Arminianism

related topics
{church, century, christian}
{theory, work, human}
{government, party, election}
{group, member, jewish}
{math, energy, light}

John Wesley has historically been the most influential advocate for the teachings of Arminian soteriology. Wesley thoroughly agreed with the vast majority of what Arminius himself taught, maintaining strong doctrines of original sin, total depravity, conditional election, prevenient grace, unlimited atonement, and possibly apostasy.

Wesley departs from Classical Arminianism primarily on three issues:

  • Atonement – Wesley's atonement is a hybrid of the penal substitution theory and the governmental theory of Hugo Grotius, a lawyer and one of the Remonstrants. Steven Harper states "Wesley does not place the substitionary element primarily within a legal framework...Rather [his doctrine seeks] to bring into proper relationship the 'justice' between God's love for persons 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." [23]
  • Possibility of apostasy – Wesley fully accepted the Arminian view that genuine Christians could apostatize and lose their salvation, as his famous sermon "A Call to Backsliders" clearly demonstrates. Harper summarizes as follows: "the act of committing sin is not in itself ground for the loss of salvation...the loss of salvation is much more related to experiences that are profound and prolonged. Wesley sees two primary pathways that could result in a permanent fall from grace: unconfessed sin and the actual expression of apostasy." [24] Wesley disagrees with Arminius, however, in maintaining 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."[25]
  • Christian perfection – According to Wesley's teaching, Christians could attain a state of practical perfection, meaning a lack of all voluntary sin by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, in this life. Christian perfection (or entire sanctification), according to Wesley, is "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".[26] It is 'a restoration not only to the favour, but likewise to the image of God," our "being filled with the fullness of God".[27] 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."[26]

Other variations

Since the time of Arminius, his name has come to represent a very large variety of beliefs. Some of these beliefs, such as Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism (see below) are not considered to be within Arminian orthodoxy and are dealt with elsewhere. Some doctrines, however, do adhere to the Arminian foundation and, while minority views, are highlighted below.

Open theism

The doctrine of open theism states that God is omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient, but differs on the nature of the future. Open theists claim that the future is not completely knowable because people have not made their decisions yet, and therefore God knows the future in possibilities rather than certainties. As such, open theists resolve the issue of human free will and God's sovereignty by claiming that God is sovereign because he does not ordain each human choice, but rather works in cooperation with his creation to bring about his will. This notion of sovereignty and freedom is foundational to their understanding of love since open theists believe that love is not genuine unless it is freely chosen. The power of choice under this definition has the potential for as much harm as it does good, and open theists see free will as the best answer to the problem of evil. Well-known proponents of this theology are Greg Boyd, Clark Pinnock, Thomas Jay Oord, William Hasker, and John E. Sanders.

Full article ▸

related documents
Baroque
Opus Dei
Sola fide
Perseverance of the saints
Mannerism
Abstract expressionism
Huldrych Zwingli
Anabaptist
John Wycliffe
Renaissance
Supersessionism
Sola scriptura
Puritan
Filioque
Pope Leo XIII
Dark Ages
Baptist
Second Vatican Council
El Greco
Iconoclasm
Anglo-Catholicism
Christology
Ecumenical council
Congregationalist polity
Mark Rothko
Rowan Williams
Art Nouveau
Catholic
Christian countercult movement
Sistine Chapel