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John Wesley and Athanasius on Salvation in the Context of the Debate over Wesley’s Debt to Eastern Orthodoxy

O'Brien, Glen (2013) John Wesley and Athanasius on Salvation in the Context of the Debate over Wesley’s Debt to Eastern Orthodoxy. Phronema, 28 (2). pp. 35-53. ISSN ISSN 0819-4920

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    Abstract

    Other than John Wesley’s description of William Wilberforce in 1791 as 'Athanasius contra mundum' and his use of the same Latin phrase in his 1775 sermon On the Trinity, there is little discussion of Athanasius on the part of the founder of Methodism. However, the Orthodox tradition to which Athanasius is so central a figure had an important shaping influence on Wesley’s theology and there are strong soteriological resonances between Athanasius and Wesley, some of which will be elucidated in this paper. The Methodist ecumenist Albert C. Outler was one of the first, in the 1960s, to alert modern Wesleyans to the need to examine closely their founder’s heavy indebtedness to the Ante-Nicene and Nicene Fathers, especially in his doctrine of Christian perfection. More recently, Kenneth J. Collins has disputed the strong connection between Wesley’s theology and Orthodox theology and has argued that those who accept Outler’s argument have overlooked the significance for Wesley of his own Anglican tradition, in particular the ‘holy living’ tradition of William Law and Jeremy Taylor. This article will survey recent discussion of this issue among Wesley scholars, caution against too great a dogmatism on the question, and argue that Wesley’s practical theology was essentially eclectic.

    Item Type: Published Articles
    Repository Version: Metadata Only
    Keywords (separated by commas): John Wesley, Athanasius, Wesley studies, Patristic studies, Soteriology
    Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
    Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 95 Cultural Understanding > 9504 Religion and Ethics > 950406 Religious Traditions (excl. Structures and Rituals)
    Type of Activity: Pure Basic Research
    Subject Area(s): C - Church History
    D - Ecumenical Studies
    C - Systematic Theology
    Association with University of Divinity: SABC: Salvation Army Booth College
    Depositing User: Rev Associate Professor Glen O'Brien
    Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2016 16:32
    Last Modified: 01 Jun 2016 16:32
    URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1972

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