Friday, July 25, 2014

More on John Wesley, baptismal regeneration and Arminianism

A few months ago I wrote a post entitled "John Wesley--heretic or hero?" which I also posted on my website. In that post, which got a lot of attention, I pointed out that Wesley believed in baptismal regeneration.  I also asserted that since John and Charles rejected the believer's eternal security because of their Arminianism, they could call adults who had allegedly been regenerated through infant "baptism" in Anglicanism in infancy to conversion because, if these "baptized" people lived wickedly, they had evidently lost their salvation.  I did not provide a specific quote from Wesley, at the time in that previous post, to back up this assertion.  However, it was indeed his teaching.  Here is some evidence:

[That the] privileges . . . [of] being born again . . . being the son or a child of God, [and] having the Spirit of adoption . . . are ordinarily annexed to baptism (which is thence termed by our Lord [as] . . . being “born of water and of the Spirit”) we know[.] . . . The question is not, what you was [sic; also in the following] made in baptism, but, What are you now? . . . I ask not, whether you was born of water and of the Spirit; but are you now the temple of the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in you? I allow you was “circumcised with the circumcision of Christ;” (As St. Paul emphatically terms baptism;) but does the Spirit of Christ and of glory now rest upon you? Else “your circumcision is become uncircumcision.” . . . Say not then in your heart, “I was once baptized, therefore I am now a child of God.” Alas, that consequence will by no means hold. How many are the baptized gluttons and drunkards, the baptized liars and common swearers, the baptized railers and evil-speakers, the baptized whoremongers, thieves, extortioners? What think you? Are these now the children of God? Verily, I say unto you, unto whom any of the preceding characters belongs, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the works of your father ye do.” . . . Unto you I call, in the name of Him whom you crucify afresh[.] . . .  Lean no more on the staff of that broken reed, that ye were born again in baptism. Who denies that ye were then made children of God, and heirs of the kingdom of heaven? But notwithstanding this, ye are now children of the devil. Therefore ye must be born again. . . . To say, then, that ye cannot be born again, that there is no new birth but in baptism, is to seal you all under damnation, to consign you to hell, without help, without hope. . . . You will say, “But we are washed;” we were born again “of water and of the Spirit.” So were . . . these common harlots, adulterers, murderers. . . . This, therefore, hinders not at all, but that ye may now be even as they. . . . And if ye have been baptized, your only hope is this,—that those who were made the children of God by baptism, but are now the children of the devil, may yet again receive “power to become the sons of God;” that they may receive again what they have lost[.] (Sermon 18, “Marks of the New Birth,” John Wesley, Elec. Acc. Wesley Center Online,

In addition to the evidence I provided in my previous post, it should be evident from this sermon--which is found among the authoritative sermons by Wesley that were powerful, formative influences in Methodism--both that John Wesley believed in baptismal regeneration and that he called adults who did not live holy lives to conversion because they had lost the salvation they allegedly received in infant "baptism."



Jim Peet said...

Used on Sharper Iron here. Thank you

KJB1611 said...

You're welcome. Glad to have the article out.

It seemed that those who commented on Sharper Iron in relation to my first post were often more interested in expressing dissent with me than with dealing with the content of my article, but, be that as it may, I am still glad it was posted there.

KJB1611 said...

You're welcome.

KJB1611 said...

I accidentally posted the same comment (in full and then in part) twice above.

By the way, if people don't think Wesley was a heretic, despite the evidence above, they should just come out and say that they don't think baptismal regeneration is a heresy, or that those who hold it believe a false gospel, for such is the necessary consequence of their affirmation about Wesley, unless they wish to dispute that he actually believed in what he plainly preached.