Hyper-Arminianism can lead to Humanism

 

I’ve just read something from a website that pretty much stood out for me. Firstly it addresses the CalvinistArminian debate and then it speaks about the dangers of Arminian theology when taken to its extreme. The article speaks about the dangers of humanism found in hard Arminian theology. Could we call this Hyper-Arminianism?

I have often wondered why this ‘Social Gospel’ has taken off in such a big way, especially in the west, and this article may have hit the nail on the head. Well, for me it did anyway. Please note that I do not always agree with every link that I use in my posts, but rather glean contents that I see as informative and perhaps in some cases may answer a nagging question that I may have. The article called ‘The Triumph of Arminianism (and Its Dangers)’ says…

Face it, Arminianism is simply more logical. It makes sense to the person on the street. And today’s church is scrambling to make sense to unbelievers. We want to sound sensible, logical, rational, enlightened, fair. Arminianism is so much more appealing to worldly people.Thus, many Calvinist churches customize worship services, communication styles, architecture, and music, to fit the worldly customers. But they also adapt their theology by quietly creeping away from the “right end” of the theological continuum and drifting over toward Arminianism. The truth of the matter is, they are embarrassed by Calvinistic theology. They have found it offensive to the “customers.” The Arminian approach to theology is simply a more “seeker sensitive.”

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Then goes on to say that pragmatism may well be one of the negatives in Arminian circles…

We Arminians tend to put too much emphasis on man and his decisions, and not enough on God and the gospel. Sometimes we are tempted to act as if God is helpless without us and our work. We lean toward pragmatism and are constantly looking for “what works best” as if methodology were more important than the message. Since we believe that all men can be saved, we tend to assume that if they aren’t saved, we have not packaged the invitation (or the message) right. We especially love management, leadership, programs, marketing, and research data. We tend to focus more on the “potential convert” than on the eternal gospel. Arminianism easily leans toward a NIKE mentality—”Just do it.”[…]Humanists have a sovereign man and an inactive God. Arminians lean toward the humanist end of this continuum and thus are always in danger of becoming humanists

I definitely had an “Aha” moment when I read this.

Is it little wonder then to see such scholarly work from the Calvinist side everywhere on the Internet to counter the Hyper-Arminian view? Every action has an equal an opposite reaction. Is it little wonder that the Arminian side – if heavily leaning towards humanism and pragmatism – finds itself is a sea of secular reasoning and logic instead of using the Word of God to give a defence? Haven’t we noticed recently that all the doctrines that are pivotal to ‘Biblical Christianity’ have been criticised and questioned – like atonement, regeneration, justification by faith and repentance? Charles Finney is dead, but his views are finding there way back into the evangelical Church big time. Are we seeing a rehash of Hyper-Arminianism, if there is such a word? Read Charles Finney’s views and you be the judge.

As for me, I prefer to think that I am closer to the Wesleyan-Arminian side of things, a hair’s breadth away from Calvin.

5 thoughts on “Hyper-Arminianism can lead to Humanism

  1. BTW (haven’t had time to comment until this morning, since I forgot to adjust my clocks for the end of Daylight Savings Time here in the States) – it’s interesting to note that probably the majority of the Emerging/Emergent crowd are actually Calvinist in persuasion…

    ;D

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  2. it’s interesting to note that probably the majority of the Emerging/Emergent crowd are actually Calvinist in persuasion…

    Really, I didn’t know that!

    What’s the point in being, ahem… missional then??? (note sarcasm).

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  3. Hello. I’m an Arminian myself, but agree with at least some of the criticism levelled at Arminians who are overly pragmatic. With my Calvinist siblings in Christ I certainly believe in the ability of the Holy Spirit to convict hearts, and that’s what all believers should be counting on when they proclaim the gospel.

    Having said that, I am continually frustrated by the false dichotomy painted by Calvinists between Scripture and “secular logic.” There is no such animal as “secular logic” – as if humans invented reason or something. Reason/logic is part of God’s own mind, and He embedded that construct in *our* minds.

    I subscribe fully to the authority of Scripture – but Scripture must be interpreted logically. This does not mean logic is some extrabiblical “force” or “authority” to which Scripture must bow. It simply means that God is, among other things, a rational Being; He doesn’t contradict Himself; He is true to Himself. Should we not expect, then, that His word, likewise, will be true to itself, will not contradict itself?

    There is simply no basis whatsoever for interpreting Scripture in a manner that is logically inconsistent, because all we will end up with, in that case, are interpretations that contradict each other. It does not good to say, “Well, that’s how Scripture reads, so we’ll have to accept the paradox.” The word “paradox” in theology is almost always, it seems to me, a camouflage-term to obscure what’s really going on: sheer contradiction. All this means is that the theological system itself needs to be reexamined and altered so as to *consistently* interpret Scripture rather than *inconsistently* interpreting it.

    In Jesus,
    Andy

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  4. Andy you say…

    The word “paradox” in theology is almost always, it seems to me, a camouflage-term to obscure what’s really going on: sheer contradiction. All this means is that the theological system itself needs to be reexamined and altered so as to *consistently* interpret Scripture rather than *inconsistently* interpreting it.

    Do you know of anyone who is doing this reexamination of theological systems? If you do could you please name a few names, and perhaps some provide me with some links.

    Thanks

    Vee

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