- Arminianism is a moderate theological revision of the doctrine of predestination in CALViNiSM.It seeks to reconcile God's sovereignty with human free will. Jacob Arminius (1560-1609), a minister in the Netherlands Reformed Church and a professor of theology at the University of Leiden, believed that a strict Calvinist view would make God the author of sin and humans mere automatons. The controversy he stirred continued after his death.The followers of Arminius were known as the Remonstrants. They soon proposed five statements that affirmed (1) that before the foundation of the world, God willed the salvation of those who would through faith in Christ turn to him; (2) that Christ died for all though only those who turn to faith will find salvation; (3) that humans are in a state of apostasy and sin and have no saving grace of themselves, hence it is needful that they be redeemed; (4) that humans may resist God's grace; and (5) that those who have been saved may find victory over sin and not fall back into apostasy.The publication of the Remonstrants' ideas created a major controversy in the Dutch church. It led to the Synod of Dort (1618-19), which condemned the Arminian position by asserting in its own famous five points: the ToTAL DEPRAVITY of humankind, God's unconditional election of those whom He would save, a LIMITED AToNEMENT (i.e., Christ died only for the elect), the irresistibility of grace, and the perseverance of the saved.This had the effect of driving the Remonstrants out of the Netherlands Reformed Church into a dissenting body that continues today. Their ideas were later picked up by John Wesley and became integral to METHoDISM, from where they passed to the Holiness movement and Pentecostalism. Wesley chose to name his early periodical The Arminian Magazine. Arguments over free will versus predestination fueled popular polemics between Protestant groups throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. It would also find favor among many Baptists in the General or Freewill segment of the movement.Arminian views took on even more relevance as Protestants prepared to evangelize beyond Europe. The Baptist theologian Andrew Fuller (1754-1806) developed a modified Calvinism, informed by Arminian thought, that was more compatible to the missionary enterprise.Further reading:■ Carl Bangs, Arminius (Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon Press, 1971)■ George L. Curtiss, Arminianism in History Or the Revolt From Predestina-tionism (Nashville, Tenn.: Carnston & Curts, 1894)■ O. Glenn McKinley, Where Two Creeds Meet: a Biblical Evaluation of Calvinism and Arminianism (Kansas City, Mo.: Beacon Hill Press, 1959)■ Richard Alfred Muller, God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1991)■ Carl H. Pinnock, The Grace of God, the Will of Man: A Case for Arminianism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1989).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.