Wesley on Predestination

Posted by Bernard Rosario On 4:02 PM 0 comments




This post is a survey of Free Grace and is intended to be the first in a 3-part study:
Part 1 - Wesley on Predestination
Part 2 - Whitefield on Free Grace
Part 3 - Murray on Catholicity

Wesley's Definition of Predestination

...by virtue of an eternal, unchangeable, irresistible decree of God, one part of mankind are infallibly saved, and the rest infallibly damned; it being impossible that any of the former should be damned or that any of the latter should be saved.
Wesley's Seven Theses

I) It is free in all to whom it is given.
It [preaching] is needless to them that are elected; for they, whether with preaching or without, will infallibly be saved. Therefore, the end of preaching -- to save should -- is void with regard to them; and it is useless to them that are not elected, for they cannot possibly be saved.
II) The doctrine of predestination is not a doctrine of God.
... if a sick man knows that he must unavoidably die, or unavoidably recover, though he knows not which, it is unreasonable for him to take any physic at all. He might justly say, (and so I have heard some speak, both in bodily sickness and in spiritual) "If I am ordained to life, I shall live; if to death, I shall live; so I need not trouble myself about it."
III. Predestination destroys the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity.
Full assurance of faith is the true ground of a Christian's happiness. And it does indeed imply a full assurance that all your past sins are forgiven, and that you are now a child of God. But it does not necessarily imply a full assurance of our future perseverance.

How uncomfortable a thought is this, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offense or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings!
IV. This uncomfortable doctrine also destroys our zeal for good works.
It cuts off one of the strongest motives to all acts of bodily mercy... It is needless to them that are elected; for they will infallibly be saved without it. It is useless to them that are not elected; for with or without it they will infallibly be damned; therefore you cannot consistently with your principles take any pains about their salvation. Consequently, those principles directly tend to destroy your zeal for good works; for all good works; but particularly for the greatest of all, the saving of souls from death.
V. Furthermore, the doctrine of predestination has a direct and manifest tendency to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation.
"If it be not necessary, it is not true," Now, this fundamental point you give up. For supposing that eternal, unchangeable decree, one part of mankind must be saved, though the Christian Revelation were not in being, and the other part of mankind must be damned, notwithstanding that Revelation. And what would an infidel desire more? You allow him all he asks. In making the gospel thus unnecessary to all sorts of men, you give up the whole Christian cause.
VI. And at the same time, makes that Revelation contradict itself.
Wesley used 1 Jn. 4:16 against Rom. 9:13; Psa. 114:9 against Rom. 9:15; Acts 10:34 and Rom. 2:11 against Rom. 9:16; 1 Pet. 1:2 and Rom. 8:29 against Rom. 9:11-12 (Personal Note: Wesley used very strong Calvinistic verses [erroneously?]); Rom. 10:12 against Eph. 1:4. He used Rom. 14:15, Jn. 4:42, Jn. 1:29, 1 Jn. 2:2, 1 Tim. 2:6, and Heb. 2:9 to support universal redemption. And he used Ezek. 18:3, 32, 2 Pet. 3:9, Jn. 5:40, and Matt. 23:37 against reprobation.

VII. Predestination is a doctrine full of blasphemy.
This premised, let it be observed, that this doctrine represents our blessed Lord, "Jesus Christ the righteous," "the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth," as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity.

It overturns both his justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust.
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