Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Can an Arminian be a Christian Hedonist?

Here's the conclusion of John Piper's answer to that question:
Because I think God's glory consists very much in his sovereign grace to conquer my fallen rebellious dead sinful heart, and irresistibly compel me and bring me into the kingdom. Whereas an Arminian believes that God overcomes my original sin, makes me able to choose, and I then cast the deciding vote.

I don't think that's a distortion of the way it really works in Arminianism: that is, that sovereign grace is necessary for everybody, and it conquers the deadness and inability of the human heart and sets a person in the position where, as they act with their will to believe, then grace plus their will saves them.

Now I don't think that is a faithful, biblical rendering of the glory of God in my salvation; and therefore, I don't think the structural "yes" to this question is a practical "yes" to this question. In other words, yes, there can be Christian hedonists who are Arminians, but they won't flourish to the degree that they should as Christian hedonists because they won't see the glory as fully as I wish they would.
Read the whole thing


  1. I think Piper's drawing a false dichotomy here. In setting up the article, he says, "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. It is learning the genius of God's creation to make himself supreme while satisfying us in that supremacy, so that the best of both worlds—my happiness and his glory—do not compete. Because my happiness is in his glory, and being in his glory makes his glory look really glorious."
    It's hard for me to comprehend how one could say with a straight face that an Arminian is incapable of meeting Piper's definition. I don't think you'd have to look too far in historical Christian literature to find plenty of Arminians who were captivated by the glory of God.

  2. Arnold
    A quote from earlier on in the article might help get across what he is saying concerning both seeing God's glory:

    "Now, the only reason I would say an Arminian would have a hard time with that is because we're not seeing the glory of God exactly the same. Arminians love the glory of God, and they want to glorify God; but we see wherein that glory consists differently."

    So, basically, he believes Arminians and Calvinists alike can see the glory of God in profound ways. But there is an aspect of God's role in salvation that is viewed differently by the two sides. And I know he believes (as I do) that it shows God more glorious to attribute to God everything having to do with our salvation as opposed to most of it.

    And yeah, I fully agree that many saints throughout the ages were very captivated by God's glory, and even more so than I am at this point in my life. But, I still think the understanding of God's raising us from the dead in order to justify us would have increased these saints' apprehension of God's glory even more.

  3. Hey, I randomly found your blog today and I'm glad that I did. Very interesting stuff. I'm a conservative blogger and seminary student in Chicago ( Keep up the good work!