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Lecture 1: John Wesley's Practical Theology

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John Wesley did theology in service to the church in mission. Brunner and Tillich are theologians that lived recently that developed a systematic approach. Wesley refers to his study of theology as practical divinity. He views it as participatory so that the truths of Scripture are actualized in practice and in community, not just an individual intellectual exercise. Wesley emphasized the doctrines of sin and salvation in his study and preaching by addressing how you become a Christian and how you remain a Christian. Wesley is described as being a, “conjunctive” theologian, which means he has a, “both-and” approach  as compared to an, “either-or” approach to theological ideas. He is looking for balance. Free grace is the work of God alone. Wesley describes cooperant grace as, “God works, therefore you can work; God works, therefore you must work.” Grace is the normative context of the moral law of God. Wesley teaches that we relate to God by both free grace and cooperant grace.


I. Was John Wesley a Systematic Theologian?

A. John Wesley did theology in service to the church in mission

B. John Wesley's theology is not characterized by a grand systematic principle

1. Participatory

2. Context of Christian community

3. Doctrines of sin and salvation

C. Style of Wesley's theology

1. Conjunctive theologian

2. Examples of Wesley's conjunctions

3. Axial theme of Wesley's theology is holiness and grace

II. Holiness as Holy Love

A. Love is not equal to self-will or sentimentality

B. The gospel is the love of God in the context of the moral law of God

III. Grace is the Second Part of Holy Love

A. Conjunctions of free grace and cooperant grace

B. Grace as the work of God alone

C. Grace as the undeserved favor of God and empowerment of the Holy Spirit

D. Receiving grace and responding to grace

IV. Questions and Answer

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