Questions about Prevenient Grace

I don’t know a whole lot about Wesleyan Theology. I do know a little bit about the concept of Prevenient Grace, but I have some questions. If anyone out there is a Methodist (or a follower of any of the other churches in the Holiness tradition) who wouldn’t mind answering them, I’d be delighted.

My understanding of Prevenient Grace is that it is what gives all men the ability to exercise their free will to choose or reject God. Here is my primary question: If God has given all men the power to choose him, then what is it that makes one man choose God and another reject Him? Is it their upbringing? Their environment that shaped them? And what role does Wesleyan Theology ascribe to God in making those choices? What I am getting at is this: if God makes the man and determines all the little things about him, and if God chooses the man’s parents and so on and so forth, then how is Wesley’s concept of free will any different than Calvin’s? What am I missing?

Thanks in advance.

12 thoughts on “Questions about Prevenient Grace”

  1. As a pastor in the United Methodist Church, my understanding of prevenient grace is that it is the way that we receive or experience God’s work in our life before we recognize it. Wesley had a threefold understanding of the way that we receive grace – prevenient, justifying and sanctifying. Not to say that God sends out three different types of grace or unmerited love, but to say that we experience that love in different ways at different times in our life. We experience God’s love as prevenient as that God is at work in our life before we are aware of it. We experience justifying grace when we recognize God’s love for us and accept it. We experience sanctifying grace as we continue to grow in our journey of faith toward perfect love of God and neighbor.

    These are just my thoughts. You might also check out wikipedia.org for a little more information about prevenient grace.

  2. As a pastor in the United Methodist Church, my understanding of prevenient grace is that it is the way that we receive or experience God’s work in our life before we recognize it. Wesley had a threefold understanding of the way that we receive grace – prevenient, justifying and sanctifying. Not to say that God sends out three different types of grace or unmerited love, but to say that we experience that love in different ways at different times in our life. We experience God’s love as prevenient as that God is at work in our life before we are aware of it. We experience justifying grace when we recognize God’s love for us and accept it. We experience sanctifying grace as we continue to grow in our journey of faith toward perfect love of God and neighbor.

    These are just my thoughts. You might also check out wikipedia.org for a little more information about prevenient grace.

  3. I know nothing about the distinctives of Wesleyan theology, but I’m confused. Do the Wesleyan traditions believe in predestination (i.e. determinism)? And prevenient grace is just a part of that?

  4. I know nothing about the distinctives of Wesleyan theology, but I’m confused. Do the Wesleyan traditions believe in predestination (i.e. determinism)? And prevenient grace is just a part of that?

  5. Andrew,
    Thanks for your answer. I think I’m looking for what specifically distinguishes Wesleyan theology from Calvinsm (I think I know what it is, but I’d like to know the thinking behind it) I think you gave me some of what I was looking for though.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Charles

  6. Andrew,
    Thanks for your answer. I think I’m looking for what specifically distinguishes Wesleyan theology from Calvinsm (I think I know what it is, but I’d like to know the thinking behind it) I think you gave me some of what I was looking for though.

    Thanks for stopping by,
    Charles

  7. Do the Wesleyan traditions believe in predestination (i.e. determinism)?

    Jamie,
    I am pretty sure that they don’t, but am not sure what the thinking behind it is. Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Also, I meant to ask you if you got the interview questions that I sent you? No pressure or anything, I just want to make sure they got there.

    Thanks,
    Charles

  8. Do the Wesleyan traditions believe in predestination (i.e. determinism)?

    Jamie,
    I am pretty sure that they don’t, but am not sure what the thinking behind it is. Anyway, thanks for stopping by. Also, I meant to ask you if you got the interview questions that I sent you? No pressure or anything, I just want to make sure they got there.

    Thanks,
    Charles

  9. Charles–yes, I got the questions. They made me think! But I’ve been working on it, and I’ll get my post up shortly.

  10. Charles–yes, I got the questions. They made me think! But I’ve been working on it, and I’ll get my post up shortly.

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