THE WESLEYAN SYNTHESIS RECONSIDERED
This article purpose finds what is “the Wesleyan synthesis,” and will also briefly revisit the much-discussed Wesleyan Quadrilateral. Wesley effectively combined in thought and practice these five elements, namely: (1) Divine sovereignty and human freedom, (2) Doctrine and experience, (3) Experience and structure, (4) Charismatic and institutional elements, and (5) Present and future salvation. This article argues that this synthesis is powerful, but also that it is biblical. In fact, the reason this synthesis is powerful is that it faithfully embodies the revealed truth of Scripture. The results of the Wesleyan synthesis are drawing three general conclusions. First, Wesley's theology was broader and more profound than has often been realized. Second, Wesley's theology can help us develop a biblical understanding of culture and culture change. Third, Wesley's theology is thus an open invitation to continue to develop a theology of church, mission, and culture that is profoundly biblical and sharply relevant to the present age.
Bryant, Barry. “John Wesley on the Origins of Evil,” Wesleyan Theological Journal Vol.30, No.1 (Spring 1995): 111-133. https://wtsociety.com/files/wts_journal/1995-wtj-30-1.pdf.
Campbell, Ted A. et al., Wesley and the Quadrilateral: Renewing the Conversation. Abingdon, 1997.
Cell, George Croft. personal letter quoted in E. D. Soper, “Grace in Methodist Tradition,” in W. T. Whitley, ed., The Doctrine of Grace. New York: Macmillan, 1932.
de Souza, Luís Wesley. “‘The Wisdom of God in Creation’: Mission and the Wesleyan Pentalateral,” in Howard A. Snyder, ed., Global Good News: Mission in a New Context Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 2001.
Dorner, Isaac. History of Protestant Theology, trans. George Robson and Sophia Tucker Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark, 1871.
Harrison, Peter. The Bible, Protestantism, and the Rise of Natural Science. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998, 2001.
Haas, Jr., J.W. “John Wesley’s Vision of Science in the Service of Christ,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith Vol.47 (1995), 234-243.
Lovelace, Richard F. Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal. Downers Grove, III: InterVarsity Press, 1979.
Maddox, Randy L. “John Wesley’s Precedent for Theological Engagement with the Natural Sciences,” Wesleyan Theological Journal Vol.44, No.1 (2009): 23-54. https://wtsociety.com/files/wts_journal/2009-wtj-44-1.pdf.
Maddox, Randy L. and Jason E. Vickers, eds., The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2010.
Oden, Thomas. Intensive Group Experience, The New Pietism. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1972.
Olson, Roger. Arminian Theology: Myths and Realities. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2006.
Runyon, Theodore. The New Creation: John Wesley’s Theology Today. Nashville, Tenn.: Abingdon, 1998.
Snyder, Howard A. Signs of the Spirit: How God Reshapes the Church (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1989.
Snyder, Howard A. The Problem of Wineskins. Downers Grove. Ill.: InterVarsity, 1975.
Snyder, Howard A. The Radical Wesley: The Patterns and Practices of a Movement Maker. Franklin, Tenn.: Seedbed Publishing, 2014.
Snyder, Howard A. Yes in Christ: Wesleyan Reflections on Gospel, Mission, and Culture, Tyndale Studies in Wesleyan History and Theology, Vol.2 Toronto: Clements Academic, 2011.
Stonehouse, Catherine. Joining Children on the Spiritual Journey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker, 1998.
Telford, John. The Life of John Wesley (New York: Phillips and Hunt, 1886), 147; Sydney G. Dimond, The Psychology of the Methodist Revival. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1926
Thorsen, Donald A. D. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral: Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience as a Model of Evangelical Theology. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1990.
Walls, Jerry L. "As the Waters Cover the Sea: John Wesley on the Problem of Evil." Faith and Philosophy: Journal of the Society of Christian Philosophers Vol.13, Iss.4 (1996): 534-562. https://doi.org/10.5840/faithphil199613446.
Wesley, John. A Compendium of Natural Philosophy, Being a Survey of the Wisdom of God in the Creation, “A New Edition,” ed. Robert Mudie, 3 vols. London, UK: Thomas Tegg and Son, 1836.
Wesley, John; Albert C Outler; Frank Baker; Richard P Heitzenrater; Randy L Maddox. “Wesley’s Journal.” in The Works of John Wesley. Bicentennial Ed., Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1984, 22:55. August 27, 1768. All references to Wesley’s Works are from this multi-volume edition unless otherwise noted.
Williams, Colin. John Wesley’s Theology Today. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1960.
Copyright (c) 2021 Howard A. Snyder
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).