Category Archives: Jerry Walls

The Soveriegnty of God – by Jerry Walls

Seedbed just posted an excellent article by Jerry Walls on God’s Sovereignty .  It can be found here.

From the post:

…the sovereignty of God is not a Calvinist doctrine, it is a biblical doctrine, and no one who wants to be faithful to Scripture can afford to ignore or downplay this great truth.


Now here is a good place to highlight the difference between the Calvinist view of God’s sovereignty and the Wesleyan view. According to classic Calvinism, God’s sovereignty means that he determines literally everything that happens in the sense that he specifically causes everything to happen exactly as it does.

This can sound like a very pious thing to say, and at first it might seem to glorify God. But on closer inspection, it has very troubling implications. On this view, God caused Nebuchadnezzar to be proud, caused him to boast, and then caused his downfall, as well as his subsequent repentance. This is a troubling view because it means God actually caused his sin as well as his punishment.

The Wesleyan strongly disagrees. In the Wesleyan view, God did not cause or will Nebuchadnezzar to be proud. Rather, he became that way by his own free choices, by taking undue pride in his accomplishments. God then punished him to bring the truth home to him in order to move him to repentance. When he acknowledged the truth about God, he was restored to his kingdom.


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Arminian Video: Clive Lewis and John Piper’s Calvinist Confusions, by Dr. Jerry Walls

Jerry Walls (co-author of the book Why I’m not a Calvinist) recently did a presentation at Azusa Pacific University.  It’s entitled “Clive Lewis and John Piper’s Calvinist Confusions”.  In the video, Walls critiques Piper’s recent book “Does God Desire All to be Saved”.  Walls succinctly shows the errors and equivocation that Piper’s view entails.


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I Wish More Arminians Were Like Calvinists, by Jerry Walls

[Jerry Walls just posted this on facebook, and I thought it was worth sharing]

I have been thinking the past few days about a Facebook post by Bill Barnwell entitled “Why Do Wesleyan-Arminians Allow Themselves to be Bullied by Calvinists?” Barnwell’s post was inspired by a blog article by Roger Olson in which Olson made some timely comments on Calvinists who infiltrate Arminian denominations, often with little resistance.

Barnwell made several observations on why Calvinists are better at getting their message across: “Calvinism by its nature is triumphalistic; Calvinists are very, very confident; Calvinists pretty much own academia; Calvinists do a better job infiltrating popular culture; Wesleyans are more tolerant than Calvinists; and Wesleyans don’t make as big a deal with their Wesleyanism as Calvinists do their Calvinism.”

I generally agree with all these observations except one, namely, that Calvinists pretty much own the academy. Indeed, Calvinists are a tiny minority in the Church at large, and they hardly own the academy. Among serious scholars, Calvinists are a minority. But they are nevertheless good at conveying the impression that they are the serious scholars, and that they own the academy. This impression is more due to another factor Barnwell notes, that they have been far more successful in infiltrating popular culture. Certainly Calvinists have a lot of popular authors that are widely influential in evangelicalism, but that is hardly the same as owning the academy. In my own field, philosophy, Calvinists are a distinct minority, and indeed it is worth noting that the greatest mind produced by contemporary Calvinism, namely, Alvin Plantinga, is an Arminian.

But back to where Barnwell is right. Calvinists are indeed far more confident, and less tolerant, and make a bigger deal of their theology than Wesleyans do. And I believe these factors are very closely related. Calvinists are intolerant because they are confident that their theology is true, that it is nothing more or less than the gospel, and they are passionate about preaching it and contending for it.

In your average United Methodist Church, by contrast, pastors and leaders take painstaking care not even to use traditional pronouns and language for God, for fear of offending someone, or not being “inclusive” enough. Whereas Calvinists do not shy away from affirming what they take Scripture to teach, even if it offends contemporary sensibilities, Wesleyans walk on eggshells, fearful of offense. To make matters worse, in my experience, there is a tendency in many Wesleyan circles to equate spirituality with milquetoast, passive aggressive personalities.

So here is what I wish were the case. I wish more Arminians were confident, not in themselves, but in the truth of their theology, and had the courage and conviction to teach and preach it more passionately, even aggressively, in the best sense of that word. (I have had more than one Calvinist tell me that I am the first Arminian they had ever met who acted like he really thought his theology was true). I wish Wesleyans were better at distinguishing spirituality and character from personality. I wish more Arminians had a clear grasp of where Calvinism is confused and why it continues to thrive on misleading rhetoric. I wish more Arminian biblical scholars saw what is at stake in the larger culture and church, and would take Calvinism on in a direct, forthright manner
I am not suggesting that Arminians should be arrogant, rude, or narrowly exclusive. We should warmly embrace all who believe orthodox Christian faith and cooperate where we can on mutual concerns. But this does not mean Arminians should passively hand over their churches to Calvinists or give Calvinists free rein to promote Calvinism.

In short, we need more Arminians with an edge. These are Arminians who understand that the claims of Calvinism and Arminianism are mutually exclusive, and they cannot both be right. They understand that there are important issues at stake and that there are large practical implications. Not the least of these is the very character and love of God. Does God truly love all persons, and do we have a gospel of good news for all persons?

We need more, indeed lots more, Wesleyans and Arminians who have thought these issues through carefully enough to understand what is at stake and are prepared to expose Reformed rhetoric for what it is. We need more Arminians who preach about God’s sovereignty, predestination and election, rather than ignoring those doctrines, thereby giving the impression that those are “Calvinist issues.”

I love the recent version of the movie “True Grit.” I love the fact that hearty, hardy Protestant Christianity runs through the film, the sort of Christianity that was vibrant when America was most vitally Christian. One of the killers, as I recall, had a brother who was a Methodist circuit rider. Circuit riders had an edge. They loved God, they loved men, they were gracious. But they had an edge.

I wish more Arminians had True Grit.


Filed under Arminianism, Jerry Walls

Arminian Video – What’s wrong with Calvinism, by Jerry Walls.

Jerry Walls recently did a lecture at Evangel University on what’s wrong with Calvinism.  It is a very good presentation.  Walls co-authored the book Why I’m not a Calvinist.  If you’ve read the book, you will recognize some of the material in his presentation, as he follows a similar train of thought.  The video is about an hour long.


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Calvinism and the Bible – Part 3

Jerry Walls and Paul Sloan finish  their series on Calvinism, taking a look at Ephesians 1, Romans 8, and John 6.  Here are parts 1 and 2.


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Calvinism and the Bible Part 2 – Jerry Walls

Jerry Walls and Paul Sloan continue their series with an in depth look at  Romans 9.  If you haven’t seen part 1, watch it first.


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Interview with Dr Jerry Walls on “What is Arminianism?”

The Christian Meets World Podcast recently did an interview with Jerry Walls about Arminianism.  It can be found on their website here.  Run time is 53 minutes.  I haven’t listened to it yet.


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Calvinism and the Bible Part 1 – Jerry Walls

Jerry Walls continues his series on Calvinism,  this time looking at the background of Romans 9.

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What’s Wrong with Calvinism, Part 3, Video Series by Jerry Walls

Here’s the final, part 3 of the series by Jerry Walls – “Why it Matters”.


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What’s Wrong with Calvinism, Part 2, Video Series by Jerry Walls

Here’s part 2 of the series by Jerry Walls. “The Heart of the Matter”



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