Saturday, March 03, 2012

God in Wesleyan Theology

Last Saturday, I threw out an outline of what a short overview of Wesleyan theology might look like if I wrote one.  On Sunday, I spun out the outline of a possible introductory chapter.  Today I thought I would brainstorm the outline of a second chapter on God. By the way, I guess Chris Bounds does have the workings of a short book of this sort. My "Wesleyan" theology is much more "constructive," while Chris' is much more "dogmatic." [1]
2.1 Trinity
A Wesleyan theology might emphasize the relational dimension of the Trinity over individualism. In particular, it might see love as fundamental to the nature of God, as a fundamental aspect of the Trinity's inner identity. These might not be uniquely Wesleyan, but they are probable emphases of a Wesleyan theology of the Trinity.

2.2 God as Creator
I'm not sure that a Wesleyan theology of God as creator would differ much from any other orthodox view. I personally see features like omnipotence and omniscience as functions of creation. For me, they primarily define God in relation to what he has created (this is part of my theology rather than a distinctively Wesleyan theology).  Omnipresence also is a feature of God in relation to the creation.

Where I personally would be perhaps a little unique is to see holiness primarily as a function of God as creator.  Holiness is, in its fundamental sense, God-ness.  It is sacredness.  In a fallen world, holiness can take on an added sense of purity.  But is it possible that, even if the world were not fallen, there would be the distinction between sacred space/time and the ordinary?

2.3 God as Love
Any Wesleyan theology will emphasize God's nature as love.  Mercy takes priority over justice.  God's justice is formative in making people better.  It is protective in keeping the righteous safe from the unrighteous.  And it is final when there is no hope of redemption.  God's goodness is another way of saying that he always acts in love toward his creation, with his justice providing a loving framework for the creation.

I would say that my thinking on these things is more a working out of a particular Wesleyan perspective than anything like the Wesleyan perspective.

[1] These are technical terms.  "Dogmatic" theology is much more a matter of presenting a "deposit" of theology from the past.  "Constructive" theology tries to re-present and synthesize theology in the light of new elements in a never-ending discussion.  The former is more a given, the latter more dynamic.

1 comment:

Angie Van De Merwe said...

I don't think that the Trinity holds "hope", unless one is dogmatic and irrational.

The "relational aspects" of the Trinity is that God, the Father killed his Son, OR he killed himself! Both are irrational frames. Sacrifice of another in a "collective" (organization or Trinity) or sacrifice of oneself is irrationality. Individuals should love thier life and not be taught to "hate their lives in theis world"! "Cross theology" is abnegation of human needs/desires, "for the sake of the Kingdom"! Desire is a part of nature and should be pursued within proper bounds.

God is an evolutionary process of the human mind. And many theologians have had various views on how "God" was formed or framed. Humans evolve in their development, as to their needs, understanding and views about "God". "God" is a product of the human imagination in answering the questions about the world. The Academy seeks to answer and address those questions in real time and space through the various disciplines.

"Love" is not a practical solution to real world complexities. As "love" is a relational term, proximity is necessary for "love's expression". I'd rather not term it "love" but social work, as that is really what it is, isn't it?

Individualism requires and demands respect for boundaries, self responsiblity, and relationship (knowledge) not an imposition or prescribed behavioral standard and judgment that is objective. Therefore, indivdualism is the best mode of functioning in society, for oneself and for others.

I don't find religion, or theology framing things in that way...the Academy does, though.