Wesleyan Theology I - Lesson 4

Sources of Human Knowledge

Two sources for knowledge are revelation and reason. Empiricism teaches  that you get knowledge from your senses. Rationalism teaches that you get knowledge from the operation of your mind. Kant said that the mind makes a formal contribution to knowledge by organizing it.  All knowledge begins with experience but it does not all arise out of experience. Reason can only take us so far. Humans are the only species that worship God.

Kenneth J. Collins
Wesleyan Theology I
Lesson 4
Watching Now
Sources of Human Knowledge


A. Empiricism

B. Rationalism

C. Immanuel Kant

1. Concepts without percepts are blind

2. Distinction between phenomena and noumena

D. The problem of reason in relation to the things of God

1. Revelation in nature

2. Prevenient Grace

3. Freedom

4. Revelation in scripture

5. Revelation is knowledge


A. The Bible was written over a long period of time by a variety of authors

B. The Bible is divine revelation


A. Creation

B. Redemption



A. Significant historical events

B. Distinction between humans and animals



  • For the first 5 centuries after Christ, the theology of the Christian Church was ecumenical. Since then, you have differences in Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox theology, and then the Reformation with different Protestant traditions. The Church has a history of promoting and preserving knowledge in all fields of study. Ideological secularization is characterizing theological ideas as irrelevant and not academic. Structural secularization is the process of marginalizing the subject of theology in the academy. Both revelation and reason are both important elements in the discussion of philosophical and theological subjects. God is transcendant, which means that he is distinct from everything that has been made. God is immanent, which means that the Spirit of God can be communicated in time and space through media, but is not the media itself. 

  • God can only be fully know by revelation. However, we can know some things about God by observation and reason. Thomas Aquinas gave 5 reasons that supports the idea of the existence of God. We can perceive motion and there must be something that caused the motion. Nothing can come from nothing, so something must exist at all times, which is God. Humans are contingent beings, but God’s essence is to exist. There are different degrees of goodness and complexity in organisms, so there must be a being of a highest form of good. Design and purpose must be at work because it’s not reasonable that the universe resulted from chance. Dembski also estimates that the mathematical odds for everything happening from a single cell at less than 1 in 10 to the 150th power. 

  • Humans are both material and spiritual and have the capacity to experience transcendence. Without God, you are describing a diminished view of humanity. John Calvin says that wisdom is the knowledge of God and the knowledge of ourselves. Revelation of God comes from Scripture (the most important), tradition, reason and experience. Theology should be participatory and result in transformation. …Wesley’s theology describe in two words would be, “holiness” and “grace.” Wesley’s theology is conjunctive. Holy love is a tension. Holiness results in separation and love results in community. Wesley’s view of grace includes both cooperant grace and free grace. 

  • Two sources for knowledge are revelation and reason. Empiricism teaches  that you get knowledge from your senses. Rationalism teaches that you get knowledge from the operation of your mind. Kant said that the mind makes a formal contribution to knowledge by organizing it.  All knowledge begins with experience but it does not all arise out of experience. Reason can only take us so far. Humans are the only species that worship God.

  • Scripture is unique, the word of God and inspired by God. Scripture is the source of truth and provides a norm for truth. Wesley gives four arguments for inspiration. They are miracles, prophecy, goodness of the doctrine and the moral character of the penmen. Characteristics of Scripture include the sufficiency, clarity and wholeness of Scripture. 

  • Univocal refers to a one-to-one correspondence between the language we use and the reality of God. Equivocal refers to the idea that human language does not correspond directly to describing God, so it acknowledges ambiguity and more than one interpretation. Analogical refers to language used to describe God using  analogy. “Via Negativa” is describing characteristics that God is “not.” “Via Positiva” is describing a characteristic that is true of God, using analogy. Aseity means that God’s essence  is to exist. Eternity means that God transcends the limitations of time-space. There is not a space where God is not. Omniscience of God means that God knows all things. Omnipotence of God means that God is all powerful. Once God creates, there is an order in creation, and God works within the framework he created.  Immutability means that God’s essence does not change. Leslie Weatherhead describes three aspects of the will of God as the intentional will of God, circumstantial will of God and the ultimate will of God. Wesley describes God’s holiness as purity and simplicity. The wrath of God can be described as God’s unending determined opposition to evil.

  • Triunity describe God’s nature. The concept of the Trinity was foreshadowed in the Old Testament and taught explicitly in the New Testament. Father, Son and Holy Spirit are all active in creation, baptism of Jesus and resurrection of Jesus. The Trinity is three distinct persons with the same essence. The distinctiveness has to do, not with their nature or essence, but with the relations. Person is different than an individual. According to Wesley, the Trinity is an invitation to participate in the deeper life of God. The gospel is the universal love of God, manifested in the person of Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Holiness apart from love can result in legalism. Love apart from holiness can result in sentimentality and wishful thinking. 

  • God created humans in his image so we have both a physical and spiritual nature. Sometimes biologists make statements about evolution that are outside of what can be examined and verified by science. According to young earth creationism, creation took place in 6, 24 hour days and the earth is about 6,000 years old. According to theistic evolution, once the process of evolution began, no special supernatural intervention was required for it to continue. The opposite of a naturalistic explanation for life is not supernatural, but intelligent causes. Intelligent design makes information theory and mathematical probability integral to its overall approach. Irreducible complexity argues against gradualism in the evolutionary process. 

  • God freely created the world and chooses to govern within the framework of the created order. The moral law is consistent with the character of God. God uses the moral law to convict the world of sin, bring us to Christ and keep us alive. Natural law is a body of moral principles that can be discerned by reason. Natural law is the will of God expressed in a created order. Deep conscience refers to the interior witness to the foundational principles of the moral law. Four characteristics of our moral design that are evident at the level of the species are interdependence, complementarity, spontaneous order and subsidiarity. 

  • Adam and Eve were created, not just as physical beings, but also spiritual beings. The image of God includes relationality as well as the capacity for rational thought. Wesley describes it as a natural image, political image and moral image. Wesley says that the natural image of God means that we have physical bodies and also a spiritual nature. Humanity is the conduit for God’s blessing of the rest of creation. 

  • The characteristics that give a human personhood belong to another order of explanation than that explored by biology. Sartre, who is an existentialist, says that existence precedes essence. In other words, each person determines their own nature by the choices they make. Others would say that your choices determine your character but that’s separate from your nature. Postmodernism teaches that the self is only a social and linguistic construct. Some scientists have argued that humans do not have a soul, but that cannot be proved or disproved by the scientific method. If God is dead, humanity is dead. Human beings are more than the social groups in which they participate. Humans are animals, but not merely animals.

  • Lucifer brought sin into the world with his sin of pride. The sin of Adam and Eve was unbelief. Wesley describes  unbelief as the perversion of the relationship between God and humanity, a lack of faith in God, resulting in alienation. He distinguishes three types of death as physical death, spiritual death and eternal death. Satan was self-tempted when he sinned. Adam and Eve were tempted by something external to them, Satan.  Wesley sees Adam as a representative of all humans, so all humans inherit Adam’s sin nature. 

  • There are orders of creation and preservation, like family and marriage, that can mediate the grace of God. God sustains creation, and also relates to people as persons. The three-fold circle of divine providence is the outer ring of the whole race of humans, the second smaller circle is all that are called believers and those who profess to be believers, the innermost circle only the true disciples of Jesus who worship God in Spirit and in truth. Wesley doesn’t deny that bad things happen to good people, both from other people and from events in nature. If God eliminated all evil, it would require eliminating freedom, which would also eliminate love. 

  • Wesley describes total depravity as "a want of original righteousness," and also in terms of a "natural propensity to sin.” Luther, Calvin and George Croft Cell agree. Eastern Orthodox teaches that Adam and Eve were not so fallen as to be unable to respond to any subsequent proffered grace. Wesley teaches the total depravity of humans and the sovereign act of God in salvation. He uses prevenient grace in two distinct ways. The “narrow” sense refers to all those degrees of grace that come before justifying and sanctifying grace. The “broad” use views all grace as prevenient and emphasizes the prior activity of God because he is always ahead of us and takes the initiative. Prevenient grace can be understood as both cooperant and free grace. 

  • God acts preveniently to give humans revelation by communicating his divine attributes. God places in humans a moral law that is expressive of the image of God. The Holy Spirit restored to all humans a certain measure of free-will. Original sin makes it impossible for people to respond to God on their own without God restoring their personhood, which they need to be able to respond to God’s grace. God doesn’t do it in a way that overruns a person’s personality.

  • The incarnation is a foundational teaching of the Christian faith. Since Jesus claimed to be God, it’s not an option that he could be just a good person. Paul teaches that Jesus has the same nature as God and that Jesus created all things. Ebionites rejected the divinity and virgin birth of Jesus. Adoptionism taught that Christ was a good man that was penetrated by God’s nature at his baptism and becomes divine, which treats divinity as an acquired attribute. Arias taught that Christ was not coeternal with the Father. He was more than mere man but he was created so he wasn’t equal with God. The first ecumenical council of Nicea in 325 affirms the divinity of Christ in response to the teaching of Arias. Wesley affirmed that Jesus existed as one person with both a human and divine nature. To affirm the essential equality of Christ with God the Father, Wesley often used the terms, “the only-begotten Son of God,” and “the Word of God.” The Son of God is the creator and sustainer of all things and the redeemer of humanity. The difference in the Godhead is relations, not nature. 

  • 1 John 4:2 describes the incarnation as Jesus coming to earth in the flesh. Jesus is also referred to as the Son of David in the Gospels. Jesus was able to become the mediator between God and humanity because his divinity meant that he was not a part of the problem of sin and his humanity meant that he could fully identify with humans. This is a unique and distinct role that can only be accomplished by Jesus, the God-human. Jesus suffered physically and emotionally and then died and was resurrected to new life. This qualifies him to be priest, a mediator between man and God. The title, Son of Man also emphasizes the humanity of Jesus. Apolliniarism taught that Jesus had a human body and soul, but a divine mind rather than a human mind. Docetism taught that Christ is pure spirit and only seemed to have a body. Gnostics view the body as lowly and the mind is considered higher. Monophysitism taught that the divine and human nature of Jesus was mixed into one nature. Nestorianism teaches that the divine and human natures of Jesus were sharply separated. Wesley viewed Jesus as the expression of the God of holy love, maintaining divinity while becoming human.

  • As a prophet, Jesus proclaimed the coming kingdom of God. Messiah in Hebrew has the same meaning as Christ in Greek. It means, “the anointed one.” The baptism of Jesus was the beginning of his public ministry.  When Satan tempted Jesus, the temptation was real because of the humanity of Jesus. It was necessary for Jesus to experience temptation. Jesus as a preacher, went from place to place, proclaiming the kingdom of God. As a teacher, Jesus taught in the synagogues and the listeners described him as teaching with authority. Christ as a lawgiver is seeking to communicate wisdom to humanity. This moral law is connected to God’s character. Jesus performed miracles to heal the sick, bring people back from the dead and demonstrate his power over nature. Christ as priest, became the mediator to bridge the gap between God and humanity. At the cross, what the holiness of God required, the love of God provided. Theories of the atonement are the best attempts of thinking about how to express the atoning work of Jesus. 

  • Penal substitution asserts that atonement primarily involves Jesus’ taking the sinner’s place (‘substitution’) in bearing the penalty (hence ‘penal’) for his or her sin. That penalty was no less than God’s wrath and the sinner’s death. God’s wrath is his unswerving opposition to evil. The moral influence theory teaches that without the fall, that amazing instance of the love of God to humanity would have never existed. Penal substitution and moral influence theory complement each other. In the governmental view, the death of Christ illustrates the punishment which sin may attract and therefore serves good government by acting as a deterrent. Jesus raised from the dead into an immortal body. Only life can give meaning to human existence. Death destroys all meaning. The first time Christ came as a redeemer. As king, Christ is coming again to rule . Three roles of king are giving laws, restoring people to the image of God and reigning in all believing hearts.

  • The personhood of the Holy Spirit is revealed by the roles of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told the disciples that he would send an advocate. The Holy Spirit is an advocate, teacher, proclaims truth, provides direction and assists in prayer. Four characteristics of the Holy Spirit that indicate his deity are eternity, omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. The Filioque controversy is a difference between how the Eastern Orthodox and Western Traditions describe the nature of the Holy Spirit.

  • At the beginning of creation, the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. The Holy Spirit is the author of the Bible and brings understanding as people read it. The Holy Spirit makes effective the completed work of Christ and gives us the power to live out the Christian life. The Holy Spirit is personal, not an impersonal force. The believers received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost after Christ ascended to heaven. The gifts of the Spirit are for the common good of building up the body of Christ. We should be cooperating with the work of the Holy Spirit in our individual lives and his influence should be evident in how we interact corporately.

 John Wesley's beliefs understood from an historical and theological perspective

Dr. Ken Collins
Wesleyan Theology I
Sources of Human Knowledge
Lesson Transcript


Yes. This second major lecture as you just learn concerns, revelation, inspiration and authority as testaments to a God of holy love. And under that broad heading, we can, first of all, raise the question what are the sources of human knowledge? And already in the past, the past lecture, we've been talking about two principal organs for human knowledge or conduits, if you will, of revelation and reason. We talked briefly about the work of Emil Bruner in the 20th century, his theology, revelation and reason. There you see that the two fonts or the work of John Paul, Pope, John Paul, the second in his day at Rocio. But then we can also talk about the work of John Wesley, who also resonated quite well with these two channels of understanding organs of knowledge, especially in his work. Notice the title and EARNEST Appeal to Men of Reason and Religion. And then after that, as if that were not enough, he wrote, A father appealed to men of reason and religion. Now, when we think of the powers of reason, we normally think of two particular powers playing out. We think of, on the one hand, empirical studies. We could fill that out with the great British empiricists Locke and Barclay and HUME. But empiricism basically argues that what we know we have learned from the senses that we get knowledge through the senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell, that sort of thing. AAM we also know that in this area the philosopher John Locke denied innate ideas for him. Any knowledge that we acquired would have to come through the senses and experiences. Now there is a truth to empiricism of course as as we'll see. But there is another approach to human knowledge that was taken by another set of philosophers known as rationalist people like Descartes, people like live nets.


And they believe that knowledge came through an examination of the operations of the mind, knowledge through the operations of the mind itself. For example, Descartes has been famous for his statement. Cogito Ergo. So I think, therefore I am. The North American version is I shop. Therefore I am. I think therefore I am. Some would say, however, even there I mean, Descartes is trying to be radically, methodologically skeptical. But even with his cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am. Some have argued he's assumed too much. He's assumed the AI. And indeed, today, in the 21st century, many people. Yuval Harari. Another example would deny that there is an ongoing AI that is a self that organizes experience. They would argue, rather what you have is simply consciousness. There is consciousness. There is not anything holding up that consciousness, organizing it in an ongoing way. So it does raise some interesting questions with these two approaches. One say we get knowledge through the senses. The other saying we get knowledge through the operations of the mind, through the exercise of reason. You've got a problem. And that problem was basically resolved, if you will, by Emmanuel Kahn. And that makes Emmanuel Kahn's philosophy therefore very important. And what he realized was going on with this debate between the empiricists and the rationalist is that we're dealing with concepts, concepts which organize, and we're dealing with perception, perception, you know, which are the data, if you will, that are received by the senses. And so Kant had a rather pithy phrase in order to express the wisdom of each. He said concepts without precepts are empty, concepts without precepts are empty. So in that sense, he would be siding with a John Locke who denied in innate ideas.


But then, on the other hand, he said, perceptions without concepts are blind. So then he would be critical of someone like a Locke who would argue that all our knowledge comes from experience because you can have percept, but if you don't have the concepts to organize them, you're blind. Okay. And so the chief contribution that that. Immanuel Kant is making here is that the mind itself is is is organizing knowledge. Let me give you an example. That would be the best way to do it. Let's say we're in London and we're walking by Big Ben and we hear that it has struck ten and the sky is dark, so we know it's 10:00 at night. How did we come to the knowledge of tennis? Well, there has to be the percept. There has to be perception in terms of sound. But that alone won't do it. The mind must organize the sound, so the mind is going to make a contribution here. We're going to hear the sounding of the first gong. We're going to remember it, then we're going to carry it over. And what do keep doing that until we get to ten and then we're going to finally realize it's stopped. And so we say, Aha, it's 10:00. And so by means of that example, we see that in one sense, Locke was wrong. Precepts are not enough. Precepts are necessary. We have to hear the sound of the clock, but those sounds have to be organized. A dog, for example, never hears tennis. Never. They hear the sounds, they hear the basic sounds and range of big them. But they don't organize it quite the same way as a human being does. And so what lock is what conscious basically doing here is saying that the mind makes a formal contribution to knowledge that sets without concepts.


Organizing them are empty. Okay. Now this becomes very religiously significant because can't made another distinction. He made a distinction between phenomenal and numinous phenomenological knowledge and then numerological knowledge. What do I mean by that? What would be nominal? Nominal would simply correspond to that which is perceived through the senses phenomena. So we could perceive a sunset waves, a whole bunch of things, any knowledge that we get through the senses that would be considered phenomena. However, when we get to this area of numenor and the current numenor would be. Up here, if you will. And then phenomena. Would be down here, if you will. And once he made this distinction, his philosophy becomes religiously significant. And we have to have a response or a dialog in this sense, because what does he list in Newman? Newman are those things that are not amenable to perception. They're not amenable to empirical proof, right. And so their their existence or no will be judged differently. They're not phenomenon like heat is a phenomenon like weight, size, shape. All these other things can be phenomena logically discern what does he list as Newman? Um, he lists three things. He lists three things. Self world. And then God. And. He was perhaps influenced by the writings of David HUME when it came to this issue of self. Because the court would argue that we never have a direct perception of the self. We use that language, but that language is simply a way of organizing lots of different experiences. Matter of fact, David HUME said, Any time I go looking for a self, I never find it, never find it. I always find some perception of society, of tiredness, of whatever. But I never find the self that's holding up those things and can't basically agree.


He basically agreed, said, Any time I go looking for a self, I never find it. I always find some sort of consciousness, perception, etc.. Then in terms of the world concept, no one has direct experience of the world because the world again, as a concept, we are experience a part of what makes up a totality of the world. No person could ever experience the totality by itself. The totality of world is an organizing concept that we use to refer to all the many activities that are happening right now. Okay. And in the same way, I can't believe that God was not an object of perception. God is not a phenomenon, that God is numinous in that respect, transcendent. And so we hear people talk about the agnosticism of court. That court was an agnostic, meaning that God is not phenomena and cannot be phenomena logically ascertained. Well, it may be helpful to understand God as numenor in that God is not an object in the world, as we said earlier, a thing in the world, the thing in time space an object and therefore is not amenable to ready empirical experience. Just as we can't find the self when we go looking for it. So there actually may be a little something to what God says, but nevertheless one can't did his prac his critique of practical reason. When he began to consider the moral life, he postulated God and brought God back in in order to bring integrity to the moral order. So I think when people argue that Kohn was an agnostic, given what he wrote in critique of Pure Reason, when he's focusing largely on theoretical reason, I think that may be a bit much because I think Carl was a theist, at least a deus in affirming the reality of God, but he does so to lend integrity to practical reason, meaning the area of moral judgment.


Because without the appeal to God, calling things good or evil would lack the kind of significance that can't believe they should have. We also have to realize that as someone like Emmanuel Can't explores what reason can do, what reason can do in the area of God or theology. You know, things do become problematic. So, for example, Can't wrote a book entitled Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone. That's the title of the book, Religion Within the Limits of Reason Alone. How much would you be able to discern and understand of God? Well, not much, actually. Not much. Because you would need something more. You you'd understand a few things for sure, but you need more than that. If you want to understand the reality of God. Part of the problem would be for rational beings. Is that the sin of humanity? The fact that we're falling beings will affect reason. Reason is always self-interested reason. And the reason we exercise because we're sinners may distort. We may engage in distortion. Okay. And I think it was Reinhold Niebuhr who wrote that, and I'm paraphrasing here that kings used courtiers, like other people, use reason to get what they want, so to speak. That reason is always it has a self, a purpose behind it, a self-interest behind it. Postmodernism has made that case in the 21st century. Reason is never quite as rational as it should be when it comes to our own interests. We're never so quite impartial. And that's the drag, the self curvature of sin. And so we need to have that on the table as well. Revelation. And here we're referring to scripture. And if we take a look at Romans, Romans chapter one seems to assume that human beings should be able to use their God given reason and reason is a gift from God.


It is a gift from God that humans should be able to use their God given reason and be able to perhaps in a in a rudimentary way, reflect upon God, reflect upon the reality and the being of God. And so Paul talks about in Romans one, the revelation in the things that have been made should be discerned by reason. And because there is this revelation in the things that have been made and reason can reflect on it. Even sinful reason can reflect upon it are human beings are without excuse. Human beings are without excuse. I mean, have you ever considered it? It's almost overwhelming as as as Pascal had had written earlier. I mean, just the extent the size of the universe in which we live, how how large it is. I mean, I read an article the other day about a satellite that we sent up in 1977. I think it was I hope I get this piece. I think it was Voyager one, maybe Voyager two. And it's now getting to the place beyond our solar system, getting to the place of interstellar space. And and that is simply getting to the edge of our solar system. And to talk about to reach the first star, close star, which would be serious, would be one of them. I mean, it's like 486,000 years more. And just the size of the universe in which we live is baffling. Is baffling, especially in light of all that we know of importance that's happening here. Now, did you realize it took nine and a half years of traveling at 35,000 miles an hour for the new Discovery probe to reach the the now no longer planet but the major planet, whatever they're calling it. Now, Pluto took nine and a half years going 35,000 miles an hour.


And interstellar space is much beyond that. And this we're just talking about the local neighborhood. Should the immensity of the universe, does it bespeak of something you know, greater than ourselves? Are we allowed that intuition? Has science wiped that away from us? That sense of wonder, especially when we are limited to such a small planet and all the meeting that's happening on this planet in the face of this great, great and large void. It's interesting. It's interesting to be sure. Now, here is where this little Wesleyan boy is going to start to introduce prevention grants, prevention grace, which will be new for some theological traditions. This is not a party or tradition, even though we share the same Augustinian understanding of the rise of evil. And that. But Wesleyan is going back to John Wesley and his Anglican tradition have an understanding what is called prevention. GRACE And by prevention grace, what I mean and here I'll speak very generally first prevention grace is literally that grace which goes before. And so when you think of. When you think of prevent, we write the word pre. Vignette we think of pre literally that you know going before the vignette here you know coming from the rough seas are very very Becky I came I saw I conquered so literally that which comes before and proving your grace is one of John Wesley's favored way to show that God is always ahead of us God is always ahead of us. God has already acted even before we are aware that God has acted okay. And in the face of human evil, in the face of the full God must act and God will act if humanity is to be redeemed. Because they they're utterly fallen, totally corrupted, utterly depraved.


So God does. So what does God do? God gives conscience. God gives conscience. And so Wesley's going to argue that conscience is not created by society, which is how many would argue conscience arises today. Although I grew up on the streets of Brooklyn, who they very some guys, these folk had no conscience at all. It wasn't socially and scripted. They didn't care what society thought about anything. So conscience is given even before we're aware of it. Conscience as a faculty will have a standard within it that is operative. And so Wesley will argue that God sovereignly gives knowledge of the moral law a sense, a sense of right and wrong, a sense of goodness and evil of it is a certain measure of the knowledge of the moral law, which for Wesley is a copy of the Divine Mind. And so they'll have conscience. They'll have a norm that's operative within the conscience. That is the moral law. And they will have we've just been talking about Romans one. They will have and should have knowledge of the basic attributes of God. So Wesley's going to argue, and this is universal, this is for all people, for all people that they should have a sense, much like Paul is saying, from the things that have been made, a sense that there is something greater than themselves. And that sense itself is a species of grace, a species of privilege and grace, which has been sovereignly given the creature by by God. And then lastly here, and this gets distorted, so I may have to spend a little time with it. It gets misunderstood, especially outside the Wesleyan tradition, that a measure of freedom is given to all people, not just Christians, but to all people.


Now, there, what kind of freedom are we talking about here? You know, there's a book out there by Robert Childs Theological Transition in American Methodism, where it talks about how Wesley expressed this freedom in terms of free grace. We've been talking about free grace earlier, which is a gift, but it gets misunderstood as free will. In other words, a human capacity. The focus is on me, on my will, what I choose, what I desire. That's actually a departure from what Wesley had taught. This freedom is it is a measure of freedom. But what kind of freedom is it? It's the freedom to receive the grace of God by means of what you can do otherwise. Okay, So let's let's give an example how this might play out. Do we hold do we hold people who, even though they're alcoholics? And they know they're alcoholics. They pick up a drink, they get drunk, they go out on the roads and they kill someone. Do we hold them responsible and accountable for their behavior? The answer is yes, we do. And we argue that they could have done otherwise. How could they have done otherwise? Well, a Wesleyan is going to argue this way. We know their will is corrupted and we even understand what's being said about the disease model in 12 step programs. We get all that. We understand that. We know their will is corrupted. We know they want to drink, but they don't want to drink. There are house divided against themselves, but here comes the but they have nevertheless. Freedom enough to receive the grace of God by means of which they can do otherwise. You see the difference? You see the difference. One is freedom as human autonomy. Oh, I can choose to drink and drive or no, I can choose.


If I drink, everything will go okay or no. Well, no, you can't because you will is corrupted. And that's where the disease model will get it. But. But are you free or not to pick up that first drink? Are you free to receive the grace of God? The answer is yes. Can we hold you accountable for that? Yes, we can. And we will. We will. And so you have to understand what's meant by the freedom here. It's freedom to. Received the grace of God. Now, I'm convinced in my own theology you can fill out your own theologies that wherever bondage is, are broken, like someone, for example, getting free of alcohol. It is the grace of God that has done it, whether that's been acknowledged or not. But God is so good. God is so graceful and loving that God breaks bondage says even when people don't acknowledge that God has done it. That's how good God is. Okay. But the fact that someone, through proving your grace has gotten free from, let's say, alcohol or heroin or sex addiction or whatever you fill in the blanks doesn't mean they're redeemed. We rejoice with them. We're happy. You know that, you know, you're off Internet pornography or you're you know, you're sober. But there are loads of people. Never had problems with Internet pornography, never had problems with drink. And they need Jesus Christ, too, because they're sinners. Okay. And so there are actually lots of things here we have to keep clear and keep straight. And Wesley's theology actually does a wonderful job of it with this understanding of prevention grace, which is given sovereignly even before the sinner is aware of it, and thereby brings the sinner to an addressable state and addressable state whereby they can receive the further graces of of salvation.


Now, Calvin, in terms of this knowledge of God in the things that have been made that we've talked about also in terms of Wesley and his understanding of privilege and grace, Calvin talked about a census divinity, which is helpful that there exist in human lives and indeed by natural instinct, some sense of deity we hold to be beyond dispute since God himself, Calvin writes, To prevent any man from pretending ignorance has endured all men with some idea of his godhead. And so Calvin talks about a census of any tortoise. This, of course, would also be a species of grace. Wesley ends do this in terms of knowledge of the basic attributes of God. Well, the condition of humanity, steeped as it is in sin, having a reason that is in some sense is corrupted, corrupted with self-interest, cries out for special revelation. In other words, a word that we could not have told ourselves. And so revelation always means the revealing of something that has been hidden, something that has been hidden. Some mystery is going to be unveiled. And the biblical revelation is the manifestation of something that has been concealed, and it henceforth will be revealed. And and so this is one of the first things we say about Revelation. Calvin thought that revelation was necessary given the fullness of humanity as a kind of spectacles, glasses. So in other words, if your vision is not good and you don't have your glasses on and you walk around, you can't see very clearly revelation therefore being the spectacles are necessary to put on so that we can see things more clearly. And so Calvin writes in the institute, When aided by glasses, we begin to read distinctly so Scripture gathering together the impressions of deity, which till then lay confused in our minds.


The glasses dissipate the darkness and show us. The true God, clearly. Okay. And so scripture is going to be necessary. Revelation is going to be necessary beyond reason. And part of the reason why Scripture is going to be necessary is because of the fall in this of humanity. And we need to be told things we would never tell ourselves, especially that we're sinners and that we cannot try as we might, we cannot save ourselves. We cannot solve the problem of ourselves because we ourselves are the problem. So there's not the possibility there of ever resolving it. How many how many prophets out there? See, I think there are a lot of false prophets out there in the church today. I'm just being quite frank with you. And here's why I call them false prophets. And you listen to my reasoning here and you see if I'm on target with Scripture, with these false prophets out there, evil is always external to them, evil is always the other. It's never them. Surprise, surprise. Well, that's unlike a biblical prophet. And I think of Isaiah the calling of Isaiah as a prophet. And what does he say? Whoa, woe is me, for I am an unclean man and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. There's a prophet of God. There's a prophet of God, not only someone who discerns evil, but knows their own evil. They know their own evil. Okay? And so we need revelation because revelation is going to tell us things about ourselves that we would never tell ourselves because we would we would not allow that kind of self-knowledge to emerge because it would undermine sinful pride. It would undermine sinful pride. Okay. And so Calvin writes again in the institute's four.


If we reflect how prone the human mind is to lapse into forgetfulness of God, how readily inclined to every kind of error. How bent. Every now and then on devising new and fictitious religions. To make such a depository of doctrine as would secure it from either perishing or by neglect. And so Calvin is talking here about what the sinful soul will try to do. Apart from the grace of God revelation. Then what is it? It's knowledge. Revelation is knowledge. It brings to light what previously had been hidden. It has to do with a mystery that is now being made known to all people. It is preeminently concerned with God. God as the Creator of the universe and God also as a redeemer of humanity and a Lord of history. And so Revelation then is concerned with historical events in the life of Israel and then the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And this revelation is going to reveal to us. It's going to reveal that we are sinners and some folk are not going to take to that revelation very kindly, because in their eyes, it is simply a negative word. Let me tell you a little story. I know of a divinity school student who picked up John Wesley's 52 standards. One time, read them through cover to cover and then said, I'm going to quietly put those aside. And she never looked at them again. Why was that so? Well, in reading, John Wesley's 52 standard sermons, she realized that she was found wanting. She was found wanting, that she had fallen short of what those sermons were describing. I know the experience of another person, a man who read those same 52 standard sermons. Oh, yeah. He saw the falling short.


He saw, you know, the sin, the condemnation, all of that, the judgment. But he saw something else. He saw the promises of God for deliverance and for renewal. And so he was happy to people both reading the same body of literature. They're reading Wesley's 52 standard sermons. One says, I'm done with these because they revealed me to be a sinner. I don't like that knowledge. I want to think about nicer, happier things. The other one, reading the same sermon saying, Yeah, they judge me. Yes, I fall short of the glory of God. But you know what? I'm happy because I realize I don't have to stay here where I'm at. God is promising something better. Something better than what I have right now. And so we speak of Scripture as revelation, and we speak of it as a word of humanity, as well as the word of God. The word of humanity. The Word of God. You know, we've been talking about conjunctions before. Well, here's going to be a very nice conjunction for us. We're going to talk about scripture, humanity, and the word of God. First of all, Scripture as the word of you, man in the Bible is unlike the Koran. The Bible is also unlike the Book of Mormon. How so? Because Scripture, as the word of humanity, was written by real flesh and blood people in many different contexts, many authors. And over a very long length of time, the book of Koran came to us when Muhammad received the recitation, perhaps over a span of 20 years or so. And in terms of the Book of Mormon came even more quickly than that revealed by the Angel Moroni. The Bible is unlike that. The Bible comes to us through the warping proof of life of many people, many authors, over a lengthy period of time.


You know, we think of the Old Testament, we think of the New Testament as well. And so we can freely affirm the Bible as a human book in some sense, as as literature. But in a certain sense, the Bible. Well, let me just finish this point that I want to underscore, because sometimes this is forgotten that the Bible is a book like other books in a certain sense, in a certain sense and in the ways that I've been describing. In other words, it's not an oracle. It did not come down on plates of reformed Egyptian, that sort of thing, in a very short period of time. It is a collection of works from numerous authors over a great length of time. Okay. But I want to say something else that the Bible is not simply like any other book. It is distinct. It is unique. Why do I say that? I say that now, in terms of this second conjunction I want, and it is the Bible as the Word of God that it is genuine revelation to us. Words that we could not have told ourselves beyond human capacity. It must be revealed to us by God, and that the Bible is a distinct book. A distinct book. And I think one of the things that can point to its in brief nature, you know, its inspired nature is just what happens when people read the Bible. All sorts of transformations take place in their lives that don't take place when people read other kinds of literature. And then why is it that week in, week out? It is this book, not any other book that outsells every other book you say. So once again, The New York Times has got it wrong. Does that constitute fake news as well? May be.


May be. It constitutes this. It's distortion because the Bible outsells every other book. I've checked this, checked the stats. Week in, week out. It is the best seller of all times. It never makes the top ten in the New York Times Book Review. And they say it's religion as if that itself is enough to exclude it. Well, I think you have to be accurate. You have to actually present what people are actually buying and reading and the numbers. They do not lie. I think that very engagement with the human community, why the Bible continues to outsell all the books bespeaks of its divine nature, that it is the word of God. It is a word that we could not tell ourselves. Okay. Now let's look at some key events in the Old Testament, which bespeaks of creation as well as redemption. And we first start out the very words in the Bible state. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Okay. Genesis one one. Now, this is interesting. When you look out the windows here in Washington, what do you see? What do you say? You would describe a number of different things, and then if you were to speak more globally, you might say you might say, Oh, I see nature. Okay, Now do you see more than nature? I hope for the Christian community you would sit, you'd nod your head yes, because when I look out, I do see nature, I do see the fauna, I do see the trees and the grass and all of that. But I also say, what do I see? I see creation. I see creation. Do you realize how important it is when you look out upon nature to see creation? See, that is a theological statement for sure.


It is a theological perspective and it comes out of the revelation of God. Comes out of the revelation of God. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Now there are people today who say God created nothing. It simply is nature. Okay, well, that's the atheist perspective. But if we have people who are in colleges and universities thinking that somehow or other they're no longer entitled to look out and call that creation, they have been robbed greater than any robber could ever rob them. Because the knowledge of this does not come from science. Comes from Revelation. Remember I said there are two chief organs of knowledge. Yes, science. And we want to hold up the fruits of science, but it's not the whole deal. If all I had were science, when I look out there, I see nature. But when I look out there today, I see nature. I see creation. And it is this perspective, this understanding that has been given to us. I mean, how else would we have known? Given to us by the Word of God, By revelation. Okay. So God's creation of the universe. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. Okay. And then in receiving this revelation, we also learn about God's design for redemption. Because God knows we're falling. We're getting warmer to that idea of how fallen we are. But God already knows. And God is already has a plan. And so God's redemption is going to be calling. Israel. Calling the patriarchs in Israel in order to bring about redemption for humanity. And so key events in the Old Testament are necessary for us to have in order to have greater understanding. And there are important key events in the New Testament as well.


Our creation and redemption are also referred to in the New Testament. You take a look at the Book of Hebrews, for example, Hebrews chapter one verses one through three. In the past, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways. And in these last days he has spoken to us by his son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. Okay, so what what the author of Hebrews is saying there not only has God created, but that God has created through his son, Jesus Christ. And Paul is even more explicit in terms of this. In Colossians chapter one verses 15 through 20, the son is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For in Him all things were created things in heaven and an earth visible and invisible. All things have been created through him and for him. He has before all things. And in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. But notice that phrase from Paul in Colossians here, Chapter one versus 15 through 20, all things have been created through him and for him. Meaning? Meaning that creation itself. See, now we can at least use that word creation. Not simply nature, but in creation itself. Creation has occurred through Jesus Christ, and it's for Jesus Christ has a purpose. You know, we were talking about, you know, the four Aristotelian cause is the final cause. Well, the final cause is the purpose. What's the purpose of creation? It is for Jesus Christ. It is for Jesus Christ. That's what Paul is clearly saying to How would we have known that if it were not revealed to us, we would be in darkness.


We would think things are just as they are, that they've came about through mindless channels, immense amounts of time lacking purpose. It just is no order, no larger story, you say. But we're not there and the church is not there because we have the organ of Revelation whereby it has been revealed to us in terms of the things that have been made. It has been through Jesus Christ and for. Jesus Christ. Okay. And so we speak of the importance of the son. And then. And then also. God's purpose in redemption. God is not only a creator, but is also a redeemer. God's purpose here is in accordance with God's holy love. It's in accordance with God's holy love and so on. We speak about creation and history and story, and we speak about language, even in terms of God's redemptive purpose. And I like how Colbert in the 20th century, how he talked about the word of God in a threefold sense. He talked about as Christ being the word of God, that Christ is the word of God, as stated in the Johannine Prolog. The word became flesh and dwelt among us full of grace and truth. We have beheld his glory. Bart also spoke about Scripture. The Bible as the Word of God. Scripture as the Word of God. That's another expression of it. This is revelation. What we would not have known by ourselves our own thinking, using the organs of reason to their highest extent, whether in the form of rationalism or empiricism. And then Bart said, Thirdly, I love this, especially when I get in the pulpit that preaching. Preaching, Yes, the very human words of preaching. Can become the word of God and people can hear the word of God, the proclamation of the living God and and enter in and enter in.


Well, one of the things that I think is so interesting about the religions, Judaism and Christianity is that we are so focused on language. We are so very much focused on language. I mean, I've just talked to you now about Jesus Christ as the word of God. And when we think about when we think about language and we can debate about how far it goes back in terms of its oral form, but in terms of its written form, it's pretty pretty well decided that it was the ancient Sumerians, around 3500 B.C., who gave us our first written language in cuneiform, you know, keeping some financial records on clay tablets, because I think about that. I think about how long humanity has been around and that we didn't have this technology in place until about 5000 years ago. And then watch this. This this, I think is even more amazing that from 3500 B.C. to smack in the middle of the 15th century, we didn't even have the the movable type, the printing press until Gutenberg created it in the mid 15th century, probably around 1450 or so, whereby you can produce a number of writings rapidly, very, very rapidly. And so, you know what was going on there from 3500 B.C. to 1400, you know, 50 A.D. And now we think of the technological change whereby we have digitized everything. Language has been digitized, we digitized images, scripts, languages, trajectories, all sorts of things today, and we truly are in an information revolution. But back to language. I want you to see how important language is. It's really at the heart of our faith and it's at the heart of the story. And the gospel is a story and it's at the heart of our faith.


There's a scholar out there wrote a wonderful little book. I read it called Brand Luther. His name is Andrew Pedigree. And he argues in that book, Without Gutenberg's printing press in Place, the Reformation likely would have never happened. It would not have taken off. You see what happens with Gutenberg's Printing Press in Place. Medieval society, in this case, the Curia. The Magisterium can no longer control the message because they're running the presses first in Leipzig, but then later in Wittenberg, this little small, sleepy town. I was just there about a month ago. Love the little place you can walk from one end to the other in about 45 minutes. Wittenberg took off and started to rival Leipzig as this great publishing center. And the word is going out, and everyone wants to read Luther Okay. And so the word language, the message is is terribly, terribly, terribly important. Terribly important. I want to say a few other things about language. And again, I realize the context I'm in. I realize I'm in the context of highly technological, scientific cultures. Scientists have spoken in all areas, some of which they shouldn't have because they've gone out of their areas of expertise and they've pontificated and done enormous harm. And so I'm pushing back a bit. I'm pushing back. And I read the wonderful novelist shortly before he died, a Tom Wolfe. Some of you know, Tom Wolfe always wore the white suits, Banff, Bonfire of the Vanities, fame, Bonfire of the Vanities, fame, wrote some other things. He has a wonderful little book out there called The Kingdom of Speech. The Kingdom of Speech. You know, since we're talking about Scripture, the Bible, revelation, etc., we're on the topic of language. He wrote a little book called The Kingdom of Speech.


And in that book, he's pushing back at scientists who have made the claim because they always want to diminish the difference between Homo sapiens and other species. And so if you say what distinguishes Homo sapiens from other species, all we use language and those. So the scientists comes back. Well, porpoises and chimpanzees can use language, but Wolf is pushing back, saying, oh, but they're not using language the way we use language. For example, I'm thinking of your thinking of my thinking of you. I'm doing that right now. I can go up all those various levels. No chimp has ever done that. No porpoise has ever done that. Humans use language in a distinct way, in a unique way that needs to be said. That needs to be said today. There is a difference. There is a difference. And so Tom Wolfe in his book writes, Language is the greatest power possessed by any creature on the earth. And here he is taking a bit of a jab at a Darwin. He's saying he, meaning Darwin, couldn't explain man's opposable thumb, upright stature and huge cranium, but he couldn't find one shred of soul that solid evidence that human speech had evolved from animals. And what he's arguing is and others have argued as well, that it is an artifact. Speech is an artifact. It's something that we have created. We use it as a tool. And it's a particularly human way of experiencing experiencing the world. Having said that, it's interesting with John Wesley. He wouldn't fight the battle there. He probably Wesley would concede this. He would probably concede. Oh, well, yeah, other animals use speech and stuff, and although that wouldn't make Tom Wolf happy. But Wesley did say there is a distinction between Homo sapiens and other species.


And that's my point here. And we know of that distinction very clearly through revelation. Science hasn't told us that. Science says, you know, we're all in a continuum. There's nothing really special about our species vis a vis other species. Okay. And Wesley fought that battle in a different area. He said, human beings listen to my language now. And he and his scientists come back. Come back at me, try to prove I'm wrong. Human species are the only species that worship God, the only species that worship and adore God. And I'll take my stand where where John Wesley has taken his stand. Although I think some of the things that Dennett not to be confused with the agnostic. Dennett but another Dennett in the linguistic circles, I'll take my stand with Tom Wolf in them and argue that human beings use language in ways that animals could never imagine. And it has to do with recursive ness and a whole bunch of other things. Okay, let me stop there so we can take some questions or comments that you might have. It seems like in our society that. Some people are willing and able to. Just kind of ignore some of these questions because of the. Wealth and entertainment and health that we have. So as long as they're able to be seemingly self-sufficient and do whatever they want to do, then. It's easier to put off these kinds of questions and just go along with whatever is convenient for them. And also with the idea of the spiritual world being optional or non-existent, it seems like people don't really have a desire to explore these kinds of questions because of all the other things that are that are distractions that make it easier not to.


Do you agree with that? Yeah. I think you've made an important observation in that if we look at today's situation in the 21st century. Most of us in North America. I'll just use North America, for example, live better than kings and queens lived in the 16th century. The overwhelming majority, even the poor in this country live better in some respects than kings and queens lived in this in the 16th and 14th century. So there is a sense where if our maintenance needs are being met. You know what we shall eat, what we shall drink, what we shall put on our health, all of those things, even in terms of recreation, all those needs are being met. Some people are going to say, Why God, why God? And so I, I think you're you're correct in that. That gets us back to what we were talking before in terms of treadmills, argument, in terms of non-monetary evils of incompetence. In other words, science technology has caught up with many of these things. Think of disease. Think of shortages of food. Think of, you know, famine, disease, war. We're in a better situation in many respects than earlier ages. And therefore, God may not be seen as significant to a whole population of people. So I think what you say is is good and helpful. My response to you would be, in light of your question, which I think is a very good question, how would you proceed? How would you proceed given given these things are so. In other words, what you've suggested. I think part of the answer is. What we talked about before, about having conversations within relationships, because the more you understand about who people are and to ask questions about. What they're really thinking about and what they're really experiencing and get them to reflect on some things that are below the surface and true questions of satisfaction or meaning to help them to process that and to.


To initiate those conversations and see where it goes from there. That there seems to be some value in that, at least in the relationships that I've had. But it's not easy because we're insulated from a lot of the things in the world. The world is a dangerous and violent place. But when you live your daily life and the temperature doesn't vary more than a few degrees regardless of the time of year, and you have enough to eat in a place that makes you comfortable, then you know you don't you don't think about that as much because it's provided. So it's almost as if it takes some calamity for some may, perhaps some disease, some loss, some death of a child or maybe even I see this sometimes among my own students. They don't respond to issues of guilt. So what might work for an older generation doesn't respond to that, because if you talk to them and assume that they feel guilty about doing evil, they don't because they say, You should see where I grew up. You should see the parents that I have. They see themselves as victims. And appeals to guilt. Don't cut it at all. But I found that if you raise the issue of freedom, liberty. Are you in bondage to anything or are you doing things that you don't want to do but you do them anyway? Does that describe your state? They resonate with that and they respond to that. And when you offer liberty, you know, real liberty, not the phony kind of liberty that the world offers, that that leaves a person twice a slave of self after the reform, then before. But real liberty, the kind that sets the captives free. You know, Matthew calling Jesus, you shall call him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.


You know, that kind of liberty, The kind of liberty, again, the New Testament talks about wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. I find students respond to that. But in terms of guilt, used to feel guilty about what you did. Oh, I don't even make those arguments anymore. I just talk about freedom, liberty, being a free child of God. And there's a reception along those lines. There definitely is. Yeah. Anybody else? I just have a clarification question. When you were talking about free grace, as misunderstood as free will, that next sentence that you mentioned, freedom to receive the grace of God by which you can or can't do otherwise, the free, the free grace that I'm talking about as a freedom by which we can receive the grace of God, by which we can do otherwise. By which we do otherwise, Yes. So what what is being suggested there in terms of this freedom? It is a freedom. And this is not a contradiction. It's a freedom that makes us dependent upon God, but dependent upon God is true freedom. Do you understand? And it's this other understanding that's out there and sometimes gets attached to the Methodist tradition. Autonomous freedom. I have freedom. It's a faculty. I access where I can choose this. I can choose God. I can choose this or no, that's a distortion of Wesley's theology. That basically isolates, puts the person alone by themselves, sees sees freedom as a capacity that they have, and they can exercise a capacity of the autonomous self. Okay. Yeah. So I'm trying to balance this with Luther, and I'm assuming you're going to get more into this at another time. But yes, so the Wesleyan view is that we are given the freedom.


As a gift to choose or not to choose. Luther would say, You have no freedom to choose. Is that how it is that it Is that the difference between the two systems? The difference. I would explain the difference between Wesley and Luther. I would explain explain it in terms of a comparison or per vignette, grace on the one hand and justifying grace on the other. And for Wesley Grace is going to be operating, it's going to be present prior to justifying grace so that by the giving of free grace, the giving of this freedom whereby we can receive the subsequent grace of God at justification. Is going to make it look different. Different than Luther because. For both for both Wesley and Luther. There is utter depravity, total corruption. God intervenes in the Western sense, sovereignly by giving and grace a measure of freedom by which one can freely receive justifying grace later on. For Luther, there is no appeal to preventing grace, and instead justifying grace itself becomes sovereignly given. And Wesley will argue that the sinner, though they have grace, can reject the justify and grace of God. They can say no to God. So they both have sovereign. They both have sovereign grace in their orders of salvation. They're just at different places. But Wesley will also say in terms of the reception of justification, it is by grace through faith alone. And he talks about the beggar putting out the hand to receive the gift. And so that's, again, moving closer and closer to Luther. Though Wesley has this understanding of freedom that Luther doesn't have in the bondage of the well. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I have one more question, though. Prevent your Grace. At what point is that given? Would he say that we were born with that, or is it given prevailing grace is given even before we're aware of it.


And there have been these discussions among Methodist theologians. You know, are you really affirming are you really affirming the utter forwardness and other depravity of original sin? Because there is no one who is so left in that state, because all people are given preventing grace. Preventing grace is universal. And so some Wesleyan theologians have said that there's privilege and grace here is functioning as a kind of theoretical construct because there is no person who is so far fallen, because there is no person who is without any grace of God. In this case, proving your grace of God. And so, you know, that's that's a question to be considered. But Wesley would say purveying in grace is universal. Let me give you an example. This, this or flesh it out for you. I have a nun friend. She's has since died. And Sister Celia. And she gave me a book one time. And I forget the author. I should have wrote it down because I've cited this book many times and someone from a different tradition, not a Wesleyan tradition. And he basically went through the book and trashed all 12 step programs. That's what he did. He said, there are all of the devil 12 step programs, Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, The Role of the Devil. Why? Well, because they don't specifically focus on Jesus Christ. Well, my Catholic friend and I, because in our theologies, we have rich understandings of privilege and grace. We look at that and say, Aha! The grace of God operative in those lives, the prevention grace of God, operative in those lives. And that God has broken those bondage and set those people free. We rejoice in that. We rejoice in that. And as I said earlier, wherever bondage is broken, we can be sure that God is the doer of the breaking of those bondage is whether God is acknowledged or not.


That's how good God is. Okay. But this person in their theology didn't have. Now watch this. Didn't have the wherewithal. To acknowledge a good. Putting down the drink that's right there in front of their eyes. Right there. Putting down the drink is a good thing. It's good. And his theology did not allow him to acknowledge that. Goodness. So you're going to hear me over the course of the next few days. That Wesleyan theology is generous. It's generous in this way. And it's simple also in this way. It calls good, good. It's not afraid to acknowledge whatever good it sees and calls evil, evil. It's not afraid to acknowledge whatever evil that it sees. Okay. And so my Roman Catholic friends, sister Celia and I, you know, we sort of chuckled over this because our theologies allow us to acknowledge good wherever it is found.