In Grace, Faith, Free Will, Robert E. Picirilli, renews discussion of the issues that have divided Calvinism and Arminianism since the Reformation. Jacobus Arminius, a sixteenth-century Dutch theologian, contested the dominant theological ideas advanced by the well-known Protestant reformer John Calvin and his disciples. Historically, Arminius has been frequently misunderstood and often reinterpreted by friend and foe alike. Even today, one who calls himself “Arminian” does so with considerable risk, as the name means different things to different people and comes in various flavors. Many people automatically think of Arminians as liberal, differing little from Universalists in holding to salvation by works, and possibly espousing heretical views of the Trinity or the goodness of man. In truth, some “Arminians” have held and even now hold such beliefs. Not so Arminius himself, his original followers, or able contemporary theologians such as Picirilli.
Though he presents both classic Calvinism and Arminianism in order to help readers intelligently decide for themselves, Dr. Picirilli unabashedly advocates a very specific form of Arminianism as the best resolution of the tensions between the two doctrinal positions. In what he calls “Reformation Arminianism,” Picirilli reclaims the original views of Arminius and his defenders. This is an Arminianism that defends:
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I commend Bob Picirilli for such an erudite, comprehensive, and persuasive presentation of the classical Arminian position as contrasted with classical Calvinism and sub-Calvinism. The final chapter which analyzes Hebrews and Petrine writings with respect to the finality of apostasy is one of the strongest arguments on the same that I have read.
—Dr. Arthur M. Climenhaga, former dean, Western Evangelical Seminary, Portland, Oregon