These show that he took part in all the great controversies on predestination and Arminianism which then so agitated and harassed all Europe.
The theological views of these teachers proved quite incompatible with the Arminianism of Wesley, and a definite breach between them and him took place in 1770.
A Glasgow professor, the Rev. Mr Simson, was attacked for Arminianism and Socinianism as early as 1717; and the battle raged between the more severe Presbyterians - who still hankered after the Covenant, approved of an old work The Marrow of Modern Divinity (1646), and were especially convinced that preachers must be elected by the people - and the Moderates, who saw that the Covenant was an anachronism, thought conduct more important than Calvinistic convictions, and supported in the General Assembly the candidates selected by patrons, as against those chosen by the popular voice.
The First Church, Charleston, which had become almost extinct through Arminianism in 1746, entered upon a career of remarkable prosperity in 1749 under the leadership of Oliver Hart (1723-1795), formerly of the Philadelphia Association.
According to Calvinism God's election unto salvation is absolute, determined by His olyn inscrutable will according to Arminianism it is conditional, dependent on man's use of grace.
A Socinianized Arminianism had paralysed evangelistic effort.
The Reformation restored the teaching of Augustine; in Calvinism especially the sovereignty of the divine and the impotence of the human will were emphasized; and against this exaggeration Arminianism was a protest.
His teaching may be described as Evangelical Arminianism and its standards are his own four volumes of sermons and his Notes on the New Testament.
Challenged by Arminianism in Holland, the Calvinistic theology replied in the Confession of Dort; at which Synod English delegates were present.
He was an able controversialist, and in the interests of Arminianism attacked both New England Calvinism and Unitarianism; he published in 1837 The Calvinistic Controversy.