Rating: 5 out of 5
John Wesley is one of the most well-known Christian leaders and thinkers in church history, Christian leaders and theologians in church history, the inspiration of many church traditions such as Methodist, Wesleyan, the Salvation Army, and the Church of the Nazarene. He wrote an incredible amount of work on Christian teaching during his sixty years of ministry, and in his new series JOHN WESLEY’S TEACHINGS, Thomas C. Oden seeks to systemize and make available for the modern reader just exactly what Wesley taught concerning doctrines such as God’s attributes, providence and human freedom, sanctification, Christ, pastoral ministry, Christians, and many others.
Wesley never wrote a systematic theology, so he has often been accused of having many internal inconsistencies in his wide body of teaching. Oden’s new series seeks to show that Wesley’s teachings were consistent and coherent. Relying on the texts of Wesley’s teachings, Oden organizes the material systematically and conveying in modern language what Wesley taught in a way that people can clearly understand. For example, the first book in the series covers God and Providence, and it looks at God’s attributes, creation of man, theodicy, original sin, the role of experience, idolatry, etc. Oden breaks down Wesley’s teachings on these doctrines in easy-to-read chunks with helpful headings to give us a heads up on what we’re about to read. Oden also makes us aware of the specific Wesley texts where these teachings are found.
My own interest in Wesley’s teachings center on God’s providence, so the first volume is very enlightening concerning Wesley’s position on human free will, the free-will defense, and God’s foreknowledge. However, the second volume Christ and Salvation continues looking into Wesley’s theological stances concerning predestination, Christ’s work, justification by faith, and perhaps what Wesley is known most for, Sanctification.
Both volumes are spiritually enlightening as well as intellectually stimulating. They’ll surely benefit anyone interested in theology and specifically provide clarity on Wesley’s own thoughts.
Review copies provided by Zondervan