The idea that covenant theology is profoundly influential in John Wesley's theological thought sounds dissonant. What would an evangelical Arminian have to do with a theological framework that historically belongs to a Reformed understanding of salvation? How could this possibly square with his ongoing controversy with the Calvinism of his day? On the basis of compelling evidence from his sermons and correspondence, this investigation dares to push through the impulse to dismiss the idea that covenant theology belongs to the infrastructure of Wesley's thought. The resulting discovery of its role in shaping his narrative of the way of salvation is surprising and intriguing. Wesley is not only informed and fluent with respect to covenant theology, but thoroughly committed to it. This study demonstrates that, with theological precision and discernment, Wesley appropriates covenant theology in a way that is consistent both with its primary theological features and with his Arminianism. His distinctive view of "the gradual process of the work of God in the soul" supplies valuable grist for further reflection, especially by those charged with the care of souls in the twenty-first century
Endorsements & Reviews-
"Rodes provides an enlightening account of John Wesley's understanding of salvation by highlighting Wesley's appropriation and adaptation of the covenant (federal) theology of the English Reformed tradition. He critiques from this vantage point the spectrum of views about Wesley's understanding of 'the faith of a servant' in recent scholarship. This is an important study for future consideration of this debated topic." --Randy L. Maddox, Duke Divinity School
"Filling out the covenantal context of Wesley's practical theology (especially in terms of the important distinction of 'the faith of a servant, the faith of a child of God') Rodes is in the proper position to consider, in a way that others have not, Wesley's seasoned reflections on the outworking of the gospel both within the church and well beyond its walls." --Kenneth J. Collins, Asbury Theological Seminary
"For too long historians have assumed the Arminian and Calvinistic expressions of Methodism developed along entirely separate trajectories, especially after the controversies of the early 1740s. Rodes' important new study of John Wesley's appropriation of that Calvinist preoccupation--covenant theology--shows that at times Wesley certainly came close to the very edge of Calvinism. This is an important study in theological adaptation; it deserves a wide readership." --David Ceri Jones, Aberystwyth University, Wales
"Rodes has provided an excellent review of who influenced Wesley, how Wesley--with his usual eclectic gleaning--transformed the covenant theology of the Reformed tradition, and why the 'faith of a servant and faith of a child' metaphor is key to understanding Wesley's concept of the way of salvation. Thoroughly researched and intelligently argued, From Faith to Faith is a new and unique contribution to the field of Wesley studies. A definitely needed addition to the academic's and the pastor's library." --Diane Leclerc, Northwest Nazarene University
Stanley J. Rodes T. A. Noble
Stan Rodes (PhD) serves as Administrative Director for Global Clergy Development for the Church of the Nazarene. He is also a member of the adjunct faculty of Northwest Nazarene University.