As an Arminian, one frustration I have is with the dominance of the Calvinist view on the internet. In this post I want to do a little musing on why this is the case. Why is the Calvinist web presence so dominant?
Reasons for the Calvinist dominance on the internet: 1) Calvinists are writers and authors. They love studying doctrine. They are articulate. Arminians are too busy "changing the world" to spend time writing. Unfortunatly these differences in approaches have resulted in a disproportionate Calvinist presence on the web.
2) Calvinists have lots of big names: Piper, MacArthur, Sproul, White, etc. These big names have big web sites, with lots of free resources. There are no really big Arminian names out there.
3) Monergism.com: This is an excellent resource that I use myself. All free. All Reformed.
4) The young Calvinist resurgence: Let's face it, there are lots of young Calvinists. If they were all new believers that would be wonderful. Unfortunately many come from nominally Arminian backgrounds. Anyway, all that to point out that younger people are much more active on the web, and these young Calvinists are busy busy busy online.
5) Lots of Non-Calvinists do not consider themselves Arminian, and this limits the effectiveness of the Arminian web presence. Over and over I hear people say that they are neither Calvinist or Arminian. However, if you question them on their doctrine you find in most cases that they're nominally Arminian. Talk to your average Joe Baptist, and there's a good change that he believes in the P in TULIP, but is Arminian in other respects. However, if you ask him what Arminianism is you're likely to get a blank stare, or perhaps a lecture on how a believer can't lose his salvation. :)
6) Arminians seem to be more siloed than Calvinists. We're too busy in our various denominations to be troubled with Calvinists or even with other Arminians that have slightly differing views. This is very true of my own denomination.
7) Calvinism is easier to define than Arminianism. 5 Points. Tulip. Arminianism is more a rejection of Calvinism than a movement all on its own. As a result Arminian Theology is not a nice little package. We know Jesus died for everyone. That's about it for a starting point.
This disproportionate Calvinist web presence is a problem. Average Christians are not getting a fair representation of what Armininaism is really is all about: the Goodness of God. If a Christian has been unaware of the A/C debate and then begins to look into it on the web, he will find the Calvinist view well represented, but not so the Arminian view. More than likely he will find only Calvinist resources that give a caricaturization of the Arminian view. This disproportionate web presence and dishonest caricaturization I think is in large part the cause of the young Calvinist resurgence. Good Arminian resources are hard to find. Fortunately, this is starting to change.
Signs of the growing Arminian Web presence: 1) An Explosion in Arminian Blogs: A year ago Arminian blogs were few and far between. Roy Ingle's Arminian Today was the first one I ever remember running across, and it took me a while to find that one. Now there are so many Arminian blogs I can't keep up with them all. This is a fantastic development. For example, check out this list of blogs and resources that Billy from Classical Arminianism has come up with. A year ago I would have done a cartwheel for the list like that.
2) Networking: Arminians are starting to find each other, and outside of our respective denominational "silos". Some of this is due to the blogging I mentioned above. Some it is also unfortunately due to excessively negative interactions with Calvinists. We have had to learn to defend ourselves. (May we be graceful in the process.)
3) A dedicated Arminian resource site: Evangelical Arminians. This site is beginning to make an impact. I hope that over time it will become the monergism.com for Arminians.
4) The slumbering Non-Calvinist "silent majority" is starting to awake: This seems particularly evident in the Southern Baptist denomination, with the Building Bridges conference, and now the upcoming John 3:16 Conference. Limited Atonement is not an easy thing to get Bible believers to buy into (for obvious reasons). As insulated Christians become aware of this terrible doctrine, they will have a strong reaction against it. This awakening is starting to take place.
I would be curious for other's thoughts on this topic as well. Comments? :)
Theologian William Lane Craig has audio available online here: Reasonable Faith.
He has dealt with a number of theological topics of interest.
Dr. Craig's is a Research Professor of Philosophy at Talbot School of Theology in La Mirada, California. He is an advocate of Middle Knowledge (Molinism) which is a bit of a hybrid between Arminianism and Calvinism. Read more about Molinism: HERE
He muses about 6 things we might see if Christians were take pointers from Islam: 1) Elevation of the Father over the other members of the Trinity 2) The glory of God is all that matters. 3) Elevation of males and subordination of women 4) Destiny 5) Nationalizing religious values 6) Holy war
He doesn't mention or even allude to Calvinism in the post, but I definitely see points 1-4 as applicable to the Calvinist system.
Drury is a professor/pastor at Indiana Wesleyan University. If you haven't checked out his site, give it a look. There's lots of good stuff there. He is opinionated, yet also has a knack for addressing serious topics in a disarming manner. (note: use IE on his site, firefox doesn't seem to render pages correctly)
The series is described as follows: An annual event at Seattle Pacific since 1978, the Alfred S. Palmer Lecture seeks to bring the best minds and hearts in Wesleyan theology and Biblical studies to campus to discuss the Christian faith from a Wesleyan perspective. The lectureship is held in the honor of Alfred Palmer, a minister and ministry leader in Western Washington for more than 50 years.
There are a number of well-known speakers:
Wayne McCown (Free Methodist Theologian) Dennis Kinlaw (Former president of Asbury) William Willimon (Methodist preacher) Theodore Runyon (author, has written much on Wesley) Thomas Oden (Theologian, author of "The Transforming Power of Grace") Greg Jones (Dean from Duke Divinity School) Richard Hayes (Duke Divinity School, New Perspectives on Paul) Robert Wall (Theology Professor, SPU) Clark Pinnock (well known Open Theist) Rebekah Miles (Theology Professor, SMU) Ellen Charry (Theology Professor, Princeton Theological Seminary) Timothy Ware (Orthodox Theologian)
I appeal to every impartial mind...whether the mercy of God would not be far less gloriously displayed, in saving a few by his irresistible power, and leaving all the rest without help, without hope, to perish everlastingly, than in offering salvation to every creature, actually saving all that consent thereto, and doing for the rest all that infinite wisdom, almighty power, and boundless love can do, without forcing them to be saved, which would be to destroy the very nature that he had given them. Predestination Calmly Considered
Freed to believe by God's grace Atonement for all Conditional election Total depravity Security in Christ