The Five Points of Arminianism

A while back, I purchased a DVD titled, “Amazing Grace: The History & Theology of Calvinism.” This is a great video, and quite objective I might add, detailing how Calvinism started, the difference between Calvinism and Arminianism, amazinggracedvdand TULIP. I would urge you to invest in this DVD or borrow it from someone who may have it.

I am going to use this DVD as a base to start a five day intensive short study of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism. Today is an introduction; each following day will be a look at the each of the five points of Arminianism and the Calvinism response, as shown in TULIP.

This is an introduction to the five points of Arminianism. Below are the basics of what Arminians believe. In case you were unaware, Arminianism is a system of theology started by Jacobus Arminius (1560 – 1609).

Five Points:

1. Man is never so corrupted by sin that he cannot savingly believe the gospel when it is put before him.

2. Man is never so completely controlled by God that he cannot reject God’s grace.

3. Election is a result of God, looking down through the corridors of time, foreseeing that a sinner will accept Christ. Therefore, God elects those who first elect Him.

4. Christ’s death did not assure the salvation of anyone, for it did not secure the gift of faith; what it did was rather create a possibility of salvation for everyone, if they would only choose to believe.

5. It rests with the believers to keep themselves in a state of grace by keeping up their faith; those who fail here fall away and are lost.

The clash between these two views comes down to a matter of free will and whether we have any at all as compared to what God wills. Some will say that God will override human will in all cases if God wills something different. Others say that God gave humans free will and because he created humans with free will, He will not override. Finally, there are some who do not believe humans have free will and that the sovereignty of God causes everything to happen. (HT: MS)

Deus Regnum!

– Adam Smith

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5 thoughts on “The Five Points of Arminianism

  1. Adam Smith says:

    Quick change – If you read this post previously, I had stated this would be a quick three day series. I am changing that back to my original intent. It is now going to be a five day study, taking each point of TULIP separately. This has been changed above.

  2. These are very inaccurate representations of Arminianism.

  3. Adam Smith says:

    Hi Kevin, thanks for checking out my blog. The five points I have listed here was what Arminius’ followers drafted in 1610. To me though, they almost seem to have a Pelagian tone to them. I obviously know that all Arminians don’t strictly follow the five points. I am not wanting to represent these five as the view of all Arminians, but of those who put them forth in the Remonstrance and the followers today.

  4. Hi Adam,

    I don’t intend to come across as contentious, but these are not the 5 points of the Remonstrants, or at best they are a severe caricature of them.

    Here is a simplified stating of the five points of the Remonstrants:

    1) God saves those who believe (Election is conditional).
    2) Jesus died for everyone (Unlimited Atonement)
    3) Man is completely corrupt and can’t save himself (Total Depravity)
    4) God’s grace is nessesary for salvation, but is resistible.
    5) It may be possible to fall from grace (on this issue the Remonstrants were undecided)

    You may notice that the 5 points correspond very closly with TULIP (although in a different order), and not all are in contradiction (IE they agreed on T and were undecided on P)

    Here is a link to Wikipedia (which has the actual wording) of the five points: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_articles_of_Remonstrance

  5. Adam, as a 5 point Calvinist myself, I think the Amazing Grace DVD gives a very poor history of Calvinism.

    When I first watched the Amazing Grace DVD, I was new into Calvinism, and still had questions, and so at the time was ignorant. But now I don’t actually think the Amazing Grace DVD is that good. It whitewashes an extreme form of HIGH-Calvinism, to leave the viewer with a false impression that all who held to the doctrines of Grace from Augustine to the reformers, to the Puritans and to the present day are unified in holding the beliefs presented. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

    For e.g. The program presents John Bunyan, who was actually a 4 point Calvinist. And Luther and Calvin themselves and also the Synod of Dort do not hold to the extreme the DVD presents, but the viewer isn’t given a clue about this. The DVD makes a big thing about historical Arminianism being different to Arminianism today, without giving the viewer the slightest impression that historical Calvinism is different to the extreme they are presenting.

    When it comes to evangelism, they name George Whitefield, and William Carey, not telling the viewer that these held to historical Calvinism, which is different to what they are promoting. Then they give a Spurgeon quote about yellow stripes, which Spurgeon never even said (it was an invention of J Vernon McGee in the 1980’s), and to top it off they have Ray Comfort on the program whose not even a Calvinist, in a poor attempt to claim using the law in evangelism is Calvinist (ignoring non-Calvinist John Wesley) . And so not all people in that DVD, agree with the message presented. The editor has been very selective in his editing.

    For a much more balanced account of the history of Calvinism I recommend Curt Daniels series http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/histtheocalvin.html
    It is excellent and eye opening to see how much people differed, and Daniel has no interest in whitewashing his own view, and so is not afraid to quote people and explain when people disagree with him.

    This quote by Phil Johnson is I think very helpful:
    Phil Johnson: “Modern Calvinist circles seem to be filled with guys who insist that Christ’s death had no benefit whatsoever for anyone other than the elect and God’s only desire with regard to the reprobate is to damn them period. Too many Calvinists embrace the doctrine of limited atonement, they finally see the truth of it but then they think, “Oh that’s that.” Christ died for the elect and in no sense are their any universal benefits in the atonement, so the atonement is limited to the elect in every sense and it has no relevance whatsoever to the non-elect. I think that’s an extreme position and it’s not supported by many of the classic Calvinist theologians and writers if you read carefully what Calvinists have said throughout history. I want to encourage you read Andrew Fuller and Thomas Boston. Read what people like Robert L. Dabney and William G. T. Shedd and B. B. Warfield and Charles Hodge wrote on the subject of the atonement. Read John Owen too, but don’t imagine that John Owens’s book The Death of Death in the Death of Christ represents the only strain of Calvinist thought on the issue. It doesn’t. In fact, far from it.

    If you begin to study this issue in depth you will quickly discover that the classic Calvinist view on the extent of the atonement is a lot less narrow and a lot less cut and dried than the typical seminary student Calvinist on the Internet wants to admit. Historic Calvinism, as a movement has usually acknowledged that there are universal aspects of the atonement. Calvin himself had a view of the extent of the atonement that was far more broad and, and far more extensive than the average Calvinist today would care to recognize. And I’ll show you some of that if time allows.”

    Blessings.

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