This exposition discusses the earliest, historical beliefs of the Arminian theological tradition regarding the effects of the fall upon man, the nature of the will of man and the mode of grace in salvation. The primary source writings of the earliest and most influential Arminian writers such as Jacobus Arminius, Simon Episcopius and John Wesley were examined in light of both Arminian and non-Arminian secondary source material and thus exposited according that general understanding.
Several points of interest were found, including:
firstly, that Arminianism was orthodox in its understanding of the nature of the creation and subsequent fall; secondly, that it was reformed in its teaching on original sin and total depravity according to the effects of the fall; thirdly, that it taught that the nature of the will is libertarian (unnecessitated) and free but that this, however, changed after the fall, becoming both morally and naturally bound to sin and altogether impotent for salvation; fourthly, it held to the belief that God’s grace is such that it is personal, continuous (non-quiescent), exclusive, and sufficient, and resistible only through God’s providence; and finally, that faith is the condition upon which God has chosen to effect grace unto saving justification, and according to that justification, bestow New Life to sinners, commencing the lifelong process of sanctification, which is distinguished from justification.
These findings demonstrate that early Arminianism was an orthodox, reformed and evangelical theology and that therefore it ought to be represented as such in the modern, public, theological domain.
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BRENDAN PAUL BURNETT, the author of this work, is an undergraduate student of the Humanities majoring in History and Philosophy at the University of Sydney, Australia.
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