The Remonstrance holds to the following doctrinal distinctives. Please note that this is not an exhaustive statement of faith.
The purpose of this page is to highlight distinctives that makes the content and theological viewpoints of Remonstrance podcast slightly different from other ministries or groups that may be similar.
Confessions of Faith: As for confessions we hold to The Five Arminian Articles (1610), The Arminian Confession of 1621, and The Twenty-Five Articles of Religion (1784). Please follow the links provided to read them in their entirety.
Orthodox-Arminianism: As distinct from what has been falsely labeled “Arminian” throughout history from the Dutch Republic in the 1600s until the present day. The majority of modern and historical “Arminianism” is not truly Arminian at all. Here at Remonstrance when we say we are Arminian we actually mean it.
Orthodox-Wesleyanism: As distinct from what is broadly considered “Wesleyan” today. Today “Wesleyan” can mean liberalism (as in the case of many United Methodist Churches) or unbiblical legalism. This is especially true in groups that broke off from the Methodist Church and overlook historic Wesleyan-Arminian systematic theology and theologians. Here at Remonstrance when we say we are Wesleyan we really mean it. Here at Remonstrance we follow in the tradition of classical Methodist theologians: Richard Watson (1781-1833), Samuel Wakefield (1799-1895), Thomas N. Ralston (1806–1879), Thomas O. Summers (1812-1882), William Burt Pope (1822-1903), and Thomas C. Oden (1931–2016).
Total Depravity: Arminius believed it. Wesley believed it. Orthodox Wesleyan-Arminian theology is no more “Pelagian” or “Semi-Pelagian” as any other theology of the Reformation.
Penal-Substitution (Satisfaction) Theory of the Atonement: John Wesley and classical Methodist Theologians held to the Penal-Substitution Theory of the Atonement. Arminius held to the Satisfaction Theory of the Atonement. But neither Arminius nor Wesley held to the Governmental Theory of the Atonement. The Governmental Theory of the Atonement cannot be called the “Arminian” view if Arminius himself did not hold to it. Nor is it the “Wesleyan” view if Wesley himself did not hold to it, nor the great Orthodox Methodist theologians: Watson, Summers, and Pope to name a few.
Justification by Faith: Here at Remonstrance we believe that the Doctrine of Justification by Faith supports the whole frame of Christianity. Both Wesley and Arminius were theological descendants of the Protestant Reformation and taught the doctrine of Justification by Grace through Faith as articulated by the Protestant Reformers. In fact Wesley wrote that Justification is “a truth this, which enters deep into the nature of Christianity, and, in a manner, supports the whole frame of it. Of this, undoubtedly, may be affirmed, what Luther affirms of a truth closely connected with it: it is articulus stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae: The Christian church stands or falls with it. It is certainly the pillar and ground of that faith, of which alone cometh salvation; of that Catholic or universal faith which is found in all the children of God, and which “unless a man keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.”
Meticulous Providence: Along with both Arminius and Wesley we affirm Meticulous Providence. In essence, meticulous providence entails that: First, no “random” or “meaningless” evil exists – that is, every instance of evil serves a greater good. God does not permit any temporary evil that does not make way for a greater good. Second, God either directly or weakly actualizes every event in the world. God governs the world in such a way that nothing happens without God’s direct action or specific permission. This takes place through: Divine Concurrence, Sovereign Permission, and Divine Governance. Also, true to the theologies of both Arminius and Wesley we are opposed to both Divine Determinism and Open Theism.
Complementarianism: We hold to the biblical position of Complementarianism. This is the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere.
Christian Perfection (Perfect Love): As articulated by John Wesley and early Methodist theologians such as John Fletcher and Richard Watson. We hold to the classical Wesleyan theological understanding of Christian Perfection as distinct from later articulations and modern corruptions (or misunderstandings) of this important biblical doctrine. We also believe that it is critical that Christian Perfection is understood within the context of a Wesleyan-Arminian systematic theology and in its proper place in the Wesleyan Ordo Salutis.
The Importance of Church Discipleship, Discipline, and Accountability: One of the great aspects of the early Methodist movement in Britain and North America was the biblical system of discipleship, discipline, and accountability found in the early class meetings and bands. It would bring revival and great strength to the Church if these biblical methods were practiced again today.
The Importance of Systematic Theology: A desperate need of our day is a return to biblical teaching that has a foundation in systematic theology. Our Calvinist brothers have done a much better job at doing this than most Wesleyan-Arminians. Too many unbiblical and unorthodox opinions on healing, the end times, prophecy, the gifts of the Spirit, demonology, providence, foreknowledge, justification, sanctification, etc. have arisen within “Arminian” Churches because of a lack of emphasis on systematic theology. We believe all teaching, discipleship, and ministry should have a foundation in systematic theology and systematic theology should be expressed in every aspect of church life.
Ad Fontes: Is a Latin expression that means “[back] to the sources” (lit. “to the fountains”). This phrase captures the spirit of the Protestant Reformation in their desire to go “back to the sources” to find the roots of what they believed. Here at Remonstrance we believe that it is critically important to research and understand what Wesley and Arminius had to say when we claim to be Wesleyan or Arminian in our theology. We also want to promote secondary sources that are in the spirit of Ad Fontes such as recent scholarship by Kenneth J. Collins, Thomas Oden, Fred Sanders, and Keith Stanglin to name a few.
Eschatology: Postmillennialism was the historic eschatological position of Orthodox Methodism going back to John Wesley. Postmillennialism is the belief that the kingdom of God will be a historical era on earth in which the world will be Christianized through evangelism and social transformation. This will occur before Christ returns. John Wesley had a vision of a global revival, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that would usher in the return of Christ. We acknowledge that Postmillennialism, Amillennialism, and Historical Premillennialism are all eschatological positions that were historically held by the Church and could be validated theologically and biblically. However, we do not favor Dispensational Premillennialism on theological and hermeneutical grounds.
“Reformed” Theology: Jacob Arminius was essentially a Reformed theologian if the term is used in his historical context. He ministered his whole life in Dutch Reformed Churches and taught in a Dutch Reformed University. He agreed with most of his Reformed theological contemporaries on almost all matters of doctrine and theology, although he departed from them in significant (and we believe biblical) ways. In many ways the theology of Arminius is more Reformed than many modern denominations and theologians who claim to be “Reformed.”
Here at Remonstrance we affirm that Wesleyan-Arminian theology is a vein of Reformed theology properly understood, although it veers away from Calvinist theology in significant ways. But who is to say that “Calvinist” and “Reformed” are synonymous terms? They certainly were not during the time of Arminius. John Wesley himself claimed that his theological position was a “hair’s breadth” from Calvinism.
Modern opinions on whether Wesleyan-Arminian theology can be truly called “Reformed” are of little importance since the meaning of the term Reformed has changed much over time. One thing for sure is that here at Remonstrance we wholeheartedly hold to the Five Solas of the Reformation as did Jacob Arminius and John Wesley:
- Sola Fide, by faith alone.
- Sola Scriptura, by Scripture alone.
- Solus Christus, through Christ alone.
- Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
- Soli Deo Gloria, glory to God alone.