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Wesley’s four sources

Scholar Philip Wingeier-Rayo analyzes Wesleyan heritage and cultural shifts.

UM & Global

The United Methodist Church is engaged in a cultural war over human sexuality. Just below the surface is a struggle of theological sources. The Wesleyan tradition acknowledges Scripture, tradition, experience and reason as authoritative in our theological method. These, of course, were John Wesley’s primary sources from which Albert Outler coined the term “The Wesleyan Quadrilateral.”

The battle, however, is over the norms that we use to interpret and how we weigh each of these sources. Certainly, even if we are within the Wesleyan tradition and honor these four sources as authoritative, individual members can come out with very different theological positions on controversial social issues. I once heard it said that if you put 10 Methodists in a room you will have 11 opinions.

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The Michigan Conference