Calvin and Wesley were both devout Christians, but the practical implications of their beliefs took different forms. Thorsen, sympathetic to both, compares views on who God is; the place of Scripture; Christ's atonement; personal responsibility; knowing God's will; the relationship between church and world; and the work of grace. 173 pages, softcover. Abingdon.
The theology "de jour" originates with John Calvin, with an emphasis on the elect and "sovereign will of God. So much Calvinism saturates our air that Christians may not know there is another way of thinking about their faith, one well represented by Wesley. But no matter what people think, many act in ways that promise to change the world by offering grace and hope but also by helping to provide food and shelter to hurting people. In other words, they believe like Calvinists but they live like Wesleyans.
This book is not intended to put down Calvin but to point to significant differences between Calvin and Wesley. Each wrote about major tenets of the church: who God is and what God's will is for us; the place of Scripture; the atonement of Christ; the role of human responsibility; the work of Gods grace, the relation of the church and world; and how these beliefs can connect to how people practice their faith. But Calvin and Wesley were different, and following their prescriptions will lead us down different paths.
Don Thorsen is Professor of Theology and Chair of the Department of Theology and Ethics at Haggard Graduate School of Theology, Azusa Pacific University.
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