Politics in the Order of Salvation: New Directions in Wesleyan Political Ethics

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Kingswood Books, 2001 - Religion - 483 pages
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A major study of John Wesley's political ethics and an attempt to reformulate a Wesleyan orientation to political thinking by drawing the political implications of Wesley's "order of salvation".

Was John Wesley the "fanatical Tory" conservative of many political portraits, with his loyalty to the British monarchy, his support of taxation without representation, and his severe criticism of American independence?  Or was he an emergent political liberal, condemning slavery, defending the rights and liberties of the British people, and urging government intervention in the economy to relieve hunger and poverty?  This historical and theological study of Wesley's political thought concludes that he is understood best neither as Tory nor as liberal (both of which he was, in important respects), but as a staunch champion of limited constitutional government and of the subordination of power to law--in the context of the "Glorious Revolution" and the organic unity of the British community.  Wesley's understanding of rights is a mixture of the historical and the natural, but is closer to the adaptive conservatism of Edmund Burke than to natural rights individualism in the following of John Locke.

Weber argues further that Wesley's deliberate exclusion of the people from politics can be challenged from within his own theology by recovering and developing his concept of the political image and integrating it with his understanding of the order of salvation.  This process of recovery and integration discloses the political vocation for all humankind and opens the way to an authentically Wesleyan political language.  It has significant implications also for rethinking Wesley's theology as such, and not only the Wesleyan language of politics.

This book addresses the apparent conflict between Wesley's own political stance and his proclamation of an inclusive gospel ("free grace to all.").  It focuses on the "order of salvation" and a reorientation of Wesley's approach to the Trinity. It includes an historical exploration of Wesley's political context and commitments. It opens the possibility of an authentically Wesleyan political ethic and shows how diverse views within the Methodist tradition might be reconciled through a recasting of Wesleyan theology. It will help students to see how Wesley's contribution to the realm of ethics might not be negated by his own authoritarian and patriarchal political commitments.

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PART ONE John Wesleys Political Development
John Wesley and the

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Abingdon Press absolute monarchy Act of Parliament Act of Toleration against American American Colonies Antinomianism appeal to natural argued argument Arminian British C. B. MacPherson Calm Address Calvinists Catholic Charles Wesley Christian church Church of England civil civil liberty claim colonies concept consent conservatism constitutional context creation defend Dietrich Bonhoeffer divine grace divine right doctrine E. P. Thompson Edmund Burke Elie Halevy Emory University England English Epworth Erastian established ethic evangelical Frank Baker fundamental George Glorious Revolution God's Hanoverian Hempton historical Homily House of Hanover However human human nature human rights humankind Hynson Ibid ical image of God institutions Jackson Jacobite Jacobite rebellion James II John Fletcher John Locke John Wesley Journal just war Karl Barth king King George II Letters Telford limited limited monarchy Lords Dartmouth magistrates members of Parliament ment Methodist Methodist movement monarchy moral image Nashville nation natural law natural right nonjuror nonresistance Observations on Liberty ordering of liberty original sin pacifist Parliament passive obedience Paul Ramsey peacemaking persons political authority political image political thinking political thought preach presocial prevenient grace protection purposes of government religion religious liberty representation responsibility Revolution Richard Hooker rights and liberties Robert Filmer Roman Catholic Roughlee Samuel Johnson Samuel Wesley Scotland Scripture Semmel sermon simply slavery social social contract society Stanley Hauerwas Stuart supreme power Susanna Wesley Theodore Runyon theological theory therefore Thomas Rankin Thomistic tion Tory tradition trinitarian United Methodist Church Vivian Green Wesley does Wesley's political Wesley's view Wesleyan political language Wesleyan theology Whig Whiggish William III William Law wrote

About the author (2001)

Theodore R. Weber is Professor Emeritus of Social Ethics at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.

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