Holiness and the Bible
John Wesley wrote:
In the year 1729, I began not only to read, but to study, the Bible, as the one, the only standard of truth, and the only model of pure religion. Hence I saw, in a clearer and clearer light, the indispensable necessity of having "the mind which was in Christ," and of "walking as Christ also walked;" even of having, not some part only, but all the mind which was in him; and of walking as he walked, not only in many or in most respects, but in all things. And this was the light, wherein at this time I generally considered religion, as an uniform following of Christ, an entire inward and outward conformity to our Master. Nor was I afraid of anything more, than of bending this rule to the experience of myself; or of other men; of allowing myself in any the least disconformity to our grand Exemplar.
And, on this basis, I have this crazy notion that even if people forgot about Wesley and Fletcher and Clarke and Finney and Mahan, etc. but would just come to the Bible with open hearts & minds, the holiness themes would re-assert themselves.
Yes, it’s the “open hearts and minds” part that is hard. We come to the Bible loaded with assumptions and expectations. But, still: people do sometimes question their own assumptions. They can discover anew the same themes — without knowledge of those who found them before.
Yeah, the language would probably be different here and there from the traditions that we currently know. There have been differences in how people express the message before. This is hardly the point. The important commonalities are about the Bible’s call to holiness, and the nature of Christian experience itself.
Call me naive. Maybe I am. But, I can’t help but think that if people will read the Bible as Wesley did "as the one, the only standard of truth, and the only model of true religion" they will come to the same kind of conclusions he did — eventually.
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