Monday, February 22, 2010

Degrees of justifying faith

John Wesley's Journal entry from December 31, 1739 —

"I had a long and particular conversation with Mr. Molther himself. I weighed all his words with the utmost care; desired him to explain what I did not understand; asked him again and again, 'Do I not mistake what you say? Is this your meaning, or is it not?' So that I think, if God has given me any measure of understanding, I could not mistake him much. As soon as I came home, I besought God to assist me, and not suffer 'the blind to go out of the way.'

I then wrote down what I conceived to be the difference between us, in the following words: — As to faith, you believe,

1. There are no degrees of faith, and that no man has any degree of it, before all things in him are become new, before he has the full assurance of faith, the abiding witness of the Spirit, or the clear perception that Christ dwelleth in him.

2. Accordingly you believe, there is no justifying faith, or state of justification, short of this.

Whereas I believe,

1. There are degrees in faith; and that a man may have some degree of it, before all things in him are become new; before he has the full assurance of faith, the abiding witness of the Spirit, or the clear perception that Christ dwelleth in him.

2. Accordingly, I believe there is a degree of justifying faith (and consequently, a state of justification) short of, and commonly antecedent to, this.
" ~ John Wesley

2 comments:

  1. Hmm that's very interessting but honestly i have a hard time seeing it... wonder what others have to say..

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  2. So you agree with Mr. Molther and disagree with John Wesley? Please let me go on record that I stand with Mr. Wesley.

    I only wish I had understood this truth at a much younger age. It may have made a huge difference in my spiritual journey.

    Mr. Wesley baptized and admitted to communion seekers who sought to "flee from the wrath to come." He did not limit membership in the Methodist societies to only those who had already experienced the "new birth" in all of its scriptural fullness.

    In this way, the Methodist societies joined forces with the God who said, "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

    By so doing, the Methodist societies encouraged intellectual and spiritual honesty, avoided placing seekers under undue and potentially discouraging pressure, and maintained "new birth" expectations at levels consistent with the incredible promises of scripture.

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