14 Wesleyan Group's Theologians
"It may appear to be a relatively simple matter,
indeed quite natural, to be appropriately and adequately involved in
helping others, righting wrongs, and in general making a wholesome
contribution to individuals and society. (1 Jn 3:17). It seems to be
an easy step from one's individual expression of aid to the
expansion and extension of the Christian moral perspective to the
most remote issues. The justice of the prophets, the
self-renunciation and forgiveness of Christ, and other themes of
biblical religion would be the thought, life, and ordinary activity
of the 'normal' Christian. ...
"It is possible to examine various views of
social order to see which one or ones can best be made to fit in
with a biblical frame of reference. But one must keep in mind the
numerous pitfalls in such an undertaking, and one of the chief
problems is over- identification of religion with a political
system. Thus any statement of preference must be tempered by an
appropriate amount of the fallibilistic principle. ...
"A Christian social order would then be one
in which God would provide the basic force through salvation of the
individuals in the social order. The goal would then be as follows:
regenerate, sanctified, growing, free selves in an enriching
society, in a universe that sponsors value from its ultimate
structures or from God. ...
"The Wesleyan view of sanctification opens
the door to victorious Christian living and wholesome social order,
but as everyone can generally observe, it does not mean that such
fulfillment is a necessary outcome. Very laborious work is required
to achieve social as well as spiritual goals. The significance of
hard labor is clearly enunciated by James. (James 3:18). Anyone with
the slightest familiarity with farming can grasp the impact of this
"In a Christian perspective the whole earth
(universe?) should be regarded as the community with which we are
concerned. Community is a much better model of the universe than
either a mind or a machine. This would include all humanity of every
culture, race, sex, and geographical and demographic description.
World order seems to be the grant hope of Isaiah. It is possible to
interpret Paul's great vision as at least including the emerging
world order. (Eph 1:9-10)"
Wesley "did not think that society
would fall like a ripe fruit into the kingdom of heaven, but neither was he
willing to turn away hopelessly from the conquest, and his view of
perfection gave him hope for society as well as individuals. In any case, there is no excuse for avoidance of responsibility." " . .
. He was instrumental in fostering a climate conducive to the
evolution of a whole new understanding of the person in society along with new
legislation for that social order. The slave trade and slavery were
condemned. Transportation of slaves was prohibited, all slave-owning
interests and slave possession were rejected. . . . . New developments
in the industrial revolution enabled workers to form unions, prohibited
child labor under the age of nine, and limited the working day to twelve hours. Prison reform made conditions more sanitary and
A Contemporary Wesleyan Theology,
Charles W. Carter, Gen. Ed., Francis Asbury Press, 1983, Vol 2, p.
712-14. Sponsorship by The Wesleyan Church, Free Methodist Church,
Anderson Church of God, Friends, United Methodist, Missionary,
Oriental Missionary Society, Evangelical Church of Korea,
Evangelical Church of North America, Salvation Army, World Gospel
Mission, Church of the Nazarene, Christian Holiness Association and
the Methodist Church of England.