What I like about WordPress is that I am able to see how people found my blog. Most of the time my blog is found it through the search engines. One of the phrases that seems to show up often is “What do Wesleyans believe?” Well, obviously we are Christian Protestants in the the Evangelical persuasion and should be thought of as believers who see themselves as part of the Holiness movement. Therefore, I thought I would post our foundational beliefs along with the Calvinist viewpoint for a bit of comparison.
I will start with what Calvinists generally believe, although there is some variance, taken from the famous TULIP:
- Total Depravity: The personality, mind, body, and soul of a person is totally depraved. Devoid of any ability to will spiritual good toward salvation. There is nothing in us that can bring about salvation. We are born with Original Sin inherited from Adam.. Regeneration occurs before faith.
- Unconditional Election: God has chosen some for salvation. He has done so without regard for the decisions of those who have been chosen (Elect). God elects, chooses, some to everlasting life no matter how hard-hearted. He also elects others to eternal damnation.
- Limited Atonement: Christ died only for those whom God has chosen. Therefore, those who are elect received salvation through His shed Blood. Through the Blood of the Cross, Christ has redeemed by cleansing from Original Sin and sin committed before and after receiving faith, chosen ones from every tribe, nation, and language.
- Irresistible Grace: The Holy Spirit gives an irresistible urge to be saved to those who are elect. Basically known as effectually drawing them to Christ so that they come most freely to that which is good.
- Perseverance of the Saints: Those who are chosen, or elect, will persevere to the end. They cannot fall away from the state of grace. They cannot lose their salvation.
Wesleyans are Wesleyan-Arminian. Our beliefs were greatly influenced by John Wesley and James Arminius. Here is what we believe:
- Limited Depravity: People are deep in sin, but God has extended His grace to all so that everyone can be saved if they “will.” Faith occurs before regeneration.
- Conditional Election: God has called everyone to salvation, though many whom He has called do not respond.
- General Atonement: Christ’s Blood was shed and is available for all. It is applied to those who respond to His offer of salvation.
- Prevenient Grace: God has given prevenient grace to all, which draws them toward saving grace, but the individual is not forced to respond to God’s grace.
- Conditional Security: Once saved, a person will always be saved unless by defiant, continued, purposeful rebellion, they refuse grace and choose apostasy.
These beliefs are just two doctrinal points of view within the Protestant Church. I suggest that if you are someone who wants to compare what people believe, then you need to go to their website. Often mainstream denominations will have their Articles of Religion posted. However, churches that are autonomous, meaning independant or associations, may not have websites. This means that you would have to ask the pastor if you could see what they have printed about what they believe.
Often, many assume that everyone believes the same things. Yet, many times Protestants only agree on a few things. In fact, I caution you that if you ask a pastor, or someone involved in a different church, what a church associated in a different denomination believes, you should not expect total accuracy. Sometimes people take liberty in turning what another church believes into something outlandish.