Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Okay, so I probably need more help from my more scholarly friends out there on this one.

I have been preaching Wesley's forms of Grace - Prevenient, Justifying, Sanctifying and Perfected in Love, with the attendant actions of human kind, repentance, restoration, and holy action during the Advent season this year.

I have also been doing this backward, which means it was Prevenient Grace that I preached this past Sunday. As such, I delved a little into Augustinian Theology.

Now, this is where some corrective may be necessary. I understand Augustine to tell us that we are at Core, born into original sin, and therefore sinful. I held this in contrast to Wesley, who seems to say, we are at Core made in the image of God, and therefore Holy beings. Original Sin, then, in a Wesleyan context is our own "bent to sinning", which introduces Prevenient Grace. Prevenient Grace is God's permanent call to each of us that we are loved and desired for relationship. God doesn't sit idly by while we figure out whether to come back, but is constantly searching the horizon for our return (those who are hearing the story of the Prodigal Son in echo may have a fuller picture of the sermon).

Justification then is what happens when we return to God, but does not stop upon our return to God.

I dare say that Augustine might well be missing the Sanctification element of Wesley. For if we are at Core sinful beings, and justification restores us to God's presence, then there is no real chance of losing salvation for Augustine, which Wesley definitely says is possible - losing salvation that is.

Just thinking out loud, and checking myself.



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