National Association of Christian Ministers Summary Series: Theology

Arminianism is a theological framework that originated in the 16th and 17th centuries as a response to the dominant Calvinist teachings of the time. It is named after Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who challenged certain aspects of Calvinism. Arminianism emphasizes the free will of humanity, God’s universal love and desire to save all people, and the possibility of resisting or falling away from God’s grace.

Here is a summary of key points and beliefs associated with Arminianism:

1. Free Will: Arminians assert that human beings have free will and the ability to make genuine choices, including the choice to accept or reject God’s offer of salvation. They reject the idea of predestination, which is a central tenet of Calvinism.

2. Conditional Election: Arminians believe that God’s election of individuals for salvation is based on His foreknowledge of who will freely choose to have faith in Him. God’s election is seen as conditional upon human response and faith.

3. Universal Atonement: Arminians teach that Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice on the cross was intended for all people, not just a select group. They believe that salvation is available to all and that God genuinely desires the salvation of every individual.

4. Resistible Grace: Arminians argue that God’s grace can be resisted and rejected by human beings. While God’s grace is necessary for salvation, individuals have the ability to resist or accept it through their free will.

5. Conditional Perseverance: Arminians believe that believers have the freedom to reject God’s salvation even after initially accepting it. They argue that salvation can be lost through a deliberate and willful rejection of faith, though they also emphasize the importance of continued faith and perseverance in the Christian life.

6. Cooperative Salvation: Arminians emphasize the cooperation between God and human beings in the salvation process. They see salvation as a synergistic relationship between God’s grace and human response, with both playing an essential role.

Overall, Arminianism represents a theological perspective that affirms the significance of human free will, God’s universal love and desire for salvation, and the possibility of resisting God’s grace. It stands in contrast to Calvinism, which emphasizes the sovereignty of God and the doctrine of predestination.