John Wesley

Discussion in 'Church History' started by Rev2104, Oct 2, 2017.

  1. Rev2104

    Rev2104 Active Member

    Posts:
    167
    Likes Received:
    49
    Religion:
    Anglican
    As a non- Wesleyan I know very little about he taught. I read a brief over view of it and some of it was really intriguing, I will properly dig a little deeper into his teachings sometime. Like a lot of things I doubt it will be soon. So I had couple basic questions.
    Did he teach that one could be so sanctified that you would stop sinning? If so is that not contray to what scripture teaches?
    And out of curiosity he never wrote that one should not drink? That all spun out of the holiness movement? Am I right on that?
     
    anglican74 likes this.
  2. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    588
    Likes Received:
    535
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian
    I am a great admirer of Wesley, but I am not as knowledgeable about his teachings as I would like to be. Those in the Holiness tradition who believe it is possible not to sin would quote the verses "go, and sin no more" (John 8:11), and "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (Matt. 5:48). They would say that Christ would not have said such things if they were not possible.
     
  3. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    588
    Likes Received:
    535
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian
    anglican74 likes this.
  4. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    940
    Likes Received:
    689
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    I'd like to learn more about Wesley... any other interesting materials would be helpful.

    I do know that although he committed schism, his brother Charles Wesley the famous musician was not a supporter of the Methodist schism, and was firmly opposed to his brother on this.. The vagaries of ecclesiastical history.
     
  5. Peteprint

    Peteprint Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    588
    Likes Received:
    535
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    High-Church Laudian
    I found this interesting. Wesley arguing against leaving the Church of England. In it he writes:

    "WE look upon England as that Part of the World, and the Church as that Part of England, to which all we who are born and have been brought up therein, owe our first and chief Regard."

    http://anglicanhistory.org/wesley/reasons1760.html
     
    anglican74 likes this.
  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    2,021
    Likes Received:
    1,827
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    American Anglican
    I do not agree that he committed schism, though I say his followers did.
     
    Shane R likes this.
  7. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    940
    Likes Received:
    689
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    My history is not good at all on that aspect of world events... how did the schism from the Church develop, and who were the ringleaders? Please enlighten
     
  8. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

    Posts:
    18
    Likes Received:
    4
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Religion:
    Christian
    Although many dissenters including those angling for reform of the (protestant) CofE under the Act of Uniformity along presbyterian lines existed during the reign of Elizabeth I, schism was given real impetus during the civil war (1642–1651) and interregnum, when independents and presbyterians came to the fore in large numbers, and the CofE became populated with numbers of presbyterian clergy. Calvinistic baptists also increased comparatively in seventeenth century as contrasted with Arminian baptists (the original baptists), as former presbyterians adopted baptist principles.

    Although the restoration of Charles II led to the restoration of episcopalism, and the vicious persecution and final expulsion of the presbyterian element within Anglicanism in England, presbyterians and other dissenters in the form of Baptists, Quakers and Presbyterians continued thereafter, gradually beginning to build their own chapels and separated from the CofE entirely. So by the time of Wesley 1703 – 91, separatists were a long established part of English national life.

    Ringleaders? Obviously the likes of George Fox, Bunyan etc. There were plenty of objectors to vestments and to episocpacy in the CofE during the reign of Elizabeth I, steming from calvinistic influences, including William Fulke, Thomas Cartright, John Foxe, Robert Brown etc.
     
  9. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

    Posts:
    940
    Likes Received:
    689
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Anglican (ACNA)
    Yes but here this is about the Methodist schism in particular
     
  10. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

    Posts:
    18
    Likes Received:
    4
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Religion:
    Christian
    Methodism spliting from the CofE was surely inevitable. First John Wesley ordained preachers outside of CofE authority, and with power to administer the sacrements, especially in USA. Secondly he licensed women preachers contrary to the word of God and CofE articles. Methodism made itself offensive to the CofE, perhaps even far more so than presbyterian churches that had never directly challenged CofE authority in that way. There was surely no way to remain in the CofE for methodism.

    By the end of the 18th century, the CofE was itself beginning to replicate methodist techniques, including being born again and extemporary preaching, cf. especially the examples of Legh Richmond and other "low" churchmen, and to no little effect in respect of evangelical success.

    I guess the end of the 18th century was a bit like the protestant reformation in the 16th century leading directly to the Catholic counter-reformation. Methodism, and the publications of some CofE writers at around that time, produced a lively reformation in parts of the CofE.

    As for "perfection," of course it is quite impossible to conceive of it in mortal man. The most we as mortals can do is to "labor and strive" 1Ti 4:10.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2017
  11. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

    Posts:
    18
    Likes Received:
    4
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Religion:
    Christian
    And one could suppose that Anglicanism and Methodism became spiritually united in the single person of Elizabeth Wallbridge (1770-1801), the "Dairyman's Daughter," a Methodist who sometimes attended Anglican churches, and who post - death, by reason of the story of her life and death by clergyman Richmond, was probably responsible for more conversions that anyone actually living in that era after Wesley.

    Check out her story in the "Annals of the Poor." A book that everyone should have read at least once in their lives.
     
    Rhys likes this.
  12. Rev2104

    Rev2104 Active Member

    Posts:
    167
    Likes Received:
    49
    Religion:
    Anglican
    How applicable is his theology to those outside of his church? I read a few of his sermons by now and I do not see nothing questionable in it? Is there any marks of heresy in what he touch, or even heterodoxy?
     
  13. outlawState

    outlawState New Member

    Posts:
    18
    Likes Received:
    4
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Religion:
    Christian
    I think that he may not have subscribed to the strict Calvinistic / Augustinian doctrine of orighinal sin, whereby per the 39 Articles, "Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam, (as the Pelagians do vainly talk but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man."

    I think for Wesley, he was rather more of a pelagian, i.e. that original sin did mainly constitute the following of Adam. I personally regard this as the biblical perspective. It's not that our nature became corrupted by Adam, but that it was impossible for humanity to resist the "sin that was in the world" that came by Adam. A sinful nature comes from sinning, not from Adam.
     
    Rev2104 and Rhys like this.
  14. Rev2104

    Rev2104 Active Member

    Posts:
    167
    Likes Received:
    49
    Religion:
    Anglican
    I would go that we are made in the Image and Likeness of God. Since the fall that Likeness is stained and corrupted. The christian life is about restoring that likeness of God, growing to be more Christ like.
     
  15. PotterMcKinney

    PotterMcKinney Active Member Typist Anglican

    Posts:
    316
    Likes Received:
    190
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    PECUSA
    No, Wesley very much believed in Original Sin and was not a Pelagian. He was an Arminian, which can be believed within the 39 Articles.
     
    Rhys likes this.
  16. Rhys

    Rhys Member

    Posts:
    30
    Likes Received:
    32
    Country:
    USA
    Religion:
    Methodist
    Wesley was not a systematic theologian. In a lot of ways, this is good, because his views were always evolving as he gained more knowledge on a subject, got older and wiser, etc. That's part of what makes him so relatable. However, some of the Methodist 'distinctives' like Entire Sanctification ('ES') eventually got out of hand and were hijacked by the "Holiness Movement" and, later, certain strains of Pentecostalism. Attempts have been made to systematize his theology, most notably by the late Wesley scholar Thomas C. Oden in his four-volume Teachings series. If you want to know more about Wesley, start there: ISBN 978-0310516453 on Amazon.

    Wesley consistent taught a modified Arminian theology. If you were to contrast it with the TULIP of Calvinism (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints), you'd get Total Depravity, Conditional Election, Unlimited Atonement, Resistible Grace, and Possibility of Final Apostasy - or TCURP... we're still working on the acronym. FACTS seems to be the best so far: http://evangelicalarminians.org/an-outline-of-the-facts-of-arminianism-vs-the-tulip-of-calvinism/

    Wesley's original idea of Entire Sanctification seems to have been that a Christian can grow in holiness to the point where the urge or impulse to sin willingly and voluntarily can be effectively resisted. However, Wesley never taught that a Christian in the flesh can ever be so holy as to avoid sinning entirely, or be less than guilty of Original Sin in this life. The main contention with other denominations was whether or not this 'Entire Sanctification' is experienced instantaneously or whether it is worked toward throughout one's life, the latter being the typical belief (and since Wesley was influenced by the Eastern Orthodox concept of Theosis, it was probably his belief as well). The Methodist Episcopal and related churches eventually dropped emphasis on 'ES' because it proved to be unnecessarily divisive, but there was a disaffected camp who thought this was evidence of 'worldliness' or 'modernity' and they formed separate churches to emphasize Entire Sanctification - hence the 'Holiness Movement.'

    Wesley personally deplored using distilled liquor for non-medicinal purposes and believed that distillers were exploiting vulnerable people with potent alcohol. He also opposed using hops in beer, believing them to be poisonous. His general attitude was, if drinking distracts the mind from God, life from the pursuit of holiness, and temperate behavior from chastity, temperance, civility, etc. - why drink? We must remember Wesley primarily as an experiential ascetic of sorts who wrote about his theological insights and not as a theologian per se. We must also remember Methodism's early appeal among England's poorer classes, who were tragically affected by a culture of drunkenness and alcohol abuse, but also England's centuries-old ale culture - Wesley would have believed, as far as I can tell, that there is nothing wrong with drinking an ale in itself, but plenty wrong with habitually drinking ale to drunkenness, and a serious Christian would do better to avoid it entirely.

    The Temperance Movement is a harder phenomenon to understand. There was a current of an almost utopian, post-Millennial expectation in American society from the time of the Civil War to the beginning of World War II that fueled a belief that America was some kind of 'Promised Land' that would bring in the Kingdom of God by correcting social ills ranging from slavery all the way to common drunkenness. This view was championed greatly by the Methodist Episcopal Church (and others). However, this expectation was severely crushed by the horrors of WWI and a strain of pessimistic pre-Millennialism took hold -- expressing itself later as Fundamentalism and Pentecostalism, and the utopian strain continued on to present times - as Mainline theological liberalism, the 'social gospel,' 'liberation theology,' and so on. In short, American Methodism was a primary motivator behind the Temperance Movement, but John Wesley's theology maybe not so much. In other words, the prohibitionists did not necessarily oppose drinking because Wesley did, but because their particular expression of Methodism at the time did. You can still see this kind of utopian thinking in the contemporary UMC: "Our advocacy work is aimed at changing the systems that perpetuate addiction for generation after generation. This lays the groundwork for the faithful commitment of United Methodists to take action in ending addiction around the globe." (Emphasis mine). http://www.umc.org/what-we-believe/what-is-the-united-methodist-view-on-the-consumption-of-alcohol

    As a side note, I am an eighth-generation Methodist, but I was not raised in any particular church. When I was researching my family tree as a guide to what church I might have been raised in (to better guide me to a denomination after I became a Christian many moons ago, not knowing anything about any of them) I discovered my Methodist heritage, Googled it, and groaned: not the prohibition people!

    If any of this was helpful, feel free to ask if you have any more questions. :)
     

Share This Page