Prevenient Grace

Prevenient grace is grace that is extended to humankind in order that they may choose to follow God.  Both Calvinism and Arminianism hold that man will not choose God on his own.  Calvinism offers that God unconditionally elects people for salvation while Arminians claim that God offers prevenient grace in order that man may choose to follow God.

Prevenient grace is a conclusion that is drawn rather than a direct teaching of scripture.  Because of their belief in free will Arminians reject the notion of irresistible grace and thus unconditional election.  Scripture makes it clear that no one seeks God on their own.  So prevenient grace is extended in order that man may have faith.  This should be understood as a softening of the heart, allowing for free will to remain intact.  It doesn’t “elect” or force anyone to become saved but rather opens the door for them so that they may choose whether or not to walk through the door on their own.

Premillennialism

This view holds that Christ will return to begin a period of time known as the Millennial Kingdom as described in Revelation 20.

While other views are still considered orthodox and biblically based, this view is regarded as the most literal interpretation.  (Opponents argue that apocalyptic literature can’t and shouldn’t be taken literally.)  This view holds to a literal reign of Christ on David’s throne.  Resurrected saints will reign with Christ during this time.

Many consider this time to be a literal thousand years although one may hold to this view without believing in a literal millennium but rather just an extended period of time.

During this time Satan is bound and holds no sway over humanity.  At the end of the time though, he will be released and conquered once and for all and thrown into the lake of fire.

The world will witness unprecedented peace as Isaiah 65:20 is realized.  “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.”

During this time, the promises to Israel will finally and completely be fulfilled.  This is the only millennial view that is in line with dispensationalism as it is the only view that still sees God continue to work with the nation of Israel.

See amillennialism and postmillennialism for different views concerning the Millennial Kingdom.

For further discussion see the article on the Millennial Kingdom.

Predestinination

This is the idea that God has determined beforehand who would be saved.  Although no one is worthy of salvation, God chose in eternity past who would be saved.

Some reach the natural conclusion that if God predestines some for heaven, God predestinates the rest to hell.  This is referred to as double predestination.

Others simply say that all are destined for hell but God in His grace chose some for salvation and that by not choosing others, He does not condemn them to hell because they were already destined for it.

The question must be asked why God would choose to save some but not others if He desires all to be saved and is capable of saving all.  Supporters claim that God is glorified even in sending people to hell, much as a diamond looks more dazzling when set against a dark background.

See also: Unconditional election

Postmillennialism

This view holds that Christ will return at the end of the Millennial Kingdom.  Through the spread of the gospel, the world will continue to get better and better until the church “conquers the world” so to speak.  At the culmination of this, Jesus will return to judge the world, sending the wicked to Hell and the righteous to their reward.

During this time, sin will not cease, but it will be minimized because of the influence of the church.  Christ will not physically reign but rather he will spiritually reign through the church because of its vast influence over all facets of life.  (Christ would not need to reign if the church ruled by following His principles.)

The world will witness unprecedented peace as Isaiah 65:20 is realized.  “Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed.”

The thousand year period does not have to be a literal thousand years.  It may be figurative to simply mean a long period of time.

Like the amillennial view, this view sees the promises to Israel as being fulfilled spiritually with the church.  God is finished with Israel because of their rejection.  See Covenant Theology for more on this.

It is worth noting that this view enjoyed heightened popularity during the Industrial Revolution in America and England when people saw the world getting better and better and the gospel reaching further and further into the world.  In the 1900’s many left this view because two World Wars ruined their optimism for a better world.

See also premillennialism for different views concerning the Millennial Kingdom.

For further discussion see the article on the Millennial Kingdom.

One point Calvinism

To many, the issue of issue over whether a person is an Arminian or Calvinist comes down to whether or not a person believes that they can lose their salvation.  Those who only hold to the doctrine of eternal security or “once saved, always saved” may be considered one point Calvinists.

One point Calvinists may hold to Arminian doctrine with the exception of the issue of eternal security or they just may not have any formed beliefs regarding the other points of Calvinism outside of the security of one’s salvation.

Because the issue of eternal security is so key to many Christians’ beliefs, a person may hold to four points of Arminian doctrine but still call themselves a one point Calvinist because the one point is most important to them.

Unlike Calvinists, Arminians do not tend to identify themselves with how many points of Arminianism they believe in.