Is Arminianism simply Pelagianism – or is it Molinism? Questions for Discussion: Lesson 32A – Chapter 28 “Arminians Attempt to Reform Reformed Theology” from The Story of Christian Theology by Roger Olson
1. A student in your Sunday school class finds it difficult to sort out the heretical component in Arminianism: “I have heard that Arminians are Pelagians and that Arminianism denies God’s sovereignty in salvation and elevates man’s initiative, that is, his freedom in making a decision for Christ. And they don’t believe in predestination. Is all of that accurate?” How will you respond to these issues, particularly the issue of Arminius’ theology of predestination?
2. How and why did the term “Protestant Scholastics” come about? What contribution did Theodore Beza make to this school of thought? What were their theological preoccupations? Were these consistent with those of Calvin?
3. A student in your class admits, “I am confused over this supralapsarian vs. infralapsarian debate and how it got Arminius involved. I would really appreciate some clarification of what the conflict meant for the Dutch and why we should care.” How will you bring clarity to this student and define Arminius’s position in the debate?
4. Why is the document known as The Remonstrance of importance in the history of the Dutch Reformation? Who wrote it and why? What did it contain? What is the Remonstrant Brotherhood all about?
5. What was the Synod of Dort intended to accomplish? How does Synod doctrines that were promulgated tie to the TULIP acronym?
6. In Chapter 28 Olson identifies what he considers “one of the greatest injustices in the history of Christian theology”? What is it and how did it come about?
7. Olson quotes Arminius at length on Divine Grace, which he terms prevenient grace. How is justification and conversion involved in this offer of prevenient grace? Are his ideas building a monergistic or synergistic soteriology?
8. What is the legacy of Arminius? Is he another voice within the Reformation? Is he even a Protestant according to Olson? Which denominations follow the Arminian theology, in either its liberal or evangelical forms?
Lesson 32B Correlated Readings
Bonus Lesson: Alister McGrath and W.L. Craig vs. Richard Dawkins, Atheist