Two Problems with Wesley’s Teaching on Perfection

Mitchell Lewis

One of John Wesley’s distinctive teachings involved what came to be known as “Christian perfection” or “entire sanctification.” Wesley taught that Christians can and should experience a second act of God’s grace enabling them them to love God and their neighbors perfectly in thought, temperament and intention. Both inner experience and outward action would then flow solely from pure love. As is the case with any person, Wesley’s views on the matter changed over time, and the precise formulation of his ideas varied from occasion to occasion.

Consistently, however, Wesley averred that Christian perfection did not consist of freedom from physical infirmities or errors of judgment. For Wesley, these matters paled in insignificance compared that the mighty work that God sought to do in the heart of the the believer. Entirely sanctified Christians perfectly fulfill the law of love and so do not sin – at least in the most…

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