By Wyatt Graham
R. K. McGregor wrote No Place for Sovereignty in 1996, launching a detailed critique of Freewill Theism. In place of Freewill Theism, Wright proposes a reformed model of God’s sovereignty over human freedom. Following the long tradition of Reformed Theology, Wright holds to a theology of God’s sovereignty derived from Scripture and articulated by theologians throughout church history, including those at the Synod of Dort (1618–19). It was at Dort where five points were formulated in response to the remonstration of the Arminians, who held to Freewill Theism. Hence, Wright’s book in a very real way revisits this seventeenth century debate.
Wright argues that Freewill Theism is tantamount to humanism. In one vivid example, he likens Freewill Theism to a computer virus that slowly invades and destroys a system (228–9). He develops his argument over eleven chapters. The first third of the book explains the historical background to the freewill debate. The middle third exposits the five points of Calvinism, or TULIP: Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the saints. The final third deals with key questions between Calvinists and Arminians.
Like Wright before them, Daniel Montgomery and Timothy Paul Jones have revisited the debate between freewill theists and proponents of God’s absolute sovereignty. Yet unlike Wright who argues against an opponent (Arminians), Montgomery and Jones argue a positive case for the doctrines of grace. In Chapter two of PROOF, Montgomery and Jones make the biblical argument for God’s electing grace of his chosen people. They conclude that Jesus died for his bride, approximating Wright’s doctrine of Limited Atonement.
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