If a plant grows with shallow roots, the storms of a season will wither away and uproot it; like a house built on sand, a poor foundation will doom its fate. But this isn’t a book on botany, nor on architecture; foundations, good roots, are essential to thought structures as well as material structures. In theology, a bad foundation will produce results as catastrophic as bad roots or shifting sand. How we think about God and His work in the world will profoundly affect how we live and work out our Christian faith. This book evolved from the conviction that a prominent theological system rests on a fragile foundation. It is written as a small contribution towards refounding our understanding of God’s relationship with the world and our salvation on His Word.
The theology in question is Arminianism; the foundation is prevenient grace. Deep within Evangelical Arminianism lies the essential doctrine that God has acted in the life of all human beings, giving them enabling grace enough to respond or reject His offer of salvation. The contention of this book is that this doctrine has no biblical grounds and is rationally unfounded and that Arminianism itself stands or falls on this doctrine.
In order to establish the necessary groundwork for analyzing prevenient grace, I present in the first chapter a biblical theology and then systematic synthesis of the doctrine of total depravity. Then, after defining the doctrine of prevenient grace in Chapter 2, I consider every available argument in favour of prevenient grace, beginning with the biblical texts used to defend it in Chapter 3 and then the philosophical and theological arguments in Chapters 4 and 5. With the arguments for the doctrine considered, I then present theological, philosophical, and biblical arguments against the doctrine in Chapters 6-8. The weight of this offensive critique lies in the presentation of the case for the doctrines of unconditional election and the effectual call in Chapters 7 & 8.
The desired audience for the book is undergraduate students, lay theologians, and pastors, but the argument and analysis within will make it useful to the graduate student and scholar. To make it accessible to those just entering the debate over God’s sovereignty in salvation, frequent use is made of in-text and footnote definitions for technical terms, with a glossary of all obscure terms in the appendices.
Prevenient Grace is available on paperback or kindle through Amazon.