Review: The Wesleyan Way of Salvation

January 28th, 2014
This article is featured in the Stuck: Now What? (Feb/Mar/Apr2014) issue of Circuit Rider

When he first discovered the Wesleyan Way of Salvation, Scott Jones found a tradition that made sense of his faith and gave shape to his life. Thirty-five years later, his most recent Bible study seeks to teach the Wesleyan Way to others.

Jones’ passion for the Wesleyan Way is rooted in personal experience. Despite being a fourth generation Methodist pastor, he knew little of Wesley’s teachings before enrolling in Albert Outler’s course during seminary. Jones found answers not only to his own big questions about God and discipleship, but also a way that he believes is still vital for disciples in our day.

The Wesleyan Way is an eight-week study that highlights some of the most important aspects of Jones’ subject. It opens with a lesson about the nature of Christian discipleship as a way of life rather than merely an acceptance of certain beliefs. The following session explores the nature of God, who calls his people to act on the love he models for them. Week 3 looks honestly at the real world that, although created good by a good God, is mired in sin.

Lesson 4 covers the turning point provided by grace. Jones gives an overview of the Wesleyan understanding of prevenient, convincing, justifying, and sanctifying grace, all of which work together in transforming the Christian into a new creation.

Jones’ final chapters look at Christian growth and maturity, which include both individual and community elements. He explains the six means of grace by which people respond to God’s love, encourages participants to develop virtues consistent with a Christian life, and discusses ways to reach out with our faith stories to others who might be seeking answers about God.

Rather than tie up all the answers from previous sessions, the last chapter poses more questions that arise in a believer’s life. Jones acknowledges that much of what we hope to learn about heaven, the problem of evil, and other uncomfortable concepts are unknowable even for the most ardent Christian. However, Jones reminds his readers, our hope is still in the grace of Christ, which we can trust despite our uncertainties.

Each lesson in the student book focuses on very basic concepts of the Wesleyan Way through Jones’ explanation and related scripture passages. Jones also provides a hymn to help illustrate each topic, even going so far as to translate the hymn into more contemporary language.

The Wesleyan Way also includes two supplemental pieces. The leader’s guide provides step-by-step instructions for planning and leading the meetings. The DVD offers a ten-minute video for each lesson, featuring Adam Hamilton, Jorge Acevedo, and several other prominent United Methodist pastors.

Jones, currently the resident bishop of the Great Plains area, puts together a simple and easy to use resource. The Wesleyan Way should be particularly helpful for small groups of people who are learning bout Wesleyan Christianity for the first time.

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