Was Arminius a Reformed Theologian? On Attitude of Arminius to His Own Theological Tradition

  • Damian Dorocki Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Faculty of Theology
Keywords: Jacob Arminius; Reformed theology; God’s sovereignty and glory; covenant theology; soteriology; predestination


Jacob Arminius is a figure historically associated with the Reformed tradition. His theology was in a large measure reflection of this tradition. However in some important points Arminius’ views were in open contradiction to the post-reformation Calvinism. This article attempts to find an answer for the question about theological identity of the Dutch reformer. The author proposes to struggle with this problem in reference to four theological themes, characteristic for Reformed Protestantism, that is: God’s sovereignty and glory, covenant theology, monergistic soteriology and predestination. The analysis, which has been made, indicates that Leiden’s professor strongly emphasized God’s sovereignty over the creation and affirmed the opinion that an ultimate end of divine actions, including salvific acts, is His glory. But lie never forget to add that the Creator by His external activity communicate His goodness. The Arminian covenant theology also fits into the stream of Reformed thought. Its shape docs not differ from the widely accepted interpretation of this issue in the era of “early orthodoxy.” The most important differences occur in the context of soteriology. Arminius’ understanding of the relation grace-free will differed from the radical monergistic Calvinism. Due to the doctrine of prevenient grace one can speak about limited synergism in his ease. So it is in the matter of predestination. God, according to the Dutch reformer, elects to salvation according to His foreknowledge concerning the free acceptance of the grace by man. He reprobates those who stubbornly remain in their sins and, in spite of the grace, do not want to convert. Ultimately, Arminius should be considered as a “critical” Reformed theologian.


Arminius Jacobus: Oratio prima. De Obiecto Theologiae, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 26-41.

Arminius Jacobus: Oratio secunda. De Authore et fine Theologiae, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 41-55.

Arminius Jacobus: Oratio tertia. De Certitudine S. Sanctae Theologiae, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 56-71.

Arminius Jacobus: Declaratio sententiae Iacobi Arminii, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 91-133.

Arminius Jacobus: Apologia adversus Articulos XXXI, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 134-183.

Arminius Jacobus: Disputationes publicae, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 197-338.

Arminius Jacobus: Disputationes privatae, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 339-444.

Arminius Jacobus: Iacobi Armini amica collatio cum D. Francisco Iunio de Praedestinatione, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii, Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629, s. 458-619.

Arminius J.: Articuli nonnulli diligenti examine perpendendi, w: Opera theologica Iacobi Arminii. Leiden: Godefridum Basson 1629 s. 948-966.

Bangs Carl: Arminius and the Reformation, „Church History” 30 (1961), s. 155-170.

Bangs Carl: Dutch Theology, Trade and War: 1590-1610. „Church History” 39 (1970), s. 470-482.

Bangs Carl: Arminius as a Reformed Theologian, w: The Heritage of John Calvin. Heritage Hall Lectures, 1960-70, red. John H. Bratt, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1973, s. 209-222.

Bangs Carl: [recenzja] God, Creation and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius. Sources and Directions of Scholastic Protestantism in the Era of Early Orthodoxy, „Church History” 66 (1997), s. 118-120.

Bangs Carl: Arminius. The Study in the Dutch Reformation, Eugene: Wipf & Stock Publishers 1998.

Beach J. Mark: Calvin and the Dual Aspect of Covenant Membership: Galatians 3:15-22 – the Meaning of “‘the seed’ is Christ” – and Other Key Texts. „Mid-America Journal of Theology” 20 (2009), s. 49-73.

Boer William den.: “Cum delectu” Jacob Arminius’s (1559-1609) Praise for and Critique of Calvin and His Theology, „Church History and Religious Culture” 91 (2011), s. 73-86.

Buxakowski Jerzy: Łaska Ducha Świętego i człowiek, Pelplin: Bernardinum 2007.

Calvinus Ioannes: Institutio christianae religionis, Geneva: Oliua Roberti Stephani 1559.

Calvinus Ioannes: Tractatus theologici minores. Tomus quintus, w: Ioannis Calvini opera quae supersunt omnia, red. Edouard Cunitz, Johann-Wilhelm Baum, Eduard Wilhelm Eugen Reuss, t. IX, (Corpus Reformatorum t. XXXVII), Brunsvigae: C.A. Schwetschke et Filium 1870.

Coxhead Steven R.: Deuteronomy 30:11-14 as a Prophecy of the New Covenant in Christ. „Westminster Theological Journal” 68 (2006), s. 305-320.

Dorocki Damian: Doktryna predestynacji w teologii Jakuba Arminiusza, „Teologia i Człowiek” 35 (2016), s. 107-124.

Dorocki Damian: Nieograniczone odkupienie i odparta łaska. Klasyczny arminianizm we współczesnej teologii ewangelikalnej, „Rocznik Teologiczny” (ChAT) 58 (2016), s. 37-57.

Horton Michael: Introducing Covenant Theology, Grand Rapids: Baker Books 2006.

Kalwin Jan: Nauka religii chrześcijańskiej, tłum. Irmina Lichońska, w: Myśl filozoficzno-religijna Reformacji XVI wieku, red. Lech Szczucki, Warszawa: PWN 1972, s. 277-416.

Kanony Synodu w Dordrechcie: http://ekumenizm.wiara.pl/doc/478722.Kanony-Synodu-w-Dordrechcie-z-1618-roku (dostęp 23.11.2016).

Leszczyński Rafał Marcin: Ojcowie Reformacji i filozoficzne wątki ich teologii, Warszawa: Wydawnictwo „Nowe Spojrzenia” 2010.

Lieburg Fred van.: Gisbertus Samuels, a Reformed Minister Sentenced by the Synod of Zeeland in 1591 for His Opinions on Predestination. W: Revisiting the Synod of Dordt (1618-1619), red. Aza Goudrian, Fred van Lieburg, Leiden–Boston: Brill 2011, s. 3-19.

Long Stephen D.: The Perfectly Simple Triune God. Aquinas and His Legacy, Minneapolis: Fortress Press 2016.

Macedo Breno: Covenant Theology in the Thought of John Calvin. From the Covenant of Works to the Abrahamic Covenant, „Fides Reformata” 20 (2015), s. 89-105.

Muller Richard A.: Covenant and Conscience in English Reformed Theology. Three Variations on a 17th Century Theme, „Westminster Theological Journal” 42 (1980), s. 308-334.

Muller Richard A.: Dictionary of Latin and Greek Theological Terms. Drawn Principally from Protestant Scholastic Theology, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic 1985.

Muller Richard A.: Arminius and Scholastic Tradition, „Calvin Theological Journal” 24 (1989), s. 263-277.

Muller Richard A.: The Covenant of Works and the Stability of Divine Law in Seventeenth-Century Reformed Orthodoxy: A Study in the Theology of Herman Witsius and Wilhelmus a Brakel, „Calvin Theological Journal” 29 (1994), s. 75-101.

Muller Richard A.: Historical and Theological Studies. Arminius and the Reformed Tradition, „Westminster Theological Journal” 70 (2008), s. 19-48.

Olson Roger E.: Historia teologii chrześcijańskiej. Dwadzieścia wieków tradycji i reform, tłum. Konstanty Wiazowski, Warszawa: Chrześcijański Instytut Biblijny 2003.

Olson Roger E.: Arminian Theology. Myths and Realities, Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press 2006.

Picirilli Robert E.: Grace, Faith, Free Will. Contrasting Views of Salvation: Calvinism & Arminianism, Nashville: Randall House Publications 2002.

Robertson O. Palmer: The Christ of the Covenants, Philipsburg: P&R Publishing 1980.

Stanglin Keith D.: Arminius on the Assurance of Salvation. The Context, Roots, and Shape of the Leiden Debate, 1603-1609, Leiden–Boston: Brill 2007.

Stanglin Keith D., McCall Thomas H.: Jacob Arminius. Theologian of Grace, New York: Oxford University Press 2012.

Tomasz z Akwinu: Summa Theologiae, http://www.corpusthomisticum.org/sth1015.html (dostęp: 20.11.2016).

Witt William Gene: Creation, Redemption and Grace in the Theology of Jacob Arminius, (dysertacja doktorska), University of Notre Dame 1993.