Asbury Seedbed has published an excellent summary of the Wesley approach to predestination.
Here is the summary the post offers of the Wesleyan Arminian position on predestination:
- It was on the basis of these two areas of concern that Wesley advocated for his evangelical Arminian position on predestination, which can be outlined in the following six points:
- Total depravity is affirmed by Wesley, meaning that the fallen human being is completely helpless and in bondage to sin. Contrary to popular misconception, Wesley does not believe that fallen human beings have an inherent freedom of the will.
- The atonement is universal in scope. Christ’s death was sufficient to atone for the sins of the whole world, not only an elect few, as proposed by five-point Calvinism.
- Prevenient (or preceding) grace is universally available. God’s grace is present in our lives before we turn to Christ in faith, and this grace restores a measure of freedom so that we can respond to his gracious gift. This is how Wesley could affirm that all human persons were free to respond to the gospel in spite of total depravity—but note that the freedom which humans possess is a measure of freedom (not absolute freedom in all respects), and it is freedom-by-grace, not an inherent endowment of fallen humanity.
- Grace is resistible and can be rejected, to our own destruction. God is actively drawing all people to himself, but his grace is not coercive.
- Predestination is therefore based on God’s foreknowledge, not his will. That is, God corporately predestines all those who respond in faith to salvation, and by foreknowledge he knows who will respond. Yet the response of each person is truly theirs, because God’s foreknowledge does not cause their response.
- Assurance of salvation is given by the Holy Spirit, who witnesses directly to our adoption as children of God through Christ, and whose fruit in our lives also provides confirmation that we are God’s children.