Sunday, August 15, 2010

Wesleyan Quadrilateral

I had the Wesleyan Quadrilateral crammed down my throat in my seminary days... And boy am I glad for it! Scot McKnight ran a series of posts on it as well awhile back, beginning with: The Wesleyan Quadrilateral Step by Step.

I tend to agree with Scot, in that Sola Scriptura is a tad much to swallow; but I do adhere to Prima Scriptura. As he says...

For my part, I've reluctantly made peace with the fact that the best I can shoot for as I build my own knowledge of God, in reality, is prima scriptura of one form or another. I can't build a theology without Tradition, Experience, and my own Reason, however flawed each of them are. Scripture with Tradition, with Experience, and with Reason is my only option, all with my hope in the Spirit to guide me from top to bottom. Actually, I prefer to think of the whole process of putting my theology together as relying on, interacting with and looking for the Spirit as I use my Reason (the least trustworthy of the four, IMO) and look for God in my Experience, and in the experience and wisdom of others in Tradition, and, above all, in the Scriptures. So, I wish that my "sola" brothers would be more honest about the necessary and unavoidable (and even helpful) role of the other members of the Quadrilateral. We don't have to say that Experience or Tradition are perfect; we can be honest about their weaknesses and their strengths.

But part of this, too, is recognizing the reality that the Spirit is active in all of them, and not in "scripture alone" and, more importantly, that God chooses to be active in each and not in scripture alone. The danger of rejecting Tradition too swiftly or broadly is that we reject an enormous amount of life giving testimony of and experience with the Spirit along with the works of Satan, and the danger of being overly hostile to Experience and/or Reason does the same.


There is also a nice link to the Methodists page about it: Reflecting On Our Faith.