Chris E said:
> If you read Wesley's
> sermons you
> will soon find this to be the case. I am sorry that at the same
> time they
> held to other doctines which contradicted this belief in the true
> That is something we and they should mutually work out but it won't keep
> them out of heaven. Show me in Scripture where it says that
> those who are
> inconsistent in their theology are damned.
Roman Catholics say they believe in Christ alone for salvation, but they also believe in works salvation and in Mary as co-redemptrix. So what's a little inconsistency?
Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and Moonies say they believe in Jesus Christ, but their Christology and Soteriology are just a little off. So what's a little inconsistency?
Arminians talk of grace and atonement and Jesus Christ and "all God, no me," but they believe in salvation conditioned on the sinner. So what's a little inconsistency?
Roman Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Moonies, Arminians, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists "hold to other doctrines which contradict the true gospel."
And here are some quotes from Wesley (from his Works: volume and page cited). Was he merely inconsistent in his theology? Or did he hate the true gospel and hold to the false gospel?
<<Men are as free in believing or not believing as if he [God] did not know it at all. Indeed, if man were not free, he could not be held accountable either for his thoughts, words, or actions. If he were not free, he would not be capable either of reward or punishment; he would be incapable either of virtue or vice, of being either morally good or bad. (6:227)
Were human liberty taken away, men would be as incapable of virtue as stones. Therefore, (with reverence be it spoken,) the Almighty himself cannot do this thing. ... Herein appears the depth of the wisdom of God, in his adorable providence; in governing men, so as not to destroy either their understanding, will, or liberty. He commands all things, both in heaven and earth, to assist man in attaining the end of his being, in working out his own salvation, so far as it can be done without compulsion, without over-ruling his liberty. (6:318)
And although I have not an absolute power over my own mind, because of the corruption of my own nature; yet, through the grace of God assisting me, I have a power to choose and do good as well as evil. I am free to choose whom I will serve; and if I choose the better part, to continue therein even unto death. (7:228-229)
The God of love is willing to save all the souls that he has made. ... But he will not force them to accept it; he leaves them in the hands of their own counsel ..." (7:317)
If you ask, "Why then are not all men saved?" the whole law and the testimony answer, First, Not because of any decree of God; not because it is his pleasure they should die; for, "As I live, saith the Lord God," "I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth." (Ezek. xviii. 3, 32.) Whatever be the cause of their perishing, it cannot be his will, if the oracles of God are true; for they declare, "He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;" (2 Pet. iii. 9;) "He willeth that all men should be saved." ... God would save them, but they will not be saved: This is the condemnation, "How often would I have gathered you together, and ye would not!" (Matt. xxiii. 37.) (7:381)
How is it more for the glory of God to save man irresistibly, than to save him as a free agent, by such grace as he may either concur with or resist? ... I shall not now dispute (which might yet be done,) whether salvation by irresistible grace, (which indeed makes man a mere machine, and, consequently, no more rewardable and punishable,) whether, I say, salvation by irresistible grace, considered apart from its consequences, manifest the glory of God more or less than salvation by grace which may be resisted. (10:231-232)
"Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died," (Rom. xiv. 15,) - a clear proof that Christ died, not only for those that are saved, but also for them that perish: ... (7:380-381)
"What! Can the blood of Christ burn in hell? Or can the purchase by the blood of Christ go thither?" I answer, ... If the oracles of God are true, one who was purchased by the blood of Christ may go thither. For he that was sanctified by the blood of Christ was purchased by the blood of Christ. But one who was sanctified by the blood of Christ may nevertheless go to hell; may fall under that fiery indignation which shall for ever devour the adversaries. (10:297)
Many excellent men, who are thoroughly apprized of this, - who are convinced, the wedding garment here mentioned is not to be understood of any qualification for the Lord's Supper, but of the qualification for glory, - interpret it of the righteousness of Christ; "which," they say, "is the sole qualification for heaven; this being the only righteousness wherein any man can stand in the day of the Lord. For who," they ask, "will then dare to appear before the great God, save in the righteousness of his well-beloved Son? Shall we not then at least, if not before, find the need of having a better righteousness than our own? And what other can that be than the righteousness of God our Saviour?" ... "We certainly," says he, "shall need a better righteousness than our own, wherein to stand at the bar of God in the day of judgment." I do not understand the expression. Is it scriptural? Do we read it in the Bible, either in the Old Testament or the New? ... Is there any expression similar to this of the "wedding garment" to be found in Holy Scripture? In the Revelation we find mention of "linen, white and clean, which is the righteousness of the saints." And this, too, many vehemently contend, means the righteousness of Christ. ... Away with such Antinomian jargon! ... Does not that expression, "the righteousness of the saints," point out what is the "wedding garment" in the parable? It is the "holiness without which no man shall see the Lord." The righteousness of Christ is doubtless necessary for any soul that enters into glory: But so is personal holiness too, for every child of man. ... The former is necessary to entitle us to heaven; the latter to qualify us for it. Without the righteousness of Christ we could have no claim to glory; without holiness we could have no fitness for it. ... What, then, is that holiness which is the true "wedding garment," the only qualification for glory? ... It first, through the energy of God, worketh love to God and all mankind; and, by this love, every holy and heavenly temper - in particular, lowliness, meekness, gentleness, temperance, and longsuffering. ... In a word, holiness is the having "the mind that was in Christ," and the "walking as Christ walked. ... Choose holiness, by my grace; which is the way, the only way, to everlasting life. He cries aloud, "Be holy, and be happy; happy in this world, and happy in the world to come." "Holiness becometh his house for ever!" This is the wedding garment of all that are called to "the marriage of the Lamb." Clothed in this, they will not be found naked: "They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (7:312-317)
First: The nature of justification. ... I believe the condition of this is faith ... It is allowed, also, that repentance, and "fruits meet for repentance," go before faith. (Mark i. 15; Matthew iii. 8.) ... Repentance absolutely must go before faith; fruits meet for it, if there be opportunity. (8:46-47)
Q. 2. Is faith the condition of justification? A. Yes; for every one who believeth is not condemned; and every one who believes is justified. Q. 3. But must not repentance, and works meet for repentance, go before this faith? A. Without doubt; if by repentance you mean conviction of sin; and by works meet for repentance, obeying God as far as we can, forgiving our brother, leaving off from evil, doing good, and using his ordinances, according to the power we have received. ... Q. 11. Are works necessary to the continuance of faith? A. Without doubt; for a man may forfeit the free gift of God, either by sins of omission or commission. Q. 12. Can faith be lost but for want of works? A. It cannot but through disobedience. (8:275-277)
Q. 12. What is sincerity? A. Willingness to know and do the whole will of God. The lowest species thereof seems to be "faithfulness in that which is little." Q. 13. Has God any regard to man's sincerity? A. So far, that no man in any state can possibly please God without it; neither, indeed, in any moment wherein he is not sincere. Q. 14. But can it be conceived that God has any regard to the sincerity of an unbeliever? A. Yes, so much, that, if he persevere therein, God will infallibly give him faith. ... Q. 22. But do we not give up faith, and put sincerity in its place, as the condition of our acceptance with God? A. We believe it is one condition of our acceptance, as repentance likewise is. And we believe it a condition of our continuing in a state of acceptance. ... Q. 25. What means then, "To him that believeth, his faith is counted for righteousness?" A. That God forgives him that is unrighteous as soon as he believes, accepting his faith instead of perfect righteousness. (8:288-289)
We have received it as a maxim, that "a man is to do nothing in order to justification." Nothing can be more false. Whoever desires to find favor with God, should "cease from evil, and learn to do well." So God himself teaches by the prophet Isaiah. Whoever repents, should "do works meet for repentance." And if this is not in order to find favour, what does he do them for? (8:337)
"So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses." (Matt. xviii. 35.) So! How? He will retract the pardon he had given, and deliver you to the tormentors. "Why, then you make salvation conditional." I make it neither conditional nor unconditional. But I declare just what I find in the Bible, neither more nor less; namely, that it is bought for every child of man, and actually given to every one that believeth. If you call this conditional salvation, God made it so from the beginning of the world; ... (10:254)
"But is not the faithfulness of God engaged to keep all that now believe from falling away?" I cannot say that. ... Those who are branches of Christ, the true vine, may yet finally fall from grace. ... It remains, that true believers, who are branches of the true vine, may nevertheless finally fall. ... Those who so effectually know Christ, as by that knowledge have escaped the pollutions of the world, may yet fall back into those pollutions, and perish everlastingly. (10:242-247)
On this authority, I believe a saint may fall away; that one who is holy or righteous in the judgment of God himself may nevertheless so fall from God as to perish everlastingly. ... One who is endued with the faith that purifies the heart, that produces a good conscience, may nevertheless so fall from God as to perish everlastingly. ... Those who are grafted into the good olive-tree, the spiritual, invisible Church, may nevertheless so fall from God as to perish everlastingly. ... "But how then is God faithful?" I answer, In fulfilling every promise which he hath made, to all to whom it is made, all who fulfil the condition of that promise. ... Yet, notwithstanding all this, unless you fulfil the condition, you cannot attain the promise. ... "But many promises are absolute and unconditional." In many, the condition is not expressed. But this does not prove, there is none implied. ... "But there is no condition, either expressed or implied, in those words of St. Paul: 'I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'" (Romans viii. 38. 39.) Suppose there is not, (which will bear a dispute,) yet what will this prove? Just thus much, - that the Apostle was at that time fully persuaded of his own perseverance. And I doubt not, but many believers at this day have the very same persuasion, termed in Scripture, "The full assurance of hope." But this does not prove that every believer shall persevere, any more than that every believer is thus fully persuaded of his perseverance. ... Those who are branches of the true vine, of whom Christ says, "I am the vine, ye are the branches," may nevertheless so fall from God as to perish everlastingly. ... "But if so, then farewell all my comfort." My comfort stands not on any opinion, either that a believer can or cannot fall away, not on the remembrance of anything wrought in me yesterday, but on what is to-day; ... Those who live by faith may yet fall from God, and perish everlastingly. ... Those who are sanctified by the blood of the covenant may so fall from God as to perish everlastingly. ... "Can a child of God go to hell? Or can a man be a child of God to-day, and a child of the devil to-morrow? If God is our Father once, is he not our Father always?" I answer, (1.) A child of God, that is, a true believer, (for he that believeth is born of God,) while he continues a true believer, cannot go to hell. But, (2.) If a believer make shipwreck of the faith, he is no longer a child of God. And then he may go to hell, yea, and certainly will, if he continues in unbelief. (3.) If a believer may make shipwreck of the faith, then a man that believes now may be an unbeliever some time hence; yea, very possibly, to-morrow; but, if so, he who is a child of God to-day, may be a child of the devil to-morrow. For, (4.) God is the Father of them that believe, so long as they believe. But the devil is the father of them that believe not, whether they did once believe or no. ... those who so effectually know Christ, as by that knowledge to have escaped the pollutions of the world; those who see the light of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, and who have been made partakers of the Holy Ghost, of the witness and of the fruits of the Spirit; those who live by faith in the Son of God; those who are sanctified by the blood of the covenant, may nevertheless so fall from God as to perish everlastingly. (10:285-298)
Yet I believe, (and that without the least self-contradiction,) that final salvation is "by works as a condition." (10:432)
If, on the other hand, we deny all absolute decrees, and admit only the conditional one, (the same which our blessed Lord hath revealed,) "He that believeth shall be saved;" we must, according to their apprehension, assert salvation by works. We must do this (in a sound sense of the expression,) if we believe the Bible. ... It is plain, then, if we affirm, No man is saved by an absolute, unconditional decree, but only by a conditional one; we must expect, all who hold unconditional decrees will say, we teach salvation by works. Let none, therefore, who hold universal redemption be surprised at being charged with this. Let us deny it no more; let us frankly and fairly meet those who advance it upon their own ground. If they charge you with holding salvation by works, answer plainly, "In your sense, I do; for I deny that our final salvation depends upon any absolute, unconditional decree. If, therefore, there be no medium, I do hold salvation by works. (11:494-495)
In a word, God, looking on all ages, from the creation to the consummation, as a moment, and seeing at once whatever is in the hearts of all the children of men, knows every one that does or does not believe, in every age or nation. Yet what he knows, whether faith or unbelief, is in nowise caused by his knowledge. (6:227)
This decree, whereby "whom God did foreknow, he did predestinate," was indeed from everlasting; this, whereby all who suffer Christ to make them alive are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God," ... (7:385)
But if this be so, then is all preaching vain. It is needless to them that are elected; for they, whether with preaching or without, will infallibly be saved. ... This, then, is a plain proof that the doctrine of predestination is not of God, because it makes void the ordinance of God; and God is not divided against himself. A Second is, that it directly tends to destroy holiness which is the end of all the ordinances of God. ... the doctrine itself, - that every man is either elected or not elected from eternity, and that the one must inevitably be saved, and the other inevitably damned, - has a manifest tendency to destroy holiness in general; for it wholly takes away those first motives to follow after it, so frequently proposed in Scripture, the hope of future reward and fear of punishment, the hope of heaven and fear of hell. ... This doctrine tends to destroy the comfort of religion, the happiness of Christianity. ... How uncomfortable a thought is this, that thousands and millions of men, without any preceding offence or fault of theirs, were unchangeably doomed to everlasting burnings! ... This uncomfortable doctrine directly tends to destroy our zeal for good works. ... this doctrine not only tends to destroy Christian holiness, happiness, and good works, but hath also a direct and manifest tendency to overthrow the whole Christian Revelation. ... For supposing the eternal unchangeable decree, one part of mankind must be saved, though the Christian Revelation were not in being, and the other part of mankind must be damned, notwithstanding that Revelation. And what would an infidel desire more? ... it is a doctrine full of blasphemy ... this doctrine represents our blessed Lord, "Jesus Christ the righteous, "the only begotten Son of the Father, full of grace and truth," as an hypocrite, a deceiver of the people, a man void of common sincerity. For it cannot be denied, that he everywhere speaks as if he was willing that all men should be saved. Therefore, to say he was not willing that all men should be saved, is to represent him as a mere hypocrite and dissembler. It cannot be denied that the gracious words which came out of his mouth are full of invitations to all sinners. To say, then, he did not intend to save all sinners, is to represent him as a gross deceiver of the people. ... You represent him as mocking his helpless creatures, by offering what he never intends to give. You describe him as saying one thing, and meaning another; as pretending a love which he had not. ... It overturns both his justice, mercy, and truth; yea, it represents the most holy God as worse than the devil, as both more false, more cruel, and more unjust. ... This is the blasphemy clearly contained in the horrible decree of predestination! And here I fix my foot. On this I join issue with every assertor of it. You represent God as worse than the devil; more false, more cruel, more unjust. ... This is the blasphemy for which (however I love the persons who assert it) I abhor the doctrine of predestination ... Sing, O hell, and rejoice, ye that are under the earth! For God, even the mighty God, hath spoken, and devoted to death thousands of souls, from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof! Here, O death, is thy sting! They shall not, cannot escape; for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Here, O grave, is thy victory! Nations yet unborn, or ever they have done good or evil, are doomed never to see the light of life, but thou shalt gnaw on them for ever and ever! (7:376-384)
Q. 74. What is the direct antidote to Methodism, the doctrine of heart-holiness? A. Calvinism: All the devices of Satan, for these fifty years, have done far less toward stopping this work of God, than that single doctrine. It strikes at the root of salvation from sin, previous to glory, putting the matter on quite another issue. ... Be diligent to prevent them, and to guard these tender minds against the predestinarian poison. (8:336)
The observing these melancholy examples day by day, this dreadful havoc which the devil makes of souls, especially of those who had begun to run well, by means of this anti-scriptural doctrine, constrains me to oppose it from the same principle whereon I labour to save souls from destruction. Nor is it sufficient to ask, Are there not also many who wrest the opposite doctrine to their own destruction? If there are, that is nothing to the point in question; for that is not the case here. Here is no wresting at all: The doctrine of absolute predestination naturally leads to the chambers of death. (10:257-258)
I apprehend, then, this is no fallacious objection, but a solid and weighty one; and defy any man living, who asserts the unconditional decree of reprobation or preterition, (just the same in effect,) to reconcile this with the scriptural doctrine of a future judgment. I say again, I defy any man on earth to show, how, on this scheme, God can "judge the world in righteousness." (10:374)
I do not believe (what is only preterition or reprobation in other words) any such absolute election, as implies that all but the absolutely elect shall inevitably be damned. I do not believe the doctrine of irresistible grace, or of infallible perseverance; because both the one and the other implies that election which cannot stand without preterition or reprobation. I do not believe salvation by works. Yet if any man can prove (what I judge none ever did, or ever will) that there is no medium between this and absolute predestination; I will rather subscribe to this than to that, as far less absurd of the two. (10:379)
If the salvation of every man that ever was, is, or shall be, finally saved, depends wholly and solely upon an absolute, irresistible, unchangeable decree of God, without any regard either to faith or works foreseen, then it is not, in any sense, by works. (11: 494)
But if such a Minister should at any time deliberately, and of set purpose, endeavour to establish absolute predestination, or to confute scriptural perfection; then I advise all the Methodists in the congregation quietly to go away. (13:246)>>
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