Wesley’s Way: Religion of the Heart

Wesley also referred to his theology as “religion of the heart.”  Here too (as with “living faith”) he was connecting with streams of Christianity (especially in the early church) who used heart-language.

He chose this phrase for a number of reasons.  It was one way to say that faith must penetrate to the core (heart) of our being.  By using heart language Wesley was also commending the role of experience and steering people away from sterile
rationalism (prevalent in the 18th century) which led to what he called “dead orthodoxy.”

From last week’s and today’s posts, I want you to see that the keynote in Wesleyan spirituality is LIFE.  This is Wesley’s conscious connection to John 10:10 and every stream of Christianity that promoted “the life of God in the human soul” (a phrase he took from Henry Scougal).

As we move farther into Wesleyan spirituality, we will do so fully aware that spiritual formation in the Wesleyan tradition is always formation into “the life that was in Christ.”

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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1 Response to Wesley’s Way: Religion of the Heart

  1. Ernie Bennett says:

    I have become convinced that ministry without heart is not worth fooling around with. When we operate only out of the head it is never enough. Of course, emotion by itself is a weak sister. The issue I struggle with is the proper balance of the two.

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