Although the word “Arminianism” is never found in Scripture, Jacob Arminius found the basis of his teachings in the Bible. Arminianism was formulated/popularized by the Remonstrance (1610). Faiths leaning at least in part in the Arminian direction include Methodists, Free Will Baptists, General Baptists, Church of the Nazarene, The Salvation Army, and Charismatics.
The five points of Arminianism assert that:
- election was conditioned by the rational faith or nonfaith of man;
- the Atonement, while adequate for all men, was efficacious only for the man of faith;
- unaided by the Holy Spirit, no person is able to respond to God’s will (depravity);
- grace is not irresistible; and
- believers are able to resist sin but are not beyond the possibility of falling from grace.
The core beliefs of Jacobus Arminius (summarized by theologian S. Ashby):
- Prior to being drawn and enabled, one is unable to believe… able only to resist.
- Having been drawn and enabled, but prior to regeneration, one is able to believe… able also to resist.
- After one believes, God then regenerates; one is able to continue believing… able also to resist.
- Upon resisting to the point of unbelief, one is unable again to believe… able only to resist.
Arminianism according to John Wesley:
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”. It is ‘a restoration not only to the favour, but likewise to the image of God,” our “being filled with the fullness of God”. 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. Wesley taught that prevenient (Preceding) Grace brought people to salvation, Justifying Grace saved them, and Sanctifying Grace empowered them to grow to live perfected holiness.