Friday, April 19, 2013

The Goodness of God ... The Root of Arminian Theology

The following passage is a concise summation of what could be the defining principle of Arminian theology. It is certainly representative of my embrace of classical or Reformation Arminianism.

... It is clear that Arminius holds to a so-called "classical" doctrine of God. Within the simplicity of the Triune life, God is infinite goodness. Arminius understands this conviction to be grounded in the biblical revelation and articulated in the Christian tradition with the use of scholastic categories. It is utterly bedrock for his theology, and as we will see, it is particularly important for his doctrines of providence and predestination. Within the simplicity of the divine life, there are no parts or pieces -- thus there can be no competing wills within God. Within the perfection of divine aseity, God can lack nothing and can have no need -- not even the need for glorification through the display of justice or wrath. It is, for Arminius, literally unthinkable that the God of perfect, simple goodness and holy, unalterable love might create humans in his image for the purpose of destruction. On the contrary, humans can begin to glorify God by understanding that the divine purposes and the divine actions are perfectly in accord with the pure and simple goodness of the divine nature... Jacob Arminius, Theologian of Grace, Keith D. Stanglin and Thomas H. McCall  Oxford University Press, NY, 2012, p. 81

This orthodox and ancient position is such a contrast to that of our Calvinist friends and their hyper-sovereignty and divine determinism doctrines. This exploration of Arminian theology is a must read in my opinion and I expect Stanglin and McCall's efforts will become a modern definitive work on the "root underpinnings" of classical Arminian theology.