Calvinists and Arminians have been playing tug-of-war for centuries. Well, I have found some folks who are trying to walk the tightrope between the two sides. Do you know about calvarminians and armalvinists? They believe in calminianism and arminocalvinism.
If you’ve ever heard Christians arguing about theology, then you might know that there’s a big divide between the Calvinists and the Arminians and that there’s a hotly contested flower called a TULIP.
I myself find most doctrinal disagreements to be a major snoozefest—for example, next time you can’t sleep, try googling Amyraldianism, middle knowledge, Molinism, monergism, and open theism. That fact notwithstanding, I have managed to acquire over the years a small set of really interesting tidbits that for me represent the highlight of the Calvinism-Arminianism debate.
It’s the Calminians and the Arvinists!
If you take a close look at those two words—Calminian and Arvinist—you’ll see that they are basically the two halves of the words Calvinist and Arminian that have been chopped and glued back together with their rival halves.
This right here is the kind of Christian slang that moves me to the edge of the proverbial seat and makes me literally push my glasses higher on the bridge of my nose. This is linguistic gold, ladies and gentlemen.
Calminian and arvinist—along with a slew of similar contraptions like armalvinist, arminicalvinist, arminocalvinist, calarminian, calvarminian, calvininian, and calvminian—are names that some Christians have come up with for themselves because of their belief in a mixture of Calvinism and Arminianism and because of their wish to distinguish themselves from the two traditional camps from whence they came. These believers refer to the doctrinal mixture itself as armalvinism, armini-calvinism, arminocalvinism, calarminianism, calminianism, calvarminianism, and calminianism.
Now, the hardest of the die-hard Calvinists (such as the six-point and seven-point varieties) will swear up and down (and some of them do cuss like sailors, believe me) that Christians who claim to believe in both Calvinism and Arminianism are being logically inconsistent. As a matter of fact, if you take the time to read through some of the quotations in the dictionary definitions below, you’ll find that the die-hard Arminians feel the same way as the die-hard Calvinists about this matter.
I have to point out that it’s nice to finally see the extreme wings of the Calvinists and Arminians in agreement on something: they both think that the calvminians and arminocalvinists are nuts!
Let’s shift gears to a lexicographical analysis of the terms. These blended terms were nearly all coined in the last two and a half decades. There are a small handful of noteworthy appearances of three of these terms in the late 19th century (see arminocalvinism, calvarminian, and calvarminianism), but the general rule is that these terms arose in the 1990s and in the 2000s and have remained in use ever since.
These terms are informal in nature, and as such they generally do not appear in printed sources such as books and magazines. Most of the quotations I have collected came from blogs, message boards, and social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter. (These days the World Wide Web is where a lot of the new Christianese is being born; for a recent interesting example, see excommunitweet.)
The blended terms below are all part of a larger group of Christianese words that I’m categorizing under an umbrella of “blended-denomination terms.” Calvinism and Arminianism aren’t denominations, as you know, but terms such as calvarminian and arvinist are linguistically similar to terms such as bapticostal, pentegelical, and methobapterian since they’re all blends of the names of denominations, movements, or doctrinal traditions, so it’s useful to group them together and compare the similar ways in which they are formed and used. (If you like these Christianese blended words and want to read about more of them, I’ve tagged them all here for your convenience.)
P.S. Some of the dictionary entries below run somewhat long due to the numerous quotations. When I prepare these definitions for print publication, I’ll trim them down so they’ll all fit in the book. But in the meantime, you can enjoy the unabridged version of these definitions as shown here.
armalvinism n. [Arminianism + Calvinism] Any of various blendings of the doctrines of Arminianism and Calvinism.
2011 thinktheology.co.uk (26 Oct.) : “Seven Point Armalvinism.” Last week, I made reference to the fact that I don’t like using the labels “Calvinist” or “Arminian” because I agree with three and a half of the Calvinist five points, and three and a half of the Arminian ones. This prompted a few people to ask: which ones? And why? So I’ll try and explain my current perspective…. Some call it fractional Calvinism, others call it Armalvinism. 2012 standupforthetruth.com (15 Feb.) : [podcast title:] “Calminianism, Armalvanism, or Somewhere in the Middle?”
armalvinist n. [Arminian + Calvinist] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Arminianism and Calvinism.
2002 christianguitar.org (8 Jul.) : I certainly do not believe that God would choose some to be saved and some to be condemned, but I do believe that everything is predestined. What exactly would you call me? A calvininian? Perhaps an armalvinist? 2006 perilousrealm.net (18 Nov.) : “Calminians” ([Roger] Olson’s term) or “Armalvinists” (a term I’ve also heard used) simply don’t exist, because there is no possible middle ground between the points that separate them. Election is conditional or unconditional; there’s nothing in between the two. Whether you like the labels or not, you’re one or the other. 2014 twitter.com (9 Jul.) : You’re an Armalvinist.
arminicalvinist n. [Arminian + Calvinist] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Arminianism and Calvinism.
2010 christianforums.com (2 Feb.) : I am persuaded that I am a Armini-Calvinist. I accept the doctrine’s of God’s sovereignty and free will. 2012 christianchat.com (15 May) : I am a two-and-a-half-point arminicalvinist, which is basically the same as Lutheranism. 2012 podbay.fm (3 Aug.) : Take this from a self-described “three-point ArminiCalvinist.” 2013 c3churchwatch.com (30 Aug.) : You’re a Calvinist. Cool. I’m an Arminicalvinist.
armini-calvinism n. [Arminianism + o + Calvinism] Any of various blendings of the doctrines of Arminianism and Calvinism.
2010 christianforums.com (2 Feb.) : I believe John Calvin, Jacobus Arminius, Martin Luther, and John Wesley were from God. We cannot deny the truth! We cannot deny one and accept the other. Accept Armini-Calvinism or you will all likewise perish in your disputes!
arminivinist n. [Arminian + Calvinist] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Calvinism and Arminianism.
2003 freerepublic.com (29 Jan.) : All of us Calminians. Or are we Arminivinists? 2009 baptistboard.com (27 Apr.) : “I did not realize if you are not one then you had to be the other.” “I suppose you could be a Calvininian or an Arminivinist.” 2013 christianforums.com (12 Sep.) : “I am not going to debate an Arminian at the same time as I am debating another Calvinist.” “I’m neither. If there can be an Arminivinist, I guess that would be me.”
arminocalvinism n. [Arminianism + o + Calvinism] Any of various blendings of the doctrines of Arminianism and Calvinism.
1833 Thomas The Beauties of Armino-Calvinism: or, The Story of Deacon Caleb Comfort (to Which Is Added, The Vision of Deacon Peter Pious) (title)
arminocalvinist n. [Arminian + o + Calvinist] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Arminianism and Calvinism.
The term arminocalvinist was probably not coined by Adrian Warnock, since the term appeared on the Web as early as 2005, but Warnock did greatly popularize the term starting in 2010.
2005 semicolonblog.com (10 Jul.) : I’m an Arminocalvinist myself, firmly on the fence, but as the Calvinists teach, we truly are dependent on the grace of God to open our eyes and deal bountifully with us. 2010 Adrian Warnock on patheos.com (18 Nov.) : “Was Spurgeon an Arminocalvinist?” … It turns out that on some matters Spurgeon was not the rabid Calvinist some people think him to be: “There has long been a great doctrinal discussion between the Calvinists and the Arminians upon many important points. I am myself persuaded that the Calvinist alone is right upon some points, and the Arminian alone is right upon others. There is a great deal of truth in the positive side of both systems, and a great deal of error in the negative side of both.” 2010 thesimplepastor.co.uk (6 Dec.) : Most of the time I’m with Craig Blomberg whose term Calminian I prefer to Warnock’s cumbersome Arminocalvinist. 2010 Adrian Warnock on patheos.com (10 Dec.) : In this post I outline an Arminocalvinist spectrum, and explain why it’s not so simple as Arminians vs. Calvinists. I think when we come to the Arminian/Calvinist debate we must understand it is not simply a clear cut issue…. Here is my Arminocalvinist spectrum: Hyper Calvinist … Strong Calvinist … Moderate Calvinist … Soft Calvinist … Reformed Arminian (often called Classical or Evangelical Arminianism) … Strong Arminian … “Open” Arminian. 2010 Roger E. Olson on patheos.com (13 Dec.) : “Is There an ‘Arminocalvinist Spectrum’?” Many people have asked my opinion about an attempt to identify an “Arminocalvinist spectrum” by blogger Adrian Warnock. Warnock proposes that we regard Arminianisms (the plural is intentional) and Calvinisms as sharing a spectrum from extreme versions to moderate versions with the latter being closer to each other on a shared spectrum of beliefs about God’s sovereignty. I have argued that classical Calvinists and classical Arminians share much common ground in “mere Christianity” and even basic evangelical faith. Both are perfectly orthodox in terms of the Great Tradition of biblical Christianity. Both affirm Christ’s deity and the Trinity as well as God’s omnipotence, salvation by grace through faith alone, etc. However, I’m reluctant to talk about a “spectrum” that includes both theologies. A spectrum assumes only degrees of difference. Insofar as we are talking about the distinctives of Arminianism and Calvinism, however, the two theologies are different in kind and not only in degree.
arvinist n. [Arminian + Calvinist] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Arminianism and Calvinism.
1998 Van Winkle The Dangers of Arminianism (on reformedtruth.co.za) : Since we never were able to hold to a perfect five point Arminian theology, we said to ourselves, “I can’t be an Arminian.” We said, “Since I have never been able to hold a perfect five point Calvinistic platform, I can’t be a Calvinist either. I must be a Calminian or I must be an Arvinist.” 2002 baptistboard.com (11 Oct.) : “Are you a Calvinist that used to be an Arminian? Are you an Arminian that used to be a Calvinist? Have you ‘always’ been an Arminian? Have you ‘always’ been a Calvinist?” “What about those of us who are Calminians or Arvinists?” 2008 wadeburleson.org (14 Sep.) : Arminians, Arvinists, and some Calminians take issue with irresistible grace, but have no problem with irresistible sin. 2010 renewaldynamics.com (20 Apr.) : I honestly don’t know whether to consider myself a Calvinist or an Arminian. Perhaps I am a Calminian or an Arvinist. 2010 travelah.blogspot.com (30 Aug.) : For example, the debate is emphatically not between sovereignty and free will, as if Calvinist don’t believe in free will and Arminians don’t believe in divine sovereignty. Of course God says “yes” to both but not necessarily according to the Calvinists’ definition of, for example, sovereignty. Now to suggest that God would say “yes to both Calvinism and Arminianism,” this, again, reflects an anti-intellectual approach. As Roger Olson has shown over and over again, there can be no “Calminian” or “Arvinist” The two systems are mutually exclusive.
calarminian n. Also cal-arminian [Calvinist + Arminian] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Calvinism and Arminianism.
2000 Jackson Thy Strong Word: The Efficacy of the Word in the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions ch. 7 : Readers should not jump to the conclusion that the confessional position of Evangelicals in America is clear. A questionnaire from Wheaton College asked the reader to fill in such categories as Calvinist, Arminian, Cal-arminian, free will Baptist, Calvinist Baptist, pre-trib or mid-trib or post-trib millenniallist, and so forth. The errors of the Enthusiasts vary in their number and intensity, but they began with separating the Word from the Spirit. 2003 freerepublic.com (6 Jan.) : I was kind of laughing at the idea of a vast horde of former Roman Catholic Calvinists. They end up mostly in the AOG or another Wesleyan Arminian or calarminian Baptist church. 2008 teampyro.blogspot.com (10 Mar.) : I didn’t hear of the Cal/Arminian Divide until my old radio mentor Walter Martin mentioned that he was a Calvarminian, oh about twenty-five years ago. 2008 sounddoctrine.net (7 Sep.) : What might be said to those who suggest that true truth lies in a combination of Calvinism and Arminianism? Is there such a thing as a Cal-Arminian? 2011 ichabodthegloryhasdeparted.blogspot.com (13 Feb.) : There are Calvinist Baptists and Arminian Baptists. Some themselves Cal-Arminian, which is as confusing and contradictory as Wisconsin Lutheran. 2014 christianuniversalism.com (22 Apr.) : I’m sorry Bill but there is really no way to get around the fact that a Cal-Arminian, or what some call a 4-Point Calvinist, is in reality a Christian universalist. To believe that Christ has died for all while at the same time believing that He has the power to save all for whom He died points to nothing less than an ultimate global salvation. J.I. Packer, Piper, and many others have pointed this out over and over: A Calvinist that believes in a universal atonement must admit to a universal salvation in order to remain logical and consistent. 2009 pensamientosconfusos.wordpress.com (30 Jul.) : What? You mean incarnation isn’t a flower?! Ha ha. This was really funny. I want to be a young, emergent, restless, reformed, calarminian, complementgalitarian too! 2012 watchmanforjesus.blogspot.com (23 Jan.) : It is ironic that the common consensus only acknowledges two camps—Calvinist and Armininian—when in fact the most biblical stance is between the two extremes. I never did care for labels, but we do have to call it what it is. That would be called balanced. Maybe you could say you are Calarminian? Just joking! 2013 gracecentered.com (30 Jun.) : While I lean toward Calvinism, I must admit that I have had several people who I thought were really saved go by the wayside, however as the old saying goes it ain’t over till the fat lady sings, so they may someday return to the fold (I did!). I also can’t imagine that God is pleased with Christians that are disobedient to His revealed will. On the other hand there is a passage in 1 Corinthians that says God will take them home before they go too far. Some have said I’m a Cal-Arminian. 2013 mormondialogue.org (8 Jan.) : I am a Protestant raised in a Calvinist tradition and now leaning much more toward Arminianism (Cal-Arminian is my self-description, because I see strengths and weaknesses in both camps). 2014 christianuniversalism.com (22 Apr.) : There is really no way to get around the fact that a Cal-Arminian, or what some call a 4-point Calvinist, is in reality a Christian universalist. To believe that Christ has died for all while at the same time believing that He has the power to save all for whom He died points to nothing less than an ultimate global salvation. J.I. Packer, Piper, and many others have pointed this out over and over: A Calvinist that believes in a universal atonement must admit to a universal salvation in order to remain logical and consistent. 2014 Murrell Five Doctrines of Divine Grace (ebook) : What might be said to those who suggest that true truth lies in a combination of Calvinism and Arminianism? Is there such a thing as a Cal-Arminian?
calarminianism n. Also cal-arminianism [Calvinism + Arminianism] Any of various blendings of the doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism.
2009 christiantheology.wordpress.com (14 May) : “Did you hear about Pastor Tim?” “No, what happened?” “I hear he’s got Calarminianism!” “No!” “Yeah, he got it the other day when he tripped over The Complete Works of John Wesley while holding his page worn copy of Calvin’s Institutes.” 2011 tentmaker.org (7 Nov.) : Thank you Molly for that elaboration on Calvin! That’s something I am incapable of doing. I still have all his works but grew weary of him many years ago and gravitated to a more “Cal-Arminianism” (of course no such thing). 2013 mormondialogue.org (8 Aug.) : As I overlay this theological background with my personal experience at home and at church, I sense that I grew up with Cal-Arminianism, although I was raised in the Reformed (presumably Calvinist) tradition. And I suspect that that would be true for many, many Reformed Christians. 2013 baptistboard.com (24 Dec.) : “But what you cannot do is show me a non cal [=Calvinist] pastor who has tried to sneak into a historically cal church and tried to change it.” “Yeah, well, they’d sniff out his false teachings and attack anti-cal/arminianism in a heartbeat.”
calminian n. Also cal-minian [Calvinist + Arminian] Also calminean [alt. spelling of calminian] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Calvinism and Arminianism.
1990 Hanson What It Means to Be Free: A History of the Evangelical Free Church of America 194 : Even the key theological terms grace and law are absent. Whatever the personal preference, this is not seen as a matter of great importance. Some may even see themselves as Calminian with a moderate position. 1991 Hocking The Seven Laws of Christian Leadership: How to Inspire People to Follow When You Are Called to Lead 75 : We might say, “You’re either a Calvinist or an Arminian—which are you?” If the person answers, “Well I think I’m somewhere in between—like a Calminian!” then we who like things black or white will become critical and judgmental of this answer and probably accuse the person of being a “compromiser.” 1998 Van Winkle The Dangers of Arminianism (on reformedtruth.co.za) : Since we never were able to hold to a perfect five point Arminian theology, we said to ourselves, “I can’t be an Arminian.” We said, “Since I have never been able to hold a perfect five point Calvinistic platform, I can’t be a Calvinist either. I must be a Calminian or I must be an Arvinist.” 1999 Christianity Today 43/10 (6 Sep.) 90 : For some time at the beginning of my career as an evangelical theologian, I tried to exist as an irenic Arminian quietly and unobtrusively working in the largely Reformed world of mainstream evangelical theology. I met many fellow Arminians along the way who often preferred to call themselves “moderately Reformed” or “Calminians,” and gradually the realization dawned on me that to many—perhaps most—evangelical theologians outside of strictly Wesleyan or Pentecostal circles, Arminian is a code word for semi-Pelagian (the heresy of belief in human initiative in salvation) if not “latent humanism.” 2000 Moo The NIV Application Commentary: Romans 280 : The idea that we can be “Calminians,” combining Calvinism and Arminianism in one system, is attractive but irrational. I can logically be a Calvinist in one doctrine and Arminian in another; but I cannot be both with respect to the same doctrine. 2001 the-highway.com (19 May) : The difficulty in our present generation is with the so-called “Cal-minian.” He thinks a Calvinist is a person who believes in eternal security, and an Arminian is a person who believes you can be saved and lost. The Cal-minian is totally unaware that the issue in church history, as well as in the Scriptures, involves the will of man and the application of salvation not the will of God and the duration of salvation. The great gulf between Arminianism (free will) and Calvinism (free grace) is not whether you can be saved and then lost. That is a very minor point compared to the issue as understood by the Puritans and Reformers. 2002 Longenecker More Christianity: Finding the Fullness of the Faith 251 : My father summed up the impression that both the Calvinists and the Arminians were right by declaring that on this issue he took the “Calminian” position. The Calminian position is a good example of “more Christianity.” It seeks to find the truth in both extremes and hold them together. 2004 Hudson Thessalonians: Then and Now 31 : Does such an assertion make a person an Arminian, or, as some have facetiously remarked, a “Calminian”? 2005 quotidiangrace.blogspot.com (7 Aug.) : A friend of mine … was raised Free Methodist and fully understood herself as an Arminian. But as an adult she became an active Baptist. One day she commented to her pastor that she didn’t know if she was now a Calvinist or an Arminian. His response was that she was Calminian. 2006 baptistboard.com (9 Nov.) : The Calvinist/Arminian thought was to point more toward what is taught in the Bible than what the two main bodies of theology teach. The word calminean comes to mind, but it is still not quite appropriate. 2006 perilousrealm.net (18 Nov.) : “Calminians” (Olson’s term) or “Armalvinists” (a term I’ve also heard used) simply don’t exist, because there is no possible middle ground between the points that separate them. Election is conditional or unconditional; there’s nothing in between the two. Whether you like the labels or not, you’re one or the other. 2007 Sproul The Truth of the Cross 140 : There are a host of folks who call themselves four-point Calvinist because they can’t swallow the doctrine of limited atonement. Sometimes they say, “I’m not a Calvinist and I’m not an Arminian, I’m a Calminian.” I think that a four-point Calvinist is an Arminian. I say that for this reason: When I have talked to people who call themselves four-point Calvinists and have had the opportunity to discuss it with them, I have discovered that they were no-point Calvinists. They thought they believed in total depravity, in unconditional election, in irresistible grace, and in the perseverance of the saints, but they didn’t understand these points. 2008 wesleyanarminian.wordpress.com (20 Apr.) : [The website] Apologetics for Christians has lots of good audio discussion on Arminianism and Calvinism. They have a five part series on Arminianism (mostly dealing with the topic of if it’s possible to lose salvation or not—he says no), and a 10 part series on Calvinism. The site is run by Kelly and Theresa Powers from Winnipeg, Manitoba. They come from a Calvary Chapel and Christian Missionary Alliance background. Kelly describes himself as a “Calminian” who’s closer to Arminianism than Calvinism. After listening to him I would describe him as a 4-point Arminian who’s perhaps not comfortable with the title. 2008 baptiststandard.com (25 Apr.) : James Leo Garrett Jr., emeritus distinguished professor of theology at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, examined 10 Baptist theologians of the Baby Boomer generation during a plenary address at Howard Payne University’s Christian doctrines colloquy in Brownwood. Garrett identified three as “pronounced Calvinists”—John Piper, Thomas J. Nettles and Timothy George. He listed two—Donald A. Carson and Wayne Grudem—as “moderate Calvinists” and one—David Dockery—as “Calminian,” an amalgam of Calvinist and Arminian theology…. In his presentation at Howard Payne—a condensed version of a chapter from an upcoming book—he dealt most thoroughly with Piper and Nettles. 2008 Allen, Center for Theological Research “Calvinism”: A Review (white paper no. 25) (Nov.) 30 : [review of Ray Clenenden and Brad Waggoner, eds. Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue (2008):] The majority of Baptists have always been, to use Dr. Leo Garrett’s term, “Calminians.” 2008 community.beliefnet.com (6 Sep.) : There is a large evangelical contingent among Reformed Christians. I myself am an evangelical Presbyterian. However, it is a bit of a difficult fit, and requires one such as myself who is willing to be “Cal-minian” or a “2 point Calvinist.” It really cannot be squared with full-on, five-point, Dortian Calvinism. 2008 radongas.conceptdesign.com (8 Sep.) : The fact is, most self-proclaimed Calminians are in fact, Arminians with a once-saved-always-saved chaser (as if that heresy is even similar to what Calvinists believe), or so-called four-point Calvinists who deny the dreaded L word [=limited atonement]. 2008 wadeburleson.org (14 Sep.) : Arminians, Arvinists, and some Calminians take issue with irresistible grace, but have no problem with irresistible sin. 2008 benwitherington.blogspot.com (Nov.) : Having studied at a seminary in a Baptist denomination, I have encountered both sides of this issue and in my own understanding, from personal study of scripture, have come to see myself as a Cal-Minian, probably a 1–2 point Calvinist. 2009 evangelicalarminians.org (29 Jan.) : “Calminians” are basically people trying to sit on the wall, not really understanding the context of the debate. They have overly simplified understandings of Arminianism and Calvinism that project them as opposites. Seeing them as opposites, they view their own position as somewhere in the middle. But when you actually look at the true defining wall of Arminianism and Calvinism, they always fall on one side or the other. 2009 indefenseofthegospel.blogspot.com (25 May) : We all need to recognize that the on-going debate over Calvinism and Arminianism is never going to be settled this side of Heaven. I have one friend who likes to call himself a “Calminian.” I chuckle at that. 2009 Olson Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities 61,67 : It is not unusual in evangelical circles to hear sincere and well-intentioned Christians declare themselves “Calminians,” a combination of Calvinist and Arminian. I have encountered this claim numerous times when presenting Calvinism and Arminianism to classes in colleges, seminaries or churches…. Consistent classical Arminians agree with [W. Robert] Godfrey that their system of belief is incompatible with Calvinism and would argue that most people who declare themselves Calminians or 75 percent Calvinist and 25 percent Arminian are actually Arminian! 2009 Craig Blomberg on koinoniablog.net (20 Jul.) : “Why I’m a ‘Calminian’” by Craig Blomberg. “You intended it to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). If either pure five-point Calvinism or its consistent repudiation in pure Arminianism were completely faithful to Scripture, it is doubtful that so many Bible-believing, godly evangelical Christians would have wound up on each side. The former wants to preserve the Scriptural emphasis on divine sovereignty; the latter, on human freedom and responsibility. Both are right in what they want and correct to observe in Scripture the theme that they stress. Both also regularly create caricatures of what the other side believes. Straw men are always the easiest to knock down. But can progress be made in affirming the legitimate, biblical emphases of both sides? When one discovers a position that Alvin Plantinga and William Lane Craig, two of the world’s leading evangelical philosophers, both endorse, even though the former is Calvinist and the latter is Arminian, it is worth taking a closer look. The position is often called middle knowledge. Simply put, middle knowledge affirms, with classic Arminianism, that God’s predestining activity is based on his foreknowledge of what all humans would do in all possible situations that they could find themselves in. But it also observes that God’s omniscience is so great that it is not limited just to what all actually created being would do but to what all possibly created beings would do in all possible situations. Because God creates only a finite number of persons between the beginning of the universe and Christ’s return, his sovereign choice is preserved, because he must choose to create some beings and not others. Thus, with classic Calvinism, his sovereign, elective freedom is preserved…. It is what some have called Calminianism. 2009 gentlewisdom.org (20 Jul.) : Craig Blomberg has just posted at the Koinonia blog a simple post explaining Why I’m a “Calminian”—that is, why he holds a mediating position between Calvinism and Arminianism, upholding both God’s sovereignty in election and human freedom and responsibility. To summarise and even further simplify his position, also known as “Middle Knowledge,” God knows what choices would be made in every circumstance by each person whom he creates or could create. God sovereignly chooses which people he creates, knowing in advance which of them will turn to him and which will reject him. But each person makes their own free choice which way to go, and has to take full responsibility for that choice. I too would want to consider myself a “Calminian.” 2009 Craig Blomberg on heissufficient.com (21 Jul.) : While not in the theological dictionaries, Calminian is a term many people have used for a long time. 2009 bbhchurchconnection.blogspot.com (21 Jul.) : Dr. Craig Blomberg of Denver Seminary has a small post on Koinonia explaining why he is a “Calminian.” What’s a Calminian? Basically it’s a term to describe a proposed third way between the Calvinist and Arminian systems of theology with predestination as a primary focus. For Dr. Blomberg this involves a doctrine called “middle knowledge.” 2009 newepistles.blogspot.com (22 Jul.) : Craig Blomberg has just posted on the Koinonia blog about the middle position between Calvinism and Arminianism, which he labels as “Calminian.” I am not sure about this position. When it comes down to it, it seems to end up sounding like a form of Arminianism to me. The scriptures he refers to are also used to defend the 5-points of Calvinism. I don’t claim to be an expert in the Calvinist-Arminian debate and I would like to do further study in this middle position he describes as Molinism (named after the medieval Jesuit priest Molina). 2009 parablemania.ektopos.com (25 Jul.) : Craig Blomberg recently announced that he’s a Calminian, which turns out to be a Molinist with a creative new name. Molinism is a mediating position between open theism and Calvinism. 2010 pastormattblog.com (12 Jan.) : I am a committed evangelical “Calminean” but I will eagerly learn from wise teachers. 2010 renewaldynamics.com (20 Apr.) : I honestly don’t know whether to consider myself a Calvinist or an Arminian. Perhaps I am a Calminian or an Arvinist. 2010 amazon.com (3 Oct.) : Many believers, however, are not comfortable with a fully Reformed soteriology. Neither are they willing to accept the alternative Arminian position. Variously called “four-pointers,” “moderate Calvinists,” “Calminians,” and other less-repeatable epithets, they seek to reconcile two equally Scriptural truths: the free-will of man and the sovereignty of God. 2010 thesimplepastor.co.uk (6 Dec.) : Most of the time I’m with Craig Blomberg whose term Calminian I prefer to Warnock’s cumbersome Arminocalvinist. 2011 reasons.org (1 Mar.) : When it came to the classic Calvinism-Arminianism theological debate, [Walter] Martin was quite fond of referring to himself as a “Cal-minian.” As long as I knew him, he was always very critical of the traditional Reformed theological system. 2011 thecenterfortheologicalstudies.blogspot.com (30 Jun.) : When it comes to soteriological systems, particularly the theologies of (1) Calvinism, )2) Arminianism, and )3) Molinism, or )4) some “Calminian” combination of 4 points Arminian and 1 point Calvinist, or 4 points Calvinist, 1 point Arminian, etc., the principle of excluded middle can apply. If two things are contradictory and only one can be right (because to affirm both leads to contradiction), then both cannot be right at the same time in the same way. 2011 Roger E. Olson on patheos.com (20 Oct.) : In a denomination as large and diverse as the SBC there should be plenty of room for both Calvinists and Arminians. Historically there has been. But many Calvinists are arguing that the SBC is “historically Calvinist.” Really? If you want to go back to the beginnings of the Convention in pre-Civil War days you’d find many of the founders were Calvinists who owned slaves! So if the SBC founders should be followed in their Calvinism, why not in their racism? In fact, the Baptist Faith and Message is worded intentionally to allow for both soteriologies. And probably the majority of SBC leaders throughout the last century have been so-called “Calminians”—a position I think is inconsistent but at least not full blown Calvinism. 2012 marccortez.com (14 Mar.) : I am a hard-core Calminian (or is that Arvinist?). I think both got parts right, and I hold the two in tension. I’m probably a three or four point Calvinist with a little Arminius thrown in. 2012 Sayers Chosen or Not? A Layman’s Study of Biblical Election and Assurance 8 : Our “non-Calvinist” has been called Arminian, or the more derogative Semi-Pelagian. Sometimes their view is called a moderate or hybrid kind of Calvinism. Many on this side of the debate will lightheartedly call themselves “Calminians.” 2012 Stanglin, McCall Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace 203 : Roger Olson recognizes the depth of the differences when he emphasizes the impossibility of a hybrid between Arminianism and Calvinism. Those who claim to be “Calminians” do not appear to recognize the incommensurability of these systems, and if they did, we believe that they would probably discover themselves to be Arminian. There is not middle ground between (1) resistible and irresistible operations of grace; (2) conditional and unconditional predestination; and (3) God’s saving intention for creation and his use of it as a means for destruction. 2012 Southwestern J. of Theology 55/1 (Fall) 162n7 : “Calminians”—a term [David] Allen draws from James Leo Garrett. 2013 Thorsen Calvin vs. Wesley: Bringing Belief in Line with Practice 126 : Some people simply do not care, or do not feel a need to decide about such matters. Sometimes people with whom I speak call themselves “Calminian,” stating that they like both Calvinist and Arminian beliefs. Usually such a comment is made in order to be humorous or to avoid theological discussion. 2014 credendum.net (21 Jul.) : From even a cursory reading of Geisler’s Chosen but Free, I think anyone could conclude that his views were a confused and poor attempt at maintaining the fanciful Calminian position—a blending of opposing Calvinist and Arminian soteriological aspects—which is just about as viable as is the existence of unicorns. 2015 Mitchell, Sanderson, Thornbury, eds. Convictional Civility: Engaging the Culture in the 21st Century: Essays in Honor of David S. Dockery 9 : Dockery did not hold to a strict sola Scriptura position inasmuch as he emphasized the role of confessions of faith as “secondary or tertiary.” Furthermore he was confident Baptists needed to retain and reaffirm the patristic orthodoxy relative to the Trinity and Christology. On soteriology he has espoused a Calminian or Amyraldian position between Calvinism and Arminianism—which Roger E. Olson has declared impossible. He holds to unlimited atonement and affirms that “the convicting grace of God’s Spirit can be rejected.” “God is the sole efficient cause of salvation,” but “there are also secondary and tertiary causes.” Faith is both “altogether brought about by God” and “altogether the human response.”
calminianism n. Also cal-minianism [Calvinism + Arminianism] Any of various blendings of the doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism.
1981 Standard Bearer: A Reformed Semi-monthly Mag. 58/6 (15 Dec.) 127 : Thus it is with Semi-Arminianism. Is it Calvinism? Is it Arminianism? Or is it Calminianism? 1996 dtl.org (Jan.) : The Evangelical who, under the pretext of “Calminianism,” tries to believe in the Arminian freewill theory and an inerrant Bible, is in danger of becoming a “double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:7). 1996 Wright No Place for Sovereignty: What’s Wrong with Freewill Theism 155 : If Calvinists are right to believe that God so keeps the regenerate believer that he or she cannot be lost, then there can be no verses of the Bible that teach otherwise. It will not do for people who have not given serious attention to this subject to imagine that they can safely refer to something called “Calminianism.” 1999 Christianity Today 43/10 (6 Sep.) 92 : I am firmly convinced that Arminian and Reformed evangelicals need one another even though I have no hope of a hybrid or consistent middle ground emerging between them. If that were possible, it would have happened long ago. Brilliant, biblically committed minds have worked on these issues of interpretation for hundreds of years without arriving at such a consistent combination. It is all right with me if some evangelicals wish to affirm something called “Calminianism”—which I can only recognize as a paradoxical and therefore unstable theological compound. 2001 the-highway.com (19 May) : The difficulty in our present generation is with the so-called “Cal-minian.” He thinks a Calvinist is a person who believes in eternal security, and an Arminian is a person who believes you can be saved and lost. The Cal-minian is totally unaware that the issue in church history, as well as in the Scriptures, involves the will of man and the application of salvation not the will of God and the duration of salvation. The great gulf between Arminianism (free will) and Calvinism (free grace) is not whether you can be saved and then lost. That is a very minor point compared to the issue as understood by the Puritans and Reformers. The center of the issue is, “Who actually effects redemption?” It is not just a question of who finishes it once it has been started, but whose power applies the gospel at the beginning of conversion as well as who carries it on to the end. The Bible asserts that a sinner’s need is far greater before conversion—he is unable to obey, repent, or believe. Cal-minianism says, “No, the sinner has all the power he needs to become a Christian, but only God’s power can keep him after he has ‘decided to accept Christ’ and become a Christian.” The sinner has the will power to get up of the grave yard of sin and come to Christ, but only God can keep him from falling after he has “taken the first step.” 2003 freerepublic.com (3 Feb.) : With regard to what you’ve indicated in earlier posts—and also what I’ve inferred from your tag line—I may be wrong, but you seem to hold to a doctrinal stance that is called “Amyraldianism,” which is an attempt to marry Calvinism and Arminianism together (what some jokingly call “Calminianism”). 2006 Truett J. of Church and Mission 4/2 (Fall) 11 : Calvinism and Arminianism find themselves at odds on the question of predestination. In Calvinism, Olson explains, predestination is understood as an eternal decree without regards to human response. With Arminianism, predestination takes into account the free belief of the responder. Thus, God predestines those who would believe to salvation. Issues surrounding freedom of the will cause any attempt at a “Calminianism” to break down similarly: Calvinists tend towards monergism—that God, as the cause of all that is, is the cause of salvation, with human will playing no role in election; Arminians, on the other hand, tend toward synergism—that salvation involves both the will of God and the responding will of humanity. 2007 Low Clearing the Fog from the Pulpit to the Pew: Effective Expository Preaching 137,138 : Sometimes you may have to coin new words to emphasize your idea. Look out for creative words. For example … Calminianism (Calvinism and Arminianism). 2008 pointnine.wordpress.com (6 Aug.) : “Calminianism.” Goodness gracious. I definitely appreciate the spirit of unity that I presume lies behind such a label—we all need to yearn for Christian unity far more than we do now (another reason why heaven will be wonderful!). But this doesn’t embrace unity. It basically says “I’ll keep the P, and maybe the T.” This is not Calvinism. No “U” equals no Calvinism. You know what it is? You guessed it. Arminianism. 2009 Olson Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities 61,67,77 : Often students ask, Why can’t there be a middle ground between Calvinism and Arminianism? To which someone replies, There is—it’s called Calminianism! … Nevertheless, in spite of the stark contrast between Calvinism and Arminianism on certain fundamental points of doctrine, many people try to force them into a hybrid: Calminianism. Classical Calvinists and classical Arminians agree that this is not possible…. Ultimately every Calminianism turns out either to be a disguised form of Calvinism or Arminianism. 2009 Garrett Baptist Theology: A Four-Century Study xiv : Calminianism, Any set of doctrines that involves a mixing of the teachings of the Synod of Dort and the teachings of the Arminians, or Remonstrants. 2009 heissufficient.com (20 Jul.) : In a recent post on Koinonia Craig Blomberg lays out a mediating position between traditional Calvinism and Arminianism, which he slyly calls “Calminianism”—otherwise known as “middle knowledge.” 2009 wadeburleson.org (6 Sep.) : A new position that all Southern Baptists can agree to: 10 Point Calminianism. 2011 Olson Against Calvinism: Rescuing God’s Reputation from Radical Reformed Theology 10 : Roger [Olson] and I [=Michael Horton] agree that there has often been more heat than light in contemporary Calvinist-Arminian debates. Neither of us succumbs to the illusion that both represent partial truths that can be balanced in a noncontradictory and harmonious blend. There is no such thing as “Cal-minianism.” Where these classic positions clash, Roger is a full-blooded Arminian and I am just as convinced that Scripture teaches what is rather infelicitously nicknamed “Calvinism.” 2012 standupforthetruth.com (15 Feb.) : [podcast title:] “Calminianism, Armalvanism, or Somewhere in the Middle?” 2012 therecoveringlegalist.com (27 May) : As far as the Calvinism/Arminian debate, my wife and I recently discovered Molinism, or as a pastor friend calls it “Calminian Theology.” It is the closest to our beliefs (like you said, both of those are wrong and right, and Molinism at the very least seems to come close to finding the right balance), and it sounds really cool when explained by a fun pastor who calls it “Calminianism.” 2012 christianchat.com (20 Jun.) : There is no real middle ground or “calminianism” as some call it. If you do not believe in all the five points of calvinism and the major tenets of classical systematical calvinism, then you are not calvinist. 2012 blogos.org (3 Oct.) : The term “Calminianism” is a combination of the terms “Calvinism” and “Arminianism.” It is a term that has been invented to describe the many different viewpoints that fall somewhere between full Calvinism and full Arminianism. Interestingly, likely a majority of Christians could be described as Calminians. If you divide them by the points, between 5-point Calvinists and 5-point Arminians, there are 4-point Calvinists, 2-point Calvinists, 4-point Arminians, 3-point Arminians, etc. 2013 jasonlisle.com (29 Apr.) : Anyone who is familiar with Calvinism or Arminianism would read the description of my former beliefs and realize that it does not quite fall into the category of Calvinism or Arminianism. Some Christians have humorously dubbed this position, “Calminianism.” Most Baptists fall into this category and some well known defenders of the Christian faith like Walter Martin fell into this category as well. 2014 pastormattblog.com (8 Sep.) : Lord willing, I am preaching this next weekend on predestination. One of the possibilities I am presenting to my congregation is Molinism or, what we call at our church “Calminianism.” What the heck is that? Calminianism is an attempt to harmonize God’s sovereignty, predestination and free will. Is this really a problem? 2014 patheos.com (22 Oct.) : The debate between Calvinism and Arminianism won’t ever be solved by affirming one side in a thoroughgoing way; there is just too much biblical support for both sides. Although purists in both camps lampoon what is sometimes called “Calminianism,” I am absolutely convinced that the only way forward lies in working on syntheses of the best of both systems.
¹calvarminian adj. Also calv-arminian [Calvinist + Arminian] Including doctrines from Calvinism and Arminianism.
1884 De Bonsat The Pilgrim Faith Maintained: An Exhibit of the Calvarminian Doctrine as Found in Vital Theology 79,80,101 : Here is the grand battle-ground of Old Calvinism on the one side, and old Arminianism on the other…. The error of each of these theologies was, not so much in what it asserted, as in what it denied; the one denying “election of grace,” the other denying the fulness of “whosoever will.” The Arminian error was greater and more evil than the Calvinist error…. Since both theologies had an error in them, mankind have pretty unanimously agreed to shelve them both as systems; and the Evangelical Church of all denominations has substituted in their place the new Calvinism; which, as uniting an element from each of those old views, may better be called the Calvarminian Doctrine. This we proceed to elucidate…. Let us hold forth true Calvarminian doctrine, containing both Calvinistic and Arminian truth. 1884 Sunday School Times 26/35 (6 Sep.) 570 : The author of The Pilgrim Faith Maintained … describes his book in a sub-title as “an exhibit of the Calvarminian doctrine as found in vital theology. The author, who signs himself “Faber de Bonsat, P.P.P.,” the final triplicate of capitals meaning “Pastor of a Pilgrim People,” is a Congregationalist who is dissatisfied with the new creed, and who thinks that the “pilgrim faith” can be maintained by a recognition in it of the Calvinistic and Arminian elements of doctrine. The Calvarminian doctrine is, therefore, a blending of the vital elements of both the Calvinistic and the Arminian systems. 1885 Christian Union 31/5 (29 Jan.) 5 : [review of Faber De Bonsat’s The Pilgrim Faith Maintained: An Exhibit of the Calvarminian Doctrine as Found in Vital Theology (1884):] Boston, doubtless, is in some sense an “Old Curiosity Shop”; but there is a side to it which may properly be described as a New Curiosity Shop. Here is a book which proposes a new departure in theology by the way of the “Calvarminian Doctrine,” and this way of return is found in “vital theology.” The author is given as “Faber De Bonsat, P.P.P.,” which are abbreviations for Pastor of Pilgrim People. The book is expected to make a sensation, although the sensation has not begun…. It assails the “New Creed” lustily, and then proposes as its mission, to “make repairs,” as the New England Fathers have done continually, on the “Old Standards.” Its old-new doctrine is is “Calvarminian.” Adam, in the fall, lost the “divine nature, or Spirit of God.” The second birth only can restore this lost nature. Here the Calvinistic doctrine of election comes in: God elects to save a given number of the race, and he further elects to save as many outside of the first given number as, of their own free will, shall choose to be saved, which grafts Arminianism into Calvinism, and gives, as a vital theology, Calvarminianism. 1896 Goodenow Bible Chronology: Carefully Unfolded, to Which Is Added a Restoration of Josephus 385 : The orthodox faith of Christendom, in a moderately Calvinistic (or rather Calv-arminian) form, commends itself to all minds as the Bible Truth. 2008 gracecentered.com (7 Oct.) : Most Baptists are Calvarminian, though there seems to be an uptick in Reformation theology among Baptists.
²calvarminian n. Also calv-arminian [Calvinist + Arminian] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Calvinism and Arminianism.
2008 teampyro.blogspot.com (10 Mar.) : I didn’t hear of the Cal/Arminian Divide until my old radio mentor Walter Martin mentioned that he was a Calvarminian, oh about twenty-five years ago. 2008 bibleforums.org (3 Aug.) : I guess I’m a BaptoCostal or CalvArminian or something like that. 2010 bibleforums.org (4 Nov.) : You need to know that I am not a Calvinist. I’m more of a Calvarminian. 2013 daviddflowers.com (9 Jan.) : Most of the people I know are sort of Calv/Arminian, which you can only ever be … if you don’t understand the views and/or don’t think much about them.
calvarminianism n. Also calv-arminianism [Calvinism + Arminianism] Any of various blendings of the doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism.
1884 Sunday School Times 26/35 (6 Sep.) 570 : If Latin derivation is worth anything Calvarminianism ought to be “bald Arminianism.” This, however, is obviously not what is meant by the author of The Pilgrim Faith Maintained when he describes his book in a sub-title as “an exhibit of the Calvarminian doctrine as found in vital theology.” The author, who signs himself “Faber de Bonsat, P.P.P.,” the final triplicate of capitals meaning “Pastor of a Pilgrim People,” is a Congregationalist who is dissatisfied with the new creed, and who thinks that the “pilgrim faith” can be maintained by a recognition in it of the Calvinistic and Arminian elements of doctrine. 1885 Christian Union 31/5 (29 Jan.) 5 : [review of Faber De Bonsat’s The Pilgrim Faith Maintained: An Exhibit of the Calvarminian Doctrine as Found in Vital Theology (1884):] Adam, in the fall, lost the “divine nature, or Spirit of God.” The second birth only can restore this lost nature. Here the Calvinistic doctrine of election comes in: God elects to save a given number of the race, and he further elects to save as many outside of the first given number as, of their own free will, shall choose to be saved, which grafts Arminianism into Calvinism, and gives, as a vital theology, Calvarminianism; and this will put an end to all theological mending. Calvarminianism claims, also, to “throw light on eschatology” by showing that the doom of the non-elect, or the non-willing to elect themselves, is simply a “perishing” of “glory,” and not “endless misery.” 1998 Slagle Absolute Assurance in Jesus Christ: Four Views of the Salvation of Our God 11 as quoted in Holy “Damned Nonsense: An Argument for Universalism, Consisting of a Critique of All the Alternatives to It” (2005) (B.A. thesis, Trinity College, Bristol) 9 : CalvArminianism … We are saved only by God’s grace. Yet in the end our ultimate salvation probably depends, to some significant degree, on the success of our own effort (but to what degree is uncertain!). 2000 tentmaker.org (18 Aug.) : “The Good News of Once Saved, Nearly Always Saved (Calv-Arminianism).” This muddled mixture between Calvinism and Arminianism takes so many forms that books could be (and have been!) written to describe them. This understanding of the gospel is the kindest, yet most inherently self-contradictory, of views generally held. Calv-Arminianism takes on the more attractive (and less despair-inducing) features of each system and tries to blend them together. 2006 tentmaker.org (4 Oct.) : Slagle talks about a concept that he calls “CalvArminianism,” the attempt to combine Calvinism and Arminianism by taking only the nice bits from each. That is precisely what I—and possibly my denomination as a whole—had done. Indeed, just the day before reading about the “four views of salvation” (Calvinism, Arminianism, CalvArminianism and universalism) for the first time, I had said to a friend during a theological discussion that I was a Calvinist for myself but an Arminian for everyone else. 2008 teampyro.blogspot.com (10 Mar.) : I didn’t hear of the Cal/Arminian Divide until my old radio mentor Walter Martin mentioned that he was a Calvarminian about twenty-five years ago, and it wasn’t until about five years ago or so that I came to a moment of crisis in my theology when I found my self disputing the omniscience of God defending free-will. I disagree with Walter now, and I trust that he knows better. 2011 puritanboard.com (26 May) : About a year ago, my mother told me that the pastor at her church (Christ Wesleyan Church) teaches a “calvarminianism” and that I should come and listen…. I laughed at her. But when she asked why I was laughing, I told her it was because “Calvinism” and “Arminianism” cannot be reconciled. 2012 theologicalsushi.blogspot.com (25 Feb.) : If ever there was a detour on the straight and narrow path to the kingdom of God, it is the mud pit of Calvarminianism.
calvininian n. [Calvinist + Arminian] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Calvinism and Arminianism.
Note that the term calvininian is sometimes used, not as a blended-denomination term, but as a non-Christianese adjective meaning “having to do with John Calvin or with Calvinistic doctrines.”
2002 christianguitar.org (8 Jul.) : I certainly do not believe that God would choose some to be saved and some to be condemned, but I do believe that everything is predestined. What exactly would you call me? A calvininian? Perhaps an armalvinist? 2004 freerepublic.com (8 Aug.) : I understand exactly where you’re coming from, but there are only two beliefs. You can believe that man makes a decision to accept God (to whatever degree that is). This is Arminianism. Or you can believe that God draws and chooses men. This is Calvinism…. Perhaps for the time being we should call you a Calvininian? 2005 christianforums.com (19 Jul.) : I myself am Calvininian (or is it Armininist?). 2009 baptistboard.com (27 Apr.) : “I did not realize if you are not one then you had to be the other.” “I suppose you could be a Calvininian or an Arminivinist.”
calvminian n. [Calvinist + Arminian] Also calvminean [alt. spelling of calvminian] A Christian who identifies with aspects of Calvinism and Arminianism.
2001 studybibleforum.com (7 Nov.) : Is there middle ground? Calvinism equals all things. Arminianism equals some things. Calvminian equals most things. 2003 Burke Making Sense of Church: Eavesdropping on Emerging Conversations About God, Community, and Culture 134 : While the modern world would demand that one profess either Calvinism or Arminianism, the postmodern world seems to be able to accommodate bizarre new creations. One can be a Calvinist in the present reality and not spell anything. One can be a Calvminian or even a Presbycostal. 2004 dir.groups.yahoo.com (26 Aug.) : As I have said before, I’m about a 3–3.5 point Calvinist (so I’m a Calvminian). 2007 hottubreligion.wordpress.com (13 Jul.) : Our congregation consists of both Calvinists and Arminiains. Pastor is expected to preach that Christ died for the Elect and for everybody. We are called “Calvminians.” 2011 addiezierman.com (28 Sep.) : I was just wondering if a closet bapticostal, calviminean, reformlican, presbygelical, middle-aged boomer-wanna-be-millennial brother could weigh in with golden nuggets of eternal truth from on high?
calvminianism n. [Calvinism + Arminianism] Any of various blendings of the doctrines of Calvinism and Arminianism.
2010 milesofmercy.blogspot.com (8 Nov.) : The problem with the Calvinist doctrine is that it has the ability to take out all personal accountability for sin…. Now let me introduce my doctrine. The doctrine of “Perfect in Love,” or Calvminianism. 2012 evangelicaluniversalist.com (15 Apr.) : There is the hybrid known sometimes as Calvminianism. 2013 mikeerich.blogspot.com (18 Jun.) : It is always hard to come to the proper balance of God’s sovereignty, human sinfulness and human responsibility. But if this be Calvminianism, make the most of it.