Arminianism

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Arminianism is based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and his historic supporters known as the Remonstrants. His teachings held to the five solae of the Reformation, but they were distinct in some ways from particular teachings of Martin Luther, Zwingli, John Calvin, and other Protestant Reformers. Jacobus Arminius (Jacobus Hermanszoon) was a student of Beza (successor of Calvin) at the Theological University of Geneva. Arminianism is known as a soteriological diversification of Protestant Christianity.1 Dutch Arminianism was originally articulated in the Remonstrance (1610), a theological statement signed by 45 ministers and submitted to the States-General of the Netherlands. The Synod of Dort (1618–19) was called by the States General to consider the Five Articles of Remonstrance. These articles asserted that

  1. Salvation (and condemnation on the day of judgment) was conditioned by the graciously enabled faith (or unbelief) of man;
  2. the Atonement is qualitatively adequate for all men, "yet that no one actually enjoys [experiences] this forgiveness of sins, except the believer..." and thus is limited to only those who trust in Christ;
  3. "That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will," and unaided by the Holy Spirit, no person is able to respond to God’s will;
  4. The (Christian) grace "of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of any good", yet man may resist the Holy Spirit; and
  5. Believers are able to resist sin through grace, and Christ will keep them from falling, but whether they are beyond the possibility of ultimately forsaking God or "becoming devoid of grace", "must be more particularly determined."

Many Christian denominations have been influenced by Arminian views on the will of man being freed by grace prior to regeneration, notably the Baptists (See A History of the Baptists Third Edition by Robert G. Torbet) in the 16th century, and the Methodists in the 18th century and the Seventh-day Adventist. Some assert that Universalists and Unitarians in the 18th and 19th centuries were theologically linked with Arminianism. Denominations such as the Anabaptists (beginning in 1525), and Waldensians 2 (pre-Reformation), and other groups prior to the Reformation have also affirmed that each person may choose the contingent response of either resisting God's grace or yielding to it.

The original beliefs of Jacobus Arminius himself are commonly defined as Arminianism, but more broadly, the term may embrace the teachings of Hugo Grotius, John Wesley, and others as well. Classical Arminianism, to which Arminius is the main contributor, and Wesleyan Arminianism, to which John Wesley is the main contributor, are the two main schools of thought. Wesleyan Arminianism is often identical with Methodism. Some Arminian schools of thought share certain similarities with Semipelagianism, believing the first step of salvation is by human will3 but classical Arminianism holds that the first step of salvation is the grace of God.4 Historically, the Council of Orange (529) condemned semi-Pelagian thought, and is accepted by some as a document which can be understood as teaching a doctrine between Augustinian thought and semi-Pelegian thought, making it similar to Arminianism.

The two systems of Calvinism and Arminianism share both history and many doctrines, and the history of Christian theology. Arminianism is related to Calvinism historically. However, because of their differences over the doctrines of divine predestination and election, many people view these schools of thought as opposed to each other. In short, the difference can be seen ultimately by whether God's allows His desire to save all to be resisted by an individual's will (in the Arminian doctrine) or if God's grace is irresistible and limited to only some (in Calvinism). Put another way, is God's sovereignty shown, in part, through His allowance of free decisions? Some Calvinists assert that the Arminian perspective presents a synergistic system of Salvation and therefore is not only by grace, while Arminians firmly reject this conclusion. Many consider the theological differences to be crucial differences in doctrine, while others find them to be relatively minor. 5

History

Portrait of Jacobus Arminius, from Kupferstich aus Theatrum Europaeum by Matthaeus Merian in 1662

Jacobus Arminius was a Dutch pastor and theologian in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. He was taught by Theodore Beza, Calvin's hand-picked successor, but after examination of the Scriptures, he rejected his teacher's theology that it is God who unconditionally elects some for salvation. Instead Arminius proposed that the election of God was of believers, thereby making it conditional on faith. Arminius's views were challenged by the Dutch Calvinists, especially Franciscus Gomarus, but Arminius died before a national synod could occur.citation needed

Arminius's followers, not wanting to adopt their leader's name, called themselves the Remonstrants. When Arminius died before he could satisfy Holland's State General's request for a 14-page paper outlining his views, the Remonstrants replied in his stead crafting the Five articles of Remonstrance. After some political maneuvering, the Dutch Calvinists were able to convince Prince Maurice of Nassau to deal with the situation. Maurice systematically removed Arminian magistrates from office and called a national synod at Dordrecht. This Synod of Dort was open primarily to Dutch Calvinists (Arminians were excluded) with Calvinist representatives from other countries, and in 1618 published a condemnation of Arminius and his followers as heretics. Part of this publication was the famous Five points of Calvinism in response to the five articles of Remonstrance.

Arminians across Holland were removed from office, imprisoned, banished, and sworn to silence. Twelve years later Holland officially granted Arminianism protection as a religion, although animosity between Arminians and Calvinists continued.

The debate between Calvin's followers and Arminius's followers is distinctive of post-Reformation church history. The emerging Baptist movement in 17th-century England, for example, was a microcosm of the historic debate between Calvinists and Arminians. The first Baptists–called "General Baptists" because of their confession of a "general" or unlimited atonement, were Arminians.6 The Baptist movement originated with Thomas Helwys, who left his mentor John Smyth (who had moved into shared belief and other distinctives of the Dutch Waterlander Mennonites of Amsterdam) and returned to London to start the first English Baptist Church in 1611. Later General Baptists such as John Griffith, Samuel Loveday, and Thomas Grantham defended a Reformed Arminian theology that reflected more the Arminianism of Arminius than that of the later Remonstrants or the English Arminianism of Arminian Puritans like John Goodwin or Anglican Arminians such as Jeremy Taylor and Henry Hammond. The General Baptists encapsulated their Arminian views in numerous confessions, the most influential of which was the Standard Confession of 1660. In the 1640s the Particular Baptists were formed, diverging strongly from Arminian doctrine and embracing the strong Calvinism of the Presbyterians and Independents. Their robust Calvinism was publicized in such confessions as the London Baptist Confession of 1644 and the Second London Confession of 1689. Interestingly, the London Confession of 1689 was later used by Calvinistic Baptists in America (called the Philadelphia Baptist Confession), whereas the Standard Confession of 1660 was used by the American heirs of the English General Baptists, who soon came to be known as Free Will Baptists.

This same dynamic between Arminianism and Calvinism can be seen in the heated discussions between friends and fellow Methodist ministers John Wesley and George Whitefield. Wesley was a champion of Arminian teachings, defending his soteriology in a periodical titled The Arminian and writing articles such as Predestination Calmly Considered. He defended Arminianism against charges of semi-Pelagianism, holding strongly to beliefs in original sin and total depravity. At the same time, Wesley attacked the determinism that he claimed characterized unconditional election and maintained a belief in the ability to lose salvation. Wesley also clarified the doctrine of prevenient grace and preached the ability of Christians to attain to perfection. While Wesley freely made use of the term "Arminian," he did not self-consciously root his soteriology in the theology of Arminius but was highly influenced by 17th-century English Arminianism and thinkers such as John Goodwin, Jeremy Taylor and Henry Hammond of the Anglican "Holy Living" school, and the Remonstrant Hugo Grotius.

Current landscape

Arminianism
Religions

Advocates of both Arminianism and Calvinism find a home in many Protestant denominations, and sometimes both exist within the same denomination. Faiths leaning at least in part in the Arminian direction include Methodists, Free Will Baptists, Christian Churches and Churches of Christ, General Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Church of the Nazarene, The Salvation Army, Conservative Mennonites, Old Order Mennonites, Amish and Charismatics. Denominations leaning in the Calvinist direction are grouped as the Reformed churches and include Particular Baptists, Reformed Baptists, Presbyterians, and Congregationalists. The majority of Southern Baptists, including Billy Graham, accept Arminianism with an exception allowing for a doctrine of perseverance of the saints ("eternal security").789 Many see Calvinism as growing in acceptance,10 and some prominent Reformed Baptists, such as Albert Mohler and Mark Dever, have been pushing for the Southern Baptist Convention to adopt a more Calvinistic orientation (it should be noted, however, that no Baptist church is bound by any resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention). Lutherans espouse a view of salvation and election distinct from both the Calvinist and Arminian schools of soteriology.

The current scholarly support for Arminianism is wide and varied. One particular thrust is a return to the teachings of Arminius. F. Leroy Forlines, Robert Picirilli, Stephen Ashby and Matthew Pinson (see citations) are four of the more prominent supporters. Forlines has referred to this type of Arminianism as "Classical Arminianism," while Picirilli, Pinson, and Ashby have termed it "Reformation Arminianism" or "Reformed Arminianism." Through Methodism, Wesley's teachings also inspire a large scholarly following, with vocal proponents including J. Kenneth Grider, Stanley Hauerwas, Thomas Oden, Thomas Jay Oord, and William Willimon.

Recent influence of the New Perspective on Paul movement has also reached Arminianism — primarily through a view of corporate election. The New Perspective scholars propose that the 1st-century Second Temple Judaism understood election primarily as national (Israelites) and racial (Jews), not as individual. Their conclusion is thus that Paul's writings on election should be interpreted in a similar corporate light.

Theology

Arminian theology usually falls into one of two groups — Classical Arminianism, drawn from the teaching of Jacobus Arminius — and Wesleyan Arminian, drawing primarily from Wesley. Both groups overlap substantially.

Classical Arminianism

Classical Arminianism (sometimes titled Reformed Arminianism or Reformation Arminianism) is the theological system that was presented by Jacobus Arminius and maintained by some of the Remonstrants;11 its influence serves as the foundation for all Arminian systems. A list of beliefs is given below:

  • Depravity is total: Arminius states "In this [fallen] state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace."12
  • Atonement is intended for all: Jesus's death was for all people, Jesus draws all people to himself, and all people have opportunity for salvation through faith.13
  • Jesus's death satisfies God's justice: The penalty for the sins of the elect is paid in full through Jesus's work on the cross. Thus Christ's atonement is intended for all, but requires faith to be effected. Arminius states that "Justification, when used for the act of a Judge, is either purely the imputation of righteousness through mercy… or that man is justified before God… according to the rigor of justice without any forgiveness."14 Stephen Ashby clarifies: "Arminius allowed for only two possible ways in which the sinner might be justified: (1) by our absolute and perfect adherence to the law, or (2) purely by God's imputation of Christ's righteousness."15
  • Grace is resistible: God takes initiative in the salvation process and his grace comes to all people. This grace (often called prevenient or pre-regenerating grace) acts on all people to convince them of the Gospel, draw them strongly towards salvation, and enable the possibility of sincere faith. Picirilli states that "indeed this grace is so close to regeneration that it inevitably leads to regeneration unless finally resisted." 16 The offer of salvation through grace does not act irresistibly in a purely cause-effect, deterministic method but rather in an influence-and-response fashion that can be both freely accepted and freely denied.17
  • Man has a freed will to respond or resist: Free will is granted and limited by God's sovereignty, but God's sovereignty allows all men the choice to accept the Gospel of Jesus through faith, simultaneously allowing all men to resist.
  • Election is conditional: Arminius defined election as "the decree of God by which, of Himself, from eternity, He decreed to justify in Christ, believers, and to accept them unto eternal life."18 God alone determines who will be saved and his determination is that all who believe Jesus through faith will be justified. According to Arminius, "God regards no one in Christ unless they are engrafted in him by faith."18
  • God predestines the elect to a glorious future: Predestination is not the predetermination of who will believe, but rather the predetermination of the believer's future inheritance. The elect are therefore predestined to sonship through adoption, glorification, and eternal life.19
  • Christ's righteousness is imputed to the believer: Justification is sola fide. When individuals repent and believe in Christ (saving faith), they are regenerated and brought into union with Christ, whereby the death and righteousness of Christ are imputed to them for their justification before God.20
  • Eternal security is also conditional: All believers have full assurance of salvation with the condition that they remain in Christ. Salvation is conditioned on faith, therefore perseverance is also conditioned.21 Apostasy (turning from Christ) is only committed through a deliberate, willful rejection of Jesus and renunciation of saving faith. Such apostasy is irremediable.22

The Five articles of Remonstrance that Arminius's followers formulated in 1610 state the above beliefs regarding (I) conditional election, (II) unlimited atonement, (III) total depravity, (IV) total depravity and resistible grace, and (V) possibility of apostasy. Note, however, that the fifth article did not completely deny perseverance of the saints; Arminius, himself, said that "I never taught that a true believer can… fall away from the faith… yet I will not conceal, that there are passages of Scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect; and those answers to them which I have been permitted to see, are not of such as kind as to approve themselves on all points to my understanding."23 Further, the text of the Articles of Remonstrance says that no believer can be plucked from Christ's hand, and the matter of falling away, "loss of salvation" required further study before it could be taught with any certainty.

The core beliefs of Jacobus Arminius and the Remonstrants are summarized as such by theologian Stephen Ashby:

  1. Prior to being drawn and enabled, one is unable to believe… able only to resist.
  2. Having been drawn and enabled, but prior to regeneration, one is able to believe… able also to resist.
  3. After one believes, God then regenerates; one is able to continue believing… able also to resist.
  4. Upon resisting to the point of unbelief, one is unable again to believe… able only to resist.24

Wesleyan Arminianism

John Wesley has historically been the most influential advocate for the teachings of Arminian soteriology. Wesley thoroughly agreed with the vast majority of what Arminius himself taught, maintaining strong doctrines of original sin, total depravity, conditional election, prevenient grace, unlimited atonement, and possibly apostasy.

Wesley departs from Classical Arminianism primarily on three issues:

Atonement
Wesley's atonement is a hybrid of the penal substitution theory and the governmental theory of Hugo Grotius, a lawyer and one of the Remonstrants. Steven Harper states "Wesley does not place the substitionary element primarily within a legal framework...Rather [his doctrine seeks] to bring into proper relationship the 'justice' between God's love for persons and God's hatred of sin...it is not the satisfaction of a legal demand for justice so much as it is an act of mediated reconciliation."25
Possibility of apostasy
Wesley fully accepted the Arminian view that genuine Christians could apostatize and lose their salvation, as his famous sermon "A Call to Backsliders" clearly demonstrates. Harper summarizes as follows: "the act of committing sin is not in itself ground for the loss of salvation...the loss of salvation is much more related to experiences that are profound and prolonged. Wesley sees two primary pathways that could result in a permanent fall from grace: unconfessed sin and the actual expression of apostasy." 26 Wesley disagrees with Arminius, however, in maintaining that such apostasy was not final. When talking about those who have made "shipwreck" of their faith (1 Tim 1:19), Wesley claims that "not one, or a hundred only, but I am persuaded, several thousands...innumerable are the instances...of those who had fallen but now stand upright."27
Christian perfection
According to Wesley's teaching, Christians could attain a state of practical perfection, meaning a lack of all voluntary sin by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, in this life. Christian perfection (or entire sanctification), according to Wesley, is "purity of intention, dedicating all the life to God" and "the mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ walked." It is "loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves".28 It is 'a restoration not only to the favour, but likewise to the image of God," our "being filled with the fullness of God".29 Wesley was clear that Christian perfection did not imply perfection of bodily health or an infallibility of judgment. It also does not mean we no longer violate the will of God, for involuntary transgressions remain. Perfected Christians remain subject to temptation, and have continued need to pray for forgiveness and holiness. It is not an absolute perfection but a perfection in love. Furthermore, Wesley did not teach a salvation by perfection, but rather says that, "Even perfect holiness is acceptable to God only through Jesus Christ."28

Other variations

Since the time of Arminius, his name has come to represent a very large variety of beliefs. Some of these beliefs, such as Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism (see below) are not considered to be within Arminian orthodoxy and are dealt with elsewhere. Some doctrines, however, do adhere to the Arminian foundation and, while minority views, are highlighted below.

Open theism

The doctrine of open theism states that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient, but differs on the nature of the future. Open theists claim that the future is not completely determined (or "settled") because people have not made their free decisions yet. God therefore knows the future partially in possibilities (human free actions) rather than solely certainties (divinely determined events). As such, open theists resolve the issue of human free will and God's sovereignty by claiming that God is sovereign because he does not ordain each human choice, but rather works in cooperation with his creation to bring about his will. This notion of sovereignty and freedom is foundational to their understanding of love since open theists believe that love is not genuine unless it is freely chosen. The power of choice under this definition has the potential for as much harm as it does good, and open theists see free will as the best answer to the problem of evil. Well-known proponents of this theology are Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock, Thomas Jay Oord, William Hasker, and John E. Sanders.

Some Arminians, such as professor and theologian Robert Picirilli, reject the doctrine of open theism as a "deformed Arminianism".30 Joseph Dongell stated that "open theism actually moves beyond classical Arminianism towards process theology."31 There are also some Arminians, like Roger Olson, who believe Open theism to be an alternative view that a Christian can have. The majority Arminian view accepts classical theism – the belief that God's power, knowledge, and presence have no external limitations, that is, outside of his divine nature. Most Arminians reconcile human free will with God's sovereignty and foreknowledge by holding three points:

  • Human free will is limited by original sin, though God's prevenient grace restores to humanity the ability to accept God's call of salvation.3233
  • God purposely exercises his sovereignty in ways that do not illustrate its extent – in other words, He has the power and authority to predetermine salvation but he chooses to apply it through different means.
  • God's foreknowledge of the future is exhaustive and complete, and therefore the future is certain and not contingent on human action. God does not determine the future, but He does know it. God's certainty and human contingency are compatible.34

Corporate view of election

The majority Arminian view is that election is individual and based on God's foreknowledge of faith, but a second perspective deserves mention. These Arminians reject the concept of individual election entirely, preferring to understand the doctrine in corporate terms. According to this corporate election, God never chose individuals to elect to salvation, but rather He chose to elect the believing church to salvation. Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Ridderbos says "[The certainty of salvation] does not rest on the fact that the church belongs to a certain "number", but that it belongs to Christ, from before the foundation of the world. Fixity does not lie in a hidden decree, therefore, but in corporate unity of the Church with Christ, whom it has come to know in the gospel and has learned to embrace in faith."35

Corporate election draws support from a similar concept of corporate election found in the Old Testament and Jewish law. Indeed most biblical scholarship is in agreement that Judeo-Greco-Roman thought in the 1st century was opposite of the Western world's "individual first" mantra – it was very collectivist or communitarian in nature.36 Identity stemmed from membership in a group more than individuality.36 According to Romans 9–11, supporters claim, Jewish election as the chosen people ceased with their national rejection of Jesus as Messiah. As a result of the new covenant, God's chosen people are now the corporate body of Christ, the church (sometimes called spiritual Israel – see also Covenant theology). Pastor and theologian Dr. Brian Abasciano claims "What Paul says about Jews, Gentiles, and Christians, whether of their place in God’s plan, or their election, or their salvation, or how they should think or behave, he says from a corporate perspective which views the group as primary and those he speaks about as embedded in the group. These individuals act as members of the group to which they belong, and what happens to them happens by virtue of their membership in the group."36

These scholars also maintain that Jesus was the only human ever elected and that individuals must be "in Christ" (Eph 1:3–4) through faith to be part of the elect. This was, in fact, Swiss Reformed theologian, Karl Barth's, understanding of the doctrine of election. Joseph Dongell, professor at Asbury Theological Seminary, states "the most conspicuous feature of Ephesians 1:3–2:10 is the phrase 'in Christ', which occurs twelve times in Ephesians 1:3–4 alone...this means that Jesus Christ himself is the chosen one, the predestined one. Whenever one is incorporated into him by grace through faith, one comes to share in Jesus' special status as chosen of God."37 Markus Barth illustrates the inter-connectedness: "Election in Christ must be understood as the election of God's people. Only as members of that community do individuals share in the benefits of God's gracious choice."38

Arminianism and other views

Understanding Arminianism is aided by understanding the theological alternatives: Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, and Calvinism. Arminianism, like any major belief system, is frequently misunderstood both by critics and would-be supporters. Listed below are a few common misconceptions.

Comparison among Protestants

This table summarizes the classical views of three Protestant beliefs about salvation.39

Topic Calvinism Lutheranism Arminianism
Human will Total depravity: the will is affected by sin as is every other spiritual capacity, so that people are not able by their own will to conform in all things to the will of God. 40 Total depravity without free will until spiritual regeneration Depravity does not prevent free will
Election Unconditional election to salvation with those outside the elect foreordained to damnation (double-predestination)41 Unconditional predestination to salvation for the elect Conditional election in view of foreseen faith or unbelief
Justification Justification is limited to those predestined to salvation, completed at Christ's death Justification by faith alone, completed at Christ's death. Justification made possible for all through Christ's death, but only completed upon choosing faith in Jesus
Conversion Monergistic, through the inner calling of the Holy Spirit, irresistible Monergistic, through the means of grace, resistible Synergistic, resistible due to the common grace of free will
Preservation and apostasy Perseverance of the saints: the eternally elect in Christ will necessarily persevere in faith Falling away is possible, but God gives assurance of preservation. Preservation is conditional upon continued faith in Christ; with the possibility of a final apostasy.



Common misconceptions

Allegory of the theological dispute between the Arminianists and their opponents
  • Arminianism supports works-based salvation – No well-known system of Arminianism denies salvation "by faith alone" and "by faith first to last". This misconception is often directed at the Arminian possibility of apostasy, which critics maintain requires continual good works to achieve final salvation. To Arminians, however, both initial salvation and eternal security are "by faith alone"; hence "by faith first to last". Belief through faith is the condition for entrance into the Kingdom of God; unbelief is the condition for exit from the Kingdom of God – not a lack of good works.424344
  • Arminianism is Pelagian (or Semi-Pelagian), denying original sin and total depravity – No system of Arminianism founded on Arminius or Wesley denies original sin or total depravity;45 both Arminius and Wesley strongly affirmed that man's basic condition is one in which he cannot be righteous, understand God, or seek God.46

Many Calvinist critics of Arminianism, both historically and currently, claim that Arminianism condones, accepts, or even explicitly supports Pelagianism or Semi-Pelagianism. Arminius referred to Pelagianism as "the grand falsehood" and stated that he "must confess that I detest, from my heart, the consequences [of that theology]."47 David Pawson, a British pastor, decries this association as "libelous" when attributed to Arminius' or Wesley's doctrine.48 Indeed most Arminians reject all accusations of Pelagianism; nonetheless, primarily due to Calvinist opponents,4950 the two terms remain intertwined in popular usage.

  • Arminianism denies Jesus' substitutionary payment for sins – Both Arminius and Wesley believed in the necessity and sufficiency of Christ's atonement through penal substitution.51 Arminius held that God's justice was satisfied individually,52 while Hugo Grotius and many of Wesley's followers taught that it was satisfied governmentally.53

Comparison with Calvinism

Ever since Arminius and his followers revolted against Calvinism in the early 17th century, Protestant soteriology has been largely divided between Calvinism and Arminianism. The extreme of Calvinism is hyper-Calvinism, which insists that signs of election must be sought before evangelization of the unregenerate takes place and that the eternally damned have no obligation to repent and believe, and on the extreme of Arminianism is Pelagianism, which rejects the doctrine of original sin on grounds of moral accountability; but the overwhelming majority of Protestant, evangelical pastors and theologians hold to one of these two systems or somewhere in between.

Similarities

  • Total depravity – Arminians agree with Calvinists over the doctrine of total depravity. The differences come in the understanding of how God remedies this human depravity.
  • Substitutionary effect of atonement – Arminians also affirm with Calvinists the substitutionary effect of Christ's atonement and that this effect is limited only to the elect. Classical Arminians would agree with Calvinists that this substitution was penal satisfaction for all of the elect, while most Wesleyan Arminians would maintain that the substitution was governmental in nature.

Differences

  • Nature of election – Arminians hold that election to eternal salvation has the condition of faith attached. The Calvinist doctrine of unconditional election states that salvation cannot be earned or achieved and is therefore not conditional upon any human effort, so faith is not a condition of salvation but the divinely apportioned means to it. In other words, Arminians believe that they owe their election to their faith, whereas Calvinists believe that they owe their faith to their election.
  • Nature of grace – Arminians believe that, through grace, God restores free will concerning salvation to all humanity, and each individual, therefore, is able either to accept the Gospel call through faith or resist it through unbelief. Calvinists hold that God's grace to enable salvation is given only to the elect and irresistibly leads to salvation.
  • Extent of the atonement – Arminians, along with four-point Calvinists or Amyraldians, hold to a universal drawing and universal extent of atonement instead of the Calvinist doctrine that the drawing and atonement is limited in extent to the elect only, which many Calvinists prefer to call 'particular redemption'.54 Both sides (with the exception of hyper-Calvinists) believe the invitation of the gospel is universal and "must be presented to everyone [they] can reach without any distinction."55
  • Perseverance in faith – Arminians believe that future salvation and eternal life is secured in Christ and protected from all external forces but is conditional on remaining in Christ and can be lost through apostasy. Traditional Calvinists believe in the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, which says that because God chose some unto salvation and actually paid for their particular sins, he keeps them from apostasy and that those who do apostatize were never truly regenerated (that is, born again) or saved. Non-traditional Calvinists and other evangelicals advocate the similar but different doctrine of eternal security that teaches if a person was once saved, his or her salvation can never be in jeopardy, even if the person completely apostatizes.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Magnusson, Magnus (ed). Chambers Biographical Dictionary (Chambers: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 62
  2. ^ "The Waldensian Way to God", Joseph Visconti, page 253 and following
  3. ^ see A Statement of Traditional Southern Baptist Soteriology SBC Today.pdf Jun-06-2012 which was criticised by Arminian theologians since it endorses a semi-Pelagian view of soteriology
  4. ^ http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/Arm_Semi_Differences.html
  5. ^ Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Vol. Two: The Reformation to the Present Day (New York: Harpercollins Publishers, 1985; reprint – Peabody: Prince Press, 2008) 180
  6. ^ Gonzalez, Justo L. The Story of Christianity, Vol. 2: The Reformation to the Present Day (HarperCollins Publishers, 1985; reprint – Peabody: Prince Press, 2008) 225–226
  7. ^ "The Baptist Faith and Message, 2000 Revision"
  8. ^ Harmon, Richard W. Baptists and Other Denominations (Nashville: Convention Press, 1984) 17–18, 45–46
  9. ^ Dongell, Joseph and Walls, Jerry Why I Am Not a Calvinist (Downer's Grove: Intervarsity Press, 2004) 12–13, 16–17
  10. ^ Dongell 7–20
  11. ^ Ashby, Stephen "Reformed Arminianism" Four Views on Eternal Security (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), 137
  12. ^ Arminius, James The Writings of James Arminius (three vols.), tr. James Nichols and William R. Bagnall (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1956), I:252
  13. ^ Arminius I:316
  14. ^ Arminius III:454
  15. ^ Ashby Four Views, 140
  16. ^ Picirilli, Robert Grace, Faith, Free Will: Contrasting Views of Salvation: Calvinism and Arminianism (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 2002), 154ff
  17. ^ Forlines, Leroy F., Pinson, Matthew J. and Ashby, Stephen M. The Quest for Truth: Answering Life's Inescapable Questions (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 2001), 313–321
  18. ^ a b Arminius Writings, III:311
  19. ^ Pawson, David Once Saved, Always Saved? A Study in Perseverance and Inheritance (London: Hodder & Staughton, 1996), 109ff
  20. ^ Forlines, F. Leroy, Classical Arminianism: A Theology of Salvation, ch. 6
  21. ^ Picirilli Grace, Faith, Free Will 203
  22. ^ Picirilli 204ff
  23. ^ Arminius Writings, I:254
  24. ^ Ashby Four Views, 159
  25. ^ Harper, Steven "Wesleyan Arminianism" Four Views on Eternal Security (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002) 227ff
  26. ^ Harper 239–240
  27. ^ Wesley, John "A Call to Backsliders" The Works of John Wesley, ed. Thomas Jackson, 14 vols. (London: Wesley Methodist Book Room, 1872; repr, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986) 3:211ff
  28. ^ a b Wesley, John "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection", Works
  29. ^ Wesley, John "The End of Christ’s Coming", Works
  30. ^ Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, 40 – Picirilli actually objects so strongly to the link between Arminianism and Open theism that he devotes an entire section to his objections. See 59ff.
  31. ^ Dongell, Joseph and Walls, Jerry Why I Am Not a Calvinist, 45
  32. ^ Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, 42–43, 59ff
  33. ^ Ashby, Four Views on Eternal Security, 146–147
  34. ^ Picirilli, Grace, Faith, Free Will, 40
  35. ^ Ridderbos, Herman Paul: An Outline of His Theology trans. John Richard de Witt (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 350–351
  36. ^ a b c Abasciano, Brian Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9:1–9: An Intertextual and Theological Exegesis (T&T Clark Publishers, 2006), ISBN 0-567-03073-3
  37. ^ Dongell, Joseph and Walls, Jerry Why I am Not a Calvinist, 76
  38. ^ Barth, Markus Ephesians (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1974), 108
  39. ^ Table drawn from, though not copied, from Lange, Lyle W. God So Loved the World: A Study of Christian Doctrine. Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 2006. p. 448.
  40. ^ e.g. Belgic Confession Article 14
  41. ^ Wikisource link to Westminster Confession of Faith. Wikisource. Ch. III, Sec. VII.
  42. ^ Pawson Once Saved, Always Saved? 121–124
  43. ^ Picirilli Grace, Faith, Free Will 160ff
  44. ^ Ashby Four Views on Eternal Security 142ff
  45. ^ Ashby 138–139
  46. ^ Arminius, Writings 2:192
  47. ^ Arminius Writings, II:219ff (the entire treatise occupies pages 196–452)
  48. ^ Pawson Once Saved, Always Saved?, 106
  49. ^ Pawson 97–98, 106
  50. ^ Picirilli Grace, Faith, Free Will, 6ff
  51. ^ Picirilli Grace, Faith, Free Will 104–105, 132ff
  52. ^ Ashby Four Views on Eternal Security 140ff
  53. ^ Picirilli Grace, Faith, Free Will 132
  54. ^ Spurgeon, Charles Haddon
  55. ^ Nicole, Roger, "Covenant, Universal Call And Definite Atonement" Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 38:3 (September 1995)

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