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Arminianism and Calvinism 

Arminianism and Calvinism are the two mains views of theology within Christianity in America today: Calvinism is a system of biblical interpretation taught by John Calvin who lived in the 1500's at the time of Martin Luther who sparked the Reformation and Arminianism was taught by James (Jacobus) Arminius a few years later.  This topic is visited a number of times during our course of study in relationship as how these two doctrines effect ones understanding.

The following five points that make up the acronym TULIP gives a quick comparison of the main difference between Calvinism and Arminianism.  Please do a more study on each of these brief comparisons.

These five categories do not comprise Calvinism or Arminianism in totality. They simply represent how they differ on five of their main points.

1) Total Depravity or Deprivation

Calvinism: Total Depravity maintains that because of our fallen nature man has no ability to choose God (good), but only evil.
Arminianism: Maintains that the human race is totally depraved (all have sinned and are without God), yet God provides each human the opportunity to knowledge of God. They can be then transformed by God's grace that then grants them a choice between "good or evil", "life or death".

2) Unconditional Election or Conditional Election:

Calvinism: Unconditional Election is that God chooses the individual and His choice is not based upon anything the human must do (no choice).
Arminianism: Conditional Election - God has desires that all humanity be righteous by His grace, yet has called us to respond to that grace by exercising our God-restored human freedom as a condition of fulfilling election (must choose).

3) Limited Atonement or Unlimited Atonement

Calvinism: Jesus' sacrifice was sufficient for all, it was not efficacious for all. Jesus only bore the sins of those are chosen by God. Christ died only for the elect.
Arminianism: Unlimited Atonement - The Atonement is freely available to all humanity, "whosoever will."  Christ died for all.

4) Irresistible Grace or Resistible Grace:

Calvinism: When God calls a person into salvation, they cannot resist.
Arminianism: Resistible Grace - God's grace is free and offered without merit; however, human beings have been granted freedom by God and can resist (refuse) His grace

5) Perseverance of the Saints:

Calvinism: Assurance and Security You cannot lose your salvation.

Arminianism: Assurance and Security - There is security in God's grace that allows assurance of salvation, but that security is in relation to continued faithfulness; man can still defiantly reject God.

According to Calvinism,it is nonsense to ask "What must I do to be Saved/ELECTED?" Why? Because a volitional corpse or a spiritually dead person simply cannot read the Word of God or pray to God in a way that will volitionally resurrect himself (herself) or soften his (her) heart's hostility toward God.

Calvinism believes that each person is born a slave to sin and spiritually dead--is "TOTALLY DEPRAVED or spiritually unable"--then salvation must ULTIMATELY be a free or UNCONDITIONAL gift, in no way finally dependent or contingent on one's actions.

Each letter of the TULIP acronym builds on the previous, therefore the concept of totally depraved, no ability to choose "good versus evil" is a critical foundational block of Calvinism. If one is totally depraved then unconditional election is true, but if man has God granted ability to choose between "good" and "evil", "life or death" then Arminianism would be true.

The same dicision process builds from the concept of limited atonement, did Jesus die for "whosoever will" and does "He wish none to perish" or was his death "limited" only for those He would choose.

This is a very important topic and your view on this subject will influence much of your Bible Interpertation. Therefore do some additional Internet research on this topic. Read with an open mind about both of these schools of thought, but never forgetting that the Bible is inerrant and that Jesus Christ Crucified is the single thread that runs from Genesis to Revelation. The key is what does the Bible say and not what does man say about the Bible.