Saturday, July 12, 2008

Arminius on the Free Will of Man

For the last 450 years since Christians began openly rejecting the religious philosophy of John Calvin, Theodore Beza and other Calvinists who formulated their assertions in the infancy of the Reformation, we have had to repeatedly cast down a false accusation, a spurious lie regarding the will of man. The charge of "free willism" or some great measure of Pelagianism has often infected the polemic of many Calvinists who either through theological ignorance or deliberate and willful deception slander and libel the greater body of Christ. Arminius addressed this falsehood spoken so easily off the lips of countless Calvinists in his day and ours in his Sentiments. When a modern version of the polemicists Beza, Gomarus and countless of their fellows spew the charges of Pelagianism and "free-willer" as if it damages one's Christianity, they are easily and irrefutably rebuked with the words of Arminius himself.


This is my opinion concerning the free-will of man: In his primitive condition as he came out of the hands of his creator, man was endowed with such a portion of knowledge, holiness and power, as enabled him to understand, esteem, consider, will, and to perform the true good, according to the commandment delivered to him. Yet none of these acts could he do, except through the assistance of Divine Grace. But in his lapsed and sinful state, man is not capable, of and by himself, either to think, to will, or to do that which is really good; but it is necessary for him to be regenerated and renewed in his intellect, affections or will, and in all his powers, by God in Christ through the Holy Spirit, that he may be qualified rightly to understand, esteem, consider, will, and perform whatever is truly good. When he is made a partaker of this regeneration or renovation, I consider that, since he is delivered from sin, he is capable of thinking, willing and doing that which is good, but yet not without the continued aids of Divine Grace.