Calvinism is a branch of Protestantism that originated in the 16th century with the teachings of French theologian John Calvin. Calvin’s theology was heavily influenced by the ideas of Martin Luther and other early Protestant reformers, but he went further in his emphasis on the sovereignty of God, the importance of grace, and the doctrine of predestination.
Calvinism emerged as a response to the corruption and extravagance of the Catholic Church in Europe, as well as the growing belief in the individual’s ability to interpret the Bible for themselves. Calvin’s writings, which were widely distributed throughout Europe, helped to spread his ideas and influence other theologians and religious leaders.
One of the key principles of Calvinism is the belief in the total depravity of humanity, which means that all people are born sinful and unable to earn their way to salvation. This emphasis on the need for divine grace to redeem sinful humanity is known as the “Five Points of Calvinism,” which were formulated by Dutch theologian Jacobus Arminius in response to Calvin’s teachings.
These five points are:
- Total depravity: All people are sinful and unable to earn their way to salvation.
- Unconditional election: God has chosen those who will be saved based on his own will and not on anything they have done.
- Limited atonement: Christ’s death on the cross only atones for the sins of those who have been chosen by God.
- Irresistible grace: Those who are chosen by God will ultimately be drawn to him and cannot resist his grace.
- Perseverance of the saints: Those who have been saved will persevere in their faith and cannot lose their salvation.
Calvinism has had a significant impact on the development of Protestantism and has influenced the theology of many other Christian denominations. Today, Calvinism is still a major branch of Protestantism, with millions of followers around the world.
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