Arminianism, Take 2

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

I must mention again that the main source of the information here is, I have yet to come across good books that would provide me with the information I need.

Theology: Classical Arminianism
(a.k.a. Reformed Arminianism or Reformation Arminianism)

Depravity is total: In human’s fallen state, the free will towards good is wounded and weakened, imprisoned and destroyed. Unless assisted by Divine grace, it has no powers.

Atonement is intended for all: Jesus’ death on the cross is for all people – the whole of human race has the opportunity for salvation through faith.

Jesus' death satisfies God's justice: The penalty for sins is paid through Jesus’ work on the cross, making the atonement for all, which must be effected through faith. The only possible way for justification is God’s imputation of Christ’s righteousness.

Grace is resistible: The offer of salvation through grace does not act irresistibly in a purely cause-effect deterministic method but in an influence-respond fashion that can be both freely accepted and freely denied.

Man has free will to respond or resist: Free will is limited by God's sovereignty, but God in His sovereignty allows all men the choice to accept the Gospel of Jesus through faith, while simultaneously allowing all men to resist.

Election is conditional: God regards no one in Christ unless they are engrafted in him by faith. The majority Arminian view is that election is individual and based on God's foreknowledge of faith, but some Arminians reject the concept of individual election entirely, preferring to understand the doctrine in corporate terms.

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.

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. Apostasy is only committed through a deliberate, willful rejection of Jesus and renouncement of belief.

The Five Articles of Remonstrance
From the above, Arminius' followers formulated the Five Articles of Remonstrance in 1610 (it is obvious that these five articles resulted in the Calvinist’s 5 TULIP points):
1. Conditional election
2. Unlimited atonement
3. Total depravity
4. Total depravity and resistible grace
5. Possibility of apostasy

Theology: Wesleyan Arminianism
John Wesley was the most influential advocate of Arminian soteriology. He agreed with most of what Arminius himself taught maintaining strong doctrines of original sin, total depravity, conditional election, prevenient grace, unlimited atonement and possible apostasy. He however, departs on 3 issues:

Atonement: Wesley’s teaching on atonement is a hybrid of penal substitution and governmental theory of Hugo Grotius. He does not place the substitutionary element within a legal framework but seeks to bring into proper relation the justice between God’s love for people 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.

Possibility of apostasy: Wesley fully accepted the Arminian view that genuine Christians could apostasize and lose their salvation. He sees two primary pathways that could result in a permanent fall from grace: unconfessed sin and the actual expression of apostasy. Wesley however, maintains 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."

Christian perfection: According to Wesley's teaching, Christians could reach perfection in this life, with "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". 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."

This post is becoming longer than I expected. With that, I will tackle its comparison with Calvinism and Pelagianism tomorrow. So far, I am only presenting the information as-is without much of what I think of it. I can't say I agree with it all though I would agree with most of it. I'll see if I am up to analysing it when I am done with the information.

Picture of John Wesley from

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4 comment(s)

  1. I probably agree with less than you do. :-D

    I'd say you've got all the parts right, though! Looking forward to your next.

  2. CP,
    I probably agree with less than you do.

    Of course, haha. I'd be expecting that. And I'd be thinking, "what do you not see!" but you'd be saying the same to me ;)

  3. Maeghan,

    Good stuff, wiki is cool. Whether I agree or disagree is arbitrary.

    God Bless

  4. Wow Maeghan,

    You're keeping busy! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts about this.