Tuesday, September 20, 2005

An Arminian in a Calvinist World (or at least cubicle)

In bopping around the blogosphere I sometimes land on a blog showcasing a contentious debate over various theological stances.  In particular, I seem to land on an awful lot on sites where the blogger starts whacking the opposition with the term “Arminian.” Most recently I’ve seen this term used to describe Open Theism, a movement (if that’s what you call it) that I don’t know a lot about, but what little I do know I find intriguing. So, because I’m a big ignoramus when it comes to theology, I finally decided to look up Arminianism and Calvinism. I work for Calvinists, so I’m pretty familiar with this doctrine, which incites in me a response close to that of wearing a very itchy wool sweater.  I figured if Arminianism took issue with Calvinism, then I needed to look into it.  And –yep – I’m an Arminian. Or at least I’m more Arminian than anything else going in the mainstream Protestant world that I’m aware of.

I have always been very uncomfortable with the idea that God’s sovereignty requires that he control Satan. That seems to make Him in some way the author of evil, which just doesn’t square with what I read of God in the Bible. Neither does the idea of irresistible Grace or predestination.  What this has made me realize is that I grew up in an Arminian household and an Arminian church (it happened to be Baptist and a hellfire-and-brimstone kind of place, but that’s another story).  Our attendance at church was pretty sketchy (thankfully), and my parents didn’t talk much about religion, so I grew up with the haziest grasp of doctrine, which I happily discarded during college in favor of a new agey mystical sort of hodgepodge.  

I think all the RevGals--most seem to have MDivs--must find this elementary, but it has lightened my heart to know that a clear opposition to what I find so bloody irritating already exists.  Of course my carping is beside the point, since all the Calvinists around me are busy conforming themselves to the image of Christ and serving His people, while I’m, well, blogging and complaining. Time for me to go work a bit on His behalf.    


  1. My seminary was affiliated with both the UCC and the American Baptists, and I can safely say I never heard anyone say the word "Arminian" while I was there. :-)
    As a childhood Southern Baptist and grown-up UCCer, I'm all about the Free Will and not about the categories.

  2. I don't have an M. Div. yet, not until December, God willing. I too am an Arminian, a little intrigued by open theism. Around Calvinists, that's even a badder word than Arminianist.

  3. Honey, I am so glad you are researching these terms and defining what you believe in. If I just gave you the run down of what research I have run into over the years of study it would be from my perspective. I have read and researched both sides of thought and find myself in the middle, if there is such a thing. I love you blogging - keep up the study. Who knows, maybe one day you will go into seminary . . .