17 March 2009

john wesley & unconditional election

“With regard to…Unconditional Election, I believe, That God, before the foundation of the world, did unconditionally elect certain persons to do certain works, as Paul to preach the gospel: that He has unconditionally elected some nations to receive peculiar privileges, the Jewish nation in particular: that He has unconditionally elected some nations to hear the gospel…that He has unconditionally elected some persons to peculiar advantages, both with regard to temporal and spiritual things: And I do not deny (though I cannot prove that it is so), that He has unconditionally elected some persons [thence eminently styled ‘the Elect’] to eternal glory. But I cannot believe, That all those who are not thus elected to glory must perish everlastingly; or That there is one soul on earth who has not, [nor] ever had a possibility of escaping eternal damnation.”

From a 1743 exchange with George Whitefield, as quoted in John Wesley's Scriptural Christianity, by Thomas C. Oden


Loy Mershimer said...

Nice quote. Wesley was far more Reformed than most modern followers of Wesley ever grasp. Wesley confessed that there was but a "hair's breadth" of difference between himself and Calvin on the doctrine of Justification, and clearly rejected what is taught nowadays by his followers in regard to Justification; namely, that people choose their way into salvation. I've even heard some highly-considered Wesleyan theologians define predestination in these exact terms: that God predestined those whom He foreknew would make the choice for salvation; ipso facto, predestination is primarily about human will, human choice! Either that or they reject individual predestination altogether, feeling far more comfortable talking about its corporate dimension.

Wesley would probably disavow much that is being taught in his name today -- as heresy, or at least heterodoxy.


Tara said...

Thanks for posting this. I have a renewed interest in things "Wesley", and some of what I learn surprises me at times. I agree w/Loy...probably Mr. Wesley would be horrified at some teaching done in his name.

Then again, I imagine Jesus is too! :)

Jim Swindle said...

I agree with others, thanks for posting this. Much of today's "evangelical" church (at least in the USA, where I live) is almost totally unaware of God's power in choosing people. Because they think everything depends on them, they use sensational methods in an effort to win people to the Lord. Then many of them go yet further, just using the sensationalism to get a crowd and mostly forgetting about making disciples of Jesus. Yet the God's power is displayed in saving people through the message of Jesus, not through sensationalism.