Wesley and Whitefield on Election
The most common New Testament reference to election deals with God’s eternal decrees of certain humans to salvation in Christ Jesus. This is seen most vividly in the writings of Paul in his letters to the churches at Ephesus and Rome. While no Christian can deny the Bible teaches the doctrine of election, many remain divided over the basis of divine election, the cause of God choosing certain individuals unto salvation over against others. Faithful Christians have remain divided over this issue with some insisting God elects, or chooses, certain people on the basis of a foreseen faith in him, while others maintain God’s election has nothing to do with foreknowledge of faith but rather resides in his own good pleasure for reasons known only to him.
This small book on election presents John Wesley’s sermon entitled “Free Grace” that he preached in 1740 in which he argued God’s election is based on his own knowledge of those who would exercise faith in Jesus. Part 2 presents a response to Wesley’s sermon by long-time friend and co-founder of Methodism, George Whitefield, who penned a letter in fierce opposition to Wesley’s view that election is rooted in anything other than God’s own sovereign and unknowable decrees.
Read for yourself two views on divine election from two of Christianity’s greatest leaders of the eighteenth century. It will be sure to challenge your current understanding of predestination and election.