Why I Am Not an Arminian, By Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams
Why I Am Not an Arminian
  • Length: 224 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: March 26, 2004
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3248
  • ISBN: 9780830832484

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What's wrong with Arminianism?

Arminian theology is sweeping through the evangelical churches of North America. While most Arminians are good, sincere, orthodox Christians, authors Robert A. Peterson and Michael D. Williams contend that aspects of Arminian thought are troubling both biblically and theologically. In particular, they argue, Arminians have too lofty a view of human nature and an inadequate understanding of God's sovereign love in Christ.

Why I Am Not an Arminian explores the biblical, theological and historical background to the Calvinist-Arminian debate. The irenic nature and keen insight of this book will be appreciated by laypeople, pastors and scholars alike.

"Peterson and Williams write with a grace which goes far deeper than their commendable style. The authors' Arminian conversants are fairly represented from their best literature and answered with impeccable arguments which are scripturally compelling, philosophically and historically exacting, and gracefully irenic. Why I Am Not an Arminian is a book that you can get your head and your heart around--and be graced!"

R. Kent Hughes, Pastor, College Church in Wheaton, Wheaton, Illinois

"Peterson and Williams have addressed the historic debate between Calvinism and Arminianism with an irenic spirit and a zeal for truth. This is Christian scholarship at its best, characterized by biblical rigor, philosophical acumen, charitable expression and a willingness to engage opponents only after giving them a fair hearing in their own words. Not only are opponents treated fairly, so are the Scriptures. Peterson and Williams refuse to push the Bible into a box of easy answers and formula defenses. There are aspects of God's sovereignty that will remain mystery until we are face to face with him. Peterson and Williams do not shy from the mystery but embrace it as an expression of the greatness of the God who makes us his own."

Bryan Chapell, President and Professor of Practical Theology, Covenant Theological Seminary

"A quick glance at this volume's title might give someone the impression that the book is a harsh, polemical attack on Arminianism. Nothing could be further from the truth. Though clearly written from a Reformed evangelical perspective, Why I Am Not an Arminian is an evenhanded and careful critique of the Arminian approach to sin and salvation. To their credit, Robert Peterson and Mike Williams refuse to stack the theological deck in their favor by fairly evaluating only first-rate cases for Arminianism. After thoroughly addressing the historical context, theological concerns and biblical issues in a readable manner, Peterson and Williams show that even the best Arminian positions come up short. Why I Am Not an Arminian is a solid, valuable and biblically centered contribution to this never-ending discussion."

Chris Morgan, Associate Professor of Theology, California Baptist University

"Those who have been unclear about the issues separating Calvinists and Arminians will find here a carefully reasoned, understandable exposition of Calvinist theology. The authors treat their dialogue partners fairly, even compassionately, asking hard questions while avoiding triumphalism or caricature. Why I Am Not an Arminian will be a genuine help to anyone wanting to better understand the nature and application of salvation in Christ."

Robert A. Pyne, Th.D., Professor of Systematic Theology, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Peterson and Williams do not fall prey to a rant against Arminianism. Their work displays an irenicism and charity that serves as a model for other authors. Even Calvinists may disagree with some of their arguments, but at the end of the day Peterson and Williams demonstrate that Calvinism is biblically grounded and Arminianism is not. This book is ideal for those who wonder what the debate between Calvinists and Arminians is all about."

Thomas R. Schreiner, Professor of New Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

"I can hardly say enough in praise of this book. It is not flashy, but it is attractive. It models both clarity and charity. It does not fixate on pet Bible verses but covers seminal discussions in church history. At the same time it is Bible-centered in its presentation; it does not simply rehearse partisan opinions. In a new millennium, the church is looking for new direction. I believe Peterson and Williams offer it with this corrective but positive exposition of the faith. They promote church unity, aid clear thinking and set forth divine teaching in constructive dialogue with human preference. Arminians, Calvinists and everyone in between are in the authors' debt."

Robert Yarbrough, Associate Professor of New Testament and New Testament Department Chair, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"A highly nuanced, theologically erudite work which presents Arminianism in the best possible light and then shifts the focus onto a positive construction of Calvinism to counter Arminian claims."

Myk Habets, Pacific Journal of Baptist Research

"Very beneficial to those learning about Calvinism or Calvinists who are looking to reinforce their particular perspective. . .Very useful as a supplemental text for one studying theology. Pastors who have an interest in theology will appreciate the brevity of the book."

Larry Sterling, Jr., Ashland Theological Journal, 2008


1. Introduction
2. Augustine and Pelagius
3. Predestination: Conditional or Unconditional?
4. Perseverance: Uncertain or Certain?
5. Arminius and the Synod of Dort
6. Freedom: Incompatibilist or Compatibilist?
7. Inability: Hypothetical or Actual?
8. Grace: Resistible or Irresistible?
9. Atonement: Governmental or Substitutionary?
Names Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index


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Robert A. Peterson

Robert A. Peterson (Ph.D., Drew University) has taught for many years at various theological seminaries, including Covenant Theological Seminary and Biblical Theological Seminary. His books include Getting to Know John's Gospel, Hell on Trial, Calvin's Doctrine of the Atonement, and Adopted by God. He is coeditor of Why I Am Not Arminian, Two Views of Hell, and Hell Under Fire. He has written numerous articles and edits Covenant Seminary's journal, Presbyterion.

Williams is professor of systematic theology at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri.