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Tuesday
Oct292013

Theological Term of the Week

I was surprised to find that in the six years or so that I’ve been posting weekly theological term posts, I’ve never defined this term. 

Arminianism
A system of belief based on the teachings of Dutch theologian Jacob Arminius regarding salvation, developed as a reaction against Calvinism, and summed up by his followers in the Five Articles of Remonstrance, which deny the unconditionality of election and the particularity of redemption.

  • As evidence that election is conditioned on foreseen faith, the Articles of Remonstrance uses this verse:
    Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. (John 3:36, ESV)
  • As evidence that redemption was universally obtained, these two verses are included:
    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16, ESV)
    He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2, ESV)
    That God, by an eternal and unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ’s sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John 3:36: “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him,” and according to other passages of Scripture also.
    After the death of Arminius controversy continued in the Netherlands about the teachings of Arminianism. Forty-two ministers in 1610 signed a petition or Remonstrance to the government asking for protection for their Arminian views. The heart of this Remonstrance summarized their theology in five points: conditional election, universal atonement, total depravity, sufficient but resistible grace and uncertainty about the perseverance of the saints. The Calvinists answered with a Contra-Remonstrance in 1611. It it surely ironic that through the centuries there has been so much talk of the “five points of Calvinism” when in fact Calvinists did not originate a discussion of five points. Indeed Calvinism has never been summarized in five points. Calvinism has only offered five responses to the five errors of Arminianism.

Learn more:

  1. Michael Marlowe: What Is Arminianism?
  2. Phil Johnson: The Arminians
  3. J. I. Packer: Arminianisms
  4. David Steele and Curtis Thomas: A Comparison of Calvianism and Arminianism
  5. The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia: Remonstrants

Related terms:

Filed under Isms

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms in alphabetical order.

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