Research Repository

University Crest

Christian Perfection and Australian Methodism

O'Brien, Glen (2013) Christian Perfection and Australian Methodism. In: Immense, Unfathomed, Unconfined: The Grace of God in Creation, Church and Community. Essays in Honour of Norman Young. Uniting Academic Press, Melbourne, pp. 223-238. ISBN 978-1-74324-046-5

[img] PDF

Download (355kB)


John Wesley's views on Christian perfection remained an important part of Australian Methodist discourse from the Church's struggling colonial beginnings through to its growth and consolidation in the late nineteenth century. Though certain features of Wesley's teaching on entire sanctification were left behind in a process of over- simplification, key insights were retained such as the theme of empowering grace and of holiness as perfect love. This interest in Christian perfection was an expression of Methodist confidence in grace-enabled relationships of Christlike love both within and beyond the Church. Even such a "Methodist moderniser" as Edward Sugden was a
keen exponent of entire sanctification as a central doctrine of Methodism, though he, like others in the early twentieth century,attempted a reformulation of the doctrine on the basis of newer insights. By the 1940s an emphasis on entire sanctification had all but disappeared from Australian Methodism except for a very small number of notable enthusiasts such as Walter Betts. Many of those
nurtured by the holiness tradition in Methodism became part of the newly emerging Pentecostal movement, and a number of Wesleyan-Holiness churches with North American origins entered Australia in the post-war period. Though mid-century British Methodists such as William Sangster and R. Newton Flew made significant contributions to the
doctrine of Christian perfection which were valued by Australian Methodists, the expectation of an "immense, unfathomed, unconfined" degree of sanctifying grace had by then all but disappeared from the Australian Methodist landscape.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Repository Version: Proofs
Keywords: Australian Methodism, History of Methodism, Australian Religious History.
Fields of Research: 21 History and Archaeology > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
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
Subjects: C - Church History
College/Association with University of Divinity: SABC: Salvation Army Booth College
Depositing User: Rev Associate Professor Glen O'Brien
Date Deposited: 11 May 2016 02:51
Last Modified: 23 May 2016 02:48
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/1947

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Document Downloads

More statistics for this item...