The notion of the Wesleyan quadrilateral has gained wide acceptance among Methodists as well as Wesley scholars, though disagreements have often surfaced relating to the place and primacy of Scripture within this matrix. Jones departs from the traditional fourfold locus of authority for Wesley and adds a fifth, expanding the quadrilateral to include: Scripture, reason, Christian antiquity, the Church of England, and experience. Within this interpretative and authoritative schema, Jones argues for the primacy of Scripture in Wesley's thought, though the five operate in unity and mutual interdependence. An important contribution to Methodist and Wesley studies alike.
Despite wide acceptance of the "Wesleyan quadrilateral," significant disagreements have arisen in both academic and church circles about the degree to which Scripture stood in a place of theological primacy for Wesley, or should do so for modern Methodists, and about the proper and appropriate methods of interpreting Scripture. In this important work, Scott J. Jones offers a full-scale investigation of John Wesley's conception and use of Scripture. The results of this careful and thorough investigation are sometimes surprising. Jones argues that for Wesley, religious authority is constituted not by a "quadrilateral," but by a fivefold but unitary locus comprising Scripture, reason, Christian antiquity, the Church of England, and experience. He shows that in actual practice Wesley's reliance on the entire Christian tradition - in particular of the early church and of the Church of England - is far heavier than his stated conception of Scripture would seem to allow, and that Wesley stresses the interdependence of the five dimensions of religious authority for Christian faith and practice.
Scott J. Jones is the Resident Bishop of the Great Plains area of The United Methodist Church. He was formerly the McCreless Associate Professor of Evangelism at Perkins School of Theology (Southern Methodist University), where he taught courses in evangelism and Wesley studies. Previous books include The Wesleyan Way, The Evangelistic Love of God and Neighbor, Staying at the Table, and Wesley and the Quadrilateral (co-author), all published by Abingdon Press.
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