Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
June 15th, 2015 by Joel Watts

Review, @Logos’s “The John Wesley Collection”

English: "John Wesley," by the Engli...

Oh yeah… I’ve been digitzed. English: “John Wesley,” by the English artist George Romney, oil on canvas. 29 1/2 in. x 24 3/4 in. Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a growing need and hunger among those people who call themselves Methodist to understand better John Wesley. Perhaps this need is first introduced because they hear something they don’t think is quite right. Or maybe they finally experience a good theological discussion of what it means to be Wesleyan — infallibility, class meeting, holy conferencing and the like. Or maybe they are just new to the denomination and want to understand what (gently) separates us from others. Regardless, across the United States there is a move gaining ground that seeks to look once more to the founder of Methodism in hopes that we can reclaim something of our Wesleyan roots.

The “John Wesley Collection” from Logos contains 26 volumes of writings by John Wesley. These include his journals, letters, his notes upon the New Testament, as well as his sermons. (There is also a multi-volume biographical set included as well, bringing the total number of volumes in this package to 29). As many will know, Wesley’s sermons and New Testament biblical commentary are part of the doctrinal standards of The United Methodist Church. Perhaps each member of the UMC would do well to have this handy as they approach any sort of business meeting.

Like other Logos products, the “John Wesley Collection” comes ready to be explored and synced up to other Logos attributes, such as timelines and maps. Bible verses are likewise hyperlinked so that one can follow Fr. John easy enough as he exegetes and uses Scripture in his daily life. Unlike print copy reproductions, it is easy to read on your notebook or other portable device.

One of the highlights of this collection is the immediacy of information. I can search the times Wesley used “baptism” or “communion” as well as use topic searches to see how he felt about Calvinists and Americans. I can read (and use) what Wesley wrote not just as a proof-text, but in context and — more importantly — along a timeline. As most Wesleyan scholars know, Fr. John was not the same at the end of this life as he was at the beginning. He grew. So, we can find out when and what he said and place it on a graph, charting such growth. It really is a fascinating way to examine the beliefs of Fr. John, watching a mind shaped by his experiences, grapple with the things set before him.

I would highly recommend this set, especially for those Methodists who are still Wesleyan.

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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