Download Aldersgate and Athens: John Wesley and the Foundations of by William J. Abraham PDF

By William J. Abraham

In his day, John Wesley provided very important insights on tips on how to receive wisdom of God that bears fruit in our personal occasions. As finest Wesleyan pupil William Abraham indicates, Wesley's most famed religious adventure is rife with philosophical importance and implications. all through, Abraham brings Wesley's paintings into fruitful dialog with probably the most vital paintings in modern epistemology. Lyrically and succinctly he explores the simultaneous epistemological quest and religious pilgrimage that have been principal to Wesley and the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century. In so doing, he presents a discovered and eye-opening meditation upon the connection among cause and religion.

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Additional info for Aldersgate and Athens: John Wesley and the Foundations of Christian Belief

Sample text

Middleton’s strategy took the form of refuting all claims to extraordinary spiritual phenomena across the whole history of the church, right up to the New Testament period. He deployed a kind of nuclear strike that would in one stroke eliminate supernatural phenomena in the history of the church. His nuclear strike took the form of an argument against historical testimony. Wesley accurately summarized the move in this way: “The credibility of facts lies open to the trial of our reason and senses.

As Paul puts the issue succinctly: “But by the grace of God I am what I am. . ”4 The best explanation is furnished by the avowals of the agent that this is not his or her doing, it is the grace of God. In the absence of a better explanation, we have evidence of the agency of God. But why should we accept this description and explanation? Perhaps the saint is lying to us. However, this will not work simply because we would not grant the initial description of sanctity if the person involved was a liar.

Knowledge of God is not a spectator sport. ”23 Hence, while we must personally seek God and give up any idea of earning God’s favor, God is sovereign and will come to us in a way that meets our moral and spiritual condition. Esoteric philosophical reasoning may take us away from God rather than toward God. Moreover, while God is perfectly capable of performing signs and miracles, these may entertain us rather than bring us to faith. What we need most is the presence of God’s morally transforming love; and this is the central epistemic, or evidential, foundation for filial knowledge of God.

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