Tuesday, April 25, 2006

John Wesley on Depravity

Wesley may not have used the term "Utter Depravity", but it sure sounds like he believed in it.

While reading John's Theological Statement for Candidacy a few days ago, I was happy to see him use the phrase "Totally Depraved." Some of the comments made were suggestions to avoid TULIP language. I was reading a book last week and ran across some intersing quotes by John Wesley. Wesley may not have used the term "Utter Depravity", but is sure sounds like he believed in it.

"I 'am fallen short of the glory of God': (seeing it cannot be, that a 'evil tree' should 'bring forth good fruit':) That 'alienated' as I am from the life of god, I am a 'child of wrath' an heir of hell." -
Welsey's Works, Vol 1, p. 76.

"His understanding, originally enlightened with wisdom, was clouded with ingorance [so much for the theory taught by some that Wesley believed that humankind was corrupted only from the neck down, leaving the mind free to reason its way to God]. His heart, once warmed with heavenly love, became alienated from God his Maker. His passions and appetites, rational and regular before, shook off the government of order and reason. In a word, the whole moral frame was unhinged, disjointed, broken...By this 'one man's sin entered the world, and passed upon all men': and through the infection which they derived from him, all men are and ever were, by nature, entirely 'alienated from the life of God; without hope, without God in the world" - Wesley's Works, Vol. 9, pp. 242, 258

My Other Post with John Wesley Quotes:
Starched, Ironed, and Washed
John Wesley on the Trinity


  1. Anonymous said...
    I have a real problem with you trying to say that John Wesley was a Calvinist. Calvin taught that salvation is only available to God's elect. Wesley believed it is available to all.
    John B said...
    Not quite sure where anonymous got the idea you think Wesley was a Calvinist. I didn't read that into your post.

    Without the concept of total depravity, prevenient grace doesn't make sense. If humans are not utterly depraved then there is the possibility that they would seek out God. Prevenient grace teaches that it has to be God who makes the first move and to seek us out.
    Brett said...
    If John Wesley believed in Limited Atonement (the dreaded "L" in TULIP) then you could make that case. I think I might go through the 5 points of calvinism and see how Wesley responded to each. That would be interesting. Wesley and Calvin agreed on many things, and I think Wesley even said a few times (don't remember exactly) that the differences were splitting hairs.

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