Kevin Twain Lowery believes that two of John Wesley's most distinctive doctrines--his doctrines of assurance and Christian perfection--have not been sufficiently developed. Rather, these doctrines have either been distorted or neglected. Lowery suggests that since Wesleyan ethics is centered on these two doctrines, they need to be recast in a schema that emphasizes the cognitive aspects of religious knowledge and moral development. Salvaging Wesley's Agenda constructs such a new framework in three stages. First, Lowery explores Wesley's reliance upon Lockean empiricism. He contends that Wesleyan epistemology should remain more closely tied to empirical knowledge and should distance itself from mystical and intuitionist models like Wesley's own spiritual sense analogy. Second, examining the way that Wesley appropriates Jonathan Edwards's view of the religious affections, Lowery shows that Wesleyan ethics should not regard emotions as something to be passively experienced. Rather, emotions have cognitive content that allows them to be shaped. Third, Lowery completes the new framework by suggesting ways to revise and expand Wesley's own conceptual scheme. These suggestions allow more of Wesley's concerns to be incorporated into the new schema without sacrificing his core commitments. The final chapter sketches the doctrines of assurance and perfection in the new framework. Assurance is based on religious faith and on self-knowledge (both empirical and psychological), and perfection is understood in a more teleological context. The result is a version of Wesleyan ethics more faithful to Wesley's own thought and able to withstand the scrutiny of higher intellectual standards.
John Wesley by his own words considered himself a "Man of One Book," meaning of course the Scriptures. Yet what does this seemingly declarative statement really mean? What was Wesley's view on the inspiration, authority, and even the infallibility of Scripture? This question is more than a historical curiosity when we recognize the current debate between evangelical groups over their views of the authority of Scripture. Recognizing the debt all Wesleyan movements have to Wesley's teachings and doctrines, this book will attempt to answer some critical questions about Wesley's view and use of the Bible. How did Wesley develop his views? How did he incorporate Scripture into his development of the Methodist movement? What was the position of Scripture in what has become known as the Wesleyan Quadrilateral of reason, experience, tradition, and Scripture? What were his views on inspiration and infallibility and would his principles of interpretation hold up against modern, critical scholarship? Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what influence did Wesley's view and use of the Bible have upon the success of the Wesleyan Revival? Are there lessons we can still learn from Wesley that could impact the world and church of the twenty-first century? This book will attempt to answer these and many other fascinating questions about John Wesley, a "Man of One Book."
Perceptible inspiration, a term used by John Wesley to describe the complicated relationship between Holy Spirit, religious knowledge, and the nature of spiritual being, is not unlike the term 'Methodist' which was also coined by critics of Methodism during the eighteenth century in Britain. John Wesley's adversaries, especially the pseudonymous John Smith with whom Wesley exchanged letters for a period of three years, frequently challenged the plausibility of direct spiritual sensation, which Wesley defended. What does Wesley mean by perceptible inspiration? What does the teaching reveal about the nature and existence of God in Wesley's thinking? What does it suggest about the spiritual nature of humankind? In John Wesley's Pneumatology, it is argued that 'perceptible inspiration' more than a sidebar of Methodist thought, offers a useful model for considering the various features of Wesley's views on the work of the Spirit in relation to human existence, participatory religious knowledge, and moral theology.
John Wesley’s Teachings is the first systematic exposition of John Wesley's theology that is also faithful to Wesley's own writings. Wesley was a prolific writer and commentator on Scripture—his collected works fill eighteen volumes—and yet it is commonly held that he was not systematic or consistent in his theology and teachings. On the contrary, Thomas C. Oden demonstrates that Wesley displayed a remarkable degree of internal consistency over sixty years of preaching and ministry. This series of 4 volumes is a text-by-text guide to John Wesley’s teaching. It introduces Wesley’s thought on the basic tenets of Christian teaching: God, providence, and man (volume 1), Christ and salvation (volume 2), the practice of pastoral care (volume 3), and issues of ethics and society (volume 4). In everyday modern English, Oden clarifies Wesley’s explicit intent and communicates his meaning clearly to a contemporary audience. Both lay and professional readers will find this series useful for devotional reading, moral reflection, sermon preparation, and for referencing Wesley’s opinions on a broad range of pressing issues of contemporary society.