James Buchanan (1804-1870) writing about the Wesleyan Methodists (underlining mine):
“The Wesleyan Methodists were a favourable specimen of the Evangelical Arminians who stood opposed both to the Pelagians on the subject of man’s depravity and to the Socinians on the subject of Christ’s satisfaction; and yet they differed from the followers of Whitfield [sic] and other evangelical Christians on the subject of Justification. For while they ascribed the pardon of sin to the merit of Christ’s expiatory death, they did not ascribe the acceptance of the sinner to the imputation of Christ’s active obedience, or vicarious fulfilment of the precept of the divine Law” (James Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification).
The Wesleyan Methodists believe Christ died for everyone without exception, including those who perish. Thus, the “pardon of sin” IS NOT properly ascribed “to the merit of Christ’s expiatory death,” but to the ANTICHRISTian work of the sinner. This is a prime instance of the doctrine of antichrist which OPPOSES or USURPS Christ in the guise of GLORIFYING Christ. This doctrine puts the sinner’s efforts IN THE PLACE or STEAD of Jesus Christ’s as the ultimate difference-maker between salvation and damnation.
As for Buchanan’s comment that
” … they did not ascribe the acceptance of the sinner to the imputation of Christ’s active obedience, or vicarious fulfilment of the precept of the divine Law.”
And WHY did the Wesleyan Methodists not ascribe this? Because, in this particular instance, they evidenced their woeful ignorance of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel, and were thus necessarily seeking to self-righteously establish one of their own (cf. Romans 10:1-4). They did not submit to, but rejected Christ’s everlasting righteousness and sought to replace it with their own (cf. Romans 8:5-8, 10:3).
Buchanan continues with the Wesleyan Methodists:
“They agreed generally with Arminius on most of the five points, but they agreed with him also in maintaining the Priesthood, the vicarious sufferings, and the atoning sacrifice of Christ; and we cannot doubt that holding so much evangelical truth, many among them have been so humbled under a sense of sin and so impressed by the justice and mercy of God manifested in the Cross as to ‘flee for refuge to the hope that was set before them,’ and ‘to receive and rest upon Christ alone for salvation,’ although from some confused or mistaken apprehension of its meaning they might still hesitate to adopt in its full sense the doctrine of imputed righteousness. The germ of that doctrine is really involved in what they believe — for they held the substitution of Christ in the room of sinners, the imputation of their sins to Him, and His bearing the punishment which these sins deserved. They further held that what He did and suffered on the Cross is imputed to believers for their justification — not what He suffered merely, but what He did when He became ‘obedient unto death'” (Buchanan, The Doctrine of Justification).
“[H]olding so much evangelical truth,” eh? Yeah, until they ACTUALLY DEFINE the superficially or apparently orthodox terms. Clearly, these zealous yet ignorant (Romans 10:2) adherents of antichristian doctrine have fled for refuge to an idol of their unregenerate imaginings.
Consider (again), Romans 10:1-4. It is quite obvious that Buchanan ought to “interpret” Paul’s prayer a bit presumptuous since a more sober, balanced, and charitable take on Israel is that despite their ignorance of the righteousness of God revealed in the gospel, and despite their hesitance to adopt this righteousness in its full sense, the “germ of that doctrine is really involved in what they believe.” Is that so? Would this be similar to asserting by force that the “germ” of Christ’s deity is really involved in what the pantheizing liberals of the early 1900s believed about the nature of God (cf. http://www.calvinism.us/2015/06/correspondence-with-herman-hanko-of-prc_16.html)? To adapt the quip of one ancient writer:
By Buchanan’s laboring to make heretics Christian, he does prove himself to be a heathen.