One thoughtful reader asked...
READER>> Why do you only compare Arminianism and Calvinism? There are many other religions and many other Christian denominations. So why do you only focus on the Arminian and Calvinist denominations?
ME>> That is an excellent question. Your question reminds me why this salvation discussion is so difficult. It is too easy to miss prerequisite concepts. First, understand that the labels "Arminianism" and "Calvinism" are not the names of particular Christian groups or denominations. Instead, these labels originated in history past to describe particular ways of thinking about salvation. There is no church of Jacob Arminius or church of John Calvin, the two men whose names have become attached to these particular views of salvation.
Instead, various Christian denominations and individual Christians throughout history have adopted one view or the other, or attempted modified views. For example, there are Baptist churches that are Arminian in their salvation doctrine and there are Baptist churches that are Calvinist in their salvation doctrine. There are also Presbyterian churches that are Arminian in their salvation doctrine and there are Presbyterian churches that are Calvinist in their salvation doctrine. There are also individual Christians within Baptist, Presbyterian, Catholic, Methodist, and all kinds of churches with an Arminian or Calvinist view of salvation, perhaps even agreeing or disagreeing with the view of their church or pastor. There are also many Christians who simply follow Jesus and are totally unaware of these distinctions.
Yet even so, the salvation view of most Christian denominations and individual Christians can be categorized as either Arminian or Calvinist. Do you believe Christ paid for the sins of ALL mankind or only a chosen PART? Do you believe Christ completed ALL of salvation for the saved or only a PART? Secondly, understand that Arminianism and Calvinism are the two most common views of salvation found within Christendom. So it is fitting that any book about Christian salvation should also consider these views in the discussion. This book has simply put the magnifying glass of comparison and contrast on Arminian and Calvinist doctrine, regardless of what flavor church denomination you attend. My goal has been to help clarify the gospel of grace to you and point out the strengths and weaknesses of Arminianism and Calvinism, the most popular salvation models currently accepted.