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Arminianism exposed from: “A Display of Arminianism”

Arminianism exposed from: “A Display of Arminianism”

by John Owen

(The following quotations and Scripture comparisons were taken from John Owen’s A Display of Arminianism and modified into the present format. The quotations are all from prominent Arminian theologians living in the 16th and 17th centuries and represent the ideas upon which Arminian theology was developed.)



Quotes from Arminian Authors

“He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,” Ephesians 1:4.

“He hath called us according to his own purpose and grace, before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9.

“It is false to say that election is confirmed from everlasting,” Rem. Apol.


“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,” Acts 15:18.

“Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, swing, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” Isaiah 46:10.

“It is certain that God determineth divers things which he would not, did not some act of man’s will go before,” Armin.

“Some decrees of God precede all acts of the will of the creature, and some follow,” Corv.


“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand,” as Romans 9:11.

“The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his,” 2 Timothy 2:19.

“Men may make their election void and frustrate,” Rem. Apol.

“It is no wonder if men do sometimes of elect become reprobate, and of reprobate, elect,” Welsin.

“Election is uncertain and revocable, and whoever denies it overthrows the gospel,” Grevinch.

“The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations,” Psalms 33:11.

“Many decrees of God cease at a certain time,” Episcop.

“My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure,” Isaiah 46:10.

“God would have all men to be saved, but, compelled with the stubborn malice of some, he changeth his purpose, and will have them to perish,” Armin.

“I am the LORD, I change not,” Malachi 3:6.

“As men may change themselves from believers to unbelievers, so God’s determination concerning them changeth,” Rem.

“With the Father of lights is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” James 1:17; Exodus 3:13,14; Psalms 102:27; 2 Timothy 2:13; 1 Samuel 15:29; Isaiah 14:27; Job 23:13; Psalms 115:3.

“All God’s decrees are not peremptory, but some conditionate and changeable,” Sermon at Oxford.

“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,” Acts 15:18.

“Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do,” Hebrews 4:13.

“He that formed the eye, shall he not see?” Psalms 94:9. “When a man goeth into the wood with his neighbor to hew wood, and his hand fetcheth a stroke with the axe to cut down the tree, and the head slippeth from the helve, and lighteth upon his neighbor, that he die,” Deuteronomy 19:5. “God delivers him into his hand,” Exodus 21:13.


“God sometimes feareth, and prudently conjectureth, that this or that evil may arise,” Vorsti.

“God doth not always foresee the event of what he intendeth,” Corvin. ad Mol.

“Future contingencies are not determined unto either part,” Armin. That is, God hath not determined, and so, consequently, doth not foreknow, whether they shall come to pass or no.

“God hopeth and expecteth divers things that shall never come to pass,” Rem.

“Take away God’s prescience and you overthrow his deity,” [saith] Jerome. [But] “The doctrine of prescience seems to be invented only to vex and cruciate poor mortal men,” [saith] Episcop.

“Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things,” Matthew 6:31,32.

“In him we live, and move, and have our being,” Acts 17:28.

“He upholdeth all things by the word of his power,” Hebrews 1:3

“God’s sustaining of all things is not an affirmative act of his power, but a negative act of his will.”

“Whereby he will not destroy them,” Rem. Apol.

“The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the LORD,” Proverbs 16:1. “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will,” Proverbs 21:1.

“Thou hast wrought all our works in us,” Isaiah 26:12. “My Father worketh hitherto,” John 5:17.

“Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness,” Psalms 119:36. “Unite my heart to fear thy name,” Psalms 86:11. “The God in whose hand try breath is, and whose are all try ways, thou hast not glorified,” Daniel 5:23.

See Matthew 27:1, compared with Acts 2:23, and 4:27,28; Luke 24:27; John 19:31-36. For the necessity of other events, see Exodus 21:17; Job 14:5; Matthew 19:7, etc.

“Those things God would have us freely do ourselves; he can no more effectually work or will than by the way of wishing,” Vorstius.

“God by his influence bestoweth nothing on the creature whereby it may be incited or helped in its actions,” Corvinus.

“The providence of God doth not determine the free-will of man to this or that particular, or to one part of the contradiction,” Arminius.

“The will of man ought to be free from all kind of internal and external necessity in its actions,” Rem. That is, God cannot lay such a necessity upon any thing as that it shall infallibly come to pass as he intendeth. See the contrary in the places cited.

“Our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased,” Psalms 115:3.

“I will do all my pleasure.” Isaiah 46:10. “None can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” Daniel 4:35.

“I have purposed, I will also o it,” Isaiah 46:11.

“As I have purposed, so shall it stand,” Isaiah 14:24.

“We nothing doubt but many things which God willeth, or that it pleaseth him to have done, do yet never come to pass,” Corvinus. “We grant that some of God’s desires are never fulfilled,” Idem.

“It is in the power of man to hinder the execution of God’s will,” Idem.

“It is ridiculous to imagine that God doth not seriously will any thing but what taketh effect,” Episcopius.

“It may be objected that God faileth of his end: this we readily grant,” Rem. Synod.

“Whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” So that “nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:29,30,39.

“He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy,” Ephesians 1:4.

“No such will can be ascribed unto God, whereby he so would have any to be saved, that from thence his salvation should be sure and infallible,” Armin. “I acknowledge no sense, no perception of any such election in this life,” Grevinch. “We deny that God’s election unto salvation extendeth itself to singular persons,” Rem. Coll. Hag.

“Not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9.

“For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth,” etc., Romans 9:11. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me,” John 6:37

“As we are justified by faith, so we are not elected but by faith,” Grevinch.

“We profess roundly that faith is considered by God as a condition preceding election, and not following as a fruit thereof,” Rem. Coll. Hag.

“The sole and only cause of election is not the will of God, but the respect of our obedience,” Episcop. “For the cause of this love to any person is, [that] the goodness, faith, and piety, wherewith, according to God’s command and his own duty, he is endued, are pleasing to God,” Rem. Apol.

“Many are called, but few are chosen,” Matthew 22:14. “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,”
Luke 12:32.

“God hath determined to grant the means of salvation unto all without difference; and according as he foreseeth men will use those means, so he determineth of them,” Corr.

“What hast thou that thou didst not receive?” 1 Corinthians 4:7. “Are we better than they? No, in no wise,” Romans 3:9. But we are “predestinated to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will,” Ephesians 1:5; John 6:37-39; 10:3; 13:18; 17:6; Acts 13:48; Titus 1:1; 2 Timothy 2:19; James 1:17,18, etc.

The sum of their doctrine is: God hath appointed the obedience of faith to be the means of salvation. If men fulfill this condition, he determineth to save them, which is their election; but if, after they have entered the way of godliness, they fall from it, they lose also their predestination. If they will return again, they are chosen anew; and if they can hold out to the end, then, and for that continuance, they are peremptorily elected, or post-destinated, after they are saved. Now, whether these positions may be gathered from those places of Scripture which deliver this doctrine, let any man judge.

“By the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation,” Romans 5:18.

“By one man’s disobedience many were made sinners,” Romans 5:19.

“Adam sinned in his own proper person only, and there is no reason why God should impute that sin unto infants,” Boraeus.

“It is absurd that by one man’s disobedience many should be made actually disobedient,” Corvinus.

“Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me,” Psalms 51:5.

“Infants are simply in that estate in which Adam was before his fall,” Venator.

“Else were your children unclean; but now are they holy,” 1 Corinthians 7:14. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one,” Job 14:4. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God,” John 3:3. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” John 3:6.

“Neither is it considerable whether they be the children of believers or of heathens; for all infants have the same innocency,” Rem. Apol. “That which we have by birth can be no evil of sin, because to be born is plainly involuntary,” Idem.

“By nature the children of wrath, even as others,” Ephesians 2:3. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” to wit, in him, Romans 5:12. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing,” chap. 7:18.

“In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die,” Genesis 2:17. “For as in Adam all die, even so,” etc., 1 Corinthians 15:22. “By nature the children of wrath,” Ephesians 2:3. “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth,” Revelation 21:27.

“Original sin is neither a sin properly so called, which should make the posterity of Adam guilty of God’s wrath, nor yet a punishment of any sin on them,” Rem. Apol. “It is against equity that one should be accounted guilty of a sin that is not his own, that he should be judged nocent who in regard of his own will is truly innocent,” Idem.

“God neither doth nor can in justice appoint any to hell for original sin,” Rem. Apol. “It is perversely spoken, that original sin makes any one guilty of death,” Armin. “We no way doubt to affirm, that never any one was damned for original sin,” Corv.

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them,” Genesis 1:27. “Put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him,” Colossians 3:10. “—which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness,” Ephesians 4:24.

“Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but he hath sought out many inventions,” Ecclesiastes 7:29. “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin,” Romans 5:12.

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God tempteth no man: but every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust,” James 1:13,14.

“There was in man before the fall an inclination to sinning, though not so vehement and inordinate as now it is,” Armin. “God put upon man a repugnancy to his law,” Gesteranus in the Synod. “Man, by reason of his creation, had an affection to those things that are forbidden by the law,” Corv.

“The will of man had never any spiritual endowments,” Rem. Apol.

“It was not fit that man should have a law given him, unless he had a natural [i.e., given by God in His creation] inclination to what was forbidden by the law,” Corv.

“He made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him,” 2 Corinthians 5:21. “He loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might present it unto himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing,” Ephesians 5:25,27.

“God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” 2 Corinthians 5:19.

“When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand,” Isaiah 53:10.

“By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities,” Isaiah 53:11.

“The death and satisfaction of Christ being accomplished, yet it may so come to pass that, none at all fulfilling the condition of the new covenant, none might be saved,” Idem.

“Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many,” Hebrews 9:28. “By his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us,” chapter 9:12. “He hath reconciled you in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy, and unblamable, and unreprovable,” Colossians 1:21,22.

“Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins,” etc.: “that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus,” Romans 3:25,26.

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes we were healed,” 1 Peter 2:24.

“The immediate effect of the death of Christ is not the remission of sins, or the actual redemption of any,” Armin. “Christ did not properly die to save any one,” Grevinch.

“A potential and conditionate reconciliation, not actual and absolute, is obtained by the death of Christ,” Corv.

“I believe it might have come to pass that the death of Christ might have had its end, though never any man had believed,” Corv.

“The impetration of salvation for all, by the death of Christ, is nothing but the obtaining of a possibility thereof; that God, without wronging his justice, may open unto them a gate of mercy, to be entered on some condition,” Rem. Coll. Hag.

“Notwithstanding the death of Christ, God might have assigned any other condition of salvation as well as faith, or have chosen the Jews following the righteousness of the law,” Grevinch. [Thus making man’s action the grounds of justification, rather than being an appropriation of Christ as the grounds of of our salvation.]

“Why, then, the efficacy of the death of Christ depends wholly on us.” “True; it cannot otherwise be,” Rem. Apol.

“Circumcise the of your heart, and be no more stiff-necked,” Deuteronomy 10:16. “And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed,” chapter 30:6.—“Make you a new heart and a new spirit, for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Ezekiel 18:31. “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you,” chapter 36:26.

“If ye will fear the LORD, and serve him, then shall ye continue following the LORD your God,” 1 Samuel 12:14. “I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me,” Jeremiah 32:40.

“Thou hast wrought all our works in us,” Isaiah 26:12. “God worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” Philippians 2:13.

“This is most certain, that that ought not to be commanded which is wrought in us. He foolishly commandeth that to be done of others who will work in them what he commandeth,” Rem. Apol.

“It is absurd to affirm that God either worketh by his power, or procureth by his wisdom, that the elect should do those things which God requireth of them,” Episcop.

“Faith and conversion cannot be acts of our obedience if they are wrought by God in us,” Rem. Coll. Hag. “That God should require that of us which himself will work in us is a ridiculous action, scarce fit for a stage,” Rem. Apol.


“He hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ,” Ephesians 1:3.

“Unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ to believe on him,” Philippians 1:29. “The blood of Christ purgeth our consciences from dead works to serve the living God,” Hebrews 9:14.

“That saying of Augustine, that ‘God crowneth his own gifts in us,’ is not easily to be admitted,” Ibid.

“There is nothing more vain and foolish than to ascribe faith and regeneration to the merit of Christ,” Idem.

“O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: ought not Christ to have suffered these things?” Luke 24:25,26.

“Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad,” John 8:56. “By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities,” Isaiah 53:11. See the places before cited.

“At that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world,” Ephesians 2:12.

“There is no place in the Old Testament whence it may appear that faith in Christ as a Redeemer was either enjoined or found in any then,” Rem. Apol.

“Abraham’s faith had no reference to Christ,” Annin.

“The Gentiles living under the Old Testament, though it was not revealed unto them as unto the Jews, yet were not excluded from the covenant of grace, and from salvation,” Corv.

“There is none other name under heaven given unto men, whereby we must be saved,” but only by Christ, Acts 4:12.

“The blessing of Abraham cometh on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ,” Galatians 3:14. “He that believeth not is condemned,” Mark 16:16. “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” Hebrews 11:6. “Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” 1 Corinthians 3:11.

“I deny this proposition, That none can be saved that is not ingrafted into Christ by a true faith,” Bert.

“To this question, Whether the only way of salvation be the life, passion, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ? I answer, No,” Venat.


“Of ourselves we can do nothing,” John 15:5. “We are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves,” 2 Corinthians 3:5. “We are by nature the children of wrath, dead in trespasses and sins,” Ephesians 2:1-3.

“Faith is not of ourselves: it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8.

“Who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive, why 0 dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received?” 1 Corinthians 4:7.

“Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, who are taught to do evil,” Jeremiah 13:23.

“Believing on him that justifieth the ungodly,” Romans 4:5. “Being justified freely by his grace,” Romans 3:24.

“I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight,” Matthew 11:25,26.

“We retain still after the fall a power of believing and of repentance, because Adam lost not this ability,” Rem. Declar. Sen. in Synod.

“Faith is said to be the work of God, because he commandeth us to perform it,” Rem. Apol. “There is no infusion of any habit or spiritual vital principle necessary to enable a man to believe,” Corv.

“There is nothing truer than that one man maketh himself differ from another. He who believeth when God commandeth, maketh himself differ from him who will not,” Rem. Apol.

“I may boast of mine own, when I obey God’s grace, which it was in my power not to obey, as well as to obey,” Grevinch.

“True conversion and the performance of good works is a condition required on our part before justification,” Filii Attain.

“God sendeth the gospel to such persons or nations, that in comparison of others may be said to be worthy of it,” Rem. Apol.