New PDF release: Aldersgate and Athens: John Wesley and the Foundations of

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  • March 17, 2018
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By William J. Abraham

ISBN-10: 1602582467

ISBN-13: 9781602582460

In his day, John Wesley provided vital insights on how you can receive wisdom of God that bears fruit in our personal instances. As best Wesleyan pupil William Abraham exhibits, Wesley's most renowned religious event is rife with philosophical value and implications. all through, Abraham brings Wesley's paintings into fruitful dialog with the most vital paintings in modern epistemology. Lyrically and succinctly he explores the simultaneous epistemological quest and religious pilgrimage that have been relevant to Wesley and the Evangelical Revival of the eighteenth century. In so doing, he offers a realized and eye-opening meditation upon the connection among cause and religion.

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Extra resources for Aldersgate and Athens: John Wesley and the Foundations of Christian Belief

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So should we not leave aside charismatic phenomena for fear that we may invite charges of credulity and superstition? If we do not do so, it might be said, we lose before we even begin. I do not find this at all convincing. Precisely the same worry besets the argument from fulfillment of divine promises, inward perception, and conspicuous sanctity. Sometimes these take the form of what we can only call spectacular phenomena. Wesley himself knew this in that he was aware that Christian conversion (a term we may use here as a summary for what was at stake) could indeed be spectacular.

He was also interested in unpacking how these experiences constituted evidence for the truth of the Christian faith. Two kinds of arguments surface when we attend to what is at stake. First, there is the argument from the fulfillment of divine promises. I put the argument formally in this fashion: If many people have satisfied to a significant extent the conditions laid down for a sense of pardon from the guilt and power of sin, and if they, or a large proportion of them, then receive such a sense of pardon and power, this provides 41 42 Aldersgate and Athens us with evidence for the truth of the claim that this promise was indeed made by a being with the wherewithal and the will to make good on that promise.

7 Wesley was clearly annoyed by the essay, for he took time out of his busy schedule to write an extended reply. 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.

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Aldersgate and Athens: John Wesley and the Foundations of Christian Belief by William J. Abraham

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