Nazarene professor, author, and theologian Thomas Jay Oord has written a wonderful blog post on what it means to be Wesleyan. Oord points out that John Wesley is considered the primary theological ancestor of over eighty Christian denominations. Oord has written a list of 12 concepts that he believes paint a general picture of what most Wesleyans of today would affirm.

He is careful to note that not every Christian in the Wesleyan tradition would affirm every item on this list, and states that theologians like himself “wrestle over the details and haggle over concepts and language. But these brief statements provide an overview of what makes the Wesleyan theological tradition so attractive.”

1. God’s primary attribute is love. Or, as Charles Wesley put it in a hymn: “God’s name and nature is love.”

2. God is triune. The Father has been revealed in Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

3. God acts first in every moment to offer salvation, and humans freely respond to God’s offer. God’s action that enables creaturely free response is called “prevenient grace.”

4. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection make possible a fruitful relationship with God and hope for transformation in this life and the next.

5. God does not predestine some to heaven and others to hell. All have the opportunity to experience eternal life both now and in the future.

6. Christians should consult the Bible, Christian tradition, reason, and contemporary experience (i.e., the Wesleyan quadrilateral) when deciding how to think and act as Christians.

7. The Bible’s primary purpose is to teach the way of salvation. One may or may not affirm its statements about scientific, historical, or cultural matters.

8. The Church and its practices are crucial to Christian understanding, right living, and compassion toward others and oneself.

9. God values and seeks to redeem all creation: humans and nonhumans. God cares about the whole and not just a few.

10. Transformation from a life of sin to a life of love begins in this life. Christians are not merely waiting for the afterlife. They can experience and promote abundant life now.

11. Personal and corporate religious experience, not merely rational consent to Christian doctrines, characterizes the flourishing Christian. Both heart and head matter.

12. Christians are sanctified as they respond appropriately to God’s empowering love. Sanctified Christians love God, others, and all creation, including themselves. Some responses to live in holiness represent important turning points in the Christian life.

You can read the rest of his post here. What do you think of the concepts he lists?

 

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