I often wonder at how Calvinists seem to shelve their deterministic doctrines and essentially adopt the contrary doctrines (of Arminianism) while trying to argue against Arminianism. I see this all the time in modern print and on the internet, but it was no less a problem long ago. The following is a quote from a Calvinist against the writings of Wesley which this Calvinist (Dr. Fairchild) imagined to be a serious misrepresentation of Calvinism:
Dr. Fairchild speaks thus of a passage by Mr. Wesley: ” In the doctrinal Tracts, p. 172, is an address to Satan, which we have no hesitation in saying is fraught with the most concentrated blasphemy ever proceeding from the tongue or pen of mortal, whether Jew, Pagan, or Infidel, and all imputed to the Calvinists. One cannot help wondering how such transcendent impieties ever found their way into the mind of man ; I am not willing to transfer the language to these pages; but the work is doubtless accessible to most readers, having been sown broadcast over the land.” [Chreat Supper, p. 150.) He also indorses the charge of forgery which Toplady made against Mr. Wesley. (See p. 111.) Emphasis mine. Taken from The Calvinist Doctrine of Predestination Examined and Refuted, pg. 22
Really? How can a Calvinist truly wonder “how such transcendent impieties ever found their way into the mind of man…?” They found their way by irresistible eternal divine decree and the direct control over the will and the mind that the Sovereign God exercises over all of His creatures. How else? How did they find their way into Wesley’s mind? By God and no one else, of course. Surely Dr. Fairchild did not believe that Wesley exercised his mind independent of God’s irresistible eternal decree and exhaustive sovereign control, did he? If such things did not originate in God long before Wesley was created, then where did they originate from? Surely God foreknew such thoughts. But the Calvinist will insist that God’s foreknowledge is based on His eternal decree, His plan that He will causally and infallibly bring about in time, down to the minutest detail. So God planned and decreed such thoughts for Wesley from eternity and controlled his will to write exactly as he wrote. Wesley had no more power to resist those eternally decreed thoughts and actions as he did to create a universe; and yet Fairchild “wonders”. I wonder too. I wonder why it is so hard for Calvinists to be consistent with their theology in the way that they live and express themselves. I wonder that the answer to that question isn’t rather obvious.