Author Topic: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism  (Read 1654 times)

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Offline Shlomlokh

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Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« on: December 07, 2009, 02:33:50 PM »
Greetings all!

I have found this book on comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism. It's put out by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. It looks rather interesting, especially to me, a former Methodist (by way of Roman Catholicism) convert to Orthodoxy. I am a little wary of ecumenical things such as this, so any insight would be great. Has anyone read it? If so, what did you like or dislike about it?

I had heard that the Wesley brothers were adamant about reading the Fathers of the Church. Is this true? Methodists for the most part disregard the Fathers completely.

In Christ,
Andrew
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Offline Cymbyz

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 03:06:12 PM »
Speaking as an ex-Protestant, the comparison is analogous to that between a simple meal of bread, soup, and water, and a 14-course banquet.  Both will feed you, but I'll warrant the second is far prefereable to the first.
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Offline Jetavan

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 03:20:59 PM »
Quote
Imagine Charles Wesley attending a Christmas morning service today and hearing that his great hymn, "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," would be sung. As the congregation started singing, he would be momentarily confused, because his original began, "Hark how all the welkin rings / Glory to the King of kings," and was not sung to the Felix Mendelssohn tune we use today.

By verse three, Wesley might get his bearings. But when "Born to raise the sons of earth / Born to give them second birth" proved to be the last verse, he would be confused again.

He'd likely exclaim, "But that's not the end. I went on to write this:

    Adam's likeness, Lord, efface,
    Stamp thy image in its place;
    Second Adam from above,
    Reinstate us in thy love.
    Let us thee, though lost, regain,
    Thee, the life, the inner man;
    O, to all thyself impart,
    Formed in each believing heart."

Then he might ask, "Why don't you sing that verse?"

As evangelicals, we know how to answer the question, "Are you saved?": If we have believed in Jesus Christ, we are saved—right there, right then.

Sometimes, though, the way we talk about salvation makes it sound like little more than a get-out-of-hell-free card. With our emphasis on what sinners like ourselves are saved from, do we know what we are saved for? Is salvation solely about us and our need to be forgiven and born again, or is there a deeper, God-ward purpose?

The leaders of the ancient church thought so, speaking regularly of salvation in a way that may sound strange to many evangelicals, but which Wesley alluded to in some of his hymns. In particular, they envisioned salvation as theosis, an ongoing process by which God's people become increasingly "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Pet. 1:4), formed more and more in God's likeness. As the 2nd-century theologian Irenaeus urged in Against Heresies, "Through his transcendent love, our Lord Jesus Christ became what we are, that he might make us to be what he is." The great 4th-century defender of Jesus' divinity, Athanasius, put it even more forcefully: "[God] became man, that man might become god."
« Last Edit: December 07, 2009, 03:22:17 PM by Jetavan »
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Offline genesisone

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2009, 05:04:37 PM »
While I can't speak for all those who claim a Wesleyan heritage, I do know that my former denomination (Free Methodist) at the local level certainly appears to be more generically Evangelical than distinctively Wesleyan, and certainly in all my fifty years in that denomination, including two at Bible College, there was no study of the Church Fathers, though I remember being taught that John Wesley did read and appreciate them.

However, as I was looking into Orthodoxy a few years ago, I came across the term "deification" that certainly seemed strange to me. I was being drawn to the Orthodox Church, and quite frankly was trying to find reasons not to convert because of my long personal and family connection to Free Methodism. It didn't take too long for me to find out that "deification" is used less frequently that "theosis", for good reason I should think, and that I found there a clear connection with John Wesley's "entire sanctification", a teaching that always seemed to just elude my grasp, but which I found to be something I was drawn to. The Orthodox understanding of salvation and theosis really put all the pieces together for me. I was hooked.

And yes, I know I have read about various conferences and symposia whose participants are Orthodox and Wesleyan scholars. I'm sure a bit of googling (and quite possibly a search on this site) will be fruitful.

Offline DaveInCSA

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2009, 08:45:17 PM »
I think I'll get this book as a Christmas gift for my brother in-law. They are Methodists. One of my nephews is named John Wesley. He's given me a number of books on prayer.

Offline Jetavan

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2011, 12:45:52 PM »
Greetings all!

I have found this book on comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism. It's put out by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press. It looks rather interesting, especially to me, a former Methodist (by way of Roman Catholicism) convert to Orthodoxy. I am a little wary of ecumenical things such as this, so any insight would be great. Has anyone read it? If so, what did you like or dislike about it?

I had heard that the Wesley brothers were adamant about reading the Fathers of the Church. Is this true? Methodists for the most part disregard the Fathers completely.

In Christ,
Andrew
Charles Wesley wrote this hymn, describing a sort of Protestant theosis:

He deigns in flesh to appear,

Widest extremes to join,

To bring our vileness near,

And make us all divine;

And we the life of God shall know,

For God is manifest below.

Made perfect first in love,

And sanctified by grace,

We shall from earth remove,

And see his glorious face;

His love shall then be fully showed,

And man shall all be lost in God.

-- Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord, Hymn #5 (1745)
If you will, you can become all flame.
Extra caritatem nulla salus.
In order to become whole, take the "I" out of "holiness".
सर्वभूतहित
Ἄνω σχῶμεν τὰς καρδίας
"Those who say religion has nothing to do with politics do not know what religion is." -- Mohandas Gandhi
Y dduw bo'r diolch.

Offline mike

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2011, 12:59:31 PM »
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Offline Benjamin the Red

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2011, 02:37:40 PM »
I'm not of a Wesleyan background, but I attended a Wesleyan college (Asbury) and so had the Wesleys shoved in my face for a few years.

John Wesley was an avid reader of the Church Fathers, and used them frequently. He definitely had a sense of theosis (though it was colored by a very Protestant understanding of Original Sin and Total Depravity).

He also had a sense of Church. As a priest in the Church of England, he would not break from them to form the Methodist Episcopal Church until he was ordained bishop. This "happened" at the hands of an illicit (deposed, IIRC) Greek Orthodox bishop. Of course, at least two bishops are needed to consecrate another, so it was by no means valid even if the bishop in question had not already been a roaming vagante. He also assisted Wesley in the ordaining of a few presbyters for the new Methodist Church. My point being, Wesley had an understanding and adherence to apostolic succession (though, obviously, a Protestant one).

He also defended the Ever-Virginity of the Theotokos...as did nearly all Protestants (save the radical reformers) until the last century or so.

In short, Wesley was a classical Protestant. Granted, he came a little late, as many traditions were being or had been abandoned by other Protestants in the 18th century that had been defended by the likes of Calvin, Luther and Cranmer only a few generations before. I don't see a big difference between him and those earlier reformers, as far as "closeness" to Orthodoxy is concerned. We forget how Catholic the Protestants of centuries gone by actually were, given their own short history and rapid loss of nearly all traditional visages of Christianity.
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Offline recent convert

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Re: Comparing Orthodoxy and Wesleyanism
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2011, 11:45:51 AM »
John Wesley seems to have articulated a faith in which much is inherently Orthodox & could be a great vehicle to lead Protestants to Orthodoxy in America. Unfortunately, this will probably never result.
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