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Calvinism Vs Arminianism Essay

2241 words - 9 pages

Calvinism and Arminianism

The purpose of this paper is to compare two theological positions, namely Calvinism and Arminianism. These are two positions on either side of the extreme concerning free will and predestination. There are those who believe that we have the free will to love and obey God or deny God, and there are those who believe that God, in his sovereignty, has predetermined who will be saved or who will not be saved and neither group is willing to budge. Both sides claim to have the support of Scripture, and both have specific verses that are twisted and manipulated to show support and reasoning. The problem is that both sides appear, on some levels at least, to be right. ...view middle of the document...

The book was written as a textbook on the Protestant faith and covered a broad range of theological topics such as: doctrines of church and sacraments, justification by faith alone, and Christian liberty. It attacked teachings that Calvin considered unorthodox, particularly Roman Catholicism, which he had be strongly devoted to before his conversion to Protestantism. The book is highly regarded as a secondary reference for the system of doctrine adopted by the Reformed Churches, called Calvinism. However, it took Calvin 14 years before he could fully impose his version of liturgy, doctrine, organization of the church and moral behavior. Calvin’s services were simple yet he placed a great importance on the sermon. Though Calvin liked music, he distrusted its use in religious services believing that it distracted people from worship and seeking the knowledge of God. Though musical instruments were banned from churches, congregational singing was permitted and proved to be both popular and an effective way of sharing the good news. All matters of worship came from Scripture, thus psalms took the place of hymns in services.

Arminianism’s history dates back to 1560 when a man name Jacobus Arminius was born in Holland. By this time, the majority of the Protestants were Calvinists. Arminius, whose relatives were killed in the Netherland’s struggle for independence, was educated through the support of friends, at the University of Leyden. Later Arminius went to Geneva, where he was greatly influenced by Theodore Beza, Calvin’s handpicked successor, before his death in 1564. Arminius became a great pastor and theologian, taught by Theodore Beza. Arminius also became the Professor of Divinity at the University of Leyden, but after careful examination of Scriptures, he rejected Calvin’s theology on predestination that God elected those for salvation. Instead, Arminius proposed that salvation was conditional on faith by believers. Dutch Calvinists challenged Arminius’s views, but Arminius died in 1609 before a national synod could take place. Arminius followers, not wanting to adopt their leaders name, called themselves the Remonstrants. When Arminius died before he could provide Holland’s State General’s request for a paper outlining his views, the Remonstrants replied to the General’s request writing the Five Articles of Remonstrance. Later a synod was to take place in Dordrecht and the Dutch Calvinists persuaded to exclude Arminians and Remonstrants. In 1618, the Synod of Dort occurred and published a condemnation of Arminius and his followers as heretics. Part of this publication also included the famous Five Points of Calvinism in response to the Five Articles of Remonstrance. Arminians across Holland were removed from office, imprisoned, banished and sworn to silence. Twelve years later, Holland officially granted Arminianism protection as a religion, although hatred between Arminians and Calvinists continued.

Five Points of Calvinism


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