Thursday, July 21, 2022

A Critique of the Modern Wesleyan

 The following is copied from a personal note I gave to a Church of the Nazarene pastor. I have redacted the personal notes and left the principles intact.


"... pastors, especially Wesleyan pastors need to think about this. 

Modern American Wesleyans are following the Worship service of the Swiss Reformers and Baptists where the altar is replaced by the pulpit and the Eucharist is optional, where most of the worship is symbolic or imagined instead of the experience of the "real" presence of Christ, with the Eucharist treated as symbolic instead of the actual presence of Christ which transforms the partaker and brings him closer to the attainment of the divine nature and "feeding him towards immortality", the key being Christ not only present in spirit but his presence being transformational instead of symbolic.

John Wesley himself would tremble in his grave if he looked at the typical Nazarene service. Wesley would be quite familiar with the liturgical worship of the Methodists and yet he, like the early church fathers and the Greek fathers would conclude that Protestants "lack the fulness of grace in their assemblies" precisely because of what protestantism has invented and done to the altar and the Eucharist.

Something to think about and discuss if we have time. Just think, if Wesley went into the Worship service of a typical American Nazarene church, he would  feel very uncomfortable and probably ask, "Where is the experience of the actual presence?"

This does NOT in anyway condemn the modern service nor its informality but, comparing it with tradition, even the tradition of Wesley himself, they are more of informal Christian love feasts rather than the traditional way the early church modeled for us where the altar and the Eucharist was the center of all their worship.

SECOND NOTE (follow up on first)

"BTW, one thing controversial that we talked about was that "there is no salvation outside the apostolic and catholic church" according to the church fathers. What this actually meant was, the tradition of the post-Apostolic protects the doctrine of salvation, i.e., entrance into the kingdom of God and if we study and follow their example, it seems that many today think they are Christians and have eternal life because they "prayed to receive Christ" but that has never been the way for 1500 years until the Swiss reformers "altered the Gospel" and may even be guilty of the anathema of Galatians 1:8.

For 1000 years and even after the Great Schism of 1054, the church was unanimous that the center of Christian worship and koinonia is the Eucharist. They were also unanimous that to enter the kingdom of God you have to be "born of water" (crucifixion, death and burial in union with Christ in water baptism). Of course, "prayer to receive" is not even ANY solution in Scripture! So what is the certainty of salvation if the protestant invention is to be followed instead of what Christ CLEARLY declares AS NECESSARY?

People who indicate they want to follow Christ were called catechumens but were never allowed to join the Christian worship and especially partake of the Eucharist UNTIL they have been "born of water and the Spirit" according to the very command of Christ.

The issue was "Does a person really have eternal life or even claim to have it, if he has not followed the "way" prescribed by Christ himself to Nicodemus?" If not what is the basis for that claim, what is the foundation of that "faith"?


That faith would be based on a Protestant formula instead of the Biblical way prescribed by the Lord Himself!

That is clearly risking eternal life, don't you think?


The Church of the Nazarene of which I am personally affiliated with follows John Wesley's Methodist legacy as well as the hermeneutic methods analyzed by Dr. Albert Outler's Quadrilateral: Scripture, Tradition (ante-Nicene and Greek fathers ONLY, no Latin fathers at all), Reason and Experience (which includes double-inspiration, i.e., the understanding of Scripture by the reader is just as "inspired" as the inspiration of the writer necessitating holiness and the filling of the Spirit for correct exegesis). They span off from the Methodist church in the USA in 1908 as a protest against the emphasis of the Methodists on social gospel instead of the Apostles doctrine.

However, being American in origin, it has left the ecclesial practice of the post-Apostolic church and followed the worship service of the Swiss Reformers and modern American baptists.

This begs the question, "Am I in a true church, a compromised church, or an apostate church?"

John Wesley, being an Anglican, still had the altar and Eucharist in ecclesial worship similar to the early church. His worship services were liturgical similar to the early church, not spontaneous like the Swiss reformers and Baptists. John Wesley routinely did the sign of the cross, an early church practice indicating or confirming personal identification and sanctification on every occasion it is done.

Modern protestant churches routinely violate the necessity of the Eucharistic celebration in every Christian gathering or at least on the Lord's day according to John 6:52-58 clearly expressed by St. John the Theologian and very scholarly explained by Fr. John Behr in the following video:

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