John Wesley: Holy Love And The Shape Of Grace

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Humankind—Image of God and Original Sin
In The Theology of John Wesley: Holy Love and the Shape of Grace, Kenneth J. Collins, makes another important contribution to the area of Wesley Studies. Collins seeks to organize his discussion of Wesley’s theology around the “axial theme” of “holiness and grace” (6). The organization of the book is logical and easy to follow, essentially guiding the reader through the Way of Salvation or more accurately (according to Collins’ view) the order of salvation.
A major strength of The Theology of John Wesley is Collins’ discussion of prevenient grace. Collins ends his summary of total depravity by arguing that “for those such as Wesley who followed the Augustinian tradition, the effects of the fall are so devastating that response-ability along the way of salvation is not a possibility at all unless God first of all sovereignly restores humanity through prevenient grace to some measure of the relation previously enjoyed” (73). It is almost as if Collins cannot help but talk about prevenient grace as soon as he has convinced the reader of the truth of human depravity. This is a thoroughly Wesleyan approach, as Wesley was only interested in discussing original sin in order to convince his audience of their need for the salvation which comes through Christ.
Collins beautifully distinguishes between Wesley and
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Collins’ comment seems to be an overstatement of what Maddox is trying to do in Responsible Grace. While Responsible Grace is a treatment of Wesley that views him through the lens of the Eastern Fathers, it does so in order to demonstrate their influence on Wesley’s thinking where it is particularly relevant. Maddux certainly does not read Wesley principally through this lens. Rather, Maddox gives an account of Wesley’s theology that demonstrates his understanding of Wesley’s orienting concern: responsible
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