Monday, July 23, 2012

Stir up the χάρισμα

Wesley's homilectical references to 2 Timothy 1:6 are consistent in every sermon but one.  His NT translation "stirring up the gift of God"  is close to the Greek "ἀναζωπυρεῖν τὸ χάρισμα τοῦ θεοῦ" (literally "to kindle the charisma of God") and Sermons 19, 23, 35, 42, 46, 48, 66, and 72 all make reference to stirring up the gift of God by practicing spiritual disciplines. 

Either the gift will be fanned into flame by daily spiritual exercises, or the gift will be dampened if the means of grace are neglected.  There is no middle ground in Wesley's doctrine.  The flame grows brighter or the flame becomes dimmer; it can not hold a steady state.

Sermon 85, "On working out our own salvation," repeats this warning with one notable difference.  In paragraph III.6, Wesley gave this advice, "Stir up the spark of grace which is now in you, and he will give you more grace."

This switch from Gift to Grace puzzled me.  I usually associate charisma with the list of spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.  Wesley's argument in Sermon 85 expands that definition to include grace itself as a gift of the Spirit.  This gift is in us, it requires constant stirring, and we can receive more of it.

What means do you use to stir up the spark of grace while you wait to receive more of this gift from God? 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Wesleyan Stages of Grace

 I've created a chart and written descriptions to represent each stage in the Wesleyan Developmental Model of Salvation.  The headings refer to the actions of grace, and the lists contain the characteristics that are typical of those at each stage of grace.  Do the descriptions cover the basics of each category?  Have I overlooked a major characteristic?