Knowing what one believes…..

Arminianism’s chief tenets: (John Wesley rejected Calvinism and embraced Arminianism)

1. Humans are naturally unable to make any effort towards salvation.
2. They possess free will to accept or reject salvation.
3. Salvation is possible only by God’s grace, which cannot be merited.
4. No works of human effort can cause or contribute to salvation.
5. God’s election is conditional on faith in the sacrifice and Lordship of Jesus Christ.
6. Christ’s atonement was made on behalf of all people.
7. God allows his grace to be resisted by those who freely reject Christ.
8. Believers are able to resist sin but are not beyond the possibility of falling from grace through persistent, unrepented-of sin.

Calvinism’s chief tenets: (TULIP)
1. Total Depravity, that is every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin.
2. Unconditional election, that God’s choice from eternity of those whom he will bring to himself is unconditionally grounded in God’s mercy alone
3. Limited atonement-atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all
4. Irrestistible Grace,that is, the influence of God’s Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, and the Holy Spirit causes the sinner to come freely and willingly to Christ.
5. Perseverance of the Saints, asserts that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end.

Over how much doctrine should one quibble? I suppose over however much one truly believes. As I’ve been reading about John Wesley’s theology and reviewing his sermons, I am amazed at the sometimes small distinctions that he makes and the way in which it sometimes put him at odds even with friends.

Years ago I became preoccupied with the issue of “election” and “limited atonement”. As I struggled with the concepts, I found that God gave me a strong sense that the gospel is for everyone, that Christ died for the sins of all humanity, not just the “elect”. Today, as I read John Wesley’s sermons “Free Grace” and “On Predestination”, I was impressed by some points that confirmed my belief that I had never considered.

So, did God place me in the Methodist Church because, in my heart, its beliefs were what I believed or did my beliefs take form after I became aware of the Methodist beliefs that I was hearing? Either way, I seem to be where I am theologically suited.