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The young Reformed scholar Arminius returned from finishing his studies to Amsterdam in 1588 to begin pastoral ministry. His personal interests had been philosophical rather than theological, and in the Bible, the Old Testament rather than the New. To his dismay, he found the Dutch Reformed Church divided on theological issues, especially predestination. He was reluctant to get involved, though in his Bible exposition in 1593 he got into trouble for expressing unacceptable views on Romans 9. He was hoping that Franciscus Junius, the new Theological Professor at Leiden University, would intervene in the controversy and restore harmony. The two met in December 1596 and began a correspondence. Arminius was disappointed with Junius' views. Nevertheless, he learned from Junius the centrality of Christ and his work for all that belongs to human salvation, including predestination. Arminius began to construct his own theology, setting Christ's work at the heart of it. This study retells the story with new emphases, concentrating on Arminius' theological development up to his magnum opus, the Declaration of Sentiments, in 1608, and summarizing his conclusions: in particular, that Christ himself is the foundation of election, and that we are saved by a new relationship with God through Christ. Both these insights led him at last to reject the Calvinist concept of salvation and damnation through a hidden decree made in a Christ-less secret counsel of the divine wisdom. Arminius was unsuccessful in the short term, but this study contends that his views have much to teach us. ""For those who want to get to grips with what Arminius actually wrote, as opposed to what others have said he wrote or have written about him, this is now the first place to turn. From beneath centuries of misunderstanding and misinterpretation Stuart Clarke has unearthed the real Arminius."" --John Darch, Lecturer in Church History and Liturgy, St. John's College Nottingham ""Dr. Clarke's historical and theological study shows Arminius to be both more and less than an adversary of Calvin. His lucid account forms an invaluable companion to the 1986 English edition of Arminius's writings."" --Paul Ellingworth, Honorary Lecturer, University of Aberdeen ""This thorough study of the writings of James Arminius will be of great interest to all Christians who are unhappy with the Calvinist view of predestination, but it also suggests how wide of the mark some so-called ""Arminians"" have been. In this intellectual biography, Arminius emerges as a champion of Christian orthodoxy whose opponents were marginalizing the work and person of Christ and were portraying God as other than a God of love. This Christocentric interpretation of Arminius is a significant new development in historical theology."" --Tom Noble, Professor of Theology, Nazarene Theological Seminary F. Stuart Clarke is a retired Methodist minister. He spent most of his ministry in Circuit (pastoral) work in the Midlands and North of England and Scotland, and also served seven years in theological education in Sierra Leone. This book is the fruit of nearly fifty years' interest in the subject, but also recent study and doctoral research.
F. Stuart Clarke is a retired Methodist minister. He spent most of his ministry in Circuit (pastoral) work in the Midlands and North of England and Scotland, and also served seven years in theological education in Sierra Leone. This book is the fruit of nearly fifty years' interest in the subject, but also recent study and doctoral research.