Welch President Matt Pinson Publishes “Arminian and Baptist”

On June 2, Randall House Publications published a new book by Welch College president Matt Pinson entitled Arminian and Baptist: Explorations in a Theological Tradition.

In Arminian and Baptist, President Pinson presents a collection of historical-theological essays from the vantage point of a variety of Arminianism sometimes called “Reformed Arminianism.” The book describes the contours of the theology of seventeenth-century English General Baptists Thomas Helwys and Thomas Grantham, probing their kinship with the thought of Jacobus Arminius. It also analyzes their divergence from other Arminians such as John Smyth, John Goodwin, and John Wesley. Unlike these latter thinkers, Helwys and Grantham emphasized Reformed understandings of the meaning of sin and salvation. This is seen most clearly in their doctrines of total depravity, penal substitutionary atonement, the imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ, and progressive sanctification.

This unique brand of Arminianism produced a different way of looking at perseverance and apostasy than mainstream Arminianism. It emphasizes perseverance by grace alone through faith alone rather than the maintenance of a state of grace through works and penitence. As Robert E. Picirilli remarks, “Anyone who has the slightest interest in understanding a thoroughly evangelical Arminianism, and seeing it in the context of its Reformation roots, will want to read this book.”

Pinson said, “Over the past couple of decades I have written a number of essays on Reformed Arminianism and how Arminian Baptists may locate themselves within the Christian tradition. Increasingly, with the resurgence of interest in Arminianism, I have had many requests for this material, some of which has never appeared in published form but which I have referred to in various published writings. Many have suggested that I collect them in one volume for ease of reference and to make them more accessible and available to a new audience. This book is the result of my decision to take their advice.”

Below are some recommendations of Arminian and Baptist:

“What a breath of fresh air Matt Pinson has been to me. While being enriched by and appreciative of the heritage of those referred to as Reformed theologians, I could never buy into the thoroughgoing Calvinistic paradigm. Pinson has shown that it is possible to harness the rich heritage of Reformed Theology without jettisoning a balanced and biblically grounded Arminianism.”

—Ajith Fernando, Teaching Director and former President, Youth for Christ, Sri Lanka

“I highly recommend this book. . . . Most Arminians will encounter some surprises here. I also recommend it to Calvinists. Our first obligation to those with whom we disagree is to find out what they are actually saying. If this happens, Arminianism will be given a new face in the theological world.”

—F. Leroy Forlines, Professor Emeritus and former Dean of Students, Welch College

“. . . a compelling account of an Arminianism that is at once Reformed, classical, and evangelical. Some Calvinists will find here a set of first cousins they never knew they had, and some Arminians will discover a sturdier faith that comes within ‘the hair’s breadth’ of difference Mr. Wesley talked about.”

—Timothy George, founding dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University and general editor of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture

“I thank God for the resurgence of grace-oriented, gospel-focused Arminianism represented in this book. This is an Arminianism with a deep sense of radical human depravity, the sovereign initiative of God, penal substitutionary atonement, and the imputation of the active and passive obedience of Christ to the believer. We may sometimes disagree on the ‘how’ and the ‘when’ of salvation, but we agree on the ‘what’ and the ‘Who.’”

—Russell Moore, President, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Southern Baptist Convention

“I enthusiastically recommend this book. . . . These essays will answer the reader’s questions about the Arminianism that is part of the tradition of those of us whose heritage lies in the English General Baptists of the seventeenth century. . . . Kudos to Pinson and to Randall House for bringing them to us in this format.”

—Robert E. Picirilli, Professor Emeritus and former Academic Dean, Welch College

“. . . a timely, thoughtful, and thorough presentation of the Arminian Baptist theological tradition . . . a significant contribution to perpetuating, persevering, and promoting the theological traditions of Free Will Baptists. They as well as others will profit greatly by reading this book.”

—Melvin L. Worthington, Executive Secretary Emeritus, National Association of Free Will Baptists

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