The Five Points of Arminius
I found this in the old 19th century multi-volume reference book, the McClintock & Strong, Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature. It is the heart of their entry on "Arminianism."
What I especially like about it is that they seek to state the beliefs of Arminius in, as much as possible, the language that he actually used. As a result, I think this is one of the best summary statements of the teachings of Arminius that I have ever encountered.
Bear in mind, however: the language is old fashioned and may be difficult for some.
The views of Arminius on the points of predestination and grace are presented in the following articles, drawn up almost entirely in words which may be found in his writings:
(1.) God, by an eternal and immutable decree, ordained in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, to save in Christ, because of Christ, and through Christ, from out of the human race, which is fallen and subject to sin, those who by the grace of the Holy Spirit believe in the same his Son, and who, by the same grace, persevere unto the, end in that faith and the obedience of faith; but, on the contrary, to leave in sin and subject to wrath those who are not converted and are unbelieving, and to condemn them as aliens from Christ, according to the Gospel, John 3:36.
(2.) To which end Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world, died for all and each one, so that he has gained for all, through the death of Christ, reconciliation and remission of sins; on this condition, however, that no one in reality enjoys that remission of sins except the faithful man, and this, too, according to the Gospel, John 3:16, and 1 John 2:2.
(3.) But man has not from himself, or by the power of his free will, saving faith, inasmuch as in the state of defection and sin he cannot think or do of himself any thing good, which is, indeed, really good, such as saving faith is; but it is necessary for him to be born again and renewed by God in Christ through his Holy Spirit, in his mind, affections, or will, and all his faculties, so that he may be able to understand, think, wish, and perform something good, according to that saying of Christ in John 15:5.
(4.) It is this grace of God which begins, promotes, and perfects every thing good, and this to such a degree that even the regenerate man without this preceding or adventitious grace, exciting, consequent, and co-operating, can neither think, wish, or do any thing good, nor even resist any evil temptation: so that all the good works which we can think of are to be attributed to the grace of God in Christ. But as to the manner of the operation of that grace, it is not irresistible, for it is said of many that they resisted the Holy Spirit, in Acts 7:51, and many other places.
(5.) Those who are grafted into Christ by a true faith, and therefore partake of his vivifying Spirit, have abundance of means by which they may fight against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and obtain the victory, always, however, by the aid of the grace of the Holy Spirit; Jesus Christ assists them by his Spirit in all temptations, and stretches out his hand; and provided they are ready for the contest, and seek his aid, and are not wanting to their duty, he strengthens them to such a degree that they cannot be seduced or snatched from the hands of Christ by any fraud of Satan or violence, according to that saying, John 10:28, " No one shall pluck them out of my hand." But whether these very persons cannot, by their own negligence, desert the commencement of their being in Christ, and embrace again the present world, fall back from the holy doctrine once committed to them, make shipwreck of their conscience, and fall from grace; this must be more fully examined and weighed by the Holy Scripture before men can teach it with full tranquillity of mind and confidence.
This last proposition was modified by the followers of Arminius so as to assert the possibility of falling from grace.
In his scheme of theology Arminius accepted the church's developed ideas respecting God and respecting man, and then expounded with keen dialectical rigor the only doctrine which could harmonize the two. His mission was to point out how God could be what the church taught that he was, and man what the church declared him to be, at one and the same time. The readjustment of the disturbed and abnormal relations of man to God, by justification, is the central thought of Protestant theology; the announcement and exposition of their relations in that readjustment was the work of Arminius. Magnify either of the related terms to the final suppression of the other, and error is the result. Magnify the Divine agency to the complete suppression of the human in that readjustment, and fatalism is inevitable. Magnify the human to the complete suppression of the Divine, and extreme Pelagianism is the result. To Arminius is the church indebted for her first vivid apprehension and scientific statement of the Christian doctrine of the relation of man to God.
— McClintock & Strong, "Arminianism" Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature.
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