The Society of Evangelical Arminians Statement of Faith
The following is an Arminian statement of faith as ratified by the founding members of the Society of Evangelical Arminians, November 13th, 2007.
We believe the Scriptures as originally given by God, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, infallible, entirely trustworthy, and the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.
We believe in one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, who possesses perfect and exhaustive knowledge of the past, present, and future, and who preserves, regulates, governs and directs all things so that nothing in the world happens without either his causation or permission. God is the author of good but not of evil. Yet even evil is governed by God in that God limits it and directs it to an end fitting with his overall plan and purpose.
We believe that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully human, having been conceived of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life, dying on the cross as a substitute and sacrifice for sinners. He arose bodily on the third day and ascended to the right hand of the Father. He will return personally and visibly at the end of the age to fully establish God's Kingdom.
We believe that part of the ministry of the Holy Spirit is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ and, during this age, to convict sinners, enable them to believe, regenerate the believing sinner, and indwell, guide, instruct, and empower the believer for godly living and service.
We believe that humanity was created in the image of God but fell from its original sinless state through willful disobedience and Satan's deception, resulting in eternal condemnation and separation from God. In and of themselves and apart from the grace of God human beings can neither think, will, nor do anything good, including believe. But the prevenient grace of God prepares and enables sinners to receive the free gift of salvation offered in Christ and his gospel. Only through the grace of God can sinners believe and so be regenerated by the Holy Spirit unto salvation and spiritual life. It is also the grace of God that enables believers to continue in faith as well as good in thought, will, and deed, so that all good deeds or movements that can be conceived must be ascribed to the grace of God.
We believe that the shed blood of Jesus Christ and his resurrection were provided for the salvation of all people, but are effective only for those who believe. Christ's death and resurrection provide the only ground for justification and salvation, and only those who believe in Jesus Christ become born of the Holy Spirit and thus become children of God.
We believe that God’s saving grace is resistible, that election unto salvation is conditional on faith in Christ, and that persevering in faith is necessary for final salvation.
We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead; of believers to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; and of unbelievers to judgment and eternal punishment.
Like the third and fourth points of the Remonstrant articles of faith delivered by Episcopius at the beginning of the Synod of Dort, here the fifth point of SEA's statement of faith forcibly rejects any notion that Arminian theology is Pelagian or semi-Pelagian. What is interesting about the above eight point statement of faith that follows is that it (in no particular order) embraces the Trinity, a personal Satan (rare), a high view of Scripture, and God's economy of providence. It spells out the story of Jesus' life and salient points of the gospel including Jesus' virgin birth, sinless life, his personal theandric (hypostatic) union, substitutional death, burial, resurrection, literal return as well as spelling out the conditional nature of Jesus' atonement in that God requires faith objectified in Jesus Christ in order to ratify the substitutional propitiation made on behalf of the world. It further presents God the Spirit's ministry to glorify the Son by means of grace to convict sinners, enable regeneration and belief, as well as move them to good works.
The SOF also seems to be a defense against heresy inside and outside of the camp by affirming an eternal heaven and hell, rejecting those who deny the bodily resurrection (along the lines of Bultmanian demythologizers), Pelagianism (a common criticism from those not familiar with how grace is considered to work in Arminian theology), semi-Pelagianism (rejecting Finney's theology and with it any criticism that semi-Pelagianism is typical of Arminian theology) as well as giving no quarter for Open Theism to dwell within Arminian orthodoxy.
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