The first leads to confessionalism, which easily degenerates to the church being nothing more than a social, do-good club instead of the redeemed people of God.
Friday, February 01, 2013
Getting it right
Wesley initially seemed to uphold the emerging Enlightenment view that defined belief in terms of intellectual comprehension and faith as assent to propositional truth. His own spiritual journey led him to question this approach and he returned to the earlier view of belief in the context of personal encounter and relationship, with faith defined primarily in terms of trust. During 1738 he personally experienced the critical difference between defining Christianity in intellectual and behavioural terms and the experimental reality of a personal relationship with God through the presence of the Holy Spirit. This brings a new perspective to the whole process of theologising, centring on love and relationship rather than propositional truth and behavioural conformity to rules and regulations. It makes the heart and not the head the primary locus of God’s gracious working; in this understanding, technical information is no substitute for actual lived experience.—Wesley as a Pastoral Theologian, page 212