Ordo Salutis and Via Salutis: A Comparative Study of the Salvation Paradigm of John Calvin and John Wesley

Soteriology is a diverse study, if not controversial, in Christian thought. Although some distinctions are as old as Christianity, the vast majority believe that Jesus’ life, crucifixion, burial, and resurrection made the redemption possible. Yet, John Calvin sees justification and sanctification as two elements of connection between the believer and Christ, which presuppose that one is fully achieved and the other is incomplete. The basis of his ordo salutis (Order of Salvation) is congruent with the nature and condition of God’s decree and absolute sovereignty. Contrastively, Wesley expressed called it via salutis (Way of Salvation) that he emphasized in his sermons. Via Salutis distinctively describes the nature and condition of salvation that elaborates justification and sanctification more in the account of God’s love in restoring the image of God.
The study used comparative and theological approaches in determining the respective views of Calvin and Wesley about salvation. Ordo salutis is discussed through five points of Calvinism known as TULIP while Via Salutis is described through the lenses of Wesleyan’s perspective known as ACURA.
The study concluded that Wesley’s via salutis is more theologically accurate and correct than that of Calvin’s ordo salutis. But, Calvin’s paradigm is more comprehensive because it clarifies that the motif of salvation from beginning to end is still the same. In Calvin’s ordo, one will not be saved unless he or she is called and be elected. It is significant to remember that it is not about repentance and faith that the person will be saved. Rather, it is about God’s favour in bestowing His grace and decree through predestination that one is elected. This is a huge contrast to Wesley’s via that states once a person believes, he or she will be momentously justified and sanctified and at the same time will be adopted as His children who are still having a will to lean on the saving state or not and who are still in the process of living a sanctified life.
The theological implications of the study are the following: a therapeutic predestination since it is governed by love; a compassionate grace since, both are forensic and dynamic kind of grace; prescriptive atonement in a sense that God bestows it to those who repented; and lastly, a wilful freedom since God gives a will that enables men to possibly reject His calling.
Given the thorough analytical reviews, it is evident that the theological framework of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has been in line with John Wesley’s, than that of John Calvin’s. The Adventist belief of salvation has overlying paradigms with Wesley’s via salutis, than that ordo salutis of John Calvin. The Adventist soteriological paradigm was influenced by Jacobus Arminius and John Wesley; and was filtered through Ellen G. White.

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Adventist, Soteriology, Salvation, Via Salutis, Ordo Salutis

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