I have been studying some works of systematic theology, and am attempting to process it. Thus, here is a little soteriology -- or theology of the atonement and salvation. Although there is massive agreement among Christians about soteriology, there are intricacies I enjoy pondering. These are my current understandings of the 17th Century debate between Reformed (Calvinist) and Remonstrant (Arminian) theology.
On the depravity of man: These seem pretty similar to me, so I'm sure I'm missing some subtlety. Reformed theology teaches that every aspect of human nature has been affected to some degree, so that we are totally dependent on Grace to seek God or do good. Remonstrant theology proposes that we posess a natural inability to do good apart from God's grace.
On election: Here is where the theology of free will starts to differentiate between the two "sides." Reformed theology teaches that God in His sovereignty predestines some fallen people to be saved, while Arminians believe that election is conditional, based on God's foreknowledge (but not His causing of us to act one way or another) of who would continue to believe in Christ.
On atonement: This is a big one. Calvinist theology proposes a limited atonement, in which the work of the cross was performed noly for those he elects/predestines, so none of the blood is "wasted" on others. Arminians beleive in universal atonement, limited only by the number of people who put their faith in Christ.
This is enough for now: I need to really ponder on whether there was any "wasted" blood at Calvary. That is heavy.