The Open Door to Open Theism

The debate between Calvinism vs. Arminianism has lasted throughout the history of Protestant Christianity. Since the wide recognition of John Wesley, Arminianism spread like wild-fire among many Christian theologians. Even so, today we have leading Calvinists, such as Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. Michael Horton, and Dr. James White, who lead the way for the progression of historic Calvinism. While Classical Arminian theologians are on the other side, such as Dr. Roger Olson, Dr. Greg Boyd, and Dr. Michael Brown, discredit Calvinism and claim that there are harsh consequences to Calvinism.

Now, it is important to note that the debate of predestination vs. free will did not originate with Calvin and Arminius, or even Luther and Erasmus. The debate of whether God works out salvation through a libertarian will of man, or His own sovereign choice has lasted for centuries. However, the accusations against predestination are the same. The accusations and questions include, but are not limited to:

  • What’s the point of being saved/of living if God decided everything?
  • Why did God create people He knew would be damned?
  • Calvinism makes God look immoral, and unjust.
  • If Calvinism is true, then didn’t God create evil? (this is drawn from the conclusion that God ordains all things)
  • What’s the point of human will?

Before discussing a much bigger issue that Arminianism has, it’s important to point out some general characteristics Arminians (not all Arminians have these character traits, but it’s definitely what they’re famous for):

  • They tend to be people pleasers.

No matter what anyone tries to tell me, this is very true among a great a majority of Arminians. They tend to worry more about how someone might react to a theological idea, rather than whether or not his/her view is biblically sound.

  • They tend to ignore contexts.

Many Arminians claim the same thing about Reformed Christians, but…when we see the Bible say predestined…we take it literally. If we see passages that aren’t consistent with our view, we don’t try to change what the Bible says, we change our view. (Also, it’s important to not we don’t tend to buy Jeremiah 29:11 coffee mugs…just saying.)

and lastly…

  • They loathe the idea of control.

Part of the reason why I believe that Arminianism is so popular among Western countries is because of the idea of free will. People don’t want to lost independence and personal freedom. The idea of God controlling them is not only un-democratic, but “immoral”. What kind of God would ever dare to not let me decide what I want to do? (I say that with sarcasm.)

All this being said about Arminians, that’s why it makes sense for them to come against me, and other Calvinists, with their accusations. However, there is something that is far worse about Arminianism. Take Calvinism to it’s logical conclusion: God foreknew everything, and He is sovereign over all things. Take Arminianism to it’s logical conclusion: God has no idea what’s going on, and He is just riding this out and seeing how it goes.

This sounds far-fetched? Why did Arminius believe that God adds to the number of the elect, rather than believing that there is a sealed number (as stated in the Bible)? Why did John Wesley believe that God’s hands are powerless, unless they are released through the prayers of man? Why do Arminians say that Heaven is an open door, rather than what Jesus said about Heaven, that it is a narrow path? I believe that Arminians, either knowingly or unknowingly, have created an open door, but it is not to heaven. Arminianism is an open door to open theism. It is that simple.

The idea of free will basically states that God numbers His elect through the decision of a human being. If He forms His decision, based on the decision of another, then He can’t know what the person will choose. If God could know what the person will decide, then we must believe that God doesn’t act according to the free will of man, but based on His own will. If God knows that will of man, how can man’s will change God’s will, which He used to orchestrate the consequences of the man’s will? Mind blowing, confusing, and hard to follow…I know. But that’s what so confusing about Arminianism. How can God know anything?

The God we read of in the Bible is much different. When God called a young man by the name of Jeremiah to a prophetic ministry, God said to him in Jeremiah 1:5 (ESV), “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” God is active, and not just active, but He chooses the purpose, destiny, and calling of individuals.

The Bible speaks of something else in Revelation called the Book of Life. The Book of Life is the book that contains the names of all individuals that would be saved from God’s wrath. Now, if the Bible agreed with the Arminian point of view, then God must’ve written down the names as history went. After all, how can God know who would be saved? Not only that, how could God have even known what kind of name parents would give their child? Surely, God couldn’t have predestined someone to have a name like Cooter or Birtha! (I’m sorry I wanted to be a little sarcastic there.)

However, notice what the Bible says in Revelation 13:8 (ESV), concerning who would worship the beast, “…Everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the Book of Life of the Lamb who was slain.” It is interesting how the Bible seems to say that the Book of Life had the names written down even before the world was made. Now, what else is interesting is this next verse from Revelation 20:12 (ESV), “And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” If this book was written before the world was even created, how can a God who acts according to free will know what everyone did?

I believe there is a reason why John Wesley, Jacob Arminius, and Erasmus refused to discuss certain passages of Scripture. It is because they knew that their view was wrong. Arminians tend to think that their view doesn’t fall in to the category of Open Theism, when it absolutely does. To be an Arminian you have to ignore the passages that say God foreknew all things, that there is a Book of Life, that God predestined people to salvation, and God knows the hearts of man. To be an Arminian, you have to be thoroughly convinced that God acts based on how you act. In a sense, you have to believe that you control God, and that you somehow give God permission to do something.

Arminians are against Calvinism because they think that we believe God created evil (which isn’t true, and no where near the logical conclusion of our view). Calvinists are against Arminianism because Arminians hold to the view that God can be controlled, God is no better than a couch potato who let evil waltz through His door, and God doesn’t know who will be saved in the end (as John Wesley believed). I truly believe that if you are an Arminian who doesn’t believe in open theism, then you are one of two things: you are either confused, or you’re a bad Arminian.

Soli Deo Gloria.

4 Comments

  1. There is so much here that is wrong I don’t know where to start. Such as the idea that John Wesley didn’t believe in God’s foreknowledge… But I think probably the most amusing thing is this whole allegation that arminians are opposing your Doctrine. If your Doctrine is correct then the only way anyone can oppose it is if God causes them to oppose it. So by arguing with them you’re arguing against God’s will for them.

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    1. John Wesley was a Pelagianist…plain and simple. He believed that God’s mind could be changed, that God was not in control, and that a man could easily change the plans of God through prayer…He indeed didn’t hold to the historical view of the doctrines of God’s sovereignty.
      Furthermore, the post was simply a way of exposing the misconception that Arminianism holds to the same theology that Calvinists do. We don’t! One theology holds to the view that God is in control; the other theology holds to the view that God is in charge, but not in control.
      And I have never claimed that their disbelief is on the fault of God. God has decreed that some would come to the faith, and He has decreed that others would be left to their demise. God has never predestined anyone to sin, and to have a false theology would be sin. I urge you to please not misrepresent the historical view of Reformed theology. By arguing against them, I exposing their lies and proclaiming the truth, in order that God’s sovereign grace could bring someone to the realization of the truth.
      Sir, with tremendous respect, I would like to ask you to be respectful when urging for a debate and to carefully research before claiming that the Reformed view holds to un-Scriptural stances.

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  2. You are badly misrepresentimg Arminianism, and if you have read the writings of Wesley and others, you must be aware of your misrepresentation. You plainly state that Wesley didn’t believe God knew who would be saved, when Wesley has stated that ” God foreknew those in every nation those who would who believe from the beginning of the world to the consummation of all things”; you plainly state that to be an Arminian, you have to disbelieve in foreknowledge and the book of life, both false statements, and I find it quite amusing that you urge me not to say that Reformed are unscriptural when you continually insist that the Arminians are unscriptural, instead of acknowledging that we only interpret scripture differently. I have carefully researched the reformed as you say I should perhaps you should do the same for Arminians before making false claims.

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  3. “The Bible speaks of something else in Revelation called the Book of Life. The Book of Life is the book that contains the names of all individuals that would be saved from God’s wrath.”

    I notice no verses quoted to back up these baseless claim. We have two verses referencing names that have NEVER been written in the book of life SINCE (apo v pro) the foundation of the world. We have a ton of verses about names being added and removed from the book of life, and other divine books throughout the Bible:

    Rev_13:8  and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

    Rev_17:8  The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

    *notice there is nothing in Rev 13 and 17 about an eternal list of names. Instead the verse is about those all those who have never been written into the book of life.

    And then we have two direct references to people being struck out of the Book of Life within the same book.

    Rev_3:5  The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

    Rev_22:19  and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    So we see the Book of Life is dynamic. The idea is that as people become followers of God, their names are added. If they rebel, their names are removed. Why does God need a book? Malachi 3 is interesting as a book is written in real time in front of God to ensure that the righteous are rewarded by God for their righteousness. I don’t think the author of Malachi adhered to your Negative Attributes.

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