The original Arminian party arose within the Reformed churches in the Netherlands, to advocate a revision of the Reformed doctrine of predestination, in favor of an idea of predestination that was more agreeable to reason and Catholic tradition. They charged that the Calvinist party, especially the followers of Theodore Beza and the University of Leiden professor, Franciscus Gomarus, had developed a system of doctrine that made God the author of evil as well as of good. The Arminians attempted to formulate a consistent system, and proposed five corrections of the Reformed doctrine which would better express the important proposition that all good originates with God, but sin in no sense originates with Him. These became known as the Arminian Articles of Remonstrance (1610), and their proponents became known as Remonstrants (correcters or reformers). These five proposed, anti-Calvinist corrections are summarized below:
The Wesleyan revival in England, which was part of the first Great Awakening in America, recovered the Arminian emphasis on personal responsibility; but it did not widely result in the adoption of Arminianism by the traditionally Calvinist denominations. However, the Second Great Awakening, beginning approximately sixty years later, brought a widespread overthrow of Calvinism in favor of Arminianism, especially through the influence of Methodism and the Presbyterian Charles Grandison Finney, who aggressively advanced the Arminian system as an antidote to hypocrisy and religious apathy. Restoration Movement revivalists, Alexander Campbell and Barton W. Stone popularized an anti-Calvinist, democratic concept of salvation early in the Second Great Awakening, but this can be contrasted with Arminianism on a number of points. Also, their followers typically reject all, Arminianism vs. Calvinism, Augustinianism vs. Pelagianism, and other typical distinctions, as "ecclesiastical idols".
Protestant denominations that traditionally adhere to Arminianism include most Methodist and related denominations. The two early leaders of the Methodist revival were John Wesley (Arminian) and George Whitfield (Calvinist) and the two honed their doctrinal differences by debate, but eventually agreed to disagree. There are still some Calvinistic Methodists who are spiritual descendents of Whitfield, but Wesley's views have predominated.
In popular usage, Arminianism is the belief that once a person has been "saved" (accepted the gift of salvation by trusting in Jesus Christ as Savior), it is possible for the person to lose his or her salvation by leading an unfaithful life and/or turning away from Christ. When Arminianism is referred to in this sense, it is in contrast to the popular simplification of the Calvinist doctrine of Perseverance of the saints, commonly expressed as "once saved always saved."