On the Nature, Task and Method of Theology: A Very Methodist Account

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This article seeks to give a theological account of the task and method of theology in a constructive and systematic way from a Methodist perspective. The first section locates the task of theology within the doctrine of sanctification in order to establish the whence and whither of theology. The second section of the article considers the sources of theology: the four classical Methodist sources of theology (the quadrilateral) are identified through an examination of Wesley’s theology as inter-related warrants which do not exist independently but only in relationship to the other sources. The third section moves from sources to consider more directly the question of method, seeking to orientate the theological task away from identification of the four components of the quadrilateral, and instead towards a description of theological method as the enactment of ongoing fractal shifting hierarchies of relationality in relation to the sources and loci of theology as they are multiply arranged in relation to each other in the immeasurable vastness of that task. This section seeks to account for a non-competitive and non-prohibitive systematicity in Methodist theology by identifying systematicity as an attempt at the description of the God who is One and in oneness lives in dynamic and superabundant relationality which requires in the creaturely realm coherent description of God and God’s ways with the world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)309-334
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Journal of Systematic Theology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018


  • Method
  • Methodist
  • Santification
  • Simplicity
  • Sources
  • Systematics


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