Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Providence: Framing the Discussion

While discussing the Arminian view of providence in class Dr. Ware raised an interesting point. Traditionally, Arminian theologians (or Arminian Christians in general) tend to find Limited Atonement the greatest fault in the Reformed model of providence. Understandably, they are very offended by the idea of suggesting that Jesus died for some people as compared to others. It doesn't really seem fair.

However, Dr. Ware pointed out there is nothing exclusively Calvinist about Limited Atonement. Jacob Arminius suggested that election is simply God's foreknowledge of the free choices of his creatures; he chose to save those he knew would choose him. Philosophically speaking, the atonement could simply be the out working of this election. It is not fundamentally necessary in the Arminian model of providence that Jesus died for all of humanity.

The real issue is grace. Can humans choose to believe in Christ apart from God grace? Can humans reject God's grace? This is where the discussion belongs.

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