How did Calvinism and Arminianism come about?

How did Calvinism and Arminianism come about?

Arminians can trace their modern history to a theological council that met in 1610. It was called the Remonstrance, which means “protest.” They were protesting the Calvinistic position on such doctrines as predestination with what is known as the Five Points of Arminianism, which stressed the freedom of the human will in salvation.

In response, the Calvinist theologians met some 154 times at the Synod of Dort (1618–1619) to consider the Five Points of Arminianism. They responded with the Five Points of Calvinism, which stressed the sovereign choice of God in human salvation. As an aside, regarding the timing of predestination, the Calvinists differed in that some considered God’s election to have occurred after the fall in response to human sin (called infralapsarianism), while others saw God’s election to have occurred before creation and the fall (called supralapsarianism). Nonetheless, all Reformed confessions of faith include election (and the Canons of Dort do so in the greatest detail). Also noteworthy is the fact that all of this happened more than fifty years after the death of John Calvin who himself did not formulate what is known as the Five Points of Calvinism. I am a much bigger fan of the work of John Calvin than the Five Points as they are not his direct theological work but rather the work of his followers. In the same way, a forefather for the Republican party is Abraham Lincoln and one can be very grateful for his work and a devoted fan without agreeing to everything that the party has become long after his death. Nonetheless, here are the five points of Arminianism vs Calvinism respectively:

5 Points of Arminianism

1) Free Will
2) Conditional Election
3) Universal Atonement
4) Resistible Grace
5) Perseverance of Some Saints

5 Points of Calvinism

1) Total Depravity
2) Unconditional Election
3) Limited Atonement
4) Irresistible Grace
5) Perseverance of All Saints

Why do you think it is so difficult for our human minds to fully understand God’s work of salvation? Is it comforting to know that God is bigger and greater than we can even imagine?

This is an excerpt from Pastor Mark’s Romans 8-9 commentary Duck Duck Doom. You can get a free e-book copy by clicking here or get a physical copy for a gift of any amount during the month of March here.

To find the new, free Romans 6-11 digital study guide for individuals and small groups, hear Pastor Mark’s entire sermon series on Romans, or find a free mountain of Bible teaching visit or download the Real Faith app.

Mark Driscoll
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