Book Review: The Way of the Wesleys

Review of: The Way of the Wesleys: a Short Introduction, by John R. Tyson, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014. 202 pp. $16.00; ISBN 978-0-8028-6954-8.

Reviewed by Bruce Flanders, Director, Mabee Library, MidAmerica Nazarene University, Olathe, KS.

 

Can a seminary professor write a church history in a manner intelligible to the average lay person? Look no further than The Way of the Wesleys, an eminently-readable review of the theological system expounded through Charles and John Wesley’s hymns and sermons. This impressive introduction to the Wesleyan doctrinal legacy is organized into 14 chapters, each of illuminates the Wesley’s life and times, as well as the brothers’ ability to translate complex theological points, through clear and direct preaching and hymn writing, into easily-grasped lessons for Spiritual training and faithful Christian living. The book describes the impact of their evangelical and experiential views regarding vital Christian life, and their role in a transatlantic revival and the creation of what would become the Methodist theological tradition. Each chapter details the Wesleyan influence on a particular Christian doctrine: the Bible, sin, the new birth, holiness, grace, the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Christian perfection, the atonement, the Trinity, the means of grace, the Lord’s Supper, life in the world, and an ecumenical view of Christian unity. Cleverly woven throughout the text are relevant passages from a wide variety of Wesleyan hymns. Christians from both the Methodist family of churches, as well as other Christian traditions, may benefit especially from an outstanding summary of Christian perfection, also known as “full sanctification” or “entire sanctification” (p. 91) – a doctrine that can cause much consternation and confusion. This book, with its focus on theological context, rather than biographical history, presents a particularly valuable perspective on this important area of Protestant church history.

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WHDL ID: 
WHDL-00003263