This is a reason why I increasingly view evangelicalism as two movements rather than one. We are like ships passing in the night even though we both call ourselves evangelicals and stand in that movement’s historical trajectory. Wesley and Whitefield have been pitted against each other. Indeed. Thank God they could both serve as catalysts for the Great Awakening, but their profoundly different views of God largely kept them apart. Wesley’s hermeneutic was captivated by God’s love revealed above all else in Jesus Christ. Whitefield’s hermeneutic was captivated by God’s glory revealed above all else in God’s sovereign election of individuals to heaven or hell.
Is this descrition valid, or does it obscure more through over simplification? It strikes me as making sense, but then my knowledge of Whitfeld is limited and of Wesley only slightly less so. Is this just another example of using complex historical situations as blunt instruments to pigeon hole opponents? But, interestingly, I think the target of Olsen's critique would probably be quite happy with his typology.
What do you think?