Arminianism, named after former Calvinist, Jacob Arminius, is known as Free Will or Free Grace, so named for its teaching that whosoever-will may come and receive the free gift of God’s grace in Christ that abounds to all men.
Additionally, except for Open Theist Arminians, the vast majority of Arminians agree with Calvinists on the matter of God’s exhaustive Foreknowledge, though rejecting the Calvinist insistence that God’s omniscience merely results from Determinism. To Arminians, that would make God’s very nature secondary to His plans, which Arminians find to be plainly absurd. In terms of God’s Providence, many Arminians prescribe to Molinistic Middle Knowledge, in which God knows all contingencies, that is, all of the what-ifs, and that God’s plans stem from such omniscience. Arminians frequently point out to Calvinists that biblical Predestination is specifically linked with Foreknowledge, as in the case of Acts 2:23 and Romans 8:29. Both Arminians and Calvinists affirm Prevenient Grace, which is a preceding grace, though Calvinists believe it is an Irresistible Grace when applied to the Elect. Arminians disagree with Calvinists that the New Testament Elect includes unbelievers. Arminians maintain that the Elect are redeemed, Born Again Christians. In terms of being Born Again, Calvinism teaches that the Elect are secretly, unilaterally, involuntarily and unconsciously made Born Again in order to irresistibly come to Christ and become saved. Rather than Regeneration being preemptive, Arminians teach that the New Birth of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is restricted to only believers, as per Ephesians 1:13.
What does in Christ mean?
Jacob Arminius teaches: “God regards no one in Christ unless they are engrafted in him by faith.”
Adrian Rogers explains: “Everyone is in Adam or in Christ. ... If you’re in Adam, you’re going to face the wrath of God. ... I want to show you that we gain very much more in Jesus than we ever lost in Adam.” (In Jesus there is so much more: Romans 5:6-9, emphasis mine)
Adrian Rogers adds: “Now what does it mean to be in Christ Jesus? Well, God wants us to be saved so He has given us so many illustrations of salvation. One of the illustrations of salvation is Noah’s Ark. Noah’s Ark, the Bible teaches us in 2nd Peter, is an illustration, a type of Jesus Christ. And so if you want to know what is is to be in Christ Jesus, know what it is for Noah to be in that Ark.” (Turning Hurts into Hallelujahs: Romans 8:8-11)
Jerry Falwell writes: “This epistle [Ephesians] magnifies the church as a divine institution, sets forth God’s purpose of heading up all things in Christ (1:9-10), emphasizes that salvation is only in Christ, and shows that a well-rounded life issues out of salvation by grace through faith.” (Liberty Bible Commentary, p.2404, emphasis mine)
Falwell adds: “God is not stating a fatalistic doctrine in which He arbitrarily elects some to heaven and consigns all others to hell. There is no scriptural doctrine of election to damnation.” (Liberty Bible Commentary, p.2405, emphasis mine)
John Hagee states: “Jesus called a Gentile woman, a dog. He never called the Gentiles His brethren. Let me remind you of something. We did not get plugged in until the cross. We had no basis of standing with God until the cross. There’s where we were in Galatians 3 when Paul said you were outside the covenance of Israel, without hope and without God. That’s very important. Then at the cross, we were plugged in, and we received the riches of Abraham, and we received healing, and we received adoption, and we received all the cornucopia of the blessings of God. But before the cross, we were castoffs. You need to understand that.” (emphasis mine)
Billy Graham writes: “When Jesus Christ was on the cross, His blood draining the life from His body, He knew what it was like to be alone, questioning God when He was wracked with pain. But His pain was the suffering of the sins of the ages, the greatest darkness of the soul ever known to man. Why did Jesus suffer? For you. For me. That we might have life eternal and His peace in the midst of storms.” (The Enduring Classics of Billy Graham, Hope For the Troubled Heart, Why Jesus Suffered, p.42, emphasis mine)
Adrian Rogers explains: “If you are justified today, that means that you are declared righteous by God. I’ll say it again: You are righteous in God’s sight. That means that you will never have one single, solitary, black mark put down against your name for the rest of your life on earth. You are justified. You are righteous. Now if you are righteous today, and will never have another sin credited to your account until the day of your death, and at that point you enter glory and are experientially glorified, then you are as good as glorified today! You are righteous today. You will be righteous in heaven where you will be experientially glorified. Therefore, positionally, Paul is saying that you are glorified today. All that remains for you to experience your glorification is for you to finish your years on earth.” (Foundations For Our Faith: Vol.II, p.95, emphasis mine)
My sincere advice to Calvinists is to Lean not on thine own sovereignty speculations, but in all your ways acknowledge His Word, and He will direct thy doctrine.
The Remonstrance: “But whether they are capable...of turning away...that must be more particularly determined out of the Holy Scripture, before we ourselves can teach it with full persuasion of our minds.” (The Remonstrance, Article V, emphasis mine)
Jacob Arminius explains: “Though I here openly and ingenuously affirm, I never taught that a true believer can, either totally or finally fall away from the faith, and perish; yet I will not conceal, that there are passages of scripture which seem to me to wear this aspect; and those answers to them which I have been permitted to see, are not of such kind as to approve themselves on all points to my understanding. On the other hand, certain passages are produced for the contrary doctrine [of unconditional perseverance] which are worthy of much consideration....” (cited in What Love is This? by Dave Hunt, p.92, cross referenced to The Works of James Arminius, Vols. 1 & 2, emphasis mine)
The elect in Christ are capable of backsliding and falling away, though perhaps not capable of losing the gift of salvation bestowed upon those in Christ. (Romans 8:29-30) The Bible teaches that there were indeed professing Christians who had fallen into apostasy, and God took their lives, both in the case of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1-11), and also of the Corinthian Christians who had abused the Lord’s Communion. (1st Corinthians 11:30) To suggest that they were never truly Christians is left up to speculation, but on the basis of John 10:27-29, Adrian Rogers comments:
Adrian Rogers asks: “‘Well,’ you say, ‘but the devil could take you out of God’s hands.’ Oh, he could? You think that? And you’re still in God’s hands? Well, why hasn’t he taken you out, if he could? Don’t you know if he could, he would, and if he hasn’t, hasn’t he been nice to you? And now you’re going to heaven by the goodness of the devil. Isn’t that a strange doctrine? I mean, you think about it. No! He can’t do it. That’s why he hasn’t done it. He can’t do it.” (You Can Be Saved: Romans 8:28-31)
The other point raised by Adrian Rogers is that the Scriptures nowhere records that anyone was ever saved twice. Some suggest that this leads to loose-living, but the Bible showed that there are indeed severe consequences for Christians who do such things. (Acts 5:1-11; 1st Corinthians 11:30) Obviously, God deals with each Christian differently, but to suggest that the doctrine of Eternal Security for the reborn Christian promotes lasciviousness without consequence is baseless, since there is the judgment of believers both in this life (i.e. David), and in the next (i.e. the Believer’s Judgment).
Here is a link to the 4-Point Arminian statement of faith. Regardless, I do not hold either view dogmatically, and you may notice that this website rarely addresses the controvesy over Eternal Security, but mainly focuses on the topics of Election and Predestination. I personally believe in the eternal security of the elect in Christ, but am a proud member of an evangelical, soul-winning church which happens to teach that salvation can be lost. I also belong to the Arminian fellowship of the Society of Evangelical Arminians.
Here’s a quote from Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue: “Sin has corrupted every aspect of their being; mind, will, emotions, relationships, and actions. By virtue of their anti-God bias and predilection to sin, the unregenerate, apart from grace, are incapable of turning to God, pleasing God, and saving themselves. ... Left to their own resources, sinners degenerate from bad to worse (Rom 1:26-32). This grim human condition, widely attested by revelation and life experience, constitutes the stage for the display of God’s marvelous grace.” (pp.240-241)
Hence the need for God’s Prevenient Grace.
God does not create disposable people as a non-elect class, like a utility, for the use of the Calvinistically elect. God has created man as a living soul, and values each person as His child (Acts 17:28-29), and has a purpose for everyone, and which is also the basis for which He will hold everyone accountable.
Arminianism is essentially John 3:16 theology.