I just finished my second seminary class at Asbury: John Wesley's Theology for Today. I've come to learn that it probably wasn't the best class to take as my second class – it's an upper level theology class. It's been a great learning experience involving a several of books about Wesley and his theology and an anthology of 52 sermons. It's kept me slightly overwhelmed most of the fall – especially since I slacked on doing work during the weeks of Innovate at GCC, Adobe MAX, and our vacation in Santa Fe. It left me with a lot of catching up to do over the past month. I completed the last of the reading last night and turned my final in yesterday morning. I'll post my sermon outlines at some point in the future, nearly 50 pages covering 16 sermons.
Having grown up in Methodist churches I had some familiarity with Wesley, but certainly not to the extent it was covered in this class. Here are the key takeaway points from this semester:
- Wesley didn't have a systematic theology, rather a practical one. Ultimately his theology comes from his sermons, correspondence, and other writing. It's assembled from the body of his work rather than from a single piece (result, a lot of reading to understand it thoroughly)
- The practical theology of Wesley really does have a lot of application today. It teaches of forgiveness, redepmtion, and transformation through grace given without regard to our works or merit.
- Wesley was insanely concerned with Scripture. I didn't really realize this before the class. His theology isn't arbitrary, it is directly tied to Scripture and how it applies to our lives.
- It all boils down to love. Love for God and neighbor.
If you're looking for a good book on Wesley's theology I really liked The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace by Ken Collins.