New Book on Wesley

Posted by David McEwan | Uncategorized | Wednesday 9 February 2011 4:28 pm

Paternoster has just published this month a new book on Wesley in the Studies in Evangelical History and Thought series. It is by the ACWR Director, David McEwan, and is entitled Wesley as a Pastoral Theologian: Theological Methodology in John Wesley’s Doctrine of Christian Perfection.  The book was originally due to be published in late 2009 but fell victim to the global financial crisis.\r\n\r\nHere is a brief synopsis:\r\n\r\n”During the last forty years a considerable amount of scholarly attention has been given to John Wesley’s way of doing theology. There is extensive debate within Wesleyan circles (particularly in North America) regarding the conception and utility of his theological method, usually identified as the Wesleyan quadrilateral (Scripture, reason, tradition and experience). Many claim it is a unique and fruitful model, with invaluable application for the church today.  In this book, Wesley’s theological methodology is uncovered from the perspective of his holistic vision of the God-human relationship being centred in love and defined by the qualities of trust and passion, rather than an intellectual comprehension of propositional truths about God. Accordingly, pastoral theology is much more important than academic, systematic theology for Christian experience and spiritual formation. In Wesley’s theological method Scripture, reason, community ethos and Christian experience are utilised in an interconnected dynamic network, energised by the presence of the Holy Spirit. God is clearly the sole theological authority and the elements of the system are the means he uses for communication with his people. This interconnected system is explored through an investigation of the doctrine and practice of Christian perfection as Wesley offered pastoral guidance to the people called Methodists. The Modernist approach that is focused on dissection and analysis results in the loss of this holistic, dynamic model and its reduction to either pure subjectivism or rationalism. Wesley’s theological method is in harmony with some of the developments in postmodern thought, though it is firmly anchored in the Christian tradition of the first five centuries and his own Anglican heritage. This study marries together the narrative of biography with an analysis of Wesley’s developing theological method in actual pastoral practice by examining his writings on the doctrine of Christian perfection across sixty years.”

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