The Oasis - August 4, 2021
Author: Rev. Eric Dupee
August 04, 2021
I believe all persons of faith are theologians. That is to say we all reflect on divine matters. We all have beliefs and concepts we hold to be true. The question is are we good theologians? Are we intentional about it? Do we take our task as theologians seriously or do we prefer to leave it to the “professionals?”
When I was in seminary, I learned about something the United Methodists call the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is a methodology for theological reflection. It takes its name from, John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. It was identified that Wesley drew from four sources in order to come to his beliefs about God: scripture, tradition, reason, and experience. With scripture being the primary source, the way it’s described in United Methodism, “Wesley believed that the living core of Christian faith was revealed in scripture, illumined by tradition, vivified by personal experience, and confirmed by reason.”
I’ve been thinking about this method for reflecting on matters of faith during this time when Americans are particularly polarized. You and I can believe different things when it comes to matters of faith, but if you’ve come to your beliefs after reflecting on: scripture, thousands of years of church tradition and teaching, your personal experience, and reason I have to take what you say seriously. I find it very compelling when someone can explain their beliefs drawing from those four sources.
I invite you to keep the Wesleyan Quadrilateral as a tool in your theological toolbox. If you want to learn more about it or practice it, let’s get together. If you are a person of faith, you are theologian. I encourage you to be intentional about it.