I agree with Wesley on reprobation
August 6, 2015
In one of my former posts on the darker side of predestination, I quoted the great Anglican scholar J.B. Mozley. He said, "There is no real distinction between abandoning men to a certain state, of which punishment will be the consequence, and ordaining them to that punishment."
I must say, I have always found it hard to disagree with that biblically. Perhaps it is because I am a bit simplistic and not nuanced enough. But essentially, it seems to me that if God doesn't choose someone, he has decided not to choose them. It's not an accident. Yes, their sin has something to do with it. But so does God's will, in some way, because he is sovereign and doesn't just let things slip. I find this logic hard to evade, and can't at the moment see a scriptural rationale for avoiding or softening it.
Turns out, I'm not the only one though. Speaking of someone who said they only believed in a one-sided predestination (to life) and that others were merely left in their own sin, a great man once said:
You believe he hath absolutely decreed not to save them; and what is this but decreeing to damn them? It is, in effect, neither more not less; it comes to the same thing; for if you are dead, and altogether unable to make yourself alive, then, if God has absolutely decreed he will make only others alive, and not you, he hath absolutely decreed your everlasting death; you are absolutely consigned to damnation. So then, though you use softer words than some, you mean the self-same thing; and God's decree concerning the election of grace, according to your account of it, amounts to neither more nor less than what others call God's decree of reprobation. Call it therefore by whatever name you please, election, preterition, predestination, or reprobation, it comes in the end to the same thing.
Ah, I do love that sermon on "Free Grace" by John Wesley...
Lee Gatiss is the author of Strangely Warmed: Whitefield, Toplady, Simeon and Wesley's Arminian Campaigns (2015)