Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Friday, October 16, 2009

An Arminian Dilemma

"For who maketh thee to differ [from another]? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive [it], why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received [it]?" (1 Cor. 4:7)


Paul asks the question "For who maketh thee to differ?" The implied answer to Paul is that it was God who made one person to differ one from another. The context of the verse is that what we have we were given by God. Therefore it was God who decided that one person would receive this and another person wouldn't.

In Arminian theology, this passage leads to a problem. One Arminian writer has written that the heart of Arminian belief is the doctrine of prevenient grace. Arminians hold to the Calvinistic doctrine of total depravity. However, they believe that God gives every human a measure of prevenient grace to overcome the effects of man's depravity. Prevenient grace is the "grace that precedes human action." It moves man to a neutral position in regards to the things of God. Now each human has to decide whether or not to cooperate with the grace God has given them and be saved. Of note is that this prevenient grace is given to every human being.

Also, in Arminian theology, Christ died on the cross for each and every human being in exactly the same way. His death on the cross makes salvation possible for every human who wants it (who cooperates with the grace God has given them).

So, that brings us to the Arminian dilemma, if God gives each and every human a measure of grace and Christ died for each and every human in exactly the same way ... who really makes one man to differ from another? It looks to me like God has done everything he could to make it possible for a person to be saved. But the truth of that salvation is in the hands (or decision making ability) of each and every person. So when Paul asks "Who maketh thee to differ?" the Arminian has to answer ... "You do."

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