Prevenient Grace, Part 4: Pelagianism, Revival Theology, and Charles Finney

In this episode, David Fry and Johnathan Arnold continue discussing Wesleyan prevenient grace in the thought of William Burt Pope. A Wesleyan doctrine of grace is compared to the views of John Cassian, Jonathan Edwards, Augustine, Pelagius, and Charles Finney.

Quotes from Fry:

  • Arminians continue to be accused of being semi-Pelagian or perhaps even Pelagian for saying that we initiate our salvation.
  • Our doctrine of grace has many implications for our pulpit ministry.
  • The way we appeal to people to come to Christ matters. Those are delicate theological moments, and we need to make sure we are exalting grace in those moments instead of placing upon a person a burden that they can’t carry.
  • It very unfortunate that our revival theology has been shaped so much by Charles Finney who denied prevenient grace. Finney is not a friend to Wesleyans.

Quotes from Arnold:

  • I hear things like “God is just waiting for you to take the first step towards him.” God is not just waiting.
  • Pope defines faith as a “divinely-wrought belief.” Faith begins with the act of God upon the soul.
  • We cannot schedule a “revival.” “Revivals” are days when we pray for revival and humble ourselves to ask if God would graciously give us revival.
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David Fry
Senior Pastor at the Frankfort Bible Holiness Church. PhD in Systematic Theology (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School). MDiv in New Testament Theology (Wesley Biblical Seminary).