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THE NEW CREATION: THE WESLEYAN DISTINCTIVE

 

 

By

 

Theodore Runyon

 

Wesleyan Theological Journal

Wesley Center Online

Wesley.nnu.edu

 

 

Is it appropriate to speak of “Wesleyan distinctives”?[1] Does this not give the impression that we are about the sound the trumpets and attempt to prove the superiority of Wesleyan theology over all alternatives? My own commitment to ecumenism is too deep and too long-standing for that kind of chauvinism. However, I am well aware that ecumenical theology is not produced in a vacuum, nor does it originate out of whole cloth. It emerges from the creative confrontation of various historic traditions in interaction with the present needs of the church and the world. And this is possible only if the traditions are conscious of their heritages and seek to share them.

Therefore I ask whether there is a distinctive contribution that the Wesleyan tradition has to make to ecumenical theology and to the whole church? This is indeed my contention, and this is why I believe that we as Wesleyans have a responsibility to retrieve our tradition.

“Retrieval of tradition” is a rich notion first clarified by Martin Hei­degger, then utilized by Karl Rahner, and more recently by David Tracy. “Human historicity is such,” claims Heidegger, “that when we go back to a text [or a tradition] we unavoidably bring to it out of our cultural milieu questions which force the text to yield answers not heard before. Some­thing genuinely new comes to light. Granted that this occurs within human subjectivity, it is not subjectivistic because it arises out of the sensus ple­nior of the text [or tradition] itself.”[2] The angle of our questions causes the light to reflect off the facets of the tradition in a new way. Retrieval is therefore not an attempt to repeat the past, nor to honor the past for its own sake, but to allow the past to confront us in the present as it provides a key to unlock a richer future. It is with this in mind that we approach the Wesleyan tradition, a tradition that we are convinced has resources that can benefit the whole church.

In pointing to the Wesleyan distinctives, however, we must remind ourselves that Wesley himself was an amazingly ecumenical product. No less than five distinct traditions informed his thinking: Puritanism, Angli­canism, Lutheranism by way of Moravian Pietism, Roman Catholicism, and Eastern Orthodoxy by way of the Eastern Fathers. What marks his approach, however, are the themes he drew from these sources, how he critiqued them, and how he combined them.

One of the more basic of the Wesleyan distinctives is the new cre­ation, the very real transformation in the creature and the world which salvation brings about. The note of hope and expected transformation vir­tually sings its way through many of the sermons produced by Wesley during the final years of his long life. Listen to this passage from his 1783 sermon “The General Spread of the Gospel”:

 

[God] is already renewing the face of the earth: And we have strong reason to hope that the work he hath begun, he will carry on unto the day of the Lord Jesus; that he will never intermit this blessed work of his Spirit, until he has fulfilled all his promises; until he hath put a period to sin, and misery, and infirmity, and death; and re-established universal holiness and happiness, and caused all the inhabitants of the earth to sing together, “Hallelujah, the Lord God omnipotent reigneth!”[3]

 

In their latter days reformers often grow weary, disillusioned by the setbacks which erase the memories of early victories and the first flush of success. Wesley had reason enough to question the future of his movement. He had seen his followers divide and separate over issues that seemed to him of secondary importance. The increase in numbers of Methodists brought with it increased opposition from the Church he loved and to which he was deeply loyal. The sobriety and frugality of Methodists had led to their accumulation of material wealth, causing him to fear that within the movement lay the seeds of its own destruction. Yet, through all the negative signs on the horizon, this note of hope and sure confidence persists. In what is this hope grounded? What were its theo­logical and experiential underpinnings? And is it a hope both accessible and viable not only in Wesley’s time but today?

 

The Renewal of the Image of God

 

The new creation is cosmic in its overall dimensions and its implica­tions, but for Wesley it is focused in the renewal of persons. “Ye know that the great end of religion is to renew our hearts in the image of God.”[4] This renewing of the image is what Albert Outler calls “the axial theme of Wesley’s soteriology.”[5] The renewing of the face of the earth begins, therefore, with the renewing of its human inhabitants. This is the pattern followed by the Eastern Fathers whom Wesley admired, linking cosmic redemption to human salvation. This is the renewal that Wesley saw beginning in the hearts and lives of those touched by his movement.

The distinctive that sets Wesleyanism apart from the predominant Protestant heritage, however, is Wesley’s insistence that the renewal of the image of God involves the creature in actual transformation—in no less than re-creation. In “The Scripture Way of Salvation,” Wesley describes it as a “real” as well as a “relative” change in the believer, the actual renewal of the image.

Of course, the image of God traditionally has been identified with those unique abilities or capacities within human beings which have set them apart from other creatures. Thus the Deists of Wesley’s day identi­fied the image with reason, and soon after Wesley the philosopher Immanuel Kant identified it with conscience.[6] Reason and conscience were viewed as capacities resident within human beings that can provide access to the divine.[7] Wesley, by contrast, sees the image more relation­ally, not so much as something humans possess as the way they relate to God and reflect God in the world.

In an early sermon Wesley describes human beings as receiving the love of God and then reflecting that love toward all other creatures, but especially toward those likewise called to bear “the image of their Creator.”[8] The image of God, then, was viewed not as a human capability or inherent possession, but as a living relationship made possible by divine, uncreated grace. In this he shared the understanding of image found in the tradition of the Eastern Fathers. They used the metaphor of humanity as a “mirror,” called not only to mirror God in their own lives, but to reflect into the world the grace which they receive, and thus to mediate the life of God to the rest of creation.[9] It follows that the image is not understood as an independent agent operating out of its own capacities—a mirror does not possess the image it reflects—but as an agent who must constantly receive from God what it transmits further. It images its Maker in its words and deeds.

Therefore, the image of God as Wesley understands it might best be described as a vocation or calling to which human beings are called, the fulfillment of which constitutes their true destiny. Because it is not innate, the image can be lost, forfeited, or betrayed. It resides not so much in the creature as in the way the creature lives out relationship to the Creator, using whatever gifts and capacities have been received to be in communion with and to reflect God in the world. In order that the creature might do so freely and out of a heart responsive to the Creator, the human being has been “endued not only with sense and understanding but also with a will, . . . with liberty, a power of directing his own affections and actions, a capacity of determining himself, of choosing good or evil.”

The tragedy of the human situation is that human beings have misused this freedom. They have revolted against their Creator, distorting the image relationship for which they were created. “By rebelling against God [Adam] destroyed himself, lost the favor and the image of God, and entailed sin, with its attendant pain, on himself and all his posterity.”[10] By turning from God to seek “happiness independent of God,” he threw “not only himself but likewise the whole creation, which was intimately connected with him, into disorder, misery, death.”[11] A cosmic and interre­lated Fall, if it is to be reversed, requires a cosmic and interrelated re­creation.

In referring to the Fall, Wesley assumes that he is describing a histor­ical event and its far-reaching consequences. At a deeper level, however, he is describing the fundamental nature of the human predicament, the fact that a creature given freedom in order to be in a positive relation to the Creator has misused that freedom to turn away and construct a self­-sufficient world.

Yet, God does not abandon this creature to the consequences of dis­obedience. To the question, “Did not God foresee that Adam would abuse his liberty? And did he not know the baneful consequences which this must naturally have on all his posterity?” Wesley espouses the classic felix culpa position: God permitted this disobedience because the divine remedy for it would far exceed in blessedness the harmful consequences of the fall. For humanity has “gained by the fall of Adam a capacity of attaining more holiness and happiness on earth than it would have been possible for [humanity] to attain if Adam had not fallen. For if Adam had not fallen, Christ had not died.” Wesley goes on to say:

 

Unless all the partakers of human nature had received that deadly wound in Adam it would not have been needful for the Son of God to take our nature upon him. Do you not see that this was the very ground of his coming into the world? . . . Was it not to remedy this very thing that “the Word was made flesh”? That “as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”? . . . So there would have been no room for that amazing display of the Son of God’s love to mankind. . . . There could have been no such thing as faith in the Son of God “as loving us and giving himself for us.” There could have been no faith in the Spirit of God, as renewing the image of God in our hearts.[12]

 

Note the Trinitarian character of this intervention by the Creator. Through Christ and the Spirit the possibility of restoring and renewing that relationship for which we were created is opened up again.

It is important to emphasize this Trinitarian nature of the renewal, because it is here that Wesley differentiates himself from the characteristic Lutheran emphasis on Christ alone, and it is here that he introduces his distinction between the real and the relative change which takes place in the believer’s relationship to God. Both types of change are absolutely crucial. The relative change occurs with justification. It is important to note, however, that when Wesley calls the change that comes with justification “relative,” it is not because it is less significant. He intends “relative” to be understood in its literal sense, as relational,[13] referring to the change in the nature of the relationship between the sinner and God which Christ effects. He takes our place, sacrificing himself for us and satisfying divine justice. God accepts this sacrifice, pardoning us and accepting us once again as his own children, transforming alienation into reconciliation. In lifting us God sets us in a new relationship which is basic to everything that follows. This is the first point that must be made. Justification as a new relationship provides the continuing foundation for the Christian life.

This is what Wesley learned from Luther through the Moravians. Justification provides the foundation necessary for genuine sanctification. This is why it is important to recognize that the position taken earlier in some holiness circles that justification is a preliminary stage, to be left behind as one goes on to perfection, was a fundamental misunderstanding of Wesley. Justification provides the necessary substructure of God’s grace for everything else that is built upon it. This base is never outgrown or transcended. When Wesley says “justification implies only a relative . . . change,”[14] he is not questioning the importance of justification, which he describes as God’s work in Christ “for us.” He is—in contrast to those positions which emphasized only justification—making the case for the equal importance of God’s work “in us” through the Spirit. It is this work of the Spirit which carries Christ’s work forward toward its intended goal the new creation.

 

Sanctification

 

Given the fact that the relative change is essential, the point regard­ing the real change must be made with equal force. The foundation of jus­tification is laid in order to be built upon. This is the point that has been obscured in Protestantism whenever justification or conversion have been viewed as completing salvation. And this is the distinctive for which Wes­leyans must make a clear case. Justification is intended not as the end but as the beginning of the salvation process. The relative change lays the foundation for a real change in the creature, and it is this real change that brings about the renewal of the image of God. This change begins with the new birth, which inaugurates sanctification. Justification, says Wesley, “restores us to the favor,” sanctification “to the image of God.” The one takes away the guilt, the other the power of sin.[15] By contrast, for Luther there is no goal higher than justification. In his “Lectures on Romans,” Luther says:

 

The whole life of the new people, the believing people, the spiritual people, is this: with the sigh of the heart, the cry of the deed, the toil of the body to ask, seek, and pray only for justification ever and ever again until the hour of death.[16]

 

Lutheran theologian Gerhard Ford defines sanctification as nothing more than “the art of getting used to . . . justification.”[17] But Wesleyans are convinced that God is not content simply to forgive and reconcile the sinner. God’s intention is a new creation. Therefore, to be content with justification alone is to truncate the divine action and frustrate the divine goal. A full doctrine of sanctification is necessary. Anything less will fall short of what Wesley calls the promise of “the great salvation.”

Wesleyans are united, therefore, in insisting that salvation includes the transformation of the creature. Many would extend this transformation not only to the individual but to society. They find a peculiar affinity between Wesley’s doctrine of sanctification and movements for social change. When Christian perfection becomes the goal on the individual level, a fundamen­tal hope is engendered that the future can surpass the present. A holy dissat­isfaction is aroused with regard to any present state of affairs—a dissatisfaction that supplies the critical edge necessary to keep the process of individual transformation moving. Moreover, this holy dissatisfaction is readily transferable from the realm of the individual to that of society, where it provides a persistent motivation for reform in the light of “a more perfect way” that transcends any status quo.[18] So Wesleyans are united on both the possibility and the necessity for real transformation.

But Wesleyans divide when it comes to the interpretation of the goal of this process, entire sanctification. Just how complete can the transformation of the creature be? How new is the new creation? Wesley himself drew back from any notion of absolute perfection. He begins both of his sermons on Christian Perfection with disclaimers. And in “A Plain Account,” after the introduction, he adds a section on “In what sense Christians are not . . . perfect.”[19] Finite creatures do not, with entire sanctification, suddenly become non-finite. “The highest perfection which man can attain while the soul dwells in the body does not exclude ignorance and error, and a thousand other infirmities. Now from wrong judgments wrong words and actions will often necessarily flow. . . . Nor can I be freed from a liableness to such a mistake while I remain in a corrupt­ible body.”[20] What then is the perfection that is possible in this world?

A case could be made that Wesley’s concern was mainly for perfection of intention. If the intention is right, this is what really counts. “Intention” was a theme important to him from his 1725 self-dedication onward. He recounts the influence of Jeremy Taylor’s Holy Living, and reports: “In reading several parts of this book, I was exceedingly affected; that part in particular which relates to purity of intention. Instantly I resolved to dedicate all my life to God, all my thoughts, and words, and actions.”[21] And in his tract, “The Character of a Methodist,” he describes a person whose “one intention at all times and in all places is, not to please himself, but Him whom his soul loveth. He hath a single eye; and because his ‘eye is single, his whole body is full of light.’”[22]

Purity of intention does allow for an interpretation of Christian per­fection within the limits of human finitude. We all know what the road to hell is paved with. This is not a sufficient reason, however, to discount purity of intention as an adequate rendering, especially when we recog­nize that Wesley understood intention as “right tempers” and a “right dis­position,” a value-orientation of one’s life which he could view not as simply subjective, but as a work of the Holy Spirit in the person. Never­theless, this interpretation of Christian perfection does not seem adequate because it does not do justice to the trans-individual, to the social nature of sanctification. The renewed image is a witness in society and accom­plishes the purposes God has for it in that context. This is why Wesley insists that “Christianity is essentially a social religion, and that to turn it into a solitary religion is indeed to destroy it. . . . I mean not only that it cannot subsist so well, but that it cannot subsist at all without society, without living and conversing with other men.”[23]

To be sure, Wesley was here reacting to “quietist” elements among the Moravians and to William Law. But his point concerning the social context of perfection is well taken. “Ye are the salt of the earth,” he says in his Fourth Discourse on the Sermon on the Mount.

 

It is your very nature to season whatever is round about you. It is the nature of the divine savor which is in you to spread to whatsoever you touch; to diffuse itself on every side, to all those among whom you are. This is the great reason why the providence of God has so mingled you together with other men, that whatever grace you have received of God may through you be communicated to others; that every holy temper, and word, and work of yours, may have an influence on them also. By this means a check will in some measure be given to the corruption which is in the world.[24]

 

If “purity of intention” is not an adequate rendering of Christian per­fection, where should we go to find an alternative? My suggestion is to look again at Wesley’s axial theme, the renewal of the image of God. One of his favorite Scripture passages was Colossians 3:10 : “Ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” When we look carefully at how Wesley defines this renewal of the image, however, we find that he allows considerable flexibility. Renewal begins with regeneration. This new birth quickens the “spiritual senses,” the basic sensors the image of God needs in order to respond to and reflect the Creator. These senses, operating in a fashion analogous to the way the physical senses operate in Locke’s empiricism, register impressions made on them by spiritual real­ity. Just as we have five physical senses through which we collect data from the physical world, we must have spiritual senses capable of receiv­ing sense impressions from the spiritual world. However, the spiritual senses have been dulled by the Fall, sin, and neglect, and must be quick­ened or reawakened if they are to provide access to the realm of the spirit.

Macarius describes this quickening in the Homilies which Wesley edited for his Christian Library:

 

“For if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.” For our Lord Jesus Christ came for this very reason, that he might change, and renew, and create afresh this soul that had been perverted by vile affections, tempering it with his own Divine Spirit. He came to work a new mind, a new soul, and new eyes, new ears, a new spiritual tongue; yea, to make them that believe in him new men, that he might pour into them the new wine, which is his Spirit.[25]

 

Wesley could speak of the image of God being renewed, therefore, with this regeneration that inaugurates the process of sanctification. Regeneration of spiritual sensitivity opens up the communication between God and human beings that marks the continuing process of sanctifica­tion. However, Wesley could also speak of the recovery of the image as the telos, the goal, of the process of sanctification. As Outler puts it: “The restoration of our corrupted and disabled ‘image’ to its pristine capacity is, indeed, the goal of Wesley’s ordo salutis.[26] In this sense, the renewal of the image functions in a way similar to the Eastern Fathers’ doctrine of theosis which, whether it describes the beginning of the journey of faith or its culmination, is effective participation in divine reality which both guides the believer at every step along the way and culminates the journey.

The recovery of the image also makes clear the social dimension of sanctification for Wesley, which is not as evident in the perfection of ­intention paradigm. When asked to summarize his doctrine of perfection, Wesley frequently quoted Galatians 5:6 . “Faith working by love,” he says, “is the length and breadth and depth and height of Christian perfec­tion.”[27] He never tires of reminding us that perfection is nothing greater and nothing less than “loving God with all our heart, and our neighbor as ourselves.” Loving God involves “giving God all our heart; . . . devoting, not a part, but all our soul, body, and substance to God.” Loving neighbor involves having that “mind which was in Christ, enabling us to walk as Christ walked,” sharing his spirit in self-giving to others.[28] Again, he summarizes “the whole of scriptural perfection” as “pure love filling the heart, and governing all the words and actions.”[29]

But how is such love possible? How can self-centered human beings aspire to this kind of dedication, this kind of service? This ques­tion Wesley answered by a literal translation of the Galatians 5:6 text when he asked, “Is thy faith energoumene di agapes—filled with the energy of love?”[30] On the basis of human efforts alone, this kind of self-­giving love is impossible. But the source of the energy is the love of God received through the life-giving Spirit.

We must love God before we can be holy at all; this being the root of all holiness. Now we cannot love God till we know he loves us: “We love him, because he first loved us.” And we cannot know his pardoning love to us till his Spirit witnesses it to our spirit.[31] . . . There is no love of God but from a sense of his loving us.[32]

 

The Perfection of God’s Love

 

The starting point, therefore, of a re-appropriation of the doctrine of Christian perfection would be, it seems to me, the perfection of God’s love which we receive from Christ through the Spirit. In the fast instance, therefore, in rethinking the doctrine we need to focus not on a concern about our own perfection, but on the perfection of that which we receive. God’s love is perfect. There is no more ultimate, more complete, more holy, more self-giving love than that which is directed toward us from the divine Giver. And this perfect love God shares with those called to be God’s image. We receive and participate in perfect love.

However, as the image of God we are called not just to receive but to reflect this perfect love into the world, to share it with our fellow crea­tures—and to share it perfectly, that is, to share it in such a way that it can be received and appropriated by others. Now, what does this mean? It means that perfection is not for our own sakes but for the fulfillment of the vocation to which we are called, to image and reflect to others that which we have received from God. This is in accord with Wesley’s emphasis on the renewal of the image as a key to God’s redemption of the whole world. Obviously, there is no way to reflect and share God’s love except by participating in it. This is what Wesley meant when he observed, “There is no love of God but from a sense of his loving us.”[33] Love cannot be appropriated as an abstract idea; it must be participated in. It must be allowed to work its transforming power in the heart, at the center of human identity, where its affirmation is received and responded to.

This affirmation from our Creator is also the source of our love to our fellow creatures. In an early sermon Wesley disagrees with the Cam­bridge Platonist, John Norris, because Norris gives God exclusive rights to our love, claiming that God should be “not only the principal, but the only object of our love.” Wesley counters, quoting Psalm 104:31:

 

“The Lord rejoiceth in his works;” and consequently man, made after his likeness, not only may, but ought to imitate him therein, and with pleasure to own that “they are very good.” Nay, the love of God constraineth those in whose hearts it is shed abroad to love what bears his image. And we cannot sup­pose any love forbidden by God which necessarily flows from this love of him. . . . The contrary opinion, that we are forbid to love any creature in any degree, supposes the all-knowing God to command our love of himself, and yet to prohibit the immediate necessary effect of it.[34]

 

This necessary effect is due to the nature of God’s love which, when we receive it, opens us to all our neighbors. We are so to love God, who hath thus loved you. . . . that ye are con­strained to love all men as yourselves; with a love not only ever burning in your hearts, but flaming out in all your actions and conversations, making your whole life one “labor of love”, one continued obedience to those commands, “Be ye merciful, as God is merciful;” “Be ye holy, as I the Lord am holy;” “Be ye perfect, as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”[35]

Such a love forbids us from limiting our love to those with whom we have common interests or the same social class. Instead we are

 

to regard every man as our neighbor who needs our assistance. Let us renounce that bigotry and party-zeal which would contract our hearts into an insensibility for all the human race but a small number whose sentiments and practices are so much our own, that our love to them is but self-love reflected. With an honest openness of mind, let us always remember the kindred between man and man; and cultivate that happy instinct whereby, in the original constitution of our nature, God has strongly bound us to each other.[36]

 

Moreover, this same love must be extended to our enemies, said Wes­ley, and not only to our enemies, a task difficult enough, but to those we deem to be “the enemies of God.”[37] Why? Because God loves them, and the heart of God yearns to overcome their distance from him. Hence, for those who are conduits of God’s love, there is no separating themselves from sinners, because it is precisely sinners that divine love is seeking out. Contrast this with the account I heard from a Scottish theologian recently returned from Bosnia where, in a conversation with a Serbian Orthodox priest, he reminded the priest that Christ calls us to love our enemies. “Our enemies, yes,” replied the priest, “but not the enemies of Christ.”

Thus far the emphasis has been on the affirmative role of God’s per­fect love in sanctification. But is there not also a “negative branch” to sanctification, the negation of sin? This is undoubtedly true, but it is also implicit in the positive force of that love which we are to reflect into the world. The affirmation that wills the good of the other and readily sacri­fices for the other abhors whatever is destructive of persons, society, or the good creation. God’s perfect love is therefore a critical principle. It does not hesitate to fight injustice and falsehood wherever they are found. It forms and informs the Christian conscience with sensitivity to issues in heaven’s war against the forces of evil. Thus the negative function of love, the prophetic and critical principle, does not compete with the posi­tive principle of the steady increase of love in sanctification because both are part of the divine battle to reclaim the world and to enlist humanity in that struggle.

The greatest strength of the Wesleyan doctrine lies in its ability to mobilize the believer to seek a future that surpasses the present. It turns the Christian life into a project constantly open to new possibilities. As we have seen, it is not blind to the negative forces. However, it does not take them as the inevitable consequences of original sin in human existence, but precisely as that which can be overcome. It was this goal-orientation which Wesley did not want to give up to the critics of entire sanctification. If the conditions of life are fixed and sin is permanent, the future is robbed of the kind of hope Wesley is convinced is found in the New Testament.

In this Wesley is backed by the Eastern Fathers. A Lutheran com­mentator, criticizing the traditional Lutheran position, points out that the Eastern Fathers

 

speak as easily as Paul [in Romans 6 ] about free will and about the Christian’s possibility of not sinning. . . . In this respect, many of these Eastern fathers could be more biblical than the fathers of the West. We must see once more that for the Chris­tian sin has been extinguished, destroyed, forgiven.[38]

 

Summary

 

Allow me to summarize very briefly the four main points I have sought to make above:

1. The perfection of God’s love is, I believe, the most viable starting point of any reinterpretation of the doctrine of Christian perfection today. This guards against the preoccupation with self that has hobbled some past interpretations. And it keeps us constantly open to the only source of genuine sanctification, the love and grace of our Creator-Redeemer.

2. The “renewal of the image of God” was for Wesley a favorite way of characterizing sanctification, and lends itself to describing both the individual and social dimensions important to Wesley. Humanity renewed in the image not only becomes a new creation, it reflects into the world the perfect love which it receives.

3. The renewal of the image also does justice to the relation between justification, as Christ’s work for us, and sanctification, as the Spirit’s work in us. Both undergird this renewal and make it possible.

4. The renewal of the image also helps us to explain how sanctifica­tion is a process that begins with the renewal in regeneration but contin­ues toward fullness of perfection, with ever-increasing possibilities of reflecting the perfection of divine love, driving out sin, and renewing the creature and the world.

Therefore, the Wesleyan doctrine of sanctification is worth retrieving and rethinking, not for the glory of the Wesleyans, but for the contribution it can make to ecumenical theology and to the life of the church today.



[1] I am aware that most dictionaries do not allow “distinctive” to be used as a noun, but I was pleased to find this nounal use endorsed by the OED, which defines a distinctive as “a distinguishing mark or quality, a characteristic.”

 

[2] William J. Hill, The Search for the Absent God (New York: Crossroad, 1992), 171.

 

[3] John Wesley’s Works, 2:499. References are to the Bicentennial edition o the Works, unless otherwise specified.

 

[4] 2:185.

 

[5] 2:185n.

 

[6] Immanuel Kant, Lectures on Ethics (New York: Harper Torchbook, 1963), 133.

 

[7] With his commitment to a Lockean epistemology, Wesley consistently rejected natural theology, a knowledge of God inherent within the creature. Cf. 2:570f., and note Albert Outler’s strange interpretation of Wesley as a Platonist, in spite of the evidence to the contrary in the passage itself (n. 14).

 

[8] 4:295.

 

[9] John Meyendorff, A Study of Gregory Palamas (London: Faith Pres 1964), 120.

 

[10] 2:452.

 

[11] 2:399.

 

[12] 2:425f.

 

[13] Mildred Bangs Wynkoop deserves the credit for opening up the undeniably relational character of Wesley’s theology in A Theology of Love (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1972).

 

[14] 1:431.

 

[15] 1:432.

 

[16] Martin Luther, “Lectures on Romans,” The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1961), XV, 128.

 

[17] In Donald L. Alexander, Christian Spirituality (Downer’s Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 13.

 

[18] Cf. Theodore Runyon, ed., Sanctification and Liberation (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1981), 10.

 

[19] Wesley’s Works ( Jackson edition), XI, 374.

 

[20] 3:73.

 

[21] ( Jackson ) XI, 366.

 

[22] XI 372.

 

[23] 1:533f.

 

[24] 1:537.

 

[25] The Christian Library, vol. I (London: Houlston & Stoneman, 1845), 123.

 

[26] 1:118n.

 

[27] ( Jackson edition) XIV, 321.

 

[28] ( Jackson edition) X1, 444.

 

[29] XI, 401; cf. 394.

 

[30] 2:88. This translation of energein, usually translated “to work,” as “energy” is probably the result of the Eastern Fathers’ similar use of the term.

 

[31] 1:274.

 

[32] 1:191.

 

[33] 1:191.

 

[34] 4:334f.

 

[35] 1:428.

 

[36] Explanatory Notes on the New Testament, vol. I, Luke 10:37.

 

[37] 2:89.

 

[38] Quoted in Dietrich Ritschl, Memory and Hope (New York: Macmillan Co., 1967), 134.