Wesleyan Theology Syllabus
May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through.
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our
Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it
(1 Thessalonians 5:23-24, NIV).
Free Methodist Church of North America
Ministerial Credentialing Services
JT/XL Ministerial Training Program (Revised 2009)
An Approved Course in Wesleyan Theology
This uniform course in Wesleyan Theology has been approved by the Board of Bishops of the Free
Methodist Church for the preparation of ministerial candidates and lay ministers, and for the
validation of incoming ordained pastoral transfers, for ministry in the Free Methodist Church.
The course may also be taught in the local church to instruct lay people in Wesleyan Theology.
The Ministerial Credentialing Services wishes to acknowledge and thank the special committee
appointed to prepare this uniform course in Wesleyan Theology for their valuable contribution to the
denomination and to the deeper spiritual and experiential understanding of all present and future
pastors and lay people, with regard to our common Wesleyan doctrinal heritage.
The members of this committee are Dr. C. Wesley King, retired missionary teacher and current
Director of the Faculdade de Teologia, New York and Florida extension seminaries, Dr. Wayne
McCown, former Dean and Professor at Northeastern Seminary in Rochester, NY., now retired and
Dr. Darold L. Hill, former Wabash Conference Superintendent and pastor of the Spring Arbor Free
Methodist Church, now retired. This edition was revised and edited by Darold Hill in 2009.
The committee is grateful to Douglas R. Cullum, Professor of Wesleyan Theology at Northeastern
Seminary, for the material on Biblical Foundations of Wesleyan Theology, which he taught at the
Lakeland, FL Bible Conference in January 2001, parts of which are incorporated into this course.
Requirements for Instructors of Wesleyan Theology
Instructors: Instructors for teaching Wesleyan Theology shall be approved by the denominational
Ministerial Credentialing Services and shall follow the course guidelines and expect the student(s) to
fulfill all the requirements of the course.
Instructions to Conference Ministerial Education and Guidance Boards
Conference Ministerial and Educational Guidance boards should use the course as a guide to
evaluate whether or not persons seeking ministry in the Free Methodist Church have a clear
understanding of the major differences between Calvinism and Wesleyan-Arminianism as well as
the major doctrinal emphases of Wesleyan Theology such as prevenient grace, justification and
sanctification. This may be accomplished in the interview process with the candidate. (See MEG
This uniform course in Wesleyan Theology is meant to serve as a template for evaluating those who
have previously studied Wesleyan Theology and are transferring into the Free Methodist Church.
Table of Contents
A Word to the Instructor 3
Course Description 4
Post-Class Session Requirements 5
Glossary of Terms Form 7
Suggested Class Schedule 8
Self-Directed Project Form 9
Select Bibliography 11
Historical and Theological Background for Wesleys Thought
Lesson 1 From the Early Church to Arminius 13
Lesson 2 From Arminius to John Wesley 15
Lesson 3 The Life of John Wesley, Factors in the Development of His Theology 20
Lesson 4 Theological Characteristics of Calvinism, Arminianism, Wesleyanism 28
Lesson 5 Wesleyan Influence on Classical Theology 31
The Soteriological Heart of Wesleys Thought
Lesson 6 Gods Existence and Attributes 34
Lesson 7 In the Image of God 37
Lesson 8 Gods All-Encompassing Grace 39
The Ordo Salutis (Order of Salvation) 42
Lesson 9 From Slumber to Awakening 43
Lesson 10 Convincing Grace 45
Lesson 11 Pardon and the New Birth 47
Lesson 12 Assurance of Salvation 51
Lesson 13 Holiness of Heart and Life 54
Lesson 14 Holiness The Process of Sanctification 61
Lesson 15 Christian Perfection 65
Lesson 16 Sanctification Growth and Maturity 73
Lesson 17 The Means of Grace/the Sacraments 79
Lesson 18 Influence of Wesleys Theology on Discipleship Structures 81
Lesson 19 The Legacy of John Wesley 88
Appendix A Introduction to the Life of John Wesley 91
Appendix B Chronology of Principle Events in John Wesleys Life 99
Appendix C Chronology of John Wesleys Hymns 101
Chronology of Charles Wesleys Hymns 103
Appendix D Selections from the Book of Discipline 106
Appendix E Major Views on Sanctification 108
Appendix F Regeneration and Entire Sanctification 110
A Word to the Instructor How to use this syllabus on Wesleyan Theology
and the Companion Volume containing sample Wesley texts
1. Read the opening part of the Syllabus (pages 4-13) very carefully and familiarize yourself with the Course Purpose and Course Requirements.
2. Do all of the readings required of the students, found on pages 4-5, and make sure you have a good working knowledge of their contents and of Wesleys theological thought.
3. Browse through the rest of the syllabus, lesson by lesson, giving careful attention to:
The background readings including the required Wesley sermons
The teaching outline
Accompanying Wesley hymns
Reflective Questions in each lesson.
4. Most of the Teaching Outlines are drawn from one or more of Wesleys sermons found under the heading Background Sermon(s) with the exception of the outlines for Lessons 1-
5, which are based on Wynkoops book.
5. Use the sample Wesley texts, found in the Companion Volume, to illustrate Wesleys teaching as you teach each lesson. For example, the sample Wesley texts, or quotations, in
the companion volume for lesson 7 titled In the Image of God, correspond to the same
lesson 7 and title in the Syllabus.
6. Take time for discussion in each lesson. Stimulate discussion by using the reflective questions, or others of your choosing.
7. Read or sing a stanza of the hymn or hymns that accompany the theme of the lesson under study. (See the Daily Class Format on page 8 and Appendix C.)
8. Take time to emphasize the major differences between Calvinism and Wesleyan-Arminianism, Holiness of Heart and Life and Christian Perfection.
9. Include the appended material found in the back of the syllabus with the pertinent lessons.
10. Appendix A, Introduction to John Wesley is the full text of the first part of the Teaching Outline in Lesson 3.
11. Each student must have her/his project approved by you (see forms on pages 9-10) before returning home.
12. Remind the students that all requirements (readings and written) must be finished and sent to you no later than one (1) month following the close of class when grades are to be reported to
Ministerial Credentialing Services.
13. Be alert to the teachable, or experiential moment when a student may want to give her/his testimony about what God has done in their lives, or seek prayer to enter into the experience
of heart purity and sanctification.
Course Purpose and Objectives
The primary purpose of this course is to provide the student with an understanding of the major
theological/philosophical differences between Calvinism and Wesleyan-Arminianism. It will focus
on the history and theology of John Wesley and the early Methodists. The course will center on the
Wesley brothers theology of salvation, particularly their understanding of Christian Perfection and
personal holiness, as expressed in Johns sermons and in Charles hymns. An understanding of the
Wesleyan quadrilateral provides a perspective for understanding Wesleyan thought.
The course is intended to sharpen the distinctions between Calvinist and Wesleyan theologies and
bring the student to an understanding of the implications of both theologies particularly as it impacts
the biblical message of holiness.
A secondary purpose of this course is to assist the student in an appreciation of the field of Wesley
Studies and its present-day interpreters.
Daily Class Format
Each morning a student may be invited to share a brief devotional (5 minutes) from a Biblical text
relating to holiness. Each afternoon session may begin with a student sharing some practical insight
from one of Wesleys Journals.
An introductory course to the historical development and the theological significance of John
Wesleys contribution to evangelical Christianity. The student will wrestle with the five points of
classical Calvinism and their impact on shaping the Wesleyan understanding of sanctification. The