In recent times, Arminianism has been typically caricatured by the Reformed as a form of Semi-Pelagianism. Semi-Pelagians have an optimistic view of fallen human nature: Humans beings retain some moral or spiritual good in them, and they have the power to make the first move towards God on their own. God then responds to our faith by his grace and draws us in the rest of the way.
Not so with Arminianism! Even a cursory reading of the primary sources for classical Arminianism will yield quite a different, pessimistic, and Reformed view of fallen human nature. For Arminians, human beings, in their lapsed and sinful state, are not even able to think the true and saving good, much less have the power actually to will and to do the good. Everyone is hopelessly lost, and in total need of God taking the first move; everyone needs the empowering, prevenient grace of the Spirit through the Gospel to quicken their hardened hearts and draw each one personally to faith in Christ.
But what are these “primary sources”? To help those who want to look into this topic, I have compiled, below, a brief bibliography of some of the major readings for a classical Arminian doctrine of sin and depravity. Especially recommended is the chapter by Stanglin and McCall (2012), which treats the relevant primary source material found in Arminius particularly well.
All the best!
Bibliography: Arminianism doctrine-of-sin readings