Evangelicalism, Pentacostalism, Arminianism, Catholicism, etc

I read an article about a headlining Christian music mogul, Marty Sampson, leader of Hillsong Church, who ‘left’ Christianity via Instagram post.

It said that the Hillsong Church has its roots in Pentecostal Christian theology. I looked up Pentecostalism, which was described on Wikipedia as being evangelical and more in line with Arminianism than Calvinism. I looked up Arminianism. There were references to Catholicism.

I looked up ‘Arminianism vs Catholicism’ and most results were about Arminianism vs Calvinism.

The articles are long, dense, and I simply am not going to take the time to become an amateur theologian to understand them.

Can someone lay out what Arminianism is and how it relates to Catholicism? Make it simple. Like, use bullet points if you can. And it would be very helpful if the discussion didn’t become a debate between CAF’s theologians and philosophers, because I can’t follow that.

This is a short easy read HERE that covers the theologies you bring up

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Are you looking to understand Pentecostalism? If so, the journey into Arminianism, Calvinism etc. is probably not helpful. Pentecostalism is largely a 20th century phenomenon (and 21st), and projecting into or onto Reformation era disputes is bound to get confusing.

Pentecostalism is rooted in direct experience of the Holy Spirit as understood by a particular community. This often results in sudden changes of leadership as individuals receive inspiration. So fragmentation is common, even though there is a strong emphasis on the unity brought by the Holy Spirit.

What interests you?

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The debate is on monergism VS synergsm.

Arminians teach that man has agency in refusing God’s grace and cooperating with God’s grace. Both are synergistic.

Lutherans teach that man exercises active agency in refusing God’s grace (synergism) but is passively receptive to accepting God’s grace (monergism).

Calvinists teach that man’s agency is passive both when refusing God’s grace and when accepting it. Man does not have any active agency in regards to accepting or refusing God.

Arminians are Protestant, but they are most similar to Catholicism on man’s role with grace.

Calvinists sometimes accuse Arminians of being Pelagians, but Pelagians teach that man can save himself without the help of God at all. Arminians still teach that man cannot be moved to faith or good works without God acting first, they just believe man has an active role in responding once God does reach out.


Agency = one makes one’s own decisions and has control over his salvation, destiny, and where he spends eternity. Doesn’t need God to experience an wonderful afterlife.

Synergism = doesn’t want to be with God. Or maybe it means when God and Man are united they make each other better. God improves Man and Man improves God. Or, maybe Grace = Synergism. If God grants me Synergism, I have Grace. Hail Mary, full of synergism.

Monergism = lets God happen. If God gets involved in one’s life, that’s great. If not, meh.

While I appreciate your clear understanding of the matter, this isn’t particularly helpful to someone who has no background in the lingua franca of philosophy and/or theology. I’m defining the words as I understand them based on the context.

Can you explain it in words I don’t have to look up and apply to these particular instances?

I wanted to know how closely Arminianism and Catholicism are related to one another.

Are Catholics Arminianists? I’ve seen websites that claim it so. And obviously, we all know how far we can trust the Internet on these matters.

If Pentecostals are Arminianists, and Catholics are Arminianists, are Catholics closer to Pentecostals than either will admit?

I think I’m a Molinist.

I included the words monergism and synergism, but I didn’t explain it in those terms.

Arminians: Man is actively involved in both accepting and rejecting God.

Lutherans: man is actively involved in rejecting God and is only passively moved by God when accepting him.

Calvinists: man is not active in choosing to accept or reject God. God has already acted on man’s passive will and chosen entirely for him. Man has no part or cooperation in the decision.

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I wouldn’t say we are Arminians. I would say Arminians hold views on this similar to Catholicism.


Or to make it simpler, if overly simplistic.

God reaches out to man, and…

Arminians: man chooses to accept or reject.

Lutherans: man can choose to reject, but he has no part in choosing to accept.

Calvinists: man has no role in choosing to reject or accept God.

Arminians hold man is active. Calvinists that man is passive only.


Thank you.

Catholics are closer to Arminianists than to other Reformation era groups, but Arminianists are not Catholics. They are a Reformation era group.

Catholics and Pentecostals are closer to each other, as they both admit. The distinguishing feature of Pentecostalism, the gift of the Holy Spirit, is present among some Catholics and is not inherently alien to Catholicism. How close they are to Arminianism has little to nothing to do with how close they are to each other.

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For Calvinists beliefs, I might amend what I wrote before to say that God reaches out to those who he saves, and if God reaches out, man is passive in being moved by it such that he will be saved. On the other hand, people don’t reject God’s grace. God just never reaches out to those who aren’t saved to begin with. So man doesn’t have an active choice either way for that reason.

Catholics believe man can reject grace and that God gives everyone the opportunity to choose to accept or reject him in their lives (even those who never encounter Christianity have an opportunity to pursue God to the best of their ability, at the call of God).

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As the article pointed out

In 1748 the Church declared Thomism, Molinism, and a third view known as Augustinianism to be acceptable Catholic teachings.

Yeah, I’m slightly more comfortable with the idea of emphasizing free will.

If I can ask another question–what’s the role, then, of predestination? What happens to those who were not chosen to be among the elect?
It seems to me:

  1. the elect are given God’s grace and they either accept or reject it.
  2. the non-elect are those who were predestined to reject . . . . no, that’s not right.


The Church is fine with predestination so long as we affirm man’s role and agency in that choice being intact.

The big issue with Calvinism is that it denies man’s active role in rejecting God.

Taking this away from what it might “seem” to anyone, that’s because unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about predestination.


may I suggest THIS

And, Look specifically at double predestination, which is a heresy

A s long as we live in this side of eternity, our intellect/ mind is a CORRUPTED agent and without God’s aids our mind is useful only for lying and to commit acts of sins.
The Council of Sens (1140) condemned the idea that free will is sufficient in itself for any good. Donez., 373.

Council of Orange (529)
In canon 20, entitled hat Without God Man Can Do No Good. . . Denz., 193; quoting St. Prosper.

In canon 22, says, “ No one has anything of his own except lying and sin. Denz., 194; quoting St. Prosper.

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott;

For every salutary act internal supernatural grace of God (gratia elevans) is absolutely necessary, (De fide).

There is a supernatural intervention of God in the faculties of the soul, which precedes the free act of the will, (De fide).

St. Thomas teaches that all movements of will and choice must be traced to the divine will: and not to any other cause, because Gad alone is the cause of our willing and choosing. CG, 3.91.
St. Thomas (C. G., II, xxviii) if God’s purpose were made dependent on the foreseen free act of any creature, God would thereby sacrifice His own freedom, and would submit Himself to His creatures, thus abdicating His essential supremacy–a thing which is, of course, utterly inconceivable.

The Mystery of Predestination by John Salza. Page 84.
St. Thomas properly explains the chain of causality:

"It is to be observed that where there are several agents in order, the second always acts in virtue of the first: for the agent moves the second to act.

And thus all agents act in virtue of God Himself: and therefore He is the cause of action in every agent. ST, Pt I, Q 105, Art 5.

Because God is the cause of action in every agent, even man’s free will determination to do good comes from God."

308 The truth that God is at work in all the actions of his creatures is inseparable from faith in God the Creator.
God is the first cause who operates in and through secondary causes:
"For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure."171
Far from diminishing the creature’s dignity, this truth enhances it.

2022; “The divine initiative in the work of grace precedes, prepares, and elicits the free response of man. Grace responds to the deepest yearnings of human freedom, calls freedom to cooperate with it, and perfects freedom.”

St. Thomas teaches that God effects everything, the willing and the achievement. S. Th.II/II 4, 4 ad 3:

As we see above, there are two agents God and still our corrupted intellect/ mind.

But only One Agent runs the show, God Almighty the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.

His wisdom He so decreed/ orders from all eternity EVERY event within the universe, He directs all, even evil and sin itself, to the final end for which the universe was created.
God bless

I’m not sure where you’re going with all this. I’m simply saying that I’m more comfortable with the Molinist viewpoint than with the Thomist or Augustinian.

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