Why Isn't Perfection in Love Good Enough for Wesleyan Theology?

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Perfected in love

O that we may all receive of Christ’s fullness,
grace upon grace;
grace to pardon our sins, and subdue our iniquities;
to justify our persons and to sanctify our souls;
and to complete that holy change, that renewal of our hearts,
whereby we may be transformed
into that blessed image wherein thou didst create us. John Wesley

betsy 67 days ago

Perfection in love in its simplest form

Complete and total reliance on God.

In Jesus' Name I Pray
Charley Pride

Father give me strength, to do what I must do.
Father give me courage, to say what I must say.
Let that spirit move me.
I'm nothing on my own.
Father stand by me, I can not stand alone, in Jesus name I pray.
Father open up my eyes to your wonders all around.
Father let me see the good and beauty of this day.
Fill my heart with love, for my fellow man.
And if I'm tempted Father.
Father take my hand, in Jesus name I pray.
Father help me through the troubled days that lie ahead.
Let your life stand before me, that I may find a way.
So let me stumble Father, or fall beneath my load.
Father guide my footsteps.
Hold me to the road, in Jesus name I pray.
Let not hunger be my guide, nor fear be my master.
Father let not envy, be a part of me in any way.
Father search my soul, take away my fear and doubt.
Any moment that you find this, Father cast it out, in Jesus name I pray.
Ah ah ah Amen.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZpN40IZh2uw

betsy 70 days ago

A most excellent question!

After personally spending a significant amount of time with John Wesley, I realized I had found my spiritual home. I also realized that the American United Methodist Church had lost any clear, consistent, collective understanding of Methodism a long time ago. A reclaiming of Methodism for the 21st century is already under way on several fronts, including the seedbed/New Room initiative by Asbury Seminary. My favorite and trusted go to Wesleyan scholar/theologian is Kevin Watson. Here is what he has to say on the matter of entire sanctification and what it takes to get there:

https://vitalpiety.com/2019/08/20/entire-sanctification-power-to-love-god-and-what-god-loves/

https://vitalpiety.com/2019/08/20/entire-sanctification-power-to-love-god-and-what-god-loves/

https://vitalpiety.com/2019/08/27/distinctively-methodist-entire-sanctification-and-small-group-formation/

And one of my all time favorite articles of his is one he wrote in 2012 that, as far as I am concerned describes the United Methodist predicament very nicely:

https://vitalpiety.com/2013/02/12/what-we-are-for-isnt-good-enough/

I can also recommend his thoughts on a true Wesleyan understanding of the catholic spirit. My own personal experience has been that we are very familiar with the first half of Wesley's sermon, "The Catholic Spirit", but have lost touch with the second half which describes who the person is that is truly of the catholic spirit:

https://vitalpiety.com/2012/07/26/misunderstanding-wesleys-catholic-spirit/

My own personal life long experience with the Methodist/United Methodist Church is that the concept of being perfected in love is not available to rank and file laity, much less the method to achieve it. Furthermore, I absolutely believe in this recent statement by a different author who recently published a book on the history of Methodism:

…the UMC currently has a crisis of ignorance. When people in a denomination or church fail to understand their own history, they are liable to confusion and misunderstanding. https://www.christianitytoday.com/edstetzer/2019/october/one-on-one-with-jeffrey-barbeau-on-methodism.html

When Methodism once again becomes what John Wesley set out to make it, "practical religion for a plain people", instead of the current theological mish mash, then things might turn around. As far as I am concerned, on paper, Methodism is an excellent expression of the Christian faith. True Methodism makes a unique and significant contribution to the Christian landscape. However, for the United Methodist Church it is still mostly "on paper" and it is not practiced in its entirety in any clear and consistent way. Live dangerously, take one more step and consider the possibility that the American United Methodist Church is not truly Methodist/Wesleyan at all because it lost a clear understanding of what it means to be Wesleyan/Methodist its message and method a long time ago!

betsy 71 days ago

YES

Yes, Thank you for this article. I find the biggest issue with UMC churches that I see is the watered down and uncentered theology. Its seems more like civic religion, celebrating civic holidays, and nice sermons that are just nice, instead of about who God is, and how God is calling us to move in this world for His glory and His Kingdom centered in Jesus. I really appreciate this post helping remind us what the distinctive of being a Methodist Christian is, instead of just being caught up in the culture wars. You said it much better than me, so Amen.

Robert 71 days ago

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