The Socio-Political Function of Grace in Wesleyan Theology and Praxis
One of the key theological themes in Wesleyan studies is the concept of grace. The doctrine of grace is foundational to John Wesley’s soteriology and socio-political theology. Divine grace comes to play in the creation, and redemption of humankind. God’s gracious dealing with sinful humanity produces in the believer the love for God and for other human beings. Consequently, the renewal of the believer does not only affect the believer’s inner being but also informs the believer’s relationship with other humans and with the environment. In the contemporary world where many Christians privatize their faith and virtually make no impact in the public arena, an exploration of the socio-political role of grace in John Wesley’s theology and praxis provides a model which could be followed in making Christianity meaningful and relevant in everyday life. This article used a literature-based research approach to examine how Wesley’s experience of divine grace informed his theological views about the fall of humanity, restoration of sinful humanity, and holiness. The paper also examines Wesley’s efforts in dealing with such socio-political issues as poverty, slavery and oppression. The main thesis of the paper is that, for the Christian gospel to have both spiritual and socio-political ramifications, Christians must participate actively in the socio-political activities of their societies. The paper, therefore, aims at discouraging the dichotomization between private and social life.
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