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Grace

The term 'grace' is used in classical Christian theology for the outworking of God's loving regard towards humankind. In the West, both in medieval times and later, it was often regarded as referring more to a 'substance' than, as in the Bible, to a living relationship. John Wesley laid particular emphasis on prevenient (or 'preventing') grace, active even before a person could apprehend his need of it. This grace - and here Wesley was in strong disagreement with Calvinism - was at work in everyone, awakening them to their sinful condition and need of salvation, and then enabling them to respond in faith to the Gospel. Wesley also emphasized the importance of the means of grace in the lives of justified believers 'pressing on to full salvation'. Recent Wesleyan theology has emphasized 'responsible grace', i.e. the extent to which the grace of God necessarily evokes and requires a human response.

Sources

  • E.A. Nilson in London Quarterly and Holborn Review, Oct 1959 pp.188-94
  • Philip S. Watson, The Concept of Grace (1959)
  • Colin W. Williams, John Wesley's Theology Today (1960) pp. 39-46
  • George Lawton, 'Grace in Wesley's Fifty-three Sermons', in WHS Proceedings, 42 pp.112-15
  • R.L. Maddox, Responsible Grace: John Wesley's Practical Theology (Nashville,1994)
  • Marjorie Suchocki, 'Wesleyan Grace', in Oxford Handbook of Methodist Studies ed. W.J. Abraham and J.E. Kirby (2009), pp.540-53
  • Sean Winter (ed.), Immense, Unfathomed, Unconfined: The Grace of God in Church and Community. Essays in Honour of Norman Young (2013)
  • Vic. Reasoner, 'John Wesley's doctrines on the theology of grace' in' Clark H. Pinnock and John D Wagner (eds.), 'Grace for All: the Arminian Dynamics of Salvation' (Eugene, OR0 (2015) pp. 177-96'

Entry written by: DJC
Category: Subject

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