Thursday, July 25, 2013

Arminian Myth #10

From Roger E. Olson's Arminian Theology.

Myth #10 about Arminianism: "All Arminians believe in the governmental theory of the atonement."

The governmental theory: God had Christ suffer and die since he was going to offer forgiveness to humanity.  Christ didn't actually suffer the penalty of our sins, and God didn't have to have him suffer and die in order to pardon us.  But God did it to bring a sort of balance to the moral law of the universe.

By contrast, I hold to the penal substitution view of the atonement.  Christ died for my sins and the sins of the whole world.  He suffered my/our punishment in my/our place.

Roger Olson, in Arminian Theology, demonstrates that while some prominent Arminians held to a governmental view, by no means all did.

Jacob Arminius: penal substitution
Philip Limborch: governmental
John Wesley: penal substitution

19th century
Richard Watson: penal substitution
William Burton Pope: penal substitution, with a little governmental thrown in
Thomas Summers: penal substitution
John Miley: governmental

20th century
H. Orton Wiley: governmental
F. Leroy Forlines: penal substitution
Thomas Oden: penal substitution

Conclusion: It is incorrect to say that all Arminians hold to a governmental view of the atonement.  Many of its theologians do not, and many of its lay people do not.

Myth #6
Myth #5
Myth #4
Myth #3
Myth #2
Myth #1

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