Factbook Entry Suggestion: Wesleyan Quadrilateral

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2021 4:27 PM

If we are logical and we are made in the image of God, then God must be ultra logical. He didn't pick the doctrines out of a hat. There is rationale behind each of His choices. Thus, His doctrines (viewed from our angle, doctrines are our beliefs) cannot be illogical. I may not understand his rationale, but it cannot be illogical. His logic can never be worse than that of a human being.

May I give a warning? Logics are built only for very set types of statements and situations. Much of human reasoning is not logical in nature but is well reasoned often using informal logic (Douglas Walton has many books out on various informal logics ... and he is very readable). Then there is the "logic" inherent in syntax and narrative. And there is visual reasoning, analogical reasoning, decompositional reasoning . . .. And there is fallacy detection which is, perhaps, best called an art given the failure of most attempts to systematize it.

My point is that you need (and may have done) to carefully define "logical" as you used it above or you will fall into many needless arguments.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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1Cor10:31 | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 8 2021 7:39 PM

Hi MJ! Thanks for pointing out the various types of reasoning. This back-and-forth is a good reminder for me that I should never forget striving to be as precise as possible. Taking the time to be precise can definitely help me avoid getting into needless arguments.

The ultimate question that I have been tackling the last few years is a simple one: why I believe what I believe. To tackle this question, I have to put myself in the shoes of God. Given my training, I ask: If God were a financial economist, how would He have devised His system to achieve His goal? His system can't be inferior to what a financial economist will design. So what I really have in mind is more of a rationale for God's choice of doctrines for us as believers. This approach has made me eject beliefs that I grew up with (without questioning), add new beliefs, and give certainty to beliefs that I continue to hold.

For all those who think simple reasoning has very little role, here is a passage that tickles me no end because Jesus is using simple logic to beat back people’s suggestions that He is the devil. 

Matthew 12:22-28 (ESV): 22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, “Can this be the Son of David?” 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this man casts out demons.” 25 Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. 28 But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Jesus is effectively asking: why will the devil drive out the devil? The New Bible Commentary says: Jesus’ first reply (25–26) merely pointed out what a silly idea this was: Satan would not attack his own troops!

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Hamilton Ramos | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Oct 9 2021 2:17 PM

1 Cor 10:31:

Yes I understand what you are saying. I was just pointing out a fact: 

Two academicians may come to different conclusions about a passage, so which one is correct?

Paul understood that the story of Hagar and Sarah was about the slave and the free. How did he get to such conclusion? could reason alone allow him to do that, or was it through the Holy Spirit?

2 Peter 1:20 - 21:

20Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture comesfrom one’s own interpretation. 21For no such prophecy was ever brought forth by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.…

No matter how much hermeneutics, grammar historical stuff, reason and the like someone uses, there are certain key parts of the Scripture that are to be understood only through the unveiling of its meaning through the Holy Spirit (usually appointed men of God), and when they receive the real interpretation, it will not contradict other things in the Bible.

I will leave it at that. 

I wish the authors were in front of me to argue

Before you could post questions to authors, I think that has been disabled.

Looking forward to your blog.

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Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Oct 12 2021 8:11 AM

MJ. Smith:
Note the Wesleyian quadrilateral is not from Wesley.

So very true, MJ.  Dr. Albert Outler coined the term in his younger days as a progressive theologian.  It is a term that he later regretted using.

 Dr. Albert Outler said, "There is one phrase I wish I had never used: the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. It has created the wrong image in the minds of so many people and, I am sure, will lead to all kinds of controversy." 

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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