Today I just want to briefly note that Matt O’Reilly responded to my post from yesterday here: Further Thoughts on Wesleyan Renewal: A Respone to @CraigAdams49 (#AndCanItBe)
We are basically in agreement. But, Matt pushed things a little further by raising another issue:
I'll take the conversation a step further by pointing to another theme that has come up in the #AndCanItBe discussion on Wesleyan essentials: we need a structure to cultivate the realization of the holiness for which we call. We must have practices that support our theological distinctives. Wesley accomplished this by organizing the early Methodists into groups of varying sizes for discipleship, formation, and accountability. An authentically Wesleyan vision of Christianity will involve both an emphasis on entire sanctification and the practices that enable and cultivate that transformative growth in holiness. The method is essential to the successful appropriation of the theology. The distinctive combination of these two emphases will be essential for another Wesleyan revival.
I agree. And, I would say that this is one place where the historic holiness movement in America was weak — intentionally organizing believers into small groups for support and discipleship. The emphasis in the 19th Century holiness movement was on the experience of faith and on an experience of entire sanctification. In this way a subtle shift occurred: instead of Christian Perfection being a way of life lived out day by day, it became seen largely as an emotional experience at a certain point in time, which, then ensured the living out of a life wholly devoted to God. There was no desire on their part to change or distort the message, they missed seeing the whole Class Meeting / Band Meeting / Select Society thing as being an integral part of the original plan.
At any rate, check out Matt’s post at the link above.
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