Jacobus Arminius (1560-1609)


He is most remembered for his views that differed from the traditional Augustinian and Calvinist doctrines as expressed in the Belgic Confession and Heidelberg Catechism. Arminius was educated at Marburg (1575), Leiden (1576-1581), Basel (1582-1583) and Geneva (1582, 1584-1586), and studied under Calvin’s successor, Theodore Beza. He served as a pastor in Amsterdam from 1588 to 1603 and as a professor of theology at the University of Leiden from 1603 to the end of his life. Arminius came to oppose unconditional election and supralapsarianism, arguing instead that God’s election was conditional on his foreknowledge of who would choose faith in Christ. He also taught that Christ accomplished a universal atonement, although only those who believe in Christ are saved. He maintained that the Holy Spirit provides prevenient grace enabling humans to believe in Christ, but that people can fall away from salvation because of their free will. After his death, his followers, the Remonstrants proposed five articles challenging Calvinism, resulting in the Canons of Dort, which later have been associated with TULIP. Those who subscribed to Arminius’s views became known as Arminians, though the theology of contemporary Arminianism differs in some ways from his original teachings.

(from Pocket Dictionary of the Reformed Tradition)


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