Why Arminians Should Celebrate Reformation 500

Matthew Pinson | October 30, 2017

When I was asked to write on why Arminians (like me) should celebrate the Reformation, the answer that jumped to mind was, “Because Arminius himself did.” The staunchly Protestant Arminius saw himself as Reformed to the day he died. He always remained true to, and in good standing with, the Reformed Church, subscribing and publicly committing himself to the Belgic Confession of Faith and Heidelberg Catechism over and over again.

Arminius’s theology, like many Dutch Reformed theologians before the Synod of Dort (1618–19), was similar to much 16th-century Lutheran theology—especially that of Melanchthon, who was highly esteemed as a Reformation giant. Yet Arminius eagerly cited and commended the writings of John Calvin, despite his disagreement with the reformer on predestination and the resistibility of grace, which he didn’t see as the core of Calvin’s theology. Arminius wrote:

In the interpretation of the Scriptures, Calvin is incomparable. His Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed down to us in the writings of the Fathers. . . . I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed, above all.

After the Heidelberg Catechism, Arminius’s favorite work to give

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