Friday, April 25, 2008

How a Wesleyan Goes to the Scriptures

As a member of the Order of St. Luke, my devotional practice includes the praying of the Daily Offices of Morning and Evening Prayer. We are free in the Order to use whatever versions of the Daily Office we choose (the OSL, of course, provides their own resources). It has been my practice to use the version of the Book of Common Prayer given by John Wesley to the Methodists in America, viz., The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America.

Fairly recently I began to incorporate in my prayers the singing of hymns taken from The Works of John Wesley, vol. 7, "Collection of Hymns for the Use of The People Called Methodists" (Bicentennial Ed. - Over this past week I sang a series of hymns in a section entitled "Before reading the Scriptures," and I want to share a few stanzas from three of those hymns (pages 186-85).

Notice how different the Wesleyan approach to Scripture is from fundamentalism, on the one hand, and ultra-liberalism, on the other. Notice the affirmation of the inspiration of the writings of Holy Scripture, but also the necessity for the Holy Spirit to inspire them afresh and anew to us. Notice also the goal of going to the Scriptures, viz., to know God.

1. Come, Holy Ghost, our hearts inspire,
Let us thine influence prove,
Source of the old prophetic fire,
Fountain of life and love.
2. Come, Holy Ghost (for moved by thee
The prophets wrote and spoke);
Unlock the truth, thyself the key,
Unseal the sacred book.
3. Expand thy wings, celestial dove,
Brood o'er our nature's night;
On our disordered spirits move,
And let there now be light.
4. God through himself we then shall know,
If thou within us shine;
And sound, with all thy saints below,
The depths of love divine.
2. While in thy Word we search for thee
(We search with trembling awe!)
Open our eyes, and let us see
The wonders of thy law.
3. Now let our darkness comprehend
The light that shines so clear;
Now the revealing Spirit send,
And give us ears to hear.
1. Inspirer of the ancient seers,
Who wrote from thee the sacred page,
The same through all succeeding years;
To us in our degenerate age
The spirit of thy Word impart,
And breathe the life into our heart.
2. While now thine oracles we read
With earnest prayer and strong desire,
O let thy Spirit from thee proceed
Our souls to waken and inspire,
Our weakness help, our darkness chase,
And guide us by the light of grace.


Anonymous said...

I grew up in the Nazarene Church.

A free style worship and a liturgical kind of worship. Here is the perfect paradox.

You might consider the Reformed Episcopal Church but they are Five Point Calvinists. I am not sure they would open the door to a Nazarene pastor with this bizaare kind of worship of God in counterdistinction to the norm of Nazarene worship of the Lord God.

The Rev. Dr. I. Ray Berrian, Th.D.

Todd said...

Dr. Berrian,

Sorry for not keeping up with this. I do hope you check back and respond.

Perhaps you could explain your comments a bit. Why would you point me to the REC? What are you referring to when you say, "bizaare kind of worship of God"?

The post, to which you are responding was about Scripture, so I'm not sure what you are talking about.

As to my views on worship; while they are not typical of Nazarene worship (there are Nazarenes who do have similar worship services), they are quite Wesleyan. That is to say, they fit nicely within the Anglican tradition (though, admittedly, some Anglicans would not like it.)

The kind of worship that I would embrase could easily be seen in a number of Anglican settings (e.g., AMiA, CANA, CEP, even some TEC or APA churches.)

Please clarify your comments.

Your Brother in Christ,