Measuring "a hair's breadth"
: determining John Wesley's closeness to Calvinism by a comparison to Jonathan Edwards

  • Caleb Rogers

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis (MPhil)


John Wesley is recognized as one of the most powerful voices of the 18th century. His work sparked a revival which spread around the world, becoming the basis for multiple Christian denominations which are still present today. He was famously fond of Arminian theology, though he did admit that he believed the truth of the gospel to be so close to Calvinism as to be only a “hair’s breadth away.” This particular turn of phrase is one which is often cited by Wesleyan scholars and then immediately forgotten as they go on to emphasize the more Arminian elements of his theology. I argue in this thesis that Wesley’s theological super- system was far more Reformed Orthodox in nature than is typically thought. This is shown by comparing Wesley to his contemporary across the sea, Jonathan Edwards, particularly along the topics of theological anthropology and federal theology.
Date of Award30 Jul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of St Andrews
SupervisorMark Warwick Elliott (Supervisor)


  • John Wesley
  • Wesleyan theology
  • Theology
  • Soteriology
  • Evil
  • Sin
  • Genesis
  • Original sin
  • Calvinism
  • Reformed theology

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