Posts tagged ‘Charles Wesley’

A Hymn for Easter

Christ the Lord is ris’n today, Alleluia!
Sons of men and angels say, Alleluia!
Raise your joys and triumphs high, Alleluia!
Sing, ye heav’ns, and earth, reply, Alleluia!

Lives again our glorious King, Alleluia!
Where, O death, is now thy sting? Alleluia!
Once He died our souls to save, Alleluia!
Where thy victory, O grave? Alleluia!

Love’s redeeming work is done, Alleluia!
Fought the fight, the battle won, Alleluia!
Death in vain forbids His rise, Alleluia!
Christ hath opened paradise, Alleluia!

Soar we now where Christ hath led, Alleluia!
Foll’wing our exalted Head, Alleluia!
Made like Him, like Him we rise, Alleluia!
Ours the cross, the grave, the skies, Alleluia!

                                                                       (Charles Wesley)

Thomas Jay Oord on What It Means to be Wesleyan

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?

 

Corporate Prayer

I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately on the subject of corporate prayer. Many in my church are going through a difficult time as we seek a new senior pastor, and we are trying to draw together and be unified in prayer. I’ve come to the realization that this does not come as easily as might be expected. After much consideration, I’ve concluded that part of the problem may be that many of the people in my church have active individual prayer lives, but have never really learned what it is like to pray together communally. I am praying, and thinking, and wrestling with ways that I might help us to draw together in this way as a local body.

Paul Bassett, in Holiness Teaching, observes how John and Charles Wesley “came to their understandings of God, themselves, and their world, and how these related and should relate, in the context of corporate and private devotion.” Bassett quite rightly notes that for the Wesleys, all of this was set within the specific context of Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer. I’m neither advocating nor expecting that my Nazarene church is going to start using the Book of Common Prayer, but Bassett has me hooked when he describes the nature and importance of corporate prayer in the lives of the Wesley brothers.

“Prayer included what we would call meditation. So a regular part of prayer was the reading, or listening to reading, of Scripture and other devotional literature. Reading was done slowly and clearly in order to allow for reflection. And it was thought best if the whole community could join in much of the reading …

This is the perspective that nourished John and Charles Wesley. Very early, they disciplined themselves to engage in corporate prayer at least twice a day. Each carried forward a rigorous schedule of daily private prayer as well … The services of morning and evening prayer and the service of Communion abounded with scripture readings, prayers and declarations promising sanctification and perfect love to believers, and exhortations to seek it in this life.”

This certainly gets at what it is that am I spending so much time wrestling with in my own private prayers and devotions. Maybe some of you readers — whether clergy or laypeople — that have some experience in teaching a church how to pray corporately could chime in. What are your thoughts or suggestions?

2011 Reading List

I am astonished to realize that the first month of 2011 is already halfway done. One of the things I hope to accomplish this year is to become more widely read in the area of holiness and Wesleyan theology/history. With that in mind I have some specific books on my reading list.

1. H. Orton Wiley’s Christian Theology, volumes 1-3, which Thomas Jay Oord reviewed here.

2. Lorna Khoo’s Wesleyan Eucharistic Spirituality. I actually picked up a copy of this book last year after reading a post on Rich Wollan’s blog, and simply haven’t gotten around to reading it yet.

3. Richard P. Heizenrater’s Wesley and the People Called Methodists

4. J. Gregory Crofford’s Streams of Mercy: Prevenient Grace in the Theology of John and Charles Wesley

5. H. Ray Dunning’s Grace, Faith and Holiness: A Wesleyan Systematic Theology. This has been recommended to me for some time, and I’ve decided I can’t get past 2011 without checking it out.

This is a short list, which I will certainly be adding to as the year progresses. Any one else have a reading list, or want to make some recommendations?

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