On the 250th anniversary of a plain account of Christian perfection : a historical review of Wesleyan Theological Hybridity and its implications for contemporary discourses on Christian Humanism
CITATION: Forster, D. A. 2018. On the 250th anniversary of a plain account of Christian perfection : a historical review of Wesleyan Theological Hybridity and its implications for contemporary discourses on Christian Humanism. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, 44(1):1-19, doi:10.25159/2412-4265/3147.
The original publication is available at http://www.scielo.org.za
In recent decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in discourses of secular and Christian humanism. This interest engages the question of what it means to be truly human, and what the implications of true humanity are for individuals and society. The genesis of theological and secular humanisms stems from the Eastern Orthodox doctrine of theosis-God in Christ becomes human so that human persons may become more truly like the God whose image and likeness they bear. John Wesley was deeply influenced by Eastern Orthodox theologians. Without grasping this hermeneutic position, one cannot understand either the content or intent of John Wesley's theology adequately. This paper expounds this aspect of Wesley's theology by means of a historical theological exploration of the influences of Eastern Orthodoxy in Wesleyan soteriology. It is argued that when Wesley's theology is understood as a hybrid of Eastern and Western theological influences and approaches, Christian perfection in the ordo salutis (order of salvation) supersedes the traditional Protestant emphasis on justification. In particular, this approach holds promise for making a unique and valuable contribution to contemporary discourses around Christian humanism.