If it’s through Adam, by descent, that the human race has lost its power to respond to God’s revelation, is it not through Christ the last Adam, again by descent, that we now can respond to it? If, as Wesley contended, this capacity exists now because it has been supernaturally restored to all the race in consequence of the cross, how does this happen, or how has it happened?
For I find it hard to believe that such a universal application of the atonement, if that’s what it is, has been applied as if by magic: that the virtue of the atonement has – poof! – instantly made all men (even retroactively) able to respond to the Cross, apart from all redemptive history and apart from any covenantal politic in the world. Because ‘extra Ecclesiam nulla salus’:
If the fact of the incarnation be indeed the principle and source of a new supernatural order of life for humanity itself, the church, of course, is no abstraction. It must be a true, living, divine-human constitution in the world; strictly organic in its nature – not a device or contrivance ingeniously fitted to serve certain purposes beyond itself – but the necessary, essential form of Christianity, in whose presence only it is possible to conceive intelligently of piety in its individual manifestations.
Predestining decree, regenerating union with Christ, faith. At least, this seems to me to make much more sense than the loose ends of Wesley’s theory.