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Arminianism

The term was used to describe the Wesleyan emphases on the universality of the offer of salvation and the freedom of individuals to accept or reject it. The Dutch theologian Arminius (1560-1609) challenged the traditional Calvinist teaching that salvation is available only to the 'elect', i.e. those who are predestined to it and John Wesley certainly studied his writings. It seems, however, that the theological debates of the seventeenth century, in which Archbishop Laud's position was labelled 'Arminian', were a more direct influence. Even so, Wesley's stance was that of a participant in the eighteenth century revival and should therefore be known as 'Evangelical Arminianism'. 'Universal redemption', espoused in contrast to the Calvinism widespread in contemporary Anglicanism and Dissent, was vigorously propagated in Charles Wesley's hymns (e.g. 'Father of everlasting grace', HP 520), where key words like 'all' and 'general' were emphasized in the original.

Sources

  • A.W. Harrison, Arminianism (1937)
  • London Quarterly and Holborn Review, October 1960
  • Geoffrey F. Nuttall, The Puritan Spirit(1967), pp.67-79
  • Herbert B. McGonigle, The Arminianism of John Wesley (Ilkeston, 1988)
  • Herbert B. McGonigle, Sufficient, saving grace: John Wesley's evangelical Arminianism (Carlisle, 2001)
  • W. Stephen Gunter, 'John Wesley, a faithful representative of Jacobus Arminius', in Wesleyan Theological Journal, vol. 42:2 (2007) pp.446-64

Entry written by: DJC
Category: Subject

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