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Jacobus Arminius from Kupferstich aus Theatrum Europaeum

Arminianism is a school of soteriological thought within Protestant Christianity based on the theological ideas of the Dutch Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560–1609) and his historic followers, the Remonstrants.

Arminianism is most accurately used to define those who affirm the original beliefs of Jacobus Arminius himself, but the term can also be understood as an umbrella for a larger grouping of ideas including those of Hugo Grotius, John Wesley and others. There are two primary perspectives on how the system is applied in detail: Classical Arminianism, which sees Arminius as its figurehead, and Wesleyan Arminianism, which sees John Wesley as its figurehead. In addition, Arminianism is often misrepresented by some of its critics to include Semipelagianism or even Pelagianism, though proponents of both primary perspectives vehemently deny these claims.

Dutch Arminianism was originally articulated in the Remonstrance (1610), a theological statement signed by 45 ministers and submitted to the Dutch states general. The Synod of Dort (1618–19) was called by the states general to pass upon the Remonstrance. The five points (the main tenants) of the Remonstrance asserted that:

  1. Men are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation
  2. Salvation is possible by grace alone
  3. Works of human effort are not cause or contribution to salvation
  4. God's election is conditional on faith in Jesus
  5. Jesus' atonement was potentially for all people
  6. God allows his grace to be resisted by those unwilling to believe
  7. Salvation can be lost, as continued salvation is conditional upon continued faith

Since the 16th century, Christians of many sects including the Baptists (See A History of the Baptists Third Edition by Robert G. Torbet) have been influenced by Arminian views. So have the Methodists, the Congregationalists of the early New England colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Universalists and Unitarians in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Within the broad scope of the history of Christian theology, Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines. Nonetheless, they are often viewed as rivals within evangelicalism because of their disagreement over details of the doctrines of divine predestination and salvation.

Selected article

The Five Articles of Remonstrance were given by followers of Jacobus Arminius, who did not want to adopt Arminius' name, instead choosing to call themselves the "Remonstrants".

The Five Articles contrast with the Five Points of Calvinism on most points. Article I disagrees that election into Christ is unconditional. Rather, in this article the Remonstrants assert that election is conditional upon faith in Christ, and that God elects to salvation those He knows beforehand will have faith in Him. Article II espouses unlimited atonement, the concept that Christ died for all. This stands in contrast to the limited atonement of Calvinism, which asserts that Christ only died for those God chooses to be saved. Article III affirms the total depravity of man, that man cannot save himself. Article IV repudiates the Calvinistic concept of irresistible grace, contending that mankind has the free will to resist God's grace. Article V, rather than outright rejecting the notion of perseverance of the saints, argues that it may be conditional upon the believer remaining in Christ. The writers explicitly stated that they were not sure on this point, and that further study was needed.



"The providence of God is subordinate to creation; and it is, therefore, necessary that it should not impinge against creation, which it would do, were it to inhibit or hinder the use of free will in man. . ." - Jacobus Arminius

"God decreed to save and damn certain particular persons. This decree has its foundation in the foreknowledge of God, by which he knew from all eternity those individuals who would, through his preventing [going before] grace, believe, and, through his subsequent grace would persevere by which foreknowledge, he likewise knew those who would not believe and persevere." - Jacobus Arminius

“Every one, though born of God in an instant, yet undoubtedly grows by slow degrees.” - John Wesley

“Liberty is the power that we have over ourselves” - Hugo Grotius



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