A Caveat Against Unsound Doctrine

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This presence continues to be a serious threat to Calvinism. As demonstrated earlier, the main issue in the Wesley-Toplady controversy was absolute predestination. As noted earlier, he believed the Thirty-Nine Articles only mentioned the term. His opponent, Augustus M. Toplady, loved predestination, especially as it was developed in the Canons of Dordt. He believed election to be.

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Toplady opposed Wesley primarily because he believed that any notion of salvation severed from a decre- tal source must be dependant upon the will of man for its realization. Thus, it was neither salvation nor grace, but pure idolatry. My business now is with those who endeavour to save appearances by admitting the word [election], while in reality they anathema- tize the thing.

These profess to hold an election: but then it is a conditional one It proceeds on a supposition that What is this but atheism in a mask? First, he considered it a blasphemous notion that made God the author of sin, hypocritical in the gospel call, and unjust in the distribution of salvation. At present I think it would be a sin But if you cannot digest this, you must necessarily give up unconditional election. He is, in truth and reality, only fatting the ox for the slaughter Everyone who denies unconditional election denies an aspect of truth that is of the essence of Reformed doctrine In its ultimate elements it means that the determining factor in salva- tion is what man himself does, and that is tantamount to saying Pelagius raised them against Augustine, and Pighius against Calvin.

The Canons of Dordt, which Toplady so loved, note that these same calumnies were raised by the Remonstrants.

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Dordt attributes the source of this hatred of predestination to unbelief:. Satan abhors it; the world ridicules it; the ignorant and hypocrite abuse, and heretics oppose it; but the spouse of Christ hath always most tenderly loved and constantly defended it as an inestimable treasure Canons of Dordt 5. There was one more notable reason Wesley abhorred predestination: it di- rectly contradicted his most cherished belief, namely, that God loved and sin- cerely desired the salvation of all men.

In fact, this was his main objection to predestination. Contrary to the wildly popular opinion among professedly Re- formed men today, Wesley knew it was utterly impossible that God both desired to save all men and did not desire to save all men. Furthermore, he knew it was ridiculous to preach such a thing. Besides being hypocritical, it is a contradic- tion that even the Almighty can not resolve. Toplady would have agreed. Many today who claim to be Reformed do not agree. Valiantly, but foolishly, they try to hold both—with devastating consequences. In The Arminian Magazine a very different opinion [from absolute predestination] will be defended in a very different manner.

Our design is to publish some of the most remarkable tracts on the universal love of God and his willingness to save all men from all sin which have been wrote in this and the last century. Wesley did not claim the purpose of his journal was to defend conditional election, resistible grace, a general atonement, or the falling away of the saints— doctrines usually considered ear-marks of Arminianism.

A Caveat Against Unsound Doctrines

Promise-mongers [his epithet for predestinarians] are no Gospel preachers He, and he alone [although Wesley also ordained women] And predestination, if it is believed at all, is stripped from the gospel and relegated to seminary classrooms or hospital beds. As one enthusiastic proponent of this gospel wrote:. Belief in predestination, for example, will comfort Christians but it is not a prerequisite for evangelism. Nor is preaching on the extent of the atonement essential for evangelism; evangelism calls men to come to Christ not because they have been saved but so that they may be saved.

The seeking soul is not, after all, to be presented with systems of theology. At the same time, many Reformed wonder why their leaders seek ecu- menical ties with Arminians. They seem mystified that the fundamentals of Calvinism—limited atonement, irresistible grace, perseverance, and justifica- tion by faith alone—are being challenged or rejected in their midst, especially as regards the covenant. As Toplady will demonstrate, its blood cannot nourish their Calvinistic limbs. Gangrene will set in, transforming a lively body into a putrid mass. Not surprisingly, he used the same texts as Pelagius, Pighius, Arminius, and modern proponents of the free offer.

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Why are not all men saved? To say [Christ] was not willing that all men should be saved, is to represent him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler To say then, he did not intend to save all sinners, is to represent him as a gross deceiver of the people This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination! And here I fix my foot. According to him, the justice of God would not allow anyone to be condemned only for the imputed sin of Adam. But if so, there is an impossibility To tear up the very roots of reprobation and of all doctrines that have a necessary connection therewith, God declares in his word these three things He realized that the blood Christ shed was covenant blood and that the gospel conveys covenant promises.

Much like the Reformed who hold to a similar covenant today, Wesley saw no absurdity in saying that faith and repentance are both the blessings promised in the covenant, and conditions that God demanded in order to receive the promised blessings.

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The gospel is both a revelation of grace and mercy, and a proposal of a covenant of terms and conditions Repentance and faith are privileges and free gifts. But this does not hinder their being con- ditions too For we are not accepted, nor are we qualified for, or capable of, acceptance without repentance and faith. However, Wesley—like the Reformed who hold to a conditional covenant— was sensitive that this conditional notion of faith in the covenant implied salva- 24 Wesley, Works, vol.

But this does not hinder their being conditions too. And neither Mr. Calvin him- self, nor any of our Reformers, made any scruple of calling them so Can then God give that freely, which he does not give but upon certain terms and conditions? Doubtless he can; as one may freely give you a sum of money, on condition you stretch out your hand to receive it.

Thirdly, as stated above, Wesley insisted that faith was always a gracious gift of God. Wesley was quite proud of his affinity with the Calvinists in this regard. Wherein may we come to the very edge of Calvinism? And, 3 In excluding all merit from man; even for what he has or does by the grace of God. In the covenant, we are told, God promises every baptized member that God wills to save them on condition of faith.

Yet, because membership in the covenant is not determined by the predestinating will of God, the blessings of the covenant are not determined by the predestinating will of God. Thus, the reception and.

This is salvation by works. Resistible grace is the smoking gun. Wesley admitted that because he severed salvation from an absolute decree of God, every grace was resistible, i.

A Caveat Against Unsound Doctrines

According to him, faith and all consequent blessings it receives, were forms of resistible grace that God offered to all men alike, to be accepted or rejected at their pleasure, or taken away by God due to sin. Is faith the condition of justification? Are works necessary to the continuance of faith? Murgatroyd London Wikipedia Citation Please see Wikipedia's template documentation for further citation fields that may be required. You must be logged in to Tag Records.

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