Calvinism Arminianism And Universalis

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Scripture references are from the New King James Version of the Bible unless stated otherwise.

Do you profess to be a Bible believing Christian? All Bible believing Christians fall into one of the three categories of Christian beliefs, known as Calvinism, Arminianism and Universalism. These are the three distinct and separate schools of Christian theology. With regard to SALVATION, every professing Christian inevitably falls into one of them, whether he understands or is aware of these terms or not. So, if you claim to be a Bible believing Christian, after you remove all of your denominational clothing, you are a Calvinist Christian, or an Arminian Christian or a Universalist Christian.

Each belief system claims to be biblically based, and theologians have argued and debated the issues related to each of them for centuries. They have been unable to reconcile any of these groups because they are irreconcilable, and there is no middle ground between them with respect to salvation.

There are five points in Calvinism, five points in Arminianism, and even five points in Universalism, which outline each of these belief systems. The purpose of this chapter is to highlight and summarise the core differences between these three belief systems, without a detailed complicated theological analysis of each point.

Calvinism was the most dominant and widely held view of Protestant Christians from the time of the Reformation for hundreds of centuries up until the last century. Arminianism has now overtaken Calvinism by a long way, and currently most Christian churches are Arminian in their belief. There is sufficient historical evidence to show that Universalism was the most widely held view for the first five centuries following the death of Jesus Christ. However, this all changed when the Roman Catholic Church pronounced an anathema in 573 A.D. on anyone who believed in Universalism. Currently, Universalism is a very small minority view, perhaps no more than 2% of Bible believing Christians.

What is Calvinism?

It is a system of theological belief promoted by a French man, John Calvin (1509-1564), and expressed in the document called Institutes of the Christian Religion. Calvinism laid the foundation for the Reformed Theology of the Reformation period. Calvinism is the basis for the doctrine of many Baptist, Presbyterian, Anglican and Reformed churches.

According to Calvin, God predestined before the beginning of the world, to save a certain group of people called God's Elect. God's sovereign will for His Elect cannot be resisted or thwarted, as His irresistible grace ensures that all of them will willingly accept Jesus Christ at some point in their lives before they die. The Non-Elect cannot come to Christ because natural fallen man is totally sinful and depraved. Salvation is entirely the work of God from start to finish. All believers (the Elect) will go to heaven, but all unbelievers (the Non-Elect) will be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire (hell), where they will be tortured forever.

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Some Calvinist Christians believe in annihilism instead of endless torture. What is Arminianism?

It is a system of theological belief promoted by a Dutch man, Jacobus Arminius (15601609). Arminius started out as a strict Calvinist, but later changed his views as stated in the document called, 'The Remonstrance'. Arminianism is the theological basis for Methodists, Wesleyans, Nazarenes, Pentecostals, Free Will Baptists, Holiness churches and many charismatic churches. Roman Catholicism is also basically Arminian in its belief.

According to Arminius, Christ died for all people and God wills all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth. However, God's will can be frustrated and thwarted by man and God's grace can be resisted by man's freewill. This is because ultimately it is left to each person to decide whether he wishes to be saved or not. Therefore, in order to go to heaven each person must choose to accept Jesus Christ before he dies. All those who die without choosing Christ will be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire (hell), where they will be tortured forever.

Some Arminian Christians believe in annihilism instead of endless torture.

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