It is never something we are meant to earn; it is a gift from God. Faith is necessary as a condition of justification by faith, and salvation is for the penalty and the plague of sin (Maddox 144).
Maddox writes that argues that Wesley's view of salvation is best expressed as a via salutis, a way to salvation" rather than a more reformed or scholastic expression of ordo salutis, a logical sequence of steps leading to salvation. Via Salutis, involves distinct way-stops, but each one is intimately related to what has happened at previous stops and prepares the way for future events and pauses in the march to the kingdom. Maddox's interpretation of Wesley's theology as "responsible grace" fits well with via salutis, as each pause on the way to salvation is not only vitally related to what goes on before and after, but the work of God at each waystop calls for an appropriate "response" from the believer which will manifest itself in graciously "responsible" behavior -- morally, spiritually and socially. God's prevenient awakening and conviction are calls meant to elicit a "response" to God's pardon, and pardon calls for "responsible" (as opposed to irresponsible) transforming participation. Wesley and his early American followers certainly wanted to talk more in terms of "free grace" than of "free will." But no matter how it was expressed, the essence of the Wesleyan understanding was something more Arminian than most of the Calvinistic, Reformed competitors of the day (Maddox 73-93). The "responsive" participation will result in "responsible" growth in grace that leads to fullness of transforming grace -- Christian perfection.
Wesley as a practical theologian can be traced from his childhood training and reading of religious books on practical divinity. The approach to Christianity as a practical discipline survived well into the 18th century. The Anglican tradition also shaped his thinking as a practical theologian (Maddox 16). Wesley believed that theology was intimately related to Christian living, and he aimed to transform personal life and social conditions. The message of the scripture. Reason is a gift of God, and to experience life is not a sin in and of itself, but the experiences should serve primarily to test one's understanding of scripture, and it must also have scriptural warrant (Maddox 36-46).
Although it is hard to capture here, Maddox provides an in-depth analysis of Wesley's theology. The thread that ties the entire book together, however, is Maddox's thesis that grace is the key to Wesley's theology because grace makes us able to respond to God's grace. We are made response-able. The gift of God's grace also makes us responsible for our own relationship with God. For Wesley, God is more fundamentally like a loving parent than like a sovereign monarch. He will not ultimately force our obedience (Maddox 56). God does not place "holy tempers" like love, patience and meekness into human beings. Instead, he plants the "seeds," and for those seeds to strengthen, they need continuous grace by God and improved by regular engagement in the practical life that God has designed, which allows us to "manifest all holy and heavenly tempers, even the same 'mind that was in Christ Jesus'" (Maddox 178-9).
Regardless of how complicated the nuances of Wesley's theology are, the "orienting content" of Maddox's work is grace and salvation, and how each is obtained. Concurrently, Wesley emphasizes that the articulation of ideas alone is not enough. Ideas must be lived, tested, experienced, and affirmed as consistent with the "way of salvation," and a living Wesleyan theology requires this practice.
Bevins, W. "A Pentacostal Appropriation of the Wesleyan Quadrilatiral" the Pneuma Foundation. 34th Annual Meeting of the Society for Pentecostal Studies (Web) 11 March 2010
Hambrick, M. And Lodahl, M. "Responsible Grace in Christology? John Wesley's Rendering of Jesus in the Epistle to the Hebrews." Annual Meeting of the Wesleyan Theological Society
Olivet Nazarene University (March, 2007). Web. 11 March 2010.
Maddox, Randy. Responsible Grace: John Wesley's Practical Theology. Nashville. Kingswood Books. 1994. Print
Oden, Thomas C.…
67). Of all of the events that chronicled in the book, the fire stands out as the most poignant force that helped to shape John Wesley's life. After this, Wesley developed the idea that god had saved him because he had a purpose for his life. Thinking all was lost, Wesley's father knelt in prayer when John was rescued just before the building collapsed (Collins, p. 14). Samuel Wesley prayed
Wesley comes and underlines this fact by connecting the humanly actions, registered by the good deeds and the honest and austere way of life, with the state of perfect. Thus, the Christian becomes perfect when he has attained the complete love for God. This is due, in his belief, to the absolution of sins and thus returns to the original state at birth. This final aspect is significant particularly because
For those who have achieved or been granted certain comforts, I would impress upon the congregation, such fortune has been accompanied by God's desire to see that this good fortune is shared. I would use my role in the Church to find ways to engage with poorer communities outside of our own, to create and empower an internal volunteer corps through which congregants can reach these communities and to establish
WESLEY J. SMITH'S TRUTH ABOUT ASSISTANCE" Wesley J. Smith's analysis of euthanasia and assisted suicide is logically flawed in several ways. First, rather than discussing the main arguments supporting the idea in principle, Smith attacks the most extreme scenarios imaginable, and presents unethical and completely unconscionable applications of assisted suicide to which even its staunchest proponents object as strongly as do those opposed to it. Likewise, his concern that the concept of
"This Epistle is marked by contrasts -- light and darkness, life and death, saint and sinner, love and hate, Christ and antichrist." (346) the messages are of complete totality, in that they build upon the idea of being either a follower or a sinner and that from the knowledge of the lord and redemption through confession, any son of Satan can become a son of God and live within
70). The emphasis that Wesley placed on Christians having a conscience set a standard and a tone for what Methodists would do many decades later in the United States. Some may argue that prominent Methodists taking positions on social issues (like terrible workers' conditions in factories; the slaughter of Native Americans; etc.) was out of the purview of a Christian organization, nonetheless "human morality" was on the line for