The Father of the Arminian-Wesleyan tradition, Jacob Arminius’ entry into the predestination debate and his strong opposition to Calvinism continues to be consequential and controversial. Breaking with Calvinism, Arminius preached and taught that God’s election was an election of believers and therefore was conditioned on faith. God gave humans free will, he argued, and the choice to accept or reject salvation. The Works of Arminius (3 vols.) contains Jacob Arminius’ major works, including his dissertation on Romans 7 and analyses of Romans 9, as well as speeches, lectures, personal correspondence, essays, and more.
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Jacob Arminius was born in Oudewater, Holland in 1560. Arminius studied theology at the University of Leiden for five years, and then spent a year studying under Theodore Beza. Arminius was ordained at the age of 28 when he felt a distinct calling towards pastoral ministry. He became a popular preacher in Amsterdam where he also met and married his wife. Thirteen years later, he returned to teach at the University of Leiden, and there his classes and writings began to strongly challenge Calvinism. He died October 19, 1609, but his influence started an entire movement, Arminianism, and influenced many important theologians, including John Wesley.