Sunday, May 29, 2011

Moral Psychology

In the article "Reconnecting the Means to the End," Dr. Randy Maddox uses the term "Moral Psychology" instead of "The Soul" when discussing the faculties of the Understanding, Will, Affections, and Liberty.  Unsurprisingly given this framework, his thesis equates spiritual maturation with ethical development and focuses on Christ as Moral Exemplar.  There is no place for the role of Faith in this presentation of Christianity, which seems like a lot to give up just to modernize our vocabulary.

A very helpful historiography is included in the article, one which describes what happened in the nineteenth century as Methodists discarded Wesley's conception of the Soul for more contemporary theories.  The debate became fixated on whose argument was the most accurate rather than on whose argument produced the most fruit (i.e., mature Christians).

This history lesson is a reminder that merely swapping out Wesley's terms for something more trendy will not give me a Wesleyan theology if the goal that motivated Wesley's ministry is overshadowed in the revision process.

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