John Wesley had the rare gift of bringing the Calvinist/Arminian debate from the head to the heart. In Predestination Calmly Considered, Wesley first examines the idea of upholding unconditional election while rejecting reprobation and then explains why the two doctrines are inseparable. He then rejects reprobation as inconsistent with the whole scope and tenor both of the Old and New Testament and provides about four pages of scriptural quotations to demonstrate his point. He then shows that reprobation is inconsistent with God’s justice and explains Romans 9. Wesley then moves to the atonement and shows Christ died for all based on a few passages and based on the general offer of the gospel. He then explains that man is dependent on prevenient grace and that even though man has freewill, God gets all the glory. He then explains why a system that includes freewill glorifies God more than a system with reprobation, based on God’s wisdom, justice and love. Wesley then explains corporate election and God’s immutability. Wesley then argues that true believers can and do lose their faith and therefore ultimately perish, based on numerous passages. Wesley concludes his theological arguments with passages showing God’s grace is resistible and then concludes his essay with advice that all Christians (Calvinist and Arminian) must work together for the kingdom of God.
Calvinists, read this to understand the heart of the Arminian. Arminians, read this to understand your heritage. I will conclude with a quote from Wesley appealing to those are convinced by his arguments, but still don’t want to become Arminians:
“But you cannot do this; for then you should be called a Pelagian, an Arminian, and what not.” And are you afraid of hard names? Then you have not begun to be a disciple of Jesus Christ.