Saturday, November 03, 2007

Five Points of Arminianism

The Five Points of Arminianism (numbered below) were presented to the State and a National Synod of the church was called to meet in Dort in 1618 to examine the teaching of James Arminius in the light of the Scriptures. The Synod of Dort sat for 154 sessions over a period of seven months, but at the end could find no ground on which to reconcile the Arminian viewpoint with that expounded in the Word of God. Reaffirming the position so unmistakably put forth at the Reformation, and formulated by the French theologian John Calvin, the Synod of Dort formulated its Five Points of Calvinism to counter the Arminian system. These are sometimes set forth in the form of an acrostic on the word 'TULIP'. Please note that John Calvin died in 1564.

1. Free will, or human ability. This taught that man, although affected by the Fall, was not totally incapable of choosing spiritual good, and was able to exercise faith in God in order to receive the gospel and thus bring himself into possession of salvation.

2. Conditional election. This taught that God laid His hands upon those individuals who, He knew - or foresaw - would respond to the gospel. God elected those that He saw would want to be saved of their own free will and in their natural fallen state — which was, of course, according to the first point of Arminianism, not completely fallen anyway.

3. Universal redemption, or general atonement. This taught that Christ died to save all men; but only in a potential fashion. Christ's death enabled God to pardon sinners, but only on condition that they believed.

4. The work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration limited by the human will. This taught that the Holy Spirit, as He began to work to bring a person to Christ, could be effectually resisted and His purposes frustrated. He could not impart life unless the sinner was willing to have this life imparted.

5. Falling from grace. This taught that a saved man could fall finally from salvation. It is, of course, the logical and natural outcome of the system. If man must take the initiative in his salvation, he must retain responsibility for the final outcome.

Excerpt taken from The Five Points of Calvinism by W.J. Seaton

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