Roger E. Olson on Arminian theology

This excerpt is from google books (on page 30 or so):

“One twentieth-century theologian who held onto the label [of “Arminian”–CD] was Church of the Nazarene leader H. Orton Wiley (1877-1961), who produced the three-volume Christian Theology and a one-volume summary of Christian doctrine. Wiley’s is a particulary pure form of classical Arminianism with the addition of Wesleyan perfectionism (which not all Arminians accept). Every good, including the first inclinations of the heart toward God, is attributed to God’s grace alone. Like Watson, Summers, Pope and Miley, Wiley insists on a distinction between semi-Pelagianism and true Arminianism, and demonstrates the difference in his own doctrinal statments. Wiley’s theology became the gold standard for theological education in the Church of the Nazarene and other Holiness denominations during the twentieth century” (Roger E. Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities).

Olson citing Wiley:

Semi-Pelagianism sought to mediate between the two extremes, by maintaining that original sin was merely vitiosity, or a weakening of the power to will and do. It held that there was sufficient power remaining in the depraved will to initiate or set in motion the beginnings of salvation but not enough to bring it to completion. This must be done by divine grace.

http://wesley.nnu.edu/other-theologians/henry-orton-wiley/h-orton-wiley-christian-theology-chapter-19/

Olson says:

“Today, semi-Pelagianism is the default theology of most American evangelical Christians. This is revealed in the popularity of cliches such as ‘If you’ll take one step toward God, he’ll come the rest of the way toward you,’ and ‘God votes for you, Satan votes against you, and you get the deciding vote,’ coupled with the almost total neglect of human depravity and helplessness in spiritual matters. Arminianism is almost totally unknown, let alone believed, in popular evangelical Christianity” (Roger E.Olson, Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, p. 31).

According to Olson and Wiley, in Arminianism God initiates (“makes the first move” as it were) by “prevenient grace” to all men without exception. Whereas in Semi-Pelagianism, the sinner initiates. As Wiley noted above, in Semi-Pelagianism man has a little strength left (cf. Romans 5:6) and therefore “divine grace” must take him “the rest of the way.”

Arminianism contends that God initiates, while Semi-Pelagianism contends that man initiates. But so what? The end result is the same — salvation ultimately depends on the efforts of the sinner. Despite the differences between both these systems, the sinner remains the captain of his own salvation and the terminator of his own damnation (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:54-55; 2 Timothy 1:10).

In Semi-Pelagianism, the unregenerate man has still has sufficient power “to initiate or set in motion the beginnings of salvation but not enough to bring it to completion” (Wiley). Here it is said that God must complete, but unless man does something first, God can complete nothing.

In Arminianism the unregenerate man does not have sufficient power of himself to “initiate” or “set in motion” the beginnings of salvation. This is where “prevenient grace” comes in for all men without exception. Now because of this “initiating grace” ALL men now have sufficient strength to cooperate or not — and thus, they must bring (their self) “salvation” to completion.

Thus, in semi-Pelagianism man initiates and God completes; while in Arminianism God initiates and man completes. In this scheme, who is the REAL author of salvation? And really, who is saving whom?

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