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Friday, May 30, 2014

John Wesley: Complexly Simple

How do you explain the ups and downs in your own spiritual life? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1520). 

I'm currently reading a book entitled The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace by Kenneth J. Collins.  While I am only in the first chapters of the book, I have seen an 80 minute lecture on YouTube by Kenneth Collins regarding Wesley. I must admit a considerable degree of wonderment because without explicitly being told "now this is what Wesley believed" during my years in the church, many of his ideas are inherited within the Fellowship by osmosis as it were and many of my own thoughts have been strongly influenced by the founder. These moments represent my up moments--especially his emphasis on holy love and practical theology. My down moments occur when reading books of theology it becomes evident to me that much of the various and extensive descriptions of God are in the last analysis speculative.  That is "the experience of God" kernel is evidential (maybe taking a paragraph to relate--such as Wesley's Aldersgate experience**) while the 500 page treatise on God is significantly speculative.  If there is to be a scientific view of religion, it will surely emphasize the experiential over the speculative while respectfully leaving room for the unknown and perhaps unprovable.

**"In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death...." (

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