John Wesley thought the Nicene Creed was Weaksauce

jdubI watched a fascinating exchange on Twitter last week. One person posted:

The UMC must listen to Tom Noble: “When they abandon Nicaea & the Reformers, they cease to be ‘mainline’ & become sidelines.”

The quote is from Tom Noble’s 2010 address to the Wesley Theological Society. But the twitter response was very interesting:

[The UMC] never had Nicea or the “reformers” (Luther, Calvin) as doctrinal standards. Wesley omitted the Article on the Creeds.

Rev. Sam Powers from the Oklahoma Conference explains:

The thirty-nine articles of religion were developed by the Church of England as doctrine. Wesley, as a priest in the Church of England, was bound by English law to support the thirty-nine articles of religion literally and not to amend them. It is unknown by this author if he ever received reprimand for his abridgment of the articles.

When the Methodists of the former colonies (at the time the newly formed United States) began to plan for a Christmas Conference in 1784, Wesley sent them an abridged version of twenty-five articles which were adopted at said conference.

One of the Articles rejected by Wesley was this one:

Article VIII Of the Three Creeds
The three Creeds, Nicene Creed, Athanasius’ Creed, and that which is commonly called the Apostles’ Creed, ought thoroughly to be received and believed; for they may be proved by most certain warrants of Holy Scripture.

While we have no rationale by Wesley as to this decision, he clearly did not view them as essential to his movement. Even the claim that Wesley didn’t include them because he assumed everyone was on the same level wouldn’t preclude him from including the Article. There must have been some other reason why. Perhaps a reading of Wesley’s sermon A Catholic Spirit gives some insight, as Randy Maddox explains (PDF):

This is not to suggest, however, that Wesley equated the Thirty-Nine Articles with the “essentials.” In the first place, he doubted the scriptural or traditional warrant for some things contained therein, as became most evident when he abridged them for the American Methodists. In the second place, like all confessional creeds, the Articles were dedicated to articulating distinctive Anglican claims, not just summarizing shared Christian beliefs. As such, they gave focused attention to some issues that Wesley generally denied were essential—such as church government—while barely touching others that he was prone to consider such—like questions of ethics. Obviously, some further criterion was being invoked in making such distinctions among the teachings of the Articles.

Wesley gave us more than Creeds. Wesley gave us more than a systematic theology to ascribe to. He gave us journals, commentaries on the bible, sermons and letters: the lived realities of faith as a model for us to build on. A lived faith–a practiced faith–is closer to John Wesley than any Creed could possibly be.

I think the introduction’s exchange is a telling one, especially given that it originated by one of the proponents of the Neo-Wesleyan #andcanitbe movement that would seek to define (by a creedal assent) who could contribute to write about Wesley. Such a movement purports to seek to be authentically Wesleyan, but if so, they need to come to terms with that Wesley was not as Creedal or even as systematic as his followers today want him to be.

And there is a danger in re-imagining Wesley as more creedal than he was. As Maddox concludes:

Thus, a central aspect of Wesley’s catholic spirit was the desire to overcome that lamentable denominational zeal which becomes so consumed in defending its distinctive claims that it overlooks the broad areas of shared beliefs with other Christian groups.

I wonder if we are in the midst of that same sort of creedal zeal that never existed in the first place in the Wesleyan movement…

Thoughts?

(Photo credit: “John Wesley” by Walt Jabsco on Flickr, Creative Commons share)
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Comments

  1. says

    I dunno…comparing the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds to the Articles of Religion of the Methodist Episcopal Church, I can’t find anything that the Articles omitted. I would say that Wesley eliminated redundancy in the Articles, while strengthening what the creeds assert.

  2. Stephen says

    Jeremy,

    A couple points of clarification.
    1. I think Randy’s name is Randy Maddox not Mattox

    2. The original thoughts on #andcanitbe came from a deep lament over publishing and wesleyan theology being available. See Kevin Watson, John Leek, and some of mine original tweets. We talked about Methodism not having a voice. I believe it started with Kevin Watson’s tweet about the most visible figure in Methodism today (Hamilton) only has 2k+ followers on twitter. Driscoll has something like 300k+! We talked about something you yourself have lamented time and time again with Beth Moore. Some people believe we need to be publishing and promoting Wesleyan theology over against the Calvinism that is so dominant in Christian writing today (Keller, Driscoll, Piper). With Cokesbury stores closing and the rise of “celebrity pastoral theologians”, we also talked about the reasons why we don’t have good pastoral theologians in the Methodist faith, and how we can help change these things. These neo-calvinist have a huge dominant marketshare of what is available. Surely you think that this it is a noble goal to try and gain marketshare? I for one would rather do a Wesleyan Bible study than a Driscoll, Piper, Keller, or Moore one. I have found in rural areas this means we have to get our authors into places like Family Christian Stores, Wal-Mart, Mardel’s, etc…

    3. While Wesley didn’t send the American movement creeds. This is not to say he didn’t believe in them. He frequent read from Early Church Fathers and advised his pastors to do the same. He had touches of Orthodoxy, Moravianism, Anglican, and Presbyterianism in his theology. (I think this is why we are so attractive to many mixed marriages :)) As my Methodist doctrine professor would say Wesley’s theology was a practical theology. I imagine that he probably asked what must be done or believed to save souls? Saving souls through a method (holiness clubs, class meetings, societies) with specific questions. On the other hand what we have elevated as “Wesley’s Theology” in the church is the quadrilateral which has very little to do with what Wesley’s thoughts/beliefs were.

    4. I tend to think our Methodist theology has evolved differently in different areas of the globe. Think of the Nazarene Church or the Pentecostal Church (both evolutions of Methodism). This why I am more worried about ecclesiology than theology. How can we hold a denomination of the size of the UMC in this tension of commonality when our evolution has taken different courses in different areas?

    Thanks for the post.

    • says

      1. Thanks for the correction!

      2. I affirm all of that. My dis-affection comes from Matt O’Reilly’s insistence that such a website exclude progressive Wesleyans and his assertions that we need to be Creedal to contribute. Both Matt’s original post (look at the comments) and his twitter updates indicate he doesn’t consider progressives to be Wesleyan, so I was pushing back at that formulation. If that isn’t your contention, then I hope you keep the #andcanitbe idea from being hijacked.

      3 & 4: Good points. Thanks for the comments.

      • says

        i know that semantics can become such a tricky thing but i’m not sure i understand what is meant by “progressive Wesleyans” or the need to be “Creedal.” is “creedal” close to “orthodox christianity?” is someone considered “creedal” if they affirm the teachings of the Nicene & Apostles’ creeds but don’t label (recite) it as such?

      • says

        Is there anything in the creeds that you aren’t comfortable affirming?

        Do keep in mind, as I believe I shared with you (If I haven’t, I do apologize), that #andcanitbe isn’t anything real yet beyond a discussion on giving robustly Wesleyan theology a greater hearing and reading.

        Others, like yourself, have used the hashtag for other things, but that is our purpose and one that so far is limited to a public twitter feed, a branch(?) and potentially a url for future use.

        We, whoever “we” are, haven’t agreed on any restrictions on participation as far as I am aware.

        We HAVE been trying to discern a definition of what Wesleyan (in theology and practice) really looks like. I’d welcome your suggestion.

        What do you believe is both distinctly Wesleyan and in need of greater publishing and readership?

        • says

          Like I posted below, John, I’ll look forward to the first formulation to see the signal through the noise. Then I could either affirm or offer continuing growth suggestions.

          I would love to see more Wesleyan publications. But if “wesleyan” is a new term that doesn’t include progressive Wesleyans, then you’ll be hearing a lot from me. ;-)

  3. Brian Felker Jones says

    Hey Jeremy, thanks for starting a discussion! As I wrote on the FB page, Dr. Ted Campbell (former President of Garrett Evangelcial and no mean Wesley scholar himself) recently wrote a book on just this for Abingdon Press called “Wesleyan Beliefs: Formal and Popular Expressions of the Core Beliefs of Wesleyan Communities.” Check out Chapter One, which is on-line, and addresses the issues of your blog directly. It is great and right here at: http://www.abingdonpress.com/forms/displayImage.aspx?pcid=1932923. It will really help and inform this discussion!

  4. says

    Is your contention that Wesley did not view the creeds as important?

    The evidence for this being that he did not include them in his edited list of Articles?

    Where is the evidence that Wesley thought the Nicene Creed was ‘weak sauce’?

    I don’t follow the logic here.

    • says

      Wesley likely saw the beliefs expressed in the creed as both important AND likely assumed of all of his followers. Why he excluded the Creedal assents from the Articles of Religion is a gaping hole in our research, informed only by Maddox’s research (and others) into his other sermons and why he might have done such a thing.

      The logic is that if it was important to Wesley that we be a Creedal church, he might have included the Article that explicitly said that, rather than break Anglican law (remember: he was a Priest!) to remove it. There must have been something more important.

      • says

        I’m still not seeing where you get the ‘weak sauce’ statement in your headline, but this is your blog. I’d hate for people who are looking for factual statements about Methodism and Wesley to stumble across this headline.

        • says

          C’mon John. A person stumbles here and what do they get?

          • John Wesley excluded the Article on Creeds. FACT.
          • Randy Maddox has a scholarly article giving nuance to it. RESEARCH
          • Some meanderings about how a lived faith and a non-systematic theology are important for the life of faith. INSPIRATION.

          There are far worse things for people to find, isn’t there? Far worse things to “hate?”

          • says

            Huh?

            It’s entirely possible that I misunderstand you. Please help me understand.

            Are you saying our effort at promoting Wesleyan publishing and writing is “hate?”

  5. says

    I was hopeful when I clicked through to a site called “Mainstream United Methodists,” but after reading two of the posted articles I was quite disappointed. Conclusions in the linked article seem to ignore Wesleyan theology other than the author’s understanding of prevenient grace and shows little interaction with Wesley’s broader works, including the doctrinally included sermons, while coming to his conclusions on what Wesley must have been thinking. I can’t say, but I do know what would be consistent with his widely published writings.

    The other article I read on the IRD book, of which I have not interacted with, frames a cherry picked Wesley quote to leave the impression that he was indifferent to doctrine. This is an impossible conclusion to come to if you have any depth of reading in Wesley including his often quoted, but little read sermon “Catholic Spirit.”

    From that sermon: “It is not an indifference to all opinions: this is the spawn of hell, not the offspring of heaven. This unsettledness of thought, this being “driven to and fro, and tossed about with every wind of doctrine,” is a great curse, not a blessing, an irreconcilable enemy, not a friend, to true catholicism. A man of a truly catholic spirit has not now his religion to seek. He is fixed as the sun in his judgement concerning the main branches of Christian doctrine.” http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-sermons-of-john-wesley-1872-edition/sermon-39-catholic-spirit/

    One can make an argument for just about anything, but for Wesley doctrine clearly mattered.

    • says

      My contention is not that doctrine doesn’t matter. My contention is that assent to a Creed didn’t matter to Wesley as much as a lived faith that engages doctrine. So why would a Neo-Wesleyan movement (see my comments to Methodist Monk above) want a Creedal test for any contributors to a compilation website?

      • says

        Why have a test?

        I believe you undertand the concept of a stream. If you go to the Gospel Coalition, you are going to get reformed theology without exception. If you go to DailyKos.com, you’re going to get politically liberal views without exception. If you go to a blog about the Atlanta Falcons, you are going to read about football.

        To build a website you select a niche. We hope our niche is robustly Wesleyan theology.

        We don’t know what the “test” is yet. So far our only consensus is that people ought to clearly believe in Christian Perfection (a very non-mainstream evangelical doctrine of being freed from sin in THIS life) and in the necessity of the class meeting for formation/sanctification.

        Do you see either of those as too restrictive?

        • says

          Defining a niche is fine. And your consensus items regarding Christian Perfection and the praxis of class meetings are perfectly acceptable.

          If so, then you might want to put a leash on O’Reilly. His conception of such things is more restrictive against any voices that are progressive. I can wade through my twitter posts (and his) to show what I mean if you can’t find them yourself.

      • says

        “So why would a Neo-Wesleyan movement (see my comments to Methodist Monk above) want a Creedal test for any contributors to a compilation website?”

        1. Not sure I’ve insisted on a “creedal” test for contributors to a complication website. Maybe I have and don’t remember. I have called for a doctrinal statement of faith, whether that is the same thing as a “creedal test” can be discussed. Note that I’m not alone in my view that the contributors to the potential site should agree on a statement of faith, and (I think) that such a statement would include but not be limited to the sorts of things in the ecumenical creeds.

        2. Why would we want a creedal test or a statement of faith? Because something with no boundaries is nothing.

          • says

            Thanks for linking to those. I’m grateful to see that you are so well acquainted with my writing that you are able to quickly gather the relevant material.

            With regard to the “test”, my last comment was in response to your use of the word “Creedal”, which I took to be referring to the ecumenical creeds because of the capitalization and the quote of Article VIII above. It appears that I misread you and that by “creed/creedal” you mean any sort of statement of faith or doctrinal commitment. With regard to suggesting that such a thing be made use of in this group blog site, I happily stand by what I have written. In my view, such a statement should affirm historic Christian orthodoxy (the creeds, if you like) and the Wesleyan emphases of entire sanctification and class meetings. I’ll note that I’m not alone in making this suggestion. Others who have been continually involved in the conversation have said the same thing. Note, for example, Kevin Watson’s post today where he agrees with others who have called for “core unifying commitments” like original sin and justification by faith.

            With regard to whether progressives have an authentic Wesleyan voice, I’ll simply point out that you don’t appear to think my traditional interpretation of Wesley is authentic just as I don’t see your so-called progressive view as authentic. So, neither of us thinks the other is accurately understanding “authentic” Wesleyanism. That’s why we’re having this very debate. And it wouldn’t be the first time you and I have disagreed. I’m not sure why you, I, or anyone should be surprised that we are disagreeing now.

  6. Stephen says

    Totally off topic, but helpful for me in learning more: I was wondering about the creedal question. What part of the creed (apostles or nicene) could progressives not assent to? Gender language? Miracles? Filioque?

    BTW,
    I think it would be fascinating to modernize Wesley’s thoughts. If John Wesley were alive today what would he think of Methodists, God, theology, etc? I might even offer that Wesley today might find more in common with our Baptist brothers and sisters in so far as their focus on scripture and salvation rather than creeds.

    Thanks again for the discussion!

  7. says

    I think this excerpt from Karen Westerfield Tucker’s book on American Methodist Worship may prove helpful in understanding Wesley’s relationship with the creeds. While this doesn’t explain the removal of the Article, it does show that early on he promoted at least the Apostles’ Creed to the new American church. Further, it’s likely that if the Article was removed for doctrinal reasons, it was due to his scruples with the Athansian creed and some of its damnation statements.

    The Apostles’ Creed was included in the 1784 book containing an outline for Sunday services and morning and evening prayer compiled by John Wesley.

    “The Nicene Creed, which in the Prayer Book appeared as part of the Communion rite, undoubtedly had been deleted by Wesley not because of any doctrinal question (the first four Methodist Articles are virtually an abbreviated recasting of the Nicene formula), but to avoid the redundancy of two creeds in one liturgical performance, since the Communion order was expected to follow immediately after morning prayer.”

    More here:
    http://books.google.com/books?id=dUk94N1EedAC&pg=PA40&lpg=PA40&dq=wesley+on+the+athanasian+creed&source=bl&ots=D5KWYgSOzR&sig=dw8W6NanjMO-YAB8i-pcMx00V6A&hl=en&sa=X&ei=igxAUe-vE5LU9ASXqIHgCw&ved=0CGQQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=wesley%20on%20the%20athanasian%20creed&f=false

    Prayer Book: http://books.google.com/books?id=7McCAAAAQAAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=john+wesley+sunday+service&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PA9AUaOhLJD89gSMgIHwAg&ved=0CDYQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=creed%20%20&f=false

    • says

      Jonathan, it is hilarious that you posted these links! I was thinking of these exact ones as I was putting my kids to sleep last night and was planning on posting them in the morning. Dr. Karen B. Westerfield Tucker is one of the best liturgical scholars, historians, and theologians in the Church, especially on Wesley. Her thoughts and research on Wesley, early Methodist worship practices, and doctrine really shine some light on this discussion Jeremy began. Her research has really helped me debunk many of the “Methodist Myths” I had been told about Wesley, Methodist worship, and early Methodism’s relations to the early Church and doctrine that I (and I imagine many) United Methodist kids were taught. Plus, she is a fantastic professor and pastor and one of the best I ever had the privilege to have for class and lectures. Boston University’s School of Theology is lucky to have her! I encourage folks to read the items Jonathan pointed out, it really helps guide, correct, and inform this discussion . . . thanks for posting it!!! :)

        • says

          Very small UM world . . . I had her at Duke! :) Unfortunately, when I was taking her class we were in the midst of me starting a job at Duke Div., my wife starting her Ph.D. at Duke, and us having our first baby. I will admidt that during many of her classes I was totally zoning out, not because of her lecturing at all, but just because that point in our life made my brain become mush! :) About a year later I re-read all the required readings and came to appreciate her even more than I had already during class. She was also a fantastic advisor! I hope you enjoyed her as much as I did!!!

  8. says

    I’ve read over the comments section fairly briefly, so I apologize if what I am about to write has already been mentioned. First, I would suggest that anyone not thinking Wesley believed the creeds to be important should read the “Letter to a Roman Catholic.” It is one of the more significant ecumenical essays from his pen. And significantly, it is creedal in its construction. Essentially, Wesley was appealing for common ground with Catholics based off of their shared faith in the Triune God as articulated in the creed. I would suggest that is representative of a sauce something more than weak in flavor.

    Second, I haven’t had time to read the Maddox selection that you cited, but I would be skeptical that Maddox believes Wesley didn’t value a creedal basis for the faith at a high level. It is (perhaps contrary to what you are suggesting, Jeremy) exactly the broad ecumenical affirmation of the identity of God that we find in the creed that allows us to get beyond the narrow denominationalism that Maddox mentions Wesley as wanting to avoid. In a very important sense, it is our faith in Father, Son, and Holy Spirit that marks us as members of the body of Christ regardless of particular ecclesiastical affiliation within that body’s current broken reality.

    • says

      Given your reading level of the comments and the Maddox article, I don’t expect you to read this comment. But if so, do you have any insight as to why Wesley removed the Creedal affirmation from the Articles of Religion? I can’t find any research on the topic and would welcome your scholarly help!

  9. says

    I have encountered the notion before that he disliked the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed, which is one of the creeds included in the Anglican article. I’ll have to try and track it down, but if I do when I’m back in my office next week, I’ll follow this comment up with whatever I find.

  10. says

    Jeremy:

    I’ve spent more on this topic today than I anticipated. It is an interesting enough question historically that I am thinking I need to do more investigating and possibly turn this into a writing project.

    In short, I’ve found more than once reference to Wesley’s rejection of the damnatory clauses of the Athanasian Creed. See, e.g., “On the Trinity,” ¶3, in [Bicentennial] Works 2:377.

    What is real interest in terms of Wesley’s positive valuation of creedal faith is the way in which he integrates creedal language into his writing in almost seamless fashion (much as he does with Scriptural language). I’ve found phrases from all three of the BCP creeds used in this way in JW’s sermons.

    Also of real interest is the way in which he assumes (either explicitly or implicitly, depending on the source) a doctrinal core as the foundation for a lived faith — this is really what Maddox is getting at in the article you’ve cited (see, e.g., pp. 72-74 and 78-79). Wesley sermons where you see this type of thing include “Justification by Faith” and “The Way to the Kingdom.” It is a qualified endorsement by Wesley, of course, because his concern is that the “oracles of God” (a phrase he sometimes uses in connection to the creed) be used as the basis for a vital faith. Stated another way, he has a concern that assent to the creed would be used in place of holiness of heart & life, and he wants to avoid that at all costs. This doesn’t remove the central importance of the faith named in the creeds at all; it simply refuses to allow the bare assent of faith to take the place of the authentic religion of the heart.

    The only scholarly secondary source I’ve found from the 20th century that speaks directly to this issue is: Paul F. Blankenship, The Significance of John Wesley’s Abridgement of the Thirty-Nine Articles as Seen From His Deletions,” Methodist History 2:3 (April 1964): 35-47. Unfortunately, Blankenship has almost nothing on the removal of Article VIII (on the creeds), other than to speculate that Wesley didn’t want to overburden the American Methodists, whom he had advised in his famous letter of 1784 to pursue the religion of the Scriptures and the Primitive Church. That may well be true, but Blankenship is really only speculating so far as I can tell from the rather quick read I gave his article.

    I hope this helps somewhat. If I continue this and it turns into something more substantial, I’ll certainly let you know.

    - Andrew Thompson

  11. says

    Thanks for more documentation, Andrew, and your willingness to keep tracking this down.

    The other piece I would cite is that Mr Wesley DID include the Apostles Creed, both in the Sunday Service (Morning Prayer, which would have preceded the celebration of Holy Communion) and at baptism. At the same time, he omitted the Nicene Creed, which was the creed prescribed for Holy Communion by the BCP.

    Again, we have no documentation of which I am aware for the change of preferred creeds for Communion.

    What we can say, from the inclusion of at least the Apostles Creed in the Sunday Service (and, btw, his version did include the line, “he descended into hell!”), was that Mr Wesley had no objection to confessing the creeds in worship. For whatever reason, he did not include (omitted) them as part of the doctrinal standards (Articles of Religion) for the Methodists.

    • says

      Taylor –

      You write, “and, btw, his version did include the line, ‘he descended into hell!’” That is something I have heard but cannot track down. (I believe R. Heitzenrater mentioned it to me exactly as you describe a few years ago.) Do you know the article, book chapter, or book that substantiates this? I would like to mark it down for future reference.

      Thanks,
      Andrew Thompson

  12. Paul Anthony Preussler says

    It is generally accepted that Wesley was secretly consecrated a bishop by the Eastern Orthodox bishop Erasmus of Arcadia (awesome title, by the way); when questioned on this later in life, Wesley refused to deny it, but had he admitted it, he would have exposed himself to execution for violation of the Præmunire Act. Given the theological strictures of the Orthodox church, it is doubtful that Wesley would have been consecrated had he rejected Nicea. The fact that Wesley omitted that paragraph from the Methodist Articles of Religion proves nothing; I myself feel it is an accidental oversight.

    Beyond that however, this raises an important question: what strictures does accepting the Nicene Creed in its Constantinoplean revision from 381 impose upon Methodists? It requires us to affirm a belief in the Trinity (which we know Wesley affirmed); it requires us to affirm the consubstantiality of the Trinity and to reject any form of Arianism (and Wesley was most certainly not a follower of Arius), and it requires us to reject Docetism (which was also clearly rejected by Wesley). Lastly, it implies belief in the resurrection of the dead and life everlasting, which Wesley and most other Methodists certainly hold.

    Now, one should also mention that the article Wesley omitted also mentions the Apostle’s Creed and the Athanasian Creed; the former is (mostly) a subset of the Nicene Creed, and the latter is dogmatically identical to the Niceno-Constantinoplean Creed of 381; the Council of Constantinople essentially took the original Nicene Creed and modified its language to incorporate the additional qualifications posited by Athanasius in his long and bitter struggle against Arianism. Arians had attempted to circumvent the original Nicene creed by exploiting ambiguities in its language; Athanasius created a new creed with the loopholes closed, and at Constantinople, these additional provisions were rather ingeniously interpolated into the original creed, giving us the contemporary form of the Nicene Creed, sans the filioque. I should add that while Athanasius is amongst my very favorite fathers, a Christian worthy only of adoration, his creed does not read as smoothly or as eloquently as the revised creed adopted at Constantinople.

    So in omitting the aforementioned paragraph from the Articles of Religion, was Wesley denying the creeds serve a purpose? Certainly not; John Wesley’s original Sunday Service for the Methodist Episcopal Churches of North America, a simplified version of the office of Morning Prayer from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, mandates the use of the Apostle’s Creed. This seems to suggest that the author’s original suggestion that Wesley was in some way ambivalent towards, or in opposition to, the Nicene Creed, may be misguided, for these reasons:

    1. In omitting the aforementioned paragraph, Wesley did not single-out the Nicene Creed; all three of the creeds used liturgically in the Church of England are mentioned by that article.
    2. John Wesley, in his Sunday Service liturgy, mandates that the Apostle’s Creed be said every Sunday morning in Methodist churches in North America.
    3. All aspects of the “living faith” contained in Wesley’s theological writings (which are not generally considered to be systematic, in the manner of Thomas Aquinas, Karl Barth or even Kallistos Ware, I should add) are compatible with the Nicene creed in its 381 recension. Wesley at no point in his career preached Gnosticism, Arianism, Marcionism, Docetism, Nestorianism, Chilliasm, or any other heresy (except very possibly and very much inadvertantly, by virtue of the Church of England culture of the time, a minor form of iconoclasm).

    Wesley’s faith was so close to that of the Eastern Orthodox Church that they apparently made him a bishop; even if Erasmus of Arcadia did not in fact ordain Wesley, the Methodist faith in its original form, on the basis of its own dogmatic definitions, as opposed to the ambiguous orthodoxy of the Anglo Catholics, more closely resembles that of the Eastern church (and indeed, that of Rome prior to Vatican I) than any other Protestant communion. In practice, the Anglo Catholics tend to be more Orthodox, but their faith has always been at least somewhat at odds with the dogmatic definitions of the Church of England in the Articles of Religion and the Book of Common Prayer.

  13. Scott the Christian says

    I hope you guys will discuss the truth. J.W. omitted most of those articles to overthrow the Doctrines of Grace. He believed more in a covenent of works, than in the grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Arminianism is pretty much a compromise between Catholicism and Protestantism. It was the early protestants way of escaping persecution by the left or right. The Arminian says in his heart, I believe in Jesus but his blood and righteousness are not enough for my salvation, I must keep all the laws and ordinances through my freewill. When the bible clearly states the opposite. By faith are we saved unto good works before prepared by our Lord. If one does not have the Spirit of the Lord, he cannot do the good will of the father. This is evident by atheists who volunteer to feed the homeless and donate time and money to charities. They have charity but no faith. We receive witness that we are his children by the Spirit of Adoption. In an adoption who chooses? The child or the adoptive parents? John Wesley believed we are predestined by our works and that is why God chose us, because of what he sees us doing without Him. 1 Cor.4:7 says For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it? or in Romans 11:34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?
    35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?
    36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
    So faith comes from God, and when we learn the truth of scripure, we grow in grace and faith. We do not originate faith, it comes from God. If faith came from ourselves and not from God, we should be able to increase or decrease it without His help. 1 Cor 3:4 -6says For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal?
    5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?
    6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.
    So while you guys argue I’m Arminian or I’m Calvinist, I take pride in being a bible believing CHRISTIAN!!!
    John Wesley may have planted and watered but God gave the increase.
    I’m sorry if you’re dislike of sinners makes you hate the doctrines of grace, but if it were not by grace we would all be condemned under the law as sinners.

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