Orthodoxy test

I passed, I think.

You scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan, You are an evangelical in the Wesleyan tradition. You believe that God’s grace enables you to choose to believe in him, even though you yourself are totally depraved. The gift of the Holy Spirit gives you assurance of your salvation, and he also enables you to live the life of obedience to which God has called us. You are influenced heavly by John Wesley and the Methodists.

Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
Classical Liberal
Modern Liberal
Neo orthodox
Reformed Evangelical
Roman Catholic

What’s your theological worldview?
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On the message board where I found this, several people who also scored as Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan expressed some reservation or objection to the description that “you believe that you yourself are totally depraved.” I kept quiet about that but do understand the objection, based on the notion of the universality of what we Wesleyan types like to call “prevenient grace.” It’s probably a matter of definition: what depraved means to a Holiness person might be different from what it means to someone in the Reformed tradition, for example. Polemicists from that tradition might want, in some imaginary dispute, to accuse Wesleyans of being semi-Pelagians, who claim for themselves the ability to contribute by effort to their own salvation. I imagine this language is in the quiz results to deflect such a criticism on our behalf. We don’t want to come across as wishy-washy on the question of sin or the reality of the need for divine intervention to deal with it.

What some of us would like to do, however, is insist that more “original” than sin in the human person is the Image of God. We would reject the notion that the effect of original sin, described as “total depravity,” has completely destroyed or nullified the essential Godlikeness of what makes us human in the first place. Humans in the presence of God, restored to the right relationship with God, are able to fully realize our essential humanity, which God in the beginning called “very good.” Apart from God we agree with the apostle who said, “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwells no good thing.” But this is true even for the man Jesus, whom we would not call depraved, when he testifies: “Why do you call me good? There is only one that is good, that is, God.”

So the question of good or evil in humanity, that is, in myself first of all, is for me entirely subservient to the question of whether or not I am in that proper relationship of living connectedness with the living God, namely what is called holiness. To the extent that God is at work in me, I can be nothing but holy and thus have the awesome capacity to demonstrate God’s (not my own) goodness; to the extent that I attempt to work without God, the best of my efforts fall short. If that is depravity, we can call it that; but it has less to do with innate moral character than it does with the presence of grace. I would agree with the Wesleyans that grace is available to all, without exception, and that it is thus a matter of choice to partake of it or not. That choice is continually before us.

[edit, 5/28] It strikes me that perhaps the main thing that prevenient grace does, in the first instance, is provide us the capacity to make the choice. I do hold that the ability to make (moral) choices is not innate or natural, and that if there is anything characteristic of total depravity, it is the inability to make real or actual choices; it is a condition of being enslaved to the needs of the body and the demands of the environment. That enslavement is what we call sin. The ability to choose freely is absent until that first choice, provided as an aweseome offering of prevenient grace, is taken. Thus freedom adheres only and necessarily to God, and can be exercised only in God. Only in the experience of grace do we gain the capacity to exercise free will.


3 thoughts on “Orthodoxy test

  1. Aw, c’mon Steve. To admit to being *totally* depraved would mean laying a claim to purity of a sort; and you wouldn’t want that now, would you?

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