Birch on Sovereignty

From I, Jacob Arminius:

Arminius believes that God governs all things which can be governed in His universe, which is to say that nothing is excluded. To admit that God is sovereign is to confess that He is the Ruler of the universe: He who is “the blessed and only Sovereign [dynastēs], the King of Kings and Lord of Lords” (1 Tim. 6:15 NRSV). Dynastēs refers to a ruler or officer of great authority, mighty (cf. Luke 1:49);5 a potentate. The word is derived from the noun dunamai, referring to ability, capability and power. That God is capable of controlling and manipulating all things imaginable is not tantamount to Him actually controlling and manipulating all things imaginable. Therefore the notion of sovereignty is not synonymous with determinism.

Catch, however, the connotations not attached to the word “sovereign”: controller of every minutiae of one’s existence; determiner of (and one who has strictly decreed) all things, including sin and evil; one who decrees and wills all things which shall come about by necessity. In other words, the word “sovereign” does not give way to the notion of God (or any ruler for that matter) exhaustively or meticulously determining by necessity every detail of one’s life, including what choices the individual will make and when such shall be made. Nor does the word “sovereign” give place to the theory that sin and evil are necessary. Therefore, Calvinism’s view of God’s deterministic sovereignty is a serious error.

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