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  1. John Wesley was bitterly opposed to Calvinism as a teaching. He felt it maligned the character of God and undermined the call to Christian holiness. But, he respected other Christians who were Calvinists. So, on the one hand, he felt Calvinism was false teaching — and for very serious reasons. On the other hand, he felt that Christians should be unified in their support of one another.

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    1. It is interesting the rather fine line he drew. I have to wonder if he might change his mind given the New Calvinists, who seem to identify themselves first as Calvinists…

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      1. Perhaps that might depend on whether the New Calvinists rejected him as a heretic or accepted him with the same good grace as Charles Simeon (see my previous comment).

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  2. My first “theology” school was a Free Methodist school in Sao Paulo Brazil in 1974 (don’t research, my name is not there and I couldn’t even get transcripts). One of my professor, of Japanese descent (which I am just mentioning for no particular reason) a very erudite man, use to repeat a phrase that stuck to my mind for all these years and I adapted for every single situation where opposing ideas are being discussed. The phrase was: “Calvin is Wesley’s devil; Wesley’s is Calvin’s devil. One is the devil for the other and there will never be a conciliation”. By the post above, my Professor was right!
    Today I am a “repetitor” of Whitfield: I was born Arminian but today I am a Calvinist for the Grace of God! After “evangelizing” and a Methodist oriented preacher, in the Charismatic movement, for many years, since I was 26 (I am 62 now, so don’t rebuke your elder, be obedient to the Apostle command), in 1993 I converted to Calvinism and it is hard for be even to believe that I believed what I believed…

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  3. John Meunier

    Thanks for the link.

    It does seem odd to read how vehement Wesley was in his denunciation of “absolute predestination,” and consider that he advocated gentleness toward actual living, breathing Calvinists, but that appears to be a pretty common pattern of his from his breach with the Calvinists on. At least as far as I can see.

    As for the closeness of the two, of course, Wesley wrote that he and George Whitefield were but a hair’s breadth from each other on the doctrines of original sin and justification by faith. They were wide apart on the matter of the horrible decree of predestination, however.

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    1. But, John – Wesley didn’t simply single out absolute predestination in the comments above, but included in his wrath the whole of the Calvinist system.

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      1. John Meunier

        But he saw the whole system of arising from absolute predestination. If you start with the idea that some were predestined to damnation, then that requires limited atonement. If you start with the idea that some are predestined to glory, then that requires the idea of perseverance of the saints. And — what I suspect is his biggest concern of all because for him practical implications mattered — it all tended toward antinomianism because God had already decided.

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        1. No doubt, but I do not think we can simply avoid the use of “Calvinism” when Wesley didn’t.

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