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Room in the Camp

Arminians are often characterized as believing that a true Christian can lose his salvation.  I suspect this is probably the reason that many non-Calvinistic Baptists refuse to be labeled as Arminians.  But according to Roger Olson, the matter is not so cut and dry: “Arminius himself never settled the matter. His strongest statement about it was that ‘I should not readily dare to say that true and saving faith may finally and totally fall away.'” (Olson, Arminian Theology, 187). The Arminius quote is from his “Examination of Dr. Perkin’s Pamphlet,” which can be found in the London edition of The Works of Arminius (3:454).  Some of Arminius’ followers went the way of believing that true Christians cannot fall from grace, while others went on to affirm that one’s salvation can indeed be lost.  The point is this: Arminianism is a big enough camp for both prespectives to pitch their tents.  Critics of Arminianism should be more careful to acknowledge that some Arminians do indeed believe in the final perseverance of all true believers, and that the room for this position comes straight from the writings of Arminius himself.  Hopefully, those non-Calvinists who resist the Arminian label because of its “lose your salvation” associations will come to see that there is room in the camp for them as well.  As I’ve said before, a two-point Calvinist makes a fine classical Arminian.

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