Wanting to give honor to whom honor is due. Russ Gunsalus and his team have lined up a great team of thinkers in Indianapolis to talk about the nature of Wesleyan higher education, with not only Wesleyan speakers but also representatives of conservative Methodism, Free Methodism, and even the Nazarenes. :-)
1. First off tonight, our own Steve Lennox gave a presentation on which he has reflected for years, namely, his sense that the distinctive nature of Wesleyan higher education comes from the fact that it treats education as a "sanctifying context." It is a context of reconciliation and restoration, effected through community, placed within the broader narrative of God's redemptive work on humanity and the creation. Shockingly, Wesleyan schools should aim at "forming saints" in the broadest sense possible!
2. Responding was no less than the delightful William Abraham. Two things stuck out to me in his response. The first is his sense that the Wesleyan tradition, along with other traditions like the Pentecostals, really fits within a third house, in addition to the more catholic on the one side and high Protestant on the other. He finds the glue for the third house in the words of Irenaeus, "where the Spirit is, there is the Church."
He also suggested that we have no business calling ourselves, "Wesleyan" if we haven't read Wesley's standard sermons. Fair enough. Although I don't think Wesley is a trump card for what Wesleyans must believe, I completely agree that we should know Wesley. Aaron Perry put it this way in response to my earlier post: "I like what Eddie Fox said of the Methodist movement. He said that we don't follow Wesley, but we follow Jesus in the company of the Wesleys."