Spirituality: Calvin vs. Wesley

It could be argued that Wesleyan theology, with its emphasis on “free grace” or free will (properly understood), leads the sensitive Christian toward fear of final salvation or toward a lack of assurance, just as one could argue that Calvinism, since it assumes God’s sovereign and preserving grace, can lead to too easy of an [Read More...]

John Piper vs. Don Thorsen

This recent post at John Piper’s site (by Jonathan Parnell, but repeating what I’ve heard from Piper for years) is why we need books like Don Thorsen’s fair-minded and accurate sketch of what both Wesley and Calvin believe (Calvin vs. Wesley).  Those who will but read Roger Olson’s erudite and source-quoting Arminian Theology will be well-informed of what Arminians believe. I [Read More...]

Where Calvin Went Wrong

At the core of Calvinism is God’s sovereignty, but just what sovereignty means is the essence of of Calvin’s core: sovereignty means determinism in that God elects, God awakens, God shows grace, God predestines, God regenerates, God preserves and God glorifies. John Wesley, on the other hand, can be said to teach each of those, [Read More...]

Grace, and the God of that Grace

A rock-solid agreement on which Christians of all stripes — and I mean all stripes — should agree is that God is gracious and that the whole of our redemption comes from God’s grace. So, humans don’t save themselves, they don’t become loving or holy by themselves, and they don’t stand up from the grave by [Read More...]

The Big One in Calvin vs. Wesley

Though Don Thorsen does not say so, his study of “Humanity: More Freedom than Predestination” contains some ideas that may be the big difference between Calvin and Wesley (Calvin vs Wesley: Bringing Belief in Line with Practice). Maybe we can reduce it to this: Calvin thinks Wesley trivializes the sovereignty of God while Arminians think [Read More...]

Calvinist in Thinking, Wesleyan in Living

Don Thorsen, observing over his years many of his Reformed friends, has concluded this: “Although they claimed to be Calvinist, they lived more like Wesley.” Which leads Don to say this: “Although John Calvin profoundly influenced the development of Christianity, John Wesley did a better job than Calvin of conceptualizing and promoting Christian beliefs, values, [Read More...]

Theological Showdown — The Big One

What was the biggest showdown in church history? One could make an argument for the 16th Century Reformation, which impacted the church dramatically. Or the split of the Western and the Eastern church in the 11th Century, which had the same kind of impact. But perhaps the biggest showdown of them all was the battle [Read More...]

The Orthodox Heretic

The unusual pairing of these two terms – orthodox and heretic – is not meant to be provocative but a genuine description of an early theologian who shaped what Christians still confess and yet he was also someone who got himself into trouble with the heresiarchs [over universalism and his anthropology]. I am referring to [Read More...]

Getting Jesus Right

People make the goofiest claims about Jesus and often they do so in trying to saying something important. It is important for pastors — though not just pastors — to revisit early Christian heresies in 2-3 years. They are easy to forget but they are far more present among Christians than many recognize. Not long [Read More...]

Where was God? There, upon the cross

Theodicy is an attempt to justify God or the ways of God before the bar of reason or experience. When calamities occur we often see two kinds of theodicies: some defend God’s honor and glory and love by pointing to the sinfulness of humans, while others tend to defend God’s ways by appealing to mystery [Read More...]


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