A Calvinist-Methodist’s Response to Two Cheers for the Resurgence of Calvinism

29 Apr

John WesleyArminian McCall gives an excellent article on the strengths and weaknesses of New Calvinism. Coming from the unique perspective of a Calvinist attending a Methodist church I’d like to offer some thoughts for Calvinists based on this article.

New Calvinism

McCall hits New Calvinism on the head. There is a desire for sound doctrine and holiness. Unfortunately many of his criticisms are valid too. Nevertheless, it’s not the New Calvinism I really want to discuss today. It is rather a New Weslyanism.

New Wesleyanism?

There are many problems in the Methodist Church, but I doubt they would be solved by me posting them. Instead I exhort Calvinists to offer the same prayers for Methodists as McCall offers for us.

Calvinists love the Wesleys. Despite them being being the chief reason for Arminianism’s success, we’ve never stopped singing their hymns and quoting their sayings (how many times have you heard that “Give me that book” quote?). Why?

Because they preached the Gospel. And very well too. So why aren’t we praying more Arminians will be like that?

I’d love to see Arminians come to see the great truth of the Sovereignty of God in salvation, I pray for it. Yet Arminianism is probably going to be here till Jesus returns.

If that’s the case I hope that there is a New Wesleyanism where the Methodists will preaching Christ, the Scriptures, faith and holiness with power again and bring many to Christ.

As head of Methodist Evangelicals Together this is my Dad’s aim. Calvinists, why don’t you pray for his success in reviving and reforming the Methodist Church?

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2 Responses to “A Calvinist-Methodist’s Response to Two Cheers for the Resurgence of Calvinism”

  1. Anthony May 26, 2008 at 6:32 pm #

    Hi Tim-
    Thanks for offering this blog. I just wanted to insert an observation I have had. Briefly, I was born, baptised and raised Roman Catholic. After God revealed his love and grace for me through Scripture, I have for some time attended a Methodist church, but my theological viewpoints are very much so Calvinistic. In fact, if it wasnt for my love for this congregation in particular, God may have me worshipping in a more Calvinistic denomination. However, as I digress, my point is simply this; I think there are many more “Calvinists” in modern Methodist churches than maybe we are aware of. For instance, the woman leading our bible study has a very Calvanistic viewpoint, etc. To be honest, I would maybe guess if you asked 100 Methodists if they were Armenian or Calvnistic, i’m not sure you would get a ton of non-blank stares.
    I can’t remember where I read it, but i remember one particular Chirsitan discussing the things that should or should not split up the body of Christ. Of course, the thing that needs to be discered are the great echoes of the reformation, of course, primarily salvation by grace alone. However, I agree with this Christian that perhaps disagreements over pre-destination and the Lord’s Supper/Eucharist, to name a couple, should not be enough to tear apart the Body of Christ. However, I agree completely, it is extraordinarily important to try to teach exactly as the Bible teaches, and, while I (and others) worship in a Methodist Church, we do believe in most parallel with Calvinistic views, and I think that its ok to worship next to Armenians, as we both know true believers and trusters in the one true God all, despite these differences, are part of the body of Christ. Nonetheless, thank you to you both for creating dialogue over truly important matters, as we all benefit when we understand God’s will, of course revealed to us in the Bible, better and more completely.

    Grace, Anthony

  2. Tim Wilson May 26, 2008 at 7:39 pm #

    Dear Anthony

    Thank you for your insight, I hope that is indeed the case! As you probably know, Methodism did start off meaning pretty much the same thing as Evangelical does today, Bible based Christians within the Church not necessarily a denomination. I think the tide is indeed turning for Calvinism and it would be great if that were so in Methodism.

    I agree with you Arminianism isn’t something to break fellowship over. Piper once said that the doors to church membership should be wide and eldership should be narrow. Anyone who trusts in Jesus for salvation should be a member, but one who is an elder should agree with the Church’s views. I think that’s a helpful model.

    Thank you for your challenging comments!

    In Christ
    Tim

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