John Wesley Code – Print

The John Wesley Code: Finding a Faith That Matters

by James Stuart

Click here for a free PDF Study Guide to The John Wesley Code

212pp, 240 x 170mm, soft cover.

Publication info
ISBN 9780958268226
Published 10 November 2008.

Launched at NZ Methodist Conference 2008, Auckland





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About the book

 John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, was one of the best known figures of the 18th century. For 50 years he tirelessly rode the length of Britain preaching his message of ‘plain truth for plain people.’ He turned aside from a comfortable and well-provisioned life as a Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford to live and work among the poor and needy.

 Wesley wanted Methodists to be people with warm hearts, catholic spirits, a whole gospel and an open mind. He once observed, ‘we may not know much in this life, but we can love much.’ It was this emphasis on love, love of God and love of others, love as the end purpose of life and love as the reason for life, love which was both universal and unconditional, that made the message of Methodism sound like a new gospel to those oppressed and weighed down by the forces of privilege, class and power.

 Drawing on the best of contemporary and historical scholarship, James Stuart traces the writers, theologians, people Wesley met and the key experiences that shaped Wesley’s ideas.

Importantly, Stuart then revisits the enduring themes and other principles of Wesley and the early Methodists, to see how they might affect our practice, inspire our theology and renew our lives today.

About James Stuart

jim_stuart Dr James Stuart was born in New York City and received his BA in history from Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He served as an officer in the US Navy before pursuing theological studies in the United States, England, Germany and Switzerland. He holds a doctorate in systematic theology and social ethics from the University of Zürich, Switzerland.

He has served churches in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Illinois and New Zealand, was the John Wesley Lecturer in Systematic Theology at St John’s Trinity Theological College in Auckland, and has taught at universities in Illinois and Oregon. While serving as chaplain at the University of Canterbury, he lectured in sociology and peace studies. He is the author of two books, The Many Faces of Christ (1998) and Making Meaning, Finding Health (1999) and has written numerous articles on religion, theology and ethics.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements ix
Introduction: Finding Wesley in a Broom Closet 1
Picturing the World of Wesley 7
Scenario: A Brand from the Burning 13
 Chapter 1: Setting the Context 15
Wesley’s Genealogy 15
The Importance of Purpose 17
That Wonderful Providence 18
Part I: The Guiding Principles of a Methodist 20
Chapter 2: Consider Expedience 23
Living the Christian Life 23
Achieving the End: Itinerancy 26
The Lollard Tradition 27
Field Preaching 27
An Extraordinary Call 28
Enlarging the Conversation: The Connexion 28
Follow the Path of Expediency 31
Scenario: Aldersgate to Bristol: Emerging Patterns 34
Chapter 3: Trust Experience 37
The Cartesian Revolution 37
Lockean Sensibility 38
Berkeley’s Idealism 40
Hume’s Empiricism 41
Wesley’s Religious Sensibility 42
Scenario: Having this witness 47
Chapter 4: Seek Consensus 50
Methodism and the Industrial Revolution 51
The Methodist Movement 55
The Holy Club 56
The Moravian Connexion 58
Methodist Polity 59
Methodist Consensus 61
Scenario: A Remarkable Conversation 65
Chapter 5: Honour the Vision 69
Moravian Stillness 70
Free Grace 74
Christian Perfection 78
Ought We to Separate? 80
Best of All 85
Scenario: The Methodist Way 86
Part II: The Theological Imperatives of a Methodist 89
Chapter 6: Learn Compassion 92
Compassion: The Essential Act 92
The Wesleyan Paradox 93
A Rope of Sand 93
Christianity is a Social Religion 95
A Great Grace 97
Compassion and the Community of Goods 99
Scenario: ‘Should we Shut up our Compassion?’ 105
Chapter 7: Follow Providence 108
An Idea in its Time 109
The Design of Providence 111
A Hair’s Breadth 112
Following Providence 117
The Paradox of Providence 118
Epiphanies of Providence 119
Scenario: An Uncommon Train of Providence 123
Chapter 8: Live by Grace 126
The Psychology of Original Sin 126
The Politics of Original Sin 128
The Impact of the Reformation 130
The Human Condition Apart from Grace 132
Wesleyan Arminianism 134
Scenario: Religion Agreeable to the Highest Reason 140
Chapter 9: Love Unconditionally 143
The Wesleyan Renaissance:
Historical, Doctrinal, Ecclesiastical Motifs 143
The Fundamental Theological Motif 147
The Ways of Love 148
The Sophie Hopkey Affair 149
The Native American Fiasco 150
The Moravian Encounter 150
The Aldersgate Experience 152
Love: The Determinative Theological Imperative 154
Scenario: The Strongest Evidence 158
Part III: The Character of a Methodist 162
Chapter 10: The People Called Methodists 164
A Warm Heart 165
An Open Mind 168
A Catholic Spirit 172
A Whole Gospel 174
Scenario: A Matter of Absolute Duty 178
Chapter 11: Quo Vadis 181
Methodist Amnesia 181
A Way Forward 183
A Malleable Polity 183
Theological Flexibility 184
Communal Integrity 185
A Final Word From Wesley 185
Appendix 1: Wesley as Apologist for Methodism 187
Treatises 187
Letters 189
Appendix 2: Methodism: A Community of Common Goods 192
Appendix 3: John Wesley: A Life of Ambiguity and
Contradiction, Determination and Vision 198
Ambiguities 198
Wesley and Women 200
A Clear Vision 202
Selected Bibliography 205
Primary Sources 205
For Further Reading 205
Biographical 205
Theological 206
General 207
Index 208