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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.

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Simon Episcopius, circa 1630
Simon Episcopius (January 8, 1583–April 4, 1643) was a Dutch theologian and Remonstrant who played a significant role at the Synod of Dort in 1618. His name is the Latinized form of his Dutch name Simon Bischop.

Episcopius may be regarded as in great part the theological founder of Arminianism, since he developed and systematized the principles tentatively enunciated by Arminius. Besides opposing at all points the peculiar doctrines of Calvinism, Episcopius protested against the tendency of Calvinists to lay so much stress on abstract dogma, and argued that Christianity was practical rather than theoretical—not so much a system of intellectual belief as a moral power and that an orthodox faith did not necessarily imply the knowledge of and assent to a system of doctrine which included the whole range of Christian truth, but only the knowledge and acceptance of so much of Christianity as was necessary to effect a real change on the heart and life.



"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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