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Is Arminianism the Dominant Theology in the Western Church?

Curiously, I was browsing a few Calvinist blogs and found it funny that they stated that Arminianism is the dominant form of theology in the Western Church.  They believe that Calvinism is facing a battle against the dominance of Arminianism in the church.  It is they who are on the defense and not Arminians.  Arminians, according to the blogs, dominant in the seminaries, in most denominations, in the seeker church movement, and in bookstores.

Really?  Does reformation Arminianism really dominant?  I would argue that it is neither Arminianism nor Calvinism that is the dominant theology in the Western evangelical church but it is semi-Pelagianism.  I would go further and say that most people are semi-Pelagian and don’t even know that they are.  This is especially true of seeker churches where theology places such a little roll in their emphasis.  The seeker church has only one thing really in mind: how to attract sinners (seekers; unchurched) to their church.  Their doctrinal introduction to Jesus is not through exegesis but through their show they call church services.  This Jesus is presented as a loving and good Jesus who only wants the best for His wayward children.  He is ever-loving and waiting and longing for them to return to Him and become one with Him and they can have this awesome relationship together.  He’ll just meet them halfway if they will simply believe in Him.  This is the message of most churches that I know in my area and that is neither Arminianism nor Calvinism but is semi-Pelagainism.

Many of the churches that I know that are truly reformation Arminian in their theology often do not ascribe to Arminianism.  In fact, they often just say that they are non-Calvinists.  This is true of many Pentecostal and Baptist churches that I know.  While essentially teaching Arminianism, they prefer not to be labeled as Arminians.  Some, out of fear of Calvinists, and some out of ignorance of Arminianism.  Most churches I know who teach Calvinism usually identify themselves as Calvinists.

In terms of theology.  I would argue that most evangelical works I see today (which, sadly, is not much) at bookstores are Calvinistic.  John Piper.  John MacArthur.  Wayne Grudem.  Matt Chandler.  Mark Driscoll.  David Platt.  Albert Mohler.  All these guys are Calvinists and all have produced best-selling books.  The only Arminian I can think of (who clearly identifies himself as an Arminian) would be Roger Olsen.

In terms of denominations and seminaries, again I would argue that semi-Pelagainism dominates.

Obviously I am just one person and so I have a small window that I am judging from so I can only speak from that perspective.  However, I see neither Arminianism nor Calvinism as dominating at this point.


Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/20/2014 at 5:54 PM

4 Responses

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  1. “most people are semi-Pelagian” I have have heard that about the US church from another American friend.

    Remember, for many Calvinists, semi-Pelagian is Arminian 🙂


    07/21/2014 at 6:02 AM

  2. I usually find it safe to refer to the majority of believers as non-Calvinists. As a theology Arminianism is not particularly well known among Christians (sadly). E.g, the names of Arminius, Episcopius and Richard Watson are not anywhere as well recognized as Martin Luther or John Calvin.

    J.D. Gallé

    07/23/2014 at 12:17 PM

    • John Wesley and Adam Clarke are more remembered than Arminius, Episcopius or Watson. I find it sad that Arminius is not remembered the most.

  3. Calvinism is dominant in fiction-land, i.e. on the Internet. Because the Internet is owned and controlled by 12-year-old trolls, and that’s about the age at which people are Calvinists (and atheists, who also dominate the Net) because Calvinism (like atheism) doesn’t work in the grown-up world.

    What is actually dominant in the real world, nobody knows. Because everybody has their head buried in the Internet!


    07/26/2014 at 11:47 PM

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