and quietly exculpates his opponents, the non-preventionists, from charging God with the authorship of sin.  He makes two suppositions as follows:

1. “If”, says he, “by author of sin be meant the sinner, the agent, the actor of sin, or the doer of a wicked thing;” (356) then- no matter what “then.” For that is an imaginary “if.”  The real question is: Suppose by “author” is meant necessitator of sin, the necessitator of all sin, the necessitator of the sinner to be the “sinner,” “the actor,” “the doer”; what then is the answer of Edwards?  Nothing.

2.  “But if,” says he, “by the author of sin is meant the permitter, or not hinderer of sin, and at the same time a disposer of the state of events in such a manner…that sin, if it is permitted or not hindered, will most certainly and infallibly follow:” (356) then God is no author of sin.  That is, the non-prevention theory- the theory of his opponents- does not make God the author of sin.  This is a generous exculpation of us Arminians!  But what does Edwards say in defense of his own theory, namely, of Necessitation?  Nothing.  He simply defends the position of his opponents, and leaves his own system defenseless and naked to its enemies.  He has demonstrated Calvinism; he now defends only Arminianism [4]. (The Freedom of the Will: A Wesleyan Response to Jonathan Edwards, pp. 343, 344)

Exactly.  For all of Piper’s arguments that God decrees and necessitates sin, he is only able to avoid making God the author of sin by following Edwards in arguing like an Arminian.  Just like Edwards, Piper has extensively argued for decretal necessitation of sin (even to the point of suggesting that all sin and evil actually originates by God’s “fatherly hand”), but now defends only the Arminian position of permission and non-prevention.  Not only does this contradict his own arguments to this point (which actually do imply that God is the necessitating author of sin), but it also vindicates the Arminian perspective on God’s sovereignty in relation to sin as well as the Arminian interpretation of the same passages that Piper previously used to show that God ordains all sin and evil.  Again, Whedon drives this point home in his response to Edwards’ use of the same sorts of passages,

Edwards next proceeds to the Scripture argument.  He adduces the cases of Pharaoh, of Joseph’s brethren, of the king of Assyria, of Nebuchadnezzar, and of the crucifiers of Christ to prove- it is not very clear what.  These passages, it is at present sufficient to say, have terms of causation that seem to ascribe authorship of sin to God.  These passages either prove God’s necessitation of sin, or his mere permission or non-prevention.  By Edwards own argument they cannot mean the former; for he asserts there is nothing but mere permission.  If there is nothing but mere permission, then they make nothing against Arminianism.  He quotes but does not analyze them on this point, very much as if he meant, non-committally, to have a causation and necessitation of sin, by the reader inferred, which he thought best not explicitly himself to express. (ibid. 346)

So, for all of Piper’s arguments we are left with the Arminian theory of non-prevention to account for God’s ordaining sin in such a way as to avoid making God the author of sin. How does Piper avoid the implications of his theology?  He avoids them by adopting the Arminian perspective, the very perspective he has worked so hard to argue against in his sermon.  

Further Reading:




[1] John Piper, one of the most influential teachers in New Calvinist circles, teaches this explicitly.  For example, he has said: “Therefore I conclude with Jonathan Edwards, 'God decrees all things, even all sins.' Or, as Paul says in Ephesians 1:11, 'He works all things after the counsel of His will.'" (Link)

In the book Suffering and the Sovereignty of God, a collection of essays edited by John Piper and Justin Taylor (another influential Calvinist), Mark R Talbot makes the following abhorrent and unbiblical statement (page 42, Link):
God . . . brings about all things in accordance with his will. In other words, it isn’t just that God manages to turn the evil aspects of our world to good for those who love him; it is rather that he himself brings about these evil aspects for his glory (see Ex. 9:13-16; John 9:3) and his people’s good (see Heb. 12:3-11; James 1:2-4). This includes—as incredible and as unacceptable as it may currently seem—God’s having even brought about the Nazis’ brutality at Birkenau and Auschwitz as well as the terrible killings of Dennis Rader and even the sexual abuse of a young child . . .
Also see RC Sproul Jr’s statements: Paul Copan, Taking Calvinism Too Far: R.C. Sproul Jr.’s Evil-Creating Deity. For more quotes from Calvinists generally, see: A Theology in Tension, Calvinist Quotes on God Determining All Evil.

[2] AW Tozer, Knowledge of the Holy, chapter 22.  While Tozer did not call this an "Arminian" view, it is consistent with the view held by most Arminians today.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

An Introduction to Prevenient Grace

Understanding the doctrine of prevenient grace was one of the most valuable studies for me after leaving Calvinism.  It provided an answer to one of the simplest arguments I used to make for Calvinism: I would point to Romans 3 and ask “If ‘no one understands, no one seeks for God?’ then how is anyone saved?”  My Calvinistic answer, of course, was irresistible grace given to the elect only.  Otherwise, I reasoned, either no one would believe, or everyone would believe.

The doctrine of prevenient grace allows us to escape these conclusions [1].  It fully affirms that man is dead in sin and unable to respond to the Gospel apart from the Holy Spirit’s conviction (John 16:8) and the Father’s drawing and enabling (John 6:44, 65, 12:32, cf Romans 10:20).  However it also makes better sense of passages like Luke 7:30 (“the Pharisees and the experts in the law rejected God's purpose for themselves”), Luke 18:24-25 (“How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God”) and Acts 7:51 (“You are always resisting the Holy Spirit”).

So what is prevenient grace?  

Robert E. Picirilli suggests that it is better called “enabling grace” or “pre-regenerating grace”, and explains:
Pre-regenerating grace simply means that the Spirit of God overcomes that inability by a direct work on the heart, a work that is adequate to enable the unregenerate person to understand the truth of the gospel, to desire God, and to exercise saving faith.
Scripturally, this concept is intended to express the truth found in passages like John 6:44: “No man can come to me, except the father which hath sent me draw him.”  In this light, pre-regenerating grace may be called drawing. Or Acts 16:14: “Lydia...whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul”: pre-regenerating grace may therefore be called opening the heart.  Or John 16:8: “When [the Spirit] is come, he will reprove [or, convict] the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” In this sense, pre-regenerating grace may be called conviction--which is simply another form of the word “convincement.”[2]

Robert L Hamilton explains (Link):
Arminians argue that not all who are drawn/enabled by the Father to exercise faith and repentance do in fact ultimately choose to do so (i.e., prevenient grace is resistible), though it is equally true that without such drawing/enabling no person would of himself have the desire or ability to come to Christ in faith. Arminians are able to adopt this position precisely because the drawing and enabling of the Father are presented in the Gospel of John as necessary, not sufficient, conditions for coming to faith in Christ.
(This distinction between necessary and sufficient is an important one which I missed as a Calvinist.)

And in his excellent book The Pursuit of God, A W Tozer describes prevenient grace this way (Free ebook: Link):
Christian theology teaches the doctrine of prevenient grace, which briefly stated means this, that before a man can seek God, God must first have sought the man.
Before a sinful man can think a right thought of God, there must have been a work of enlightenment done within him; imperfect it may be, but a true work nonetheless, and the secret cause of all desiring and seeking and praying which may follow.
We pursue God because, and only because, He has first put an urge within us that spurs us to the pursuit. “No man can come to me,” said our Lord, “except the Father which hath sent me draw him,” and it is by this very prevenient drawing that God takes from us every vestige of credit for the act of coming. The impulse to pursue God originates with God, but the outworking of that impulse is our following hard after Him; and all the time we are pursuing Him we are already in His hand: “Thy right hand upholdeth me.”
In this divine “upholding” and human “following” there is no contradiction. All is of God, for as von Hegel teaches, God is always previous. In practice, however, (that is, where God’s previous working meets man’s present response) man must pursue God. On our part there must be positive reciprocation if this secret drawing of God is to eventuate in identifiable experience of the Divine. In the warm language of personal feeling this is stated in the Forty-second Psalm: “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” This is deep calling unto deep, and the longing heart will understand it.[3]

When does prevenient grace happen?

On this question there is a spectrum of belief among Arminians.  The Classical/Reformed Arminian view, common especially among baptists[4], holds that it is "tied to the gospel message and its proclamation" (Roger Olson, Link).  Robert E Picirilli represents this view when he writes:
It requires the hearing of the gospel. [...T]he Word is the instrument, the means used by the Spirit as a basis for the conviction, the persuasion, the enabling.  This observation accords with the concept of the power of the Word of God spoken of everywhere in the Scriptures, as in Hebrews 4:12 for example.  Arminius’ view on this is clear when, speaking of the persuasion involved in this pre-regenerating grace, he says, "This is effected by the word of God. But persuasion is effected, externally by the preaching of the word, internally by the operation, or rather the co-operation, of the Holy Spirit, tending to this result, that the word may be understood and apprehended by true faith".[5]

On the other side are Wesleyan Arminians who often see prevenient grace more broadly than the Classical position.  Robert E Coleman, for example, explains:
Differing from Calvinism, those of the Arminian persuasion hold that grace extends to everyone the ability to believe. Just as no support is found to limit the atonement of Christ, so there is no reason to limit saving grace. As Wesley put it, “There is no man, unless he has quenched the Spirit, that is devoid of the grace of God.... it is more properly called preventing grace.”

The term prevenient comes from two Latin words that mean “to come before.” Used theologically, it refers to the operation of God’s grace in the heart before one comes to Christ. This preparatory grace is comprehensive, including any movement of man toward God, and involves illuminating divide truth, conviction of sin, call to repentance, and the exercise of saving faith. Yielded to, these gracious impulses increase; when stifled, they tend to diminish. All these promptings of the Spirit imply some awakening of spiritual life, some beginning of deliverance from a heart of stone. [6]

This spectrum is important to note because many in New Calvinist circles have the impression that the view furthest from their own, that of “universal enablement”, is the only understanding of prevenient grace and conclude that the Arminian view amounts to “hypothetical depravity”[7].  As you can see, this is not the view of all Arminians, nor even of Arminius himself.  This misunderstanding makes it much easier for Calvinists to dismiss prevenient grace without serious consideration, rather than realizing it is "within a hair's breadth" of Calvinism (but with very important implications, particularly to the way we treat warnings like Hebrews 3:5 when we share the Gospel with unbelievers).

Why doesn’t everyone who hears the gospel respond with faith?

While this is a difficult question and does involve mystery, here are some of the texts that I have come across which seem to provide some answers:

Jesus makes it clear in Luke 14:26-33 that some will find the terms of discipleship too costly, and therefore reject the invitation (notice that this account follows the parable of the wedding banquet, which in turn follows Jesus’ lament over Jerusalem at the end of chapter 13).

Similarly in the parable of the sower (Matthew 13) we see that sometimes those who hear/receive the word do not ultimately believe or persevere because “when tribulation or persecution arises... he falls away” or “the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful” (yet, how can anyone receive the word with joy [v20] unless the Lord has done a work in his or her heart?).  Contrast these with the parable of the hidden treasure a few verses later where “in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field” (v 44), or the parable of the pearl where he “went and sold all that he had and bought it” (v 45).

Even John 6:44 comes after the Lord’s statement, “How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (John 5:44).

We also have Jesus’ statement after His interaction with the rich young ruler,  “How difficult it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:24-25, cf Matt 19, Mark 10).  Steve Lemke writes:
Of course, if Jesus were a Calvinist, He never would have suggested that it was harder for rich persons to be saved by God’s irresistible grace than poor persons. Their wills would be changed immediately and invincibly upon hearing God’s effectual call.  It would be no harder for a rich person to be saved by God’s monergistic and irresistible calling than it would be for any other sinner.  But the real Jesus was suggesting that their salvation was tied in some measure to their response and commitment to His calling. (Link, p 121).

And finally:
The book of Hebrews repeatedly warns people who have heard the gospel not to harden their hearts. "Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts" (Hebrews 3:7, 15; 4:7). When a person who has been convicted by the Spirit of God hears the gospel, he may choose to resist (Acts 7:51). He thereby insults the Spirit of grace in rejecting Christ (Hebrews 10:29).
(Richard Trader, Link)

More resources on prevenient grace:

Introductions/Blog posts:

I have generally not added an endnote where there are in-text links.

[1] See Seven Minute Seminary (YouTube), What Is Prevenient Grace? above.  In his article Does Scripture Teach Prevenient Grace in the Wesleyan Sense? even Tom Schreiner acknowledges, “Prevenient grace is attractive because it solves so many problems...”, but concludes with Millard Erickson that "there is no clear and adequate basis in Scripture for this concept of universal enablement” (underline mine). Note that he is dealing only with "Wesley’s later theology of prevenient grace" (see note 7).
[2] Robert Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, page 154-55 [Picirilli].
[3] A W Tozer, The Pursuit of God, Chapter 1.
[4] Picirilli is himself a Free Will Baptist.  Although not uncontroversial, this also seems to be the view of those in the Southern Baptist Convention who subscribe to the Traditional Statement.  For example, in his article, Is the Traditional Statement Semi-Pelagian? (JBTM, Link), Adam Harwood writes:
It is true that the TS does not use this Arminian phrase “prevenience of supernatural grace.” But any concern that Article 2 neglects an emphasis on God’s grace should be assuaged by the following declarations in the Statement:
“ sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.” - Article 2, sentence 4 [...]

[5] Picirilli supra note 2, page 158.
[6] Robert E Coleman, The Heart of the Gospel, p 145.  Dr Coleman continues (pages 145-46):
Paul reminds us: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” But he added, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his great pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13). Too easily we miss the point that it is God who enables us to work out our salvation.

Our responsibility is to respond to the workings of grace in our heart. Some speak of it as cooperation between man and the Spirit. Though God always works for the welfare of the world, and “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim, 2:4), he respects the freedom given to every person to choose his or her own destiny.

Prevenient grace prepares one to believe the Gospel, but it cannot make the decision for us.  Contrary to Reformed teaching, grace sufficient to believe on the Lord for salvation is not irresistible. Though salvation has been procured for mankind through the blood of Christ, that does not assure human concurrence with God’s will.

The ministry of the Spirit lifting up the claims of Christ can be ignored.  Grace can be resisted.  Paul appealed to the Corinthians “not to receive the grace of God in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1).  He did not want, he said, to “nullify the grace of God” (Gal. 2:21).


Persons who do not come to Christ are those who do not utilize their privilege of grace. They have prevenient grace sufficient to believe the Gospel but do not take advantage of that opportunity  Those who do respond to the Gospel call, of course, recognize that God has done it all.  The fact that they receive the invitation is no indication of special merit, for even the acceptance by faith in the finished work of Christ is of grace (Eph. 2:8).

Earlier he also states (page 32):
The words of scripture must be correctly interpreted, of course. So God gives illumination to understand his revelation.  The Spirit who inspired the writings continues to “guide... into all the truth” (John 16:13; cf. Neh. 9:20; Isa. 30:21; Luke 12:12; John 16:14, 26; 1 Cor. 2:13; 1 John 2:27). He so quickens the spiritual and mental powers of man that we can comprehend sacred truth. As such, this is an expression of God’s prevenient grace.

[7] For my friends and I (when I was a Calvinist), this understanding of prevenient grace came from Tom Schreiner’s article Does Scripture Teach Prevenient Grace in the Wesleyan Sense?  Dr Schreiner states in footnote 21(!) that, “For the purposes of this chapter only Wesley's later theology of prevenient grace is in view” and points to resources which show “three different understandings of prevenient grace in the Wesleyan tradition” and “two strands of prevenient grace among Wesleyans”, but this is practically hidden from the text of his article where he states only, “In Wesleyan theology there are various conceptions of prevenient grace that we do not need to specify here since, as we shall see, there is common ground within the various positions on the issue that concerns us.”  I wish he was clearer to distinguish between the spectrum of Arminian views, as this would have helped to prevent much of the misunderstanding which is so common. (Thomas R Schreiner, Does Scripture Teach Prevenient Grace in the Wesleyan Sense? in Still Sovereign, edited by Thomas R Schreiner and Bruce A Ware)

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