Follow up 1

Reader Comment

I am afraid that this "prevenient grace" stuff is nothing more than an accomodation of the Reformed and Calvinistic language prevalent in Arminius and Wesley's time.

Eric Landstrom's Reply

I disagree with your conclusion but I do agree that if one reads Arminius for themselves they are likely to find him thoroughly Reformed and brilliant. Arminius' typical method was to take a scripture or topic, explore it through the Scriptures, then exegete the Scripture primarily under study, develop the logic of the teaching, consult the fathers and the creeds, and then state his conclusions (an incredibly modern approach for the hermeneutics students following along). However, Arminius was weak in the area of the “freed will” in that he didn't give it much of a treatment because at the time it wasn't an issue on the table. Of John Wesley's two major contributions toward theological development (apart from his rediscovery and emphasis that sanctification is also by faith—the second work of grace), was to move “Arminianism” towards an Augustinian perspective through his emphasis that prevenient grace didn't provide free will but freed the will so that the will could respond positively. In other words, Wesley revived an Augustinian teaching. Sadly, as a result of the layman's movement, many of Wesley’s interpreters emphasized “free will,” over his own “freed will,” through the prevening grace of God. As a result, Wesleyan-Arminianism has often been mischaracterized by Reformed commentators to be semi-Pelagian instead of semi-Augustinian.

In other words, Wesley's emphasis upon prevenient grace (or prevening grace as it is also referred to) is far more than an accommodation of Reformed language because it is an emphasis that pre-dates the Reformation by well over one thousand years.

Godspeed throughout the only race that matters,

Eric Landstrom


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