Is It Possible to Be an Arminian Christian Hedonist?
The following is an edited transcript of the audio.
Is it possible to be an Arminian Christian hedonist?
Christian hedonism is a banner that I'm not real eager to have preserved as a movement with a name on it, because names are ambiguous and you can't tell what people believe when they just give you a name. So if somebody said to me, "Hi, I'm a Christian hedonist," I wouldn't know what to think. I would ask them some questions to draw them out.
What I mean by the term is that God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him. It is learning the genius of God's creation to make himself supreme while satisfying us in that supremacy, so that the best of both worlds—my happiness and his glory—do not compete. Because my happiness is in his glory, and being in his glory makes his glory look really glorious.
Now, the only reason I would say an Arminian would have a hard time with that is because we're not seeing the glory of God exactly the same. Arminians love the glory of God, and they want to glorify God; but we see wherein that glory consists differently.
So structurally the answer is, yes, an Arminian can be a Christian hedonist. I would just say that they're going to be lamed a little bit—or a lot, depending on how careful they think.
Because I think God's glory consists very much in his sovereign grace to conquer my fallen rebellious dead sinful heart, and irresistibly compel me and bring me into the kingdom. Whereas an Arminian believes that God overcomes my original sin, makes me able to choose, and I then cast the deciding vote.
I don't think that's a distortion of the way it really works in Arminianism: that is, that sovereign grace is necessary for everybody, and it conquers the deadness and inability of the human heart and sets a person in the position where, as they act with their will to believe, then grace plus their will saves them.
Now I don't think that is a faithful, biblical rendering of the glory of God in my salvation; and therefore, I don't think the structural "yes" to this question is a practical "yes" to this question. In other words, yes, there can be Christian hedonists who are Arminians, but they won't flourish to the degree that they should as Christian hedonists because they won't see the glory as fully as I wish they would.
© Desiring God Foundation. Distribution Guidelines
Share the Joy! You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in physical form, in its entirety or in unaltered excerpts, as long as you do not charge a fee. For posting online, please use only unaltered excerpts (not the content in its entirety) and provide a hyperlink to this page. For videos, please embed from the original source. Any exceptions to the above must be approved by Desiring God.
Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By John Piper. © Desiring God Foundation. Website: desiringGod.org