Does the Arminian Theological Viewpoint Have a Significant Bearing on a Christian Worldview?
Does the Arminian theological viewpoint have a significant bearing on a Christian worldview? In one sense, a totally Christian, Biblical worldview stands apart from, and is not tied to a particular theological position, assuming that the theological position held is Biblical, comprehensive, and follows the maxim stated by Leroy Forlines that “truth is for life.” In other words, orthodoxy and orthopraxy must go together.
Matt Slick of CARM writes:
A world view is a set of presuppositions and beliefs that someone uses to interpret and form opinions about his humanity, purpose in life, duties in the world, responsibilities to family, interpretation of truth, social issues, etc. A Christian should view all these things, and more, guided by the light that is shed upon them by the Bible.
The Bible has much to say about the nature of man, the world, purpose, truth, morality, etc., and so does the world. More often than not, the secular world view is in conflict with the biblical one. For example: Where the world asserts that man evolved, the Bible says he was created and ultimately responsible to God. Where the world says that morals are relative, the Bible says they are absolute. Where the world says that there is no need of salvation and redemption, the Bible clearly states that all people are in need of deliverance from their sin. The contrast is obvious and profound. Both cannot be true.
The secular world exalts man to the apex of evolutionary development, the sovereign over all he dominates, though only another animal. God is relegated to the belief systems of the uneducated and superstitious. Such opposing views will clash.
All Christians have, or should have, a Biblical worldview that includes core beliefs such as God’s existence.
God’s revelation of Himself through creation, through Christ, and through the Scriptures.
Jesus Christ is the only way to God. His redemptive death, bodily resurrection, and perfect righteousness, imputed to believers, are the basis of our salvation and right standing with him.
This salvation is received through faith and repentance.
The Christian life is to be lived out in keeping with one’s deepest beliefs and values. These beliefs and values are based on, and formed by, the Scriptures.
The Christian worldview may be seen as standard, or similar among all those who base their core beliefs on the Bible and Christian theology. Perhaps the Arminian position places more emphasis on the free will, and personal responsibility of the individual believer to respond to the Holy Spirit (without whose working no one can either come to God or obey God) in aligning beliefs, choices, and behavior. Certainly a Reformed Arminian theology is not incompatible with a strong Christian worldview. Since Reformed Arminianism, as taught by Arminius and the original Remonstrants is Biblical, with a strong emphasis on the nature of God, His character, His sovereignty, and His holiness, an “Arminian” worldview is wholly orthodox.
Roger Olson, in his Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities, notes:
One thing should be absolutely clear from . . . examples of Arminian accounts of divine sovereignty and providence — the common accusation that Arminianism lacks a strong or high view of God’s sovereignty is false. Every classical Arminian shares with every classical Calvinist the belief that God is in charge of and governs the entire creation, and will powerfully and perhaps unilaterally bring about the consummation of his plan. Arminians demur from Calvinism’s divine determinism because it cannot avoid making God the author of sin and evil. When the Calvinist responds that Calvinism avoids that, the Arminian asks about the origin of the very first impulse to evil in creation.
Finally, a worldview, whether held by a Calvinist or an Ariminian will inform all of life and strongly influence not just “belief,” but also behavior; that is, both choices and decisions. Someone recently wrote on an Arminian blog site the following statement
How should we then answer questions about homosexuality or living together or drug use or lying or politics? I believe, and perhaps I am simple-minded here, that we should answer biblically. We should quote Scripture. No doubt there are people who would question the Bible or deny that they believe in the Bible but I believe this should not change the opinion of the disciple of Jesus. We should remain fully committed to what the Scriptures teach no matter what. Even if we are accused of being a “hate group” or being bigots, let us be faithful before God and let Him be the judge of our enemies (Romans 12:19-21).
Sadly, we are raising up a generation in the Church that does not know the Word.
In conclusion, Arminian theology proclaims the sufficiency of the Bible, the sovereignty of God, and the supremacy of the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of the Christian, while at the same time clearly viewing the believer as one with whom God works in a “influence and response” way rather than in a deterministic “cause and effect” manner (Forlines, The Quest for Truth). Worldview, then, is what God is working into us, but human responsibility to embrace it and live it out at the deepest level is also taught in the Bible.