Steve DeNeff just gave a masterful presentation on preaching a Wesleyan hermeneutic. Very good stuff.
But let me just mention three potential blind spots as we walk away from the weekened:
1. To assume inadvertantly that unique Wesleyan identity is only a matter of theology and ideas.
I believe the center of Wesleyan identity is the heart and an optimism about life change, resulting in a changed life. It is why we can be more generous in the realm of ideas than some other traditions. We are heart people first, then head people.
2. John Wesley is not our father. The 19th century holiness movement was, and we have a fundamentalist brother.
Phoebe Palmer was our mother and Wesley is at best our grandfather. Accordingly, John Wesley is not the arbitrator of our decisions, including our hermeneutical decisions. This is especially the case because he could not possibly have anticipated the issues we currently must process. He set a very important tone for what followed, but the answer to the question of a Wesleyan hermeneutic does not rise or fall with him.
3. We have to stop thinking of "affirmation" as the only--or perhaps even the primary mode of Scripture.
Scripture does a lot of other things to. It expresses despair, anger, joy, for example. Stories affirm identity and values. Commands are even a different thing from affirmations of truths or propositions.
A couple lesser potential blind spots:
1. We didn't have hardly either women here, few pastors and even fewer laypeople, and most importantly there was no one here from the southern hemisphere or the third world, to make sure their voices were heard and questions raised.
2. We should at least note that standing against gay marriage is a different kind of activity than standing up for slaves or the unborn. There is a tendency today to lump all such issues into a prophetic model of standing against sin. There is at least a distinction in the kind of activity that should be taken into account.