Since we shall be examining in some detail what the Reformation theologians of Dort meant by these five points, let us first take a look at a summary of the Five Points of Arminianism.
I. FREE WILL
The first point of Arminianism was that man possesses free will. The Reformers acknowledged that man had a will, but they agreed with Luther’s thesis in his book The Bondage of the Will that it was not free from bondage to Satan. Arminius believed that the fall of man was not total, holding that there was enough good left in man for him to will to accept Christ unto salvation.
II. CONDITIONAL ELECTION
Arminius further taught that election was based upon the foreknowledge of God as to who would believe. In other words man’s act of faith is the “condition” for his being elected to eternal life, since God foresaw him exercising his “free will” in positive volition toward Christ.
III. UNIVERSAL ATONEMENT
Inasmuch as it was their further conviction that God loves everybody, that Christ died for everyone, and that the Father is not willing that any should perish, Arminius and his followers held that redemption (used casually as a synonym for atonement) was general. In other words the death of Christ provided grounds for God to save all men. However, each must exercise his free will to accept Christ.
IV. OBSTRUCTABLE GRACE
The Arminian further believed that since God wanted all men to be saved, He sent the Holy Spirit to woo all men to Christ. However, since man has absolute “free will” he is able to resist God’s will for his life (the Arminian order being that man exercises his own will first, then he is born again). Although the Arminian says he believes that God is omnipotent, he insists that God’s will to save all men can be frustrated by the finite will of man on an individual basis.
V. FALLING FROM GRACE
The fifth point of Arminianism is the logical outcome of the preceding portions of the system. If man cannot be saved by God unless it is man’s will to be saved, then man cannot continue in salvation unless he continues to will to be saved.
[From Duane Edward Spencer, TULIP: The Five Points of Calvinism in the Light of Scripture.]
Transcrito em São Paulo, 3 de Setembro de 2014.