Arminius, Jacobus

Arminius, Jacobus ärmĭnˈēəs [key], 1560–1609, Dutch Reformed theologian, whose original name was Jacob Harmensen. He studied at Leiden, Marburg, Geneva, and Basel and in 1588 became a pastor at Amsterdam. He undertook to defend the Calvinist doctrine of predestination against the attacks of Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert, but as a result of the controversy he changed his own views of the doctrine. He was professor of theology at the Univ. of Leiden after 1603, and he engaged in violent theological debates, seeking to win the Dutch Reformed Church to his views. His teaching, known as Arminianism, was not yet fully developed, but he asserted the compatibility of divine sovereignty with human freedom, denied John Calvin's doctrine of irresistible grace, and thus modified the strict conception of predestination. In this respect his teaching resembled that of the Roman Catholic Council of Trent. Arminianism became a term of abuse among 17th-century Puritans. His ideas were formulated after his death into a definite system by his disciple, Simon Episcopius, who drew up the “Remonstrance” (see Remonstrants). Arminianism later was the doctrine of Charles and John Wesley and most of the Methodist churches.

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