Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Theology Bleg

Can anyone recommend a primer on John Wesley's eschatology?

10 comments:

Eight Iron said...

William Greathouse has a good chapter on Wesley's eschatological views in THE SECOND COMING: A WESLEYAN APPROACH TO THE DOCTRINE OF LAST THINGS (ed. by H. Ray Dunning), published by Nazarene Publishing House about 10 years ago.

Here's the link.

-Greg

Joel Thomas said...

Sorry I can't help. There may be a good primer, but it may not be all the helpful in understanding Wesley's eschatology. From the reading of Wesley's sermons, notes, Bible commentaries, letters, etc. I've never been able to see that he either had a greatly developed eschatolgy. He seemed interested more in the final results for humans (heaven or hell) than in the last events of history. That is, he focused on salvation and heaven. Beyond that, his great emphasis was preparation for a holy life here and in heaven (holiness/sanctification). He does seem to be post-milillenialist. I think I've read that his Scripture notes on Revelation are mostly a restatement of the work of another and not his original thoughts. Personally, I think Wesley's seeming lack of emphasis on eschatology fits rather well with United Methodist theology. Too many modern church people have gotten caught up in "left behind" mentality.

John said...

Thanks, Greg!

I've decided that, at bare minimum, if a parishioner asks me "What will the end times be like?" I need to have an answer. I need to have a basic eschatological education.

I asked my Wesleyan theology prof, and he said that he thought that Wesley was an amillenialist, but wasn't sure.

Richard Hall said...

I'm not at all convinced that Wesley had an eschatology beyond what it says in the creeds. All that a- post- pre- whatever-millenialist stuff is later than Wesley and I'm not convinced it makes sense to give him one of those labels.

When that hypothetical parishioner comes, why do you need to be able toanswer that question with anything other than, "I don't know, but it will be OK. God is waiting for us there."

Anything else is surely just idle speculation, bo matter how many books it sells.

Dale Tedder said...

I always give folks my really bad joke. I say I'm a pan-millennialist. It will all pan out in the end.

Sorry! I'll repent and fast over sharing that one in public.

Dale

Brian Russell said...

Ben Witherington has a book with the title Jesus, Paul, and the End of the World. It is a study of the biblical materials.

John said...

Does BH3's book cover John Wesley's perspective?

John B said...

I looked on my bookcase & found a couple of books that have a chapter (6-10 pages) on Wesley's eschatology. Both are pretty old, so they may be hard to find.

John Wesley's Theology Today by Colin W. Williams (Abingdon, 1960)

Basic United Methodist Beliefs edited by James Heidinger (Bristol House, 1986)

jason said...

Like Dale, I tell people I am pan-millenialist. While it does bring a smile, that is honestly the conclusion I've come to.

Back in seminary (TEDS) I had to take ST-III with the most flaming pre-millenial, rapture-toting prof in existence--My way or the highway. We had to do a huge final project on the four views of the end times, complete with charts, graphs, etc. After all that research, I decided I really was pan-millenialst.

Now for one piece of advice. In my experience the people who ask end times questions in the first place come from pre-millenial/rapture backgrounds. This is a huge deal to them because they've been brought up to believe it is one of the most critical doctrines of Christianity. So if you answer *anything* other than pre-mil/rapture, you've lost them.

Also in my experience, such folks' other beliefs will be so out of line with UMC beliefs that it is best to wish them well. It would never work out.

Rev. C. S. Roberts said...

John,
Randy Maddox, of Duke, gave a lecture at The COnfessing MOvement's Epworth Insititue this past summer on Wesley's escatology. In short he said that Wesley in teh end was an amil, bu early on he was pre and was persuded into post for a short time. It was a great lecture and... if you want to e-mail me your address I will be happy to make you a copy for your own listening pleasure.