Five Articles of Remonstrance
|The Five Articles
|Part of a series on|
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2010)|
The Five Articles of Remonstrance were theological propositions advanced in 1610 by followers of Jacobus Arminius who had died in 1609, in disagreement with interpretations of the teaching of John Calvin then current in the Dutch Reformed Church. They proved divisive, and those who supported them chose to call themselves "Remonstrants".
Forty-six preachers and the two leaders of the Leyden state college for the education of preachers met in The Hague on 14 January 1610, to state in written form their views concerning all disputed doctrines. The document in the form of a remonstrance was drawn up by Jan Uytenbogaert and after a few changes was endorsed and signed by all in July.
The Remonstrants did not reject confession and catechism, but did not acknowledge them as permanent and unchangeable canons of faith. They ascribed authority only to the word of God in Holy Scripture and were averse to all formalism. They also maintained that the secular authorities have the right to interfere in theological disputes to preserve peace and prevent schisms in the Church.
The Five Articles of Remonstrance were subject to review by the Dutch National Synod held in Dordrecht in 1618–19 (see the Synod of Dort). The judgements of the Synod, known as the Canons of Dort (Dordrecht), opposed the Remonstrance with Five Heads of Doctrine. Each in answer to one of the Articles of the Remonstrance. It was this response which gave rise to what has since become known as the Five Points of Calvinism. Modified to form the acrostic TULIP they covered the soteriological topics within Calvinism, summarizing the essence of what constitutes an orthodox view on each of sin: total depravity, the basis of God's choice of the saved: unconditional election, the application of the benefits of the atonement: limited atonement, how the Holy Spirit brings man to repentance and faith: irresistible grace, and the assurance that the saints will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit: perseverance of the saints.
The Five Articles
The Five Articles of Remonstrance contrast with the Five Points of Calvinism on most points. Article I disagrees that election into Christ is unconditional. Rather, in this article the Remonstrants assert that election is conditional upon faith in Christ, and that God elects to salvation those He knows beforehand will have faith in Him. Article II espouses unlimited atonement, the concept that Christ died for all. This stands in contrast to the limited atonement of Calvinism, which asserts that Christ only died for those God chooses to be saved. Article III affirms the total depravity of man, that man cannot save himself. Article IV repudiates the Calvinistic concept of irresistible grace, contending that mankind has the free will to resist God's grace. Article V, rather than outright rejecting the notion of perseverance of the saints, argues that it may be conditional upon the believer remaining in Christ. The writers explicitly stated that they were not sure on this point, and that further study was needed. The text of the articles is given below.
- Article I — That God, by an eternal, unchangeable purpose in Jesus Christ, his Son, before the foundation of the world, hath determined, out of the fallen, sinful race of men, to save in Christ, for Christ's sake, and through Christ, those who, through the grace of the Holy Ghost, shall believe on this his Son Jesus, and shall persevere in this faith and obedience of faith, through this grace, even to the end; and, on the other hand, to leave the incorrigible and unbelieving in sin and under wrath, and to condemn them as alienate from Christ, according to the word of the Gospel in John iii. 36: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him," and according to other passages of Scripture also.
- Article II — That, agreeably thereto, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption, and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins, except the believer, according to the word of the Gospel of John iii. 16: "God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life"; and in the First Epistle of John ii. 2: "And he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world."
- Article III — That man has not saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as he, in the state of apostasy and sin, can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do anything that is truly good (such as having faith eminently is); but that it is needful that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, or will, and all his powers, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the word of Christ, John xv. 5: "Without me ye can do nothing."
- Article IV — That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of an good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without that prevenient or assisting, awakening, following, and co-operative grace, can neither think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements, that can be conceived, must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. But, as respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible, in as much as it is written concerning many that they have resisted the Holy Ghost,—Acts vii, and elsewhere in many places.
- Article V — That those who are incorporated into Christ by a true faith, and have thereby become partakers of his life-giving Spirit, have thereby full power to strive against Satan, sin, the world, and their own flesh, and to win the victory, it being well understood that it is ever through the assisting grace of the Holy Ghost; and that Jesus Christ assists them through his Spirit in all temptations, extends to them his hand, and if only they are ready for the conflict, and desire his help, and are not inactive, keeps them from falling, so that they, by no craft or power of Satan, can be misled, nor plucked out of Christ's hands, according to the word of Christ, John x. 28: "Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." But whether they are capable, through negligence, of forsaking again the first beginnings of their life in Christ, of again returning to this present evil world, of turning away from the holy doctrine which was delivered them, of losing a good conscience, of becoming devoid of grace, that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scriptures before they can teach it with the full persuasion of their minds.
- Text available in Bray, Gerald (1994). Documents of the English Reformation. Cambridge: James Clark & C°. p. 453,4. note there is an error in the preamble which gives the year as 1612.
- Harrison, A. W. The Beginnings of Arminianism to the Synod of Dort. London: University of London Press, 1926.
- Olson, Roger (2006). Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. Downers Grove: IVP Academic. ISBN 0-8308-2841-9.
- Schaff, Phillip. The Creeds of Christendom, Volume III, pp. 545-549. ISBN 0-8010-8232-3. Available at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/creeds3.iv.xv.html