[This post first appeared at gospelencounter.wordpress.com]
Here are some quick, Scripture soaked quotes from James Arminius on each point of Calvinism’s TULIP (quotes from Declaration of Sentiments are from W. Stephen Gunter’s translation):
Total depravity: yes.
Without Divine assistance humanity is not able to think, will, or do anything that is truly good.
I would go so far as to assert that the creature, although regenerated, can neither conceive, will, nor do any good at all, nor resist any evil temptation, apart from this preventing and awakening, this continuing and cooperating grace.
The entire controversy can be reduced to answering this question, “Is the grace of God an irresistible force?” In other words, the controversy does not relate to those actions or operations which may properly be ascribed to grace, for I acknowledge and ascribe to grace as many of these actions or operations as any man has ever done. No, the controversy relates solely to the mode of operation, whether it be irresistible or not. I believe that the scriptures teach that many persons resist the Holy Spirit and reject the grace offered.”
-Arminius, Declaration of Sentiments, “The Grace of God”
Irresistible Grace: no.
The representation of grace in Scripture describes it as capable of “being resisted” (Acts 7:51) and “received in vain” (2 Cor. 6:1). It is possible for the creature to “avoid yielding assent to it and to refuse all cooperation with it” (Heb. 12:15, Matt. 23:37, Luke 7:30).
-Arminius, Declaration of Sentiments, XIII
Limited atonement: no.
Let those who reject the former of these opinions consider how they can answer the following scriptures which declare that Christ died for all men:
– that He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2);
– that He took away the sin of the world (John 1:29);
– that He gave his flesh for the life of the world (John 6:51);
– that Christ died even for that man who might be destroyed with the meat of another person (Rom. 14:15); and
– that false teachers make merchandise even of those who deny the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction (2 Pet. 2:1, 3).
He therefore who speaks thus, speaks with the Scriptures
-Arminius, Works, v 1, “Christ Has Died for all Men and for Every Individual“
Unconditional election: no.
This Doctrine inverts the order of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that requires repentance and faith and promises everlasting life to those who convert and believe (Mark 1:15; 16:16). But it is stated in this decree of predestination that God bestows conversion and faith on specific persons through an irresistible force because God wills to save them.
According to the gospel, God threatens eternal death on the impenitent and unbelieving (John 3:36) … But this decree of predestination teaches that God chooses not to confer on certain individuals that grace necessary for conversion and faith because he has specifically decreed their condemnation.
The gospel teaches, “God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). But this doctrine teaches that God so loved those whom he had specifically elected to eternal life that he gave his son to save them alone and by an irresistible force in them produced the faith in Christ necessary for salvation.
In short, the gospel is this: fulfill the command and you shall obtain the promise; believe and you shall live. This doctrine, however, places these words in God’s mouth: “Since it is my will to bestow eternal life on you, it is my will to give you faith”.
Surely this is a real and manifest inversion of the Holy Gospel.
– Arminius, Declaration of Sentiments, XVII
God decided graciously to accept those who repent and believe in Christ, and for Christ’s sake and through him to effect the final salvation of penitents and believers who persevere to the end in their faith. Simultaneously, God decreed to leave in sin under divine wrath all impenitent persons and unbelievers, damning them as alienated from Christ.
– Arminius, Declaration of Sentiments, “Arminius’ Fourfold Doctrine of Predestination”
Perseverance of the saints: sort of.
I believe that all who have been grafted into Christ by true faith, having been made partakers of his life-giving Spirit, possess sufficient spiritual strength to fight against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh —and to gain the victory over these enemies — yet none of this at any time without the perpetual assistance of the grace of the same Holy Spirit.
I believe it would be constructive and even necessary … diligently to search the Scriptures to discern whether it is possible for some individuals through negligence to forfeit their existence in Christ — whether they might actually return to worldliness, turn away from the sound doctrine delivered to them, lose good conscience, and cause divine grace to become ineffectual. Therefore, I firmly declare that I have never taught that a true believer either totally or finally fall away from the faith and perish; but I do not deny that there are passages of scripture that seem to indicate such.
-Arminius, Declaration of Sentiments, “The Perseverance of the Saints”
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