Doctrines Of Methodism -- By: D. D. Whedon
BSac 19:74 (April 1862) p. 241
Doctrines Of Methodism
It is our purpose in the present Article to furnish a brief statement of the doctrines of the Methodist Episcopal Church, especially those points in which there exists an issue with Calvinism. As a receiver of those doctrines, it will of course be expected, and probably desired, that the writer should present them favorably, and as they are viewed by their advocates. Occasional argumentative issues may be stated, in order that the points of collision may be more easily understood; but it forms no part of our province to prove the doctrines presented. It is believed that such a statement, at the present time, may tend to remove misunderstanding, and serve the cause of Christian unity.
In regard to the issue, it may be generally remarked that in those points which more immediately concern the divine government, Calvinism affirms more than Arminianism, and
BSac 19:74 (April 1862) p. 242
that more the latter declines to accept. Both sides, for instance, affirm foreknowledge, free-will, and the necessity of divine grace to salvation; Calvinism superadds to these respectively, foreordination, necessity, and irresistibleness, to which Arminianism declines assent. On points less central, as final apostasy, entire sanctification, and witness of the spirit, our Arminianism affirms, and Calvinism rejects.
Fundamental Maxim Of Divine Government
The fundamental maxim upon which the issue above named is primarily grounded, and from which, if we mistake not, most of the other issues logically result, is the Edwardean maxim, that it is no matter how we come by our evil volitions, dispositions, or nature, in order to responsibility, provided we really possess them. Or we may state the maxim thus: God judges us as he finds us to be, good or evil, and holds us responsible without regard to the means by which we became so. We do not say that all who are considered Calvinists hold this maxim. But upon the acceptance or rejection of this proposition it logically depends, as it appears to us, whether the man should be a Calvinist or Arminian. From our rejection of this maxim it is, that we differ from some or all the classes of Calvinists on the subject of free-will, divine sovereignty, predestination, election, primary responsibility for inborn depravity, partial atonement, and final perseverance. To this maxim, that it is no matter how we come by volitional state in order to its being responsible, we oppose the counter maxim that in order to responsibility for a given act or state, power in the agent for a contrary act or state is requisite. In other words: “no man is to blame for what he cannot help” Power underlies responsibility....
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