Arminianism is a school of Protestant Christian theology developed by Dutch Reformed Theologian Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609). Its influence is found throughout many Protestant denominations such as Methodism as well as Pentecostalism, Amish, and Conservative Mennonites.
Baptist groups are split on this issue: the majority of Baptist churches (excluding those which are Calvinistic) accept the first four points but reject conditional salvation and instead hold to eternal security; Free Will Baptists accept all five points.
It is a system of belief that attempts to explain the relationship between God’s sovereignty and mankind’s free will, especially in relation to salvation. The five points of arminianism, presented at the Synod of Dortmund (Dort) are as follows:
- Partial Depravity – Humanity is tainted by sin, but not to the extent that we cannot chose to come to God on our own. We are capable of choosing to accept salvation or reject it without any influence from God.
- Conditional Election – God chose who would be saved based on knowing beforehand who would believe. God chooses those whom He knows will believe.
- Unlimited Atonement – Jesus died for everyone, even those who are not chosen and will not believe. Jesus’ death was for all of humanity, and anyone can be saved by belief in Him.
- Resistible Grace – God’s call on a person’s life to be saved can be resisted and/or rejected. We can resist God’s pull towards salvation if we choose to.
- Conditional Salvation – Christians can lose their salvation if they continue in a life of sin and/or fall away from God. The maintenance of salvation is required for a Christian to retain it.
These five points were answered by Calvinists of the day with five points of their own, now known by the acronym TULIP.