Arminianism is most accurately used to define those who affirm the original beliefs of Jacobus Arminius himself, but the term can also be understood as an umbrella for a larger grouping of ideas including those of Hugo Grotius, John Wesley and others. There are two primary perspectives on how the system is applied in detail: Classical Arminianism, which sees Arminius as its figurehead, and Wesleyan Arminianism, which sees John Wesley as its figurehead. In addition, Arminianism is often misrepresented by some of its critics to include Semipelagianism or even Pelagianism, though proponents of both primary perspectives vehemently deny these claims.
Dutch Arminianism was originally articulated in the Remonstrance (1610), a theological statement signed by 45 ministers and submitted to the Dutch states general. The Synod of Dort (1618–19) was called by the states general to pass upon the Remonstrance. The five points (the main tenants) of the Remonstrance asserted that:
Men are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation
Salvation is possible by grace alone
Works of human effort are not cause or contribution to salvation
God's election is conditional on faith in Jesus
Jesus' atonement was potentially for all people
God allows his grace to be resisted by those unwilling to believe
Salvation can be lost, as continued salvation is conditional upon continued faith
Since the 16th century, Christians of many sects including the Baptists (See A History of the Baptists Third Edition by Robert G. Torbet) have been influenced by Arminian views. So have the Methodists, the Congregationalists of the early New England colonies in the 17th and 18th centuries, and the Universalists and Unitarians in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Within the broad scope of the history of Christian theology, Arminianism is closely related to Calvinism (or Reformed theology), and the two systems share both history and many doctrines. Nonetheless, they are often viewed as rivals within evangelicalism because of their disagreement over details of the doctrines of divine predestination and salvation.
Grotius lived in the transitional era between the feudal society and the establishment of sovereign states. His was an age of religious turmoil between Catholicism and Protestantism, between Arminianism and Calvinism and of the vanishing power of the church as the secular state was slowly coming into its own.
As a theologian, Grotius developed a particular view of the atonement of Christ known as the "Governmental" or "Moral government" theory. He theorized that Jesus' sacrificial death occurred in order for the Father to forgive while still maintaining his just rule over the universe. This idea, further developed by theologians such as John Miley, became one of the prominent views of the atonement in Arminianism.
"The providence of God is subordinate to creation; and it is, therefore, necessary that it should not impinge against creation, which it would do, were it to inhibit or hinder the use of free will in man. . ." - Jacobus Arminius
"God decreed to save and damn certain particular persons. This decree has its foundation in the foreknowledge of God, by which he knew from all eternity those individuals who would, through his preventing [going before] grace, believe, and, through his subsequent grace would persevere by which foreknowledge, he likewise knew those who would not believe and persevere." - Jacobus Arminius
“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” - John Wesley
“Liberty is the power that we have over ourselves” - Hugo Grotius