Today we turn our attention to James Arminius and a few brief observations about the theological system that bears his name. Continue reading . . .
Today we turn our attention to James Arminius and a few brief observations about the theological system that bears his name.
(1) Jacob Harmenszoon, better known to history as James Arminius, was born in Holland in 1559. His father died within a year of his birth and his mother, his brothers and sisters, and virtually all his relatives, were massacred in a raid on his home town of Oudewater in 1575. Arminius enrolled as a student of liberal arts at the University of Leyden in 1576 and concluded his studies in 1581. He went to study in John Calvin’s Geneva and enrolled at the Academy on January 1, 1582 (Theodore Beza, Calvin's successor and Arminius’s primary instructor, was now 62). In 1583 he went to Basel, but returned to Geneva in 1584 and remained there until 1586.
(2) Arminius became pastor of a church in Amsterdam in 1587 and remained such until 1603. In 1588 be began preaching through Malachi and Romans. In 1591, when Arminius reached Romans 7, controversy erupted. During this period Arminius defended his view of Romans 7, contending that Paul spoke there as an unregenerate man. He believed that otherwise Christians would be encouraged to sin and would lack an incentive to holiness. When Arminius reached Romans 9 the controversy broke out in full force. He interpreted Jacob and Esau as types of classes of people, the former of those who seek righteousness by faith and the latter of those who seek it by works. Individual salvation through divine election is not in view.
(3) During the years 1598-1602 Arminius engaged in controversy with the English Puritan theologian, William Perkins (1558-1602), publishing a response to Perkins' treatise on pre