Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Another Denial Concerning Erasmus

Occasionally, someone will bring up the myth that John Wesley was consecrated a bishop by the Orthodox bishop Erasmus.  There is, of course, no factual support for this assertion.  Further, it flies in the face of everything that Wesley says about ordination.  Nevertheless, there are those who look for some way of placing Wesley within an historical, apostolic succession of bishops so as to shore up their own ordination.

What this attempt actually does is deny Wesley's own claimed authority to ordain as an elder given God's providential placement of him as an overseer of the people called Methodist.  In other words, by their very attempt, they are denying the validity of their own orders and hanging their hopes on this supposed myth.

Wesley, of course, denies these assertions of seeking consecration by Bishop Erasmus.  His right to ordain is on wholly other grounds.

Today, I was reading a passage where Wesley specifically addresses this issue.

In Wesley's "An Answer to Mr. Rowland Hill's Tract, Entitled, 'Imposture Detected,'" printed in volume 10 of Wesley's Works (Jackson ed.), on page 450, Wesley says:

I never entreated anything of Bishop Erasmus, who had abundant unexceptionable credentials as to his episcopal character. Nor did he "ever reject any overture" made by me. (Page 14) Herein Mr. Hill has been misinformed. I deny the fact; let him produce his evidence.
That sounds pretty clear, to me.  -  So, please, let's put an end to the spreading of this unfounded myth.  ☺  

Christian Perfection - The Doctrine of the Church of England

I was reading, today, in the 10th Volume of Wesley's Works (Jackson edition), and I came across a passage that says it so well!  -  It is found on page 450, in Wesley's "An Answer to Mr. Rowland Hill's Tract, Entitled, 'Imposture Detected.'"  -  It is a position that has long been held, but it was really nice to find it so explicitly stated by John Wesley, himself.

The quote is as follows:

The perfection I hold is so far from being contrary to the doctrine of our Church, that it is exactly the same which every Clergyman prays for every Sunday: "Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name."  I mean neither more nor less than this.  In doctrine, therefore, I do not dissent from the Church of England.

There is a further story about Phineas Bresee (primary founder of the Church of the Nazarene) and this very thing.  It seems that an Episcopal priest was criticizing the Nazarenes for their claim of Entire Sanctification.  Bresee responded by asking why he thought it so amazing that God would answer the very prayer that the Episcopalians prayed every Sunday.

Yes, indeed, the Collect of Purity encapsulates the essence of Christian Perfection.  May it be that Almighty God would cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that we might perfectly love God, and worthily magnify God's holy name, through Christ our Lord!  Amen!

Thursday, January 24, 2019

O Jesus, Full of Truth and Grace

I sang this powerful Charles Wesley hymn during Morning Prayer, today.  Just wanted to share.

1. O Jesus, full of truth and grace,
More full of grace than I of sin,
Yet once again I seek Thy face;
Open Thine arms and take me in,
And freely my backslidings heal,
And love the faithless sinner still.
2.  Thou know'st the way to bring me back,
My fallen spirit to restore;
O for Thy truth and mercy's sake,
Forgive, and bid me sin no more.
The ruins of my soul repair,
And make my heart a house of prayer.
3.  The stone to flesh again convert,
The veil of sin again remove;
Sprinkle Thy blood upon my heart
And melt it by Thy dying love.
This rebel heart by love subdue
And make it soft, and make it new.
4.  O give me, Lord, the tender heart
That trembles at th'approach of sin.
A godly fear of sin impart,
Implant, and root it deep within,
That I may dread Thy gracious pow'r
And never dare to offend Thee more.