Historical and Theological Background for Wesley’s and Theological Background for Wesleyâ€s Thought ... (Order of Salvation) ... good working knowledge of their contents

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  • 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

    Indianapolis, Indiana

    JT/XL Ministerial Training Program (Revised 2009)

  • 1

    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

    Board Manual)

    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.

  • 2

    Table of Contents

    Subject Page

    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

    The Lessons

    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

    The Appendices

    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

  • 3

    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.

  • 4

    Course Description

    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.

    Class Description

    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