This coming Sunday I be will discussing the Wesleyan Quadrilateral as part of my sermon. According to Wikipedia: The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a methodology for theological reflection that is credited to John Wesley, leader of the Methodist movement in the late 18th century. The term itself was coined by 20th century American Methodist scholar Albert C. Outler. This method bases its teaching on four sources as the basis of theological and doctrinal development. These four sources are chiefly scripture, along with tradition, reason, and Christian experience.
So with that said … what does that mean? It means that our faith, our church, our doctrines are based on the bedrock of Scripture. It does not mean that Scripture is all we need though. Now, don’t get me wrong … Bible Study and searching the Scriptures for truth is important but there is more. For each person reading the Scriptures there is a slightly different angle to the view depending on where the reader sits. That is where the three other sources come into play.
Our traditions shape many actions in our lives; as well as our churches. I am reminded of a mother baking a ham. She always cut the ends off before baking. One time her child asked her, Why she did this … did it make it bake more evenly? Did it make it juicier? She replied, “Grandma always cut the ends off and so do I. So the child asked Grandma the same question and Grandma said, so it would fit in my pan. And so, it became a tradition. Families, churches, all walks of life are influenced by tradition.
We are given the power of reason. To ponder events and ideas and think through them to make some resemblance of sense of presented facts and figures. When we read Scripture we should approach it with our own reason. What is this saying? Why is it saying this? Does this phrase mean the same thing today as it did when it was written? Personally, I feel that we as a people are not encouraged to think nearly enough.
And then there is how our experience affects how we view life and everything in it. If a person grew up with an abusive father … calling God father may bring up bad feelings. If we read in the Bible about the “Wilderness” but the only wilderness we know is jungles, or woods, or even swamps … we won’t think of the wilderness as a rocky, desert area.
There will be more to the sermon than just the Wesleyan Quadrilateral … but I just wanted to give a taste of some of what is to come.
Be Blessed and a Blessing – Pastor Roy