OK, this post by Triablogue is so absolutely ridiculous that I find it comical and wanted to share it. Here Steve Hays actually tries to claim that Arminianism is a form of Manichaeism . Wow. Just wow. For those not familiar with what Manichaeism is, let me say that this would be akin to Michael Moore calling Republicans Communist. Seriously.
Manichaeism was a deterministic theology that held that the whole of reality, especially the human being, was the product of a conflict with the spiritual forces of good and evil. All events, and all that is, are merely the manifestations of the various events that are occurring within the spiritual realm. Though it is very clear that Manichaeism is not Calvinism in the sense that it does not hold to a singular good monotheistic deity, it is also clear that it is much further from Arminianism, not only for the same reason, but also because it is deterministic.
This is also odd, since there is absolutely no historical link from Manichaeism to Armnianism, yet the historical link from Manichaeism to Calvinism is well documented. Calvinism is derived primarily from Augustinianism. Augustine was the one who first introduced deterministic ideas into the church. It is also important to note that Augustine was a Manichean before he was a Christian, and only turned back to more deterministic ways of thinking during his dealings with the heretic Pelagius.1
Now, Steve Hays's actual argument is because Arminians hold that there exist events and ends in the world which do not have their origin in God that there must therefore exist an equally powerful opposing force to God. Thus Arminianism must be dualistic, and must be Manichean. This 'argument' is so ridiculous that one must wonder how existence could have brought into being such a mind as to conceive it. All events and ends which occur only happen within the parameters established by God, and therefore, though there are events and ends which God did not cause, there are no events and ends that ever occur which are beyond God's power to control. This would be akin to saying that when my friend Chris's cat scratches the couch, it demonstrates that the cat is an equally opposing power to Chris. Yeah, that makes sense.
Now, I usually don't make posts like this. I'm a rather irenic fellow. But, I'm sorry, this bit is just so ridiculous that I just couldn't let it go. I mean, really? Really? This is what you are going to argue?
All I want to say is to all Calvinists out there, I have way too much respect for you to ever call the guys at Triablogue 'Calvinists'. Quite frankly, I don't know what to call them other than a group of sophistic "theologians" that need to have their armchairs reupholstered.
1It is important for me to say that I don't actually think that Augustine got his deterministic thoughts from Manichaeism . At least not directly anyway. I believe he got them from Plato (Augustine was also a classical Platonic rhetorian). However, it is important to note that many theologians have documented links between Manichaeism and some of Augustine's theology.