A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
John Wesley: A Man of One Book?
Although Wesley had a high view of the Bible, he was not simplistically a man of one book. On the contrary, Wesley was an Oxford University tutor who was well aware of church history, including its ecclesiastical and theological developments. He read, edited, and wrote vast numbers of books, and required that pastors and lay leaders he supervised read widely from the classics of Western civilization, logic, and rhetoric as well as the Bible in preparing them to provide leadership in churches and ministry In his "Minutes of Several Conversations," Wesley responded to Methodist leaders who argued that they only needed to study the Bible: "This is rank enthusiasm. If you read no book but the Bible, you are got above St. Paul. He wanted others too. 'Bring the books,' says he, 'but especially the parchments,' those wrote on parchment. 'but I have no taste for reading.' Contract a taste for it by use, or return to your trade." Wesley understood that theology, spirituality, and ministry are not narrow disciplines, isolated from a rich context of learning form multiple sources beyond the person and work of the Holy Spirit in people's lives as well as the Bible.
Don Thorsen, Calvin vs. Wesley: Bringing Belief in Line with Practice, pp. 21-22.