Dr. Brian Abasciano just released this article in response to Dr. John Piper’s recent critique of classical Arminians view of “partial pre-faith regeneration” (represented by Dr. Roger Olson) which can be heard here.
Both Drs. Abasciano and Olson represent Arminian theology, though they have a different take on the concept of “partial regeneration,” which Abasciano explains more fully in his article.
Both Olson and Abasciano maintain, however, that God must supply a supernatural grace to the lost, above and beyond the gospel, in order for them to believe the clearly revealed good news sent by God Himself.
Provisionist/Traditionalists, like myself, maintain that the gospel is a sufficient work of supernatural grace to enable whosoever hears it to believe (Rom 10:14; Jn 20:31; 2 Tim 3:15). And that the only reason someone might be in a condition by which they are “ever hearing but not understanding, ever seeing but not perceiving” is due to an individual’s libertarianly free choice to continually reject God’s clearly revealed truth and remain in rebellion (the word “libertarian” simply means they had the moral capacity to choose otherwise). Over time, despite God’s patience and gracious provisions, a sinner’s heart may “grow calloused” or their “consciences become seared” and they may be “given over by God to their defiled minds.” But, despite what both Arminians and Calvinists teach, this is not an innate moral incapacity from birth inherited from Adam due to the Fall (Acts 28:23-28; Jn 12:39-41; Heb 3:15; Rom 1:28; 2:15; 1 Tim 4:2).
Nothing in all of scripture clearly teaches that fallen humanity has lost the innate moral capacity to respond positively to God’s own gracious appeals and provisions to be reconciled from that Fall.
With all due respect to my Arminian friends, I believe their concession to the unfounded Calvinistic doctrine of “Total Inability” has muddled the waters and made an otherwise clear distinction rather difficult to untangle.
I understand that both Calvinists and Arminians desire to be true to the biblical account, but my challenge to them both is to engage with us over the relevant biblical data (without punting to the boogie man fallacy of Pelagianism).
In my experience, the scholars on both sides tend to cite the other as validation for their otherwise unfounded views (i.e. even Arminians agree with us on this point so no need to debate it) and anyone who falls outside the 16th century parameters are piously dismissed by man-made labels also introduced in the 16th century (i.e. semi-Pelagianism).
I will not remain quiet while the gospel of grace is assumed to lack the sufficient grace to accomplish what the scriptures themselves say they were intended to accomplish!
“But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31)