Small Group-The Church & Denominations-01/17/18



VIII. Major Theological Schools of Thought

Intro: The Church, has never been in full agreement as to doctrine.

  • Acts 6 there was a problem between the Greek and Hebrew Christians.
  • Acts 15 there was a problem about what demands should be placed on Gentile Christians.
  • Paul’s letters dealt with doctrinal issues that were problematic to the early church.

Question: So why is it important to know the major schools of theological thought today?

  • Most individual churches today as well as denominations as a whole, have their base in one of the following theological schools of thought.
  • Many attend a church because they like the music or there are a lot of programs for the family. They don’t think doctrine matters.
  • But they fail to understand while enjoying the music and getting involved in ministries, they will be learning/influenced by the different doctrines of that church.


Question: What is Arminianism?

Developed 1560-1609.  Emphasis in on the free will of man as opposed to the sovereignty of God.. Holds to the following basic doctrinal beliefs.

  • God elects/saves or sends to hell people on the basis of His foreseen faith or unbelief of the individual.
  • Jesus died for all although only believers are saved.
  • Humanity is so depraved (sinful) that God’s grace is needed for salvation.
  • All good works must be ascribed to grace, but this grace is not irresistible.
  • It is possible for believers to fall away from faith and lose their salvation.

The following churches hold to Arminianism.

  • Free Will Baptists, Methodists, Seventh Day Adventists, Wesleyan Methodists, Assembly of God, Most Pentecostal Churches, Church of Christ, Church of the Nazarene, Salvation Army, Christian Church, Amish, Some Mennonite, Brethren in Christ Church, Church of the United Brethren in Christ, Evangelical Covenant Church, Evangelical Free Church of America, African Methodist Episcopal Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Church of God in Christ, Elim Fellowship, International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, International Pentecostal Holiness Church, Open Bible Churches, Pentecostal Church of God, Vineyard Churches International.


Question: What is Calvinism?

 Developed by John Calvin  (1509-1564)   Emphasis is on the sovereignty of God.

Holds to the following doctrinal beliefs.  T U L I P

T = Total depravity of man. All have inherited Adams sin.

U = Unconditional election.  Election is based on the sovereign will of God.

L = Limited atonement. The work on the cross is limited to those elected to salvation.

I = Irresistible grace. The elect will be saved apart from their own desire.

P = Perseverance of the saints.  You cannot lose your salvation.

The following churches hold to Calvinism?


Question: What is Dispensationalism?

Began in the 1800’s. (Scofield Bible)  It describes the special ways throughout history that man is responsible to God. There are usually 7 dispensations (ages) which all lead to the return of Christ and the perfection of our salvation.

  1. Dispensation of innocence. From creation to the fall.
  2. Dispensation of conscience. From the covenant w/ Adam to the flood.
  3. Dispensation of human government. From Noah to Abraham.
  4. Dispensation of promise. From Abraham’s call to Moses.
  5. Dispensation of law. From Moses giving the law to Death of Christ.
  6. Dispensation of grace. From resurrection of Christ to his 2nd coming.
  7. Dispensation of kingdom. From millenium on…

There is a distinction between Israel and the Church. They are not the same and God still has a plan for his original people. Usually pre-millennial, pre-tribulation rapture. Professes a literal interpretation to the Scriptures

The following churches hold to Dispensationalism?

  • Bible Churches, Many different forms of Baptist Churches, Bible Fellowship, Berean Churches, Churches that use the Scofield Bible.


Categories: Small Group, The Church & Denominations