by The Remonstrant
In contrast with Calvinism, I believe it may be said that Arminianism is a more apt ‘nickname’ for the good news of Jesus Christ.
Arminianism not only affirms the indiscriminate nature of the gospel call for all to repent of their sins and to turn to Christ for salvation but also God’s love for the world, God’s desire for all persons without exception to be saved and Christ as the expiation for the sins of the whole world (universal atonement).
“For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 HCSB)
Conversely, strict Calvinism’s doctrines of unconditional election to salvation (along with its corollary, unconditional reprobation), irresistible grace, regeneration preceding faith and denial of Christ’s death for all constitute an inversion of the gospel. (This indeed was Arminius’ basic sentiment concerning the Calvinian teaching of double predestination.) The gospel is said to be indiscriminate in nature, but God has already chosen beforehand those who will be elected to belief.
Arminianism understands the universal nature of the gospel, that it is genuinely for all. The application of salvation is particular based on one’s response to the the good news. Salvation is secure based on one’s present relationship with Jesus Christ, not an “eternal decree” whereby God chose to unconditionally elect some to salvation and to damn all others by passing them over and leaving them in their sins to perish (divine preterition). Arminianism holds that believers are elect and that faith precedes regeneration. Those who persevere in repentance and faith in the Son of God will be saved. Through God’s power believers “are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5 ESV).
Seeing as high Calvinism denies the conditional nature of salvation and the universal atonement of Christ, I find it ironic that this brand of theology is often mistaken by its advocates as being part and parcel of the good news. It is not.