Four hundred years ago, in 1610, a group of Dutch preachers and theologians published a document in which they responded to the accusations of heresy leveled against the teachings of noted Reformed theologian Jacobus Arminius. This document encapsulated Arminian soteriological teachings in five points and subsequently became known as The Remonstrance.
In the years that followed, the teachings of The Remonstrance became a rallying point for those who were dissatisfied with traditional Calvinism. In 1618, during the Synod of Dort, Calvinist theologians fought against Arminian soteriology presented in The Remonstrance and formulated their own response to the five points of Arminianism. This eventually became known as the five points of Calvinism, otherwise referred to as TULIP (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited atonement, Irresistible grace and Perseverance of the Saints).
Subsequent decades and centuries witnessed a wave of conflicts among many Christian Protestant religious groups that traced their theological roots to either Calvinism or Arminianism. The Seventh-day Adventist understanding of salvation clearly finds its roots in the 16th century Reformation. The soteriological insights of the Reformers were further clarified in the conflict between Calvinist and Arminian theologians in 17th century Holland. Eighteenth century Methodism, which championed Arminian thought, forms the immediate theological context for the rise of Seventh-day Adventist soteriology in the 19th century.
Being conscious of various soteriological strands existing within Protestant theology, Adventist theologians take a keen interest in issues relating to a biblical understanding of human nature, free will, God’s grace, atonement, and predestination. In recognition of the 400th anniversary of the Remonstrance, the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary will host an international symposium on October 14-17, 2010, dedicated to the study of these important issues. This, we believe, will be helpful towards fostering intra-denominational as well as inter-denominational dialogue.
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