Wednesday with Wesley: On Undervaluing Reason

Reason and logic are an important part of daily life and decision making. However, there are some Christians that undervalue the use of reason. They interpret “walking by faith” as rejecting logic and ignoring the need for plans. In Sermon #70, John Wesley “impartially” considered the use of reason and those who did not value it.

Even [in the earliest times] there were not wanting well-meaning men who, not having much reason themselves, imagined that reason was of no use in religion; yea, rather, that it was a hinderance to it.

And there has not been wanting a succession of men who have believed and asserted the same thing. But never was there a greater number of these in the Christian Church, at least in Britain, than at this day.

John_WesleyRoger Olson sees the same problem among Christians today as Wesley did in his day.

[Some Christians] appeal to “faith” as if that means blind faith, unexamined belief, in truths delivered by authority. It is more spiritual, they say, to believe against logic and evidence than to believe with them.

The passage 1 Cor 14:20, which formed the basis of the sermon, tells us to be men in our understanding. Wesley’s notes on this passage remind us (as did Paul) that we have the responsibility to not only use our reason but to develop our abilities in this area.

Knowing religion was not designed to destroy any of our natural faculties, but to exalt and improve them, our reason in particular.

Without Reason we can’t understand the Scriptures

Wesley would challenge Christians who rejected reason to explain how they would understand the Scriptures. Continue reading

Wednesday with Wesley: Disciplines, the Spirit, and Scripture

This post is slightly modified from original published on February 24, 2010. This post is being re-posted based on a discussion on what is mysticism on Rachel Held Evan’s blog.

John_WesleyI am currently taking a class on Spiritual Formation. Some of the texts used in the class are Willard’s Spirit of the Disciplines (SD) and Foster’s Celebration of the Disciplines (CD).

In CD Foster says that the “great writers of the devotional life” range from “St. Augustine to St. Francis, from John Calvin to John Wesley, from Teresa of Avila to Juliana of Norwich”. Continue reading