John Wesley (2)

Wesleyan theologian H. Orton Wiley writes:

The Wesleyan Doctrine. John Wesley greatly improved the later Arminian position, purging it from its Pelagian elements and putting it upon a more scriptural basis. Wesleyanism, therefore, more nearly approaches the positions of James Arminius himself. It must be recognized, however, that there are certain differences in the teachings of Arminius and those of Wesley. One of these is quite marked.

Arminius regarded the ability bestowed upon our depraved nature which enabled it to co-operate with God, as flowing from the justice of God, without which man could not be held accountable for his sins.

Wesley on the other hand, regarded this ability as solely a matter of grace, an ability conferred through the free gift of prevenient grace, given to all men as a first benefit of the universal atonement made by Christ for all men. The differences between the Wesleyans and the Remonstrants are thus summed up by Dr. Charles Hodge:

‘Wesleyanism (1) admits entire moral depravity; (2) denies that any men in this state have any power to co-operate with the grace of God; (3) asserts that the guilt of all through Adam was removed by justification of all through Christ; and (4) ability to co-operate is of the Holy Spirit, through the universal influence of the redemption of Christ” (Hodge, Syst. Th., II, pp.329, 330).

Dr. Pope in his theology more nearly follows Wesley and Watson; while Whedon and Raymond better represent the type of Arminianism as held by the Remonstrants. Since it is our purpose to more fully present the Arminian position, we need not at this time, give the subject any extended treatment” (Wiley).