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Calvinism vs Arminianism
"Calvinism vs. Arminianism . . . which is correct?"
Calvinism and Arminianism are two systems of theology that attempt to explain the relationship between God's sovereignty and man's responsibility in the matter of salvation. Calvinism is named for John Calvin, a French theologian who lived from 1509-1564. Arminianism is named for Jacobus Arminius, a Dutch theologian who lived from 1560-1609.
Both beliefs can be summarized in five points.
#1. Calvinism believes the total depravity of man. Total depravity states that every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin; therefore, human beings are unable to come to God on their own accord.
#1. Arminianism believes partial depravity. Partial depravity states that every aspect of humanity is tainted by sin, but not to the extent that they are unable to place faith in God of their own accord.
#2. Calvinism believes that election is unconditional. Unconditional election teaches that God elects individuals to salvation based entirely on His will alone, not on anything inherently worthy in the individual.
#2. Arminianism believes in conditional election. Conditional teaches that God elects individuals to salvation based on His foreknowledge of who will believe in Christ unto salvation, thereby on the condition that the individual chooses God.
#3. Calvinism teaches that atonement is limited. Limited atonement is the belief that Jesus ONLY died for the elect.
#3. Arminianism sees atonement as unlimited. This is the most controversial of the five points. Unlimited atonement is the belief that Jesus died for ALL people, ALL sinners, but that His death does not take effect until a person receives Him by faith.
#4. Calvinism includes the belief that God’s grace is irresistible. Irresistible grace teaches that when God calls a person to salvation, that person will inevitably come to salvation.
#4. Arminianism says that an individual can resist the grace of God. Resistible grace states that God calls ALL to salvation, but that many (MOST) people resist and reject this call.
#5. Calvinism holds to perseverance of the saints. Perseverance of the saints teaches that a person who is elected by God will persevere in faith and will not permanently deny Christ or turn away from Him.
#5. Arminianism holds to conditional salvation. Conditional salvation is the view that a believer in Christ can, of his/her own free will, turn away from Christ and thereby lose salvation.
There it is. Calvinism vs Arminianism. Which one is right? There are vast belief differences in the body of Christ . . . mixtures of Calvinism and Arminianism are common. Some are five-point Calvinists; some are five-point Arminians. Some may be three-point Calvinists and two-point Arminians. Many believers arrive at some mixture of the two beliefs.
Humans are incapable of fully comprehending all the mysteries of the Bible. God is absolutely sovereign and He knows everything. BUT . . . mankind is to make a decision to place faith in Christ for salvation. Maybe to us these two facts contradict one another, but to God they make sense.
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