In their book Why I Am Not a Calvinist, Jerry Walls and Joseph Dongell opine that the greatest weakness of contemporary Arminianism may be its view of sin, which tends to equate sin with guilt for doing bad things that create a liability for future judgement.
This seriously misunderstands the deep-seated effect of sin on us, the authors argue. They appeal to John Wesley for a better conception of sin.
For his part, Wesley affirmed the dreadful effects of the Fall in the strongest terms, agreeing fervently with his Calvinist contemporaries that sinners, left to themselves, stand utterly hopeless and helpless before God. Yet in the generations succeeding Wesley, and especially in American Methodism, the pendulum has swung from Wesley’s emphasis on free grace to an emphasis on free will, with an accompanying tendency to consider free will a natural human possession fully capable in its own right of assessing and accepting divine truth.
The upshot of this shift toward free will is that all that is necessary is for people to be educated better. If they know enough and are taught properly, they will choose the right path.
Walls and Dongell give us the old Wesleyan view that stands at odds with our assertions of free will.
In the past, Arminians have agreed with Calvinists that salvation can only occur if God radically, powerfully and graciously invades the human heart. Given the human condition, this invasion will take place without human invitation and prior to any human interest in God or inclination toward the good. Only as God opens blind eyes, stirs the desire and loosens the grip of sin can saving faith follow.