Jesus Creed

Myth #5: Arminian theology denies the sovereignty of God. The fundamental expression Roger Olson uses, in his book Arminian Theology, is that “God is in charge of everything without controlling everything.”
It may surprise to hear one say this, but the distinction between Calvinists and Arminians is not as great as one might think. The singular issue is that Calvinists — or at least most of them — believe in exhaustive determination, or meticulous determination — that God predestines everything. If sovereignty means determinism, then Arminians don’t agree; but if it involves preservation, concurrence, and governance, then Arminians completely affirm God’s sovereignty.
The only thing Arminians exclude from the sovereignty of God is the authorship of evil and sin. God, in his sovereignty, gave humans freedom of choice — and it is in that gracious gift and in God’s desire to sustain that right, that God self-limited his sovereignty. He cannot be and will not be charged with being the author of sin and evil.
Olson goes through Arminius extensively — and shows that Arminius himself — and every Arminian of the heart — believed in God’s sovereignty and extended it to everything, except the authorship of evil. And Calvinists have always had a hard time avoiding the charge of God’s authorship of evil in God’s predestination.
An issue here is “concurrence” — that God permits and cooperates with human freedom — in God’s sovereignty. God chooses to turn evil into good rather than not to permit evil to exist.
He concludes with this:

If God is the all-determining reality and creatures have no incompatibilist (libertarian) freedom, then where did that first evil motive or intent come from? If the Calvinist says from God, which is logically consistent with divine determinism, then God is most certainly the author of sin and evil. If the Calvinist says from autonomous creatures, then this opens up a hole in divine determinism so large it consumes it (135).

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