Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Wesleyan Perspective on the Bible?

Ever since the WTS meeting, the theme of which was "The Future of Scripture," I've been ruminating....

Is there a particularly Wesleyan take on the Bible? Wesley was, for the most part, what we would consider today a "biblical literalist." He called himself a "man of one book." Of course, there's nothing especially unique about that. He was, in that sense, a product of the Reformation.

Many would dispute, however, that Wesley was indeed a man of one book. Ever since Outler we've had this "Wesleyan Quadrilateral" that has been thought to reflect a Wesleyan use of scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. In that sense, Wesley was a good Anglican in the tradition of Richard Hooker, although he seems to have added experience to the mix. That's not all that unique, either.

I think that, rather than seeking a Wesleyan understanding of scripture, it is more fruitful to identify ways in which scripture informs life lived with particular Wesleyan emphases, such as personal holiness and sanctification, social holiness, the work of the Holy Spirit, and assurance. This type of approach seems to be borne out in the Wesley Study Bible, which is a nice volume if you haven't picked one up.

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