Saturday, May 11, 2013

John Wesley on The Love of God and Doctrinal Summaries (Part II)

For part one of this brief miniseries, enjoy it here. Onto the next sequence.
Q. 4. What is faith?
A. Faith, in general, is a divine supernatural [evidence, manifestation] of things not seen i.e. of past, future, or spiritual things. 'Tis a spiritual sight of God and the things of God (this is Wesley's standard definition, rarely deviated from). Therefore, repentance is a low-species of faith, i.e. a supernatural sense of an offended God. Justifying faith is a supernatural inward sense of sight of God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. First, a sinner is convinced by the Holy Ghost: "Christ loved me and gave himself for me." This is that faith by which he is justified, or pardoned, the moment he receives it. Immediately the same Spirit bears witness, "Thou art pardoned, thou hast redemption in his blood." And this is saving faith, whereby the love of God is shed abroad his heart.

Q. 5. Have all true Christians this faith? May not a man be justified and not know it?
A. That all true Christians have this faith, even such a faith as implies an assurance of God's love, appears from Rom. 8:15, Eph. 4:32, 2 Cor. 13:5, Heb. 8:10, 1 Jn. 4:10 and 19 (this is a corrected text, that was mis-written). And that no man can be justified and not know it appears farther from the very nature of things -- for faith after repentance is ease after pain, rest after toil, light after darkness -- and from the immediate as well as distant fruits.

Q. 6. But may not a man go to heaven without it?
A. It doth not appear from Holy Writ that a man who hears the gospel can (Au. Mark 16:16)[Oddly, he doesn't cite this as a likely interpolation], whatever a heathen may do (Au. Rom. 2:14).
I've heard claims that Wesley was an inclusivist. This seems unlikely given the answer to question number 5. Of course, I could be misreading this text.

--Nick

This is adapted and copied from John Wesley: A Library of Protestant Thought (pgs137).

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