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Arminianism

ARMINIANISM

ARMINIANISM, a form of theological thought based on the 1608 Declaration of Sentiments of the Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius (1559–1609). Often referred to as "anti-Calvinism," Arminianism holds the freedom of the human will as its basic tenet and thus denies one of John Calvin's foundational ideas: the irresistibility of the grace of God. Arminius states that God's grace is indeed resistible because all human beings are responsible for


their own thoughts and actions. Accordingly, sin is actual because it is possible, in direct contrast to Calvin's treatment of sin as purely theoretical because of the inability of the elect to sin. Therefore, Arminianism states that salvation requires both willful repentance and willful acceptance of God's grace, not simply a helpless reliance on arbitrary election.

Arminianism's belief in the role of man's free will fueled the evangelical fervor of the nineteenth century, and its adoption by John Wesley was a driving force in the formation of the powerful Methodist denomination both in England and in America. Arminianism widely appeared in America during the early 1740s as an engagement of the Puritan and Presbyterian reliance on Calvin's principles; in doing so, ministers addressed the major focuses of Jonathan Edwards's preaching and of the entire Great Awakening (1734–c. 1745).

American Arminians combined Armenius's ideas with the Enlightenment's reliance on reason and rational thought to offer a theology that resonated with the beliefs of many of the nation's citizens. Some of these broader philosophies included a work ethic that valued honest and thoughtful toil, the sense that their work ultimately held some meaning and purpose, and the attitude of voluntarism and reform that became prevalent during the nineteenth century. These final attributes were fed by the Second Great Awakening and the general evangelicalism that pervaded American Methodist and Baptist churches during that same period. As a result, the inclusive doctrines of Arminianism passed from heresy into an orthodoxy that remains strong at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Sell, Alan P. F. The Great Debate: Calvinism, Arminianism, and Salvation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1983.

Barbara SchwarzWachal

See alsoGreat Awakening ; Methodism .

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Arminianism

Arminianism. Under Elizabeth I, though against her will, the Church of England eschewed ritual and adopted the grim Calvinist belief that God, when creating human beings, had predestined them to either salvation or damnation. The 1590s saw a reaction set in, similar to that which was taking place in Holland under the impetus of Jacob Arminius, and English anti-predestinarians came to be called Arminians, even though they were an autonomous movement. The Arminians were given only limited advancement by James I, but with the accession of the high-church Charles I in 1625 they came to dominate the episcopal bench, especially after the appointment of Laud as archbishop in 1633. Not all Arminians were ritualists, but their critics lumped them together as crypto-catholics and Charles's identification with them was one of the principal causes of the lack of trust between him and his subjects which led to the collapse of royal rule.

Roger Lockyer

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"Arminianism." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"Arminianism." The Oxford Companion to British History. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/arminianism

Arminianism

Arminianism: see Arminius, Jacobus.

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"Arminianism." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 18 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Arminianism." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (August 18, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/arminianism

"Arminianism." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved August 18, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/arminianism