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The authority of Scripture has been a subject of continuing, intense
debate among Christians for many years. In the Wesleyan tradition
this debate has focused on the so-called quadrilateral — a term
referring to the four elements that John Wesley viewed as the basis
for theological method: Scripture, tradition, reason, and
experience. Both evangelicals and liberals invoke the quadrilateral
in defense of their views, thus bringing confusion to the debate.
This book seeks to dispel confusion and enlighten discussion by
showing that Wesley always affirmed the primacy of Scripture and saw
the other three elements as necessary and complementary in order to
interpret, illuminate, and apply scriptural truth to life.
Donald Thorsen has made a strong contribution to contemporary
evangelical theology by introducing, by way of a careful study of
Wesley’s theology, a proposal for our theological method (the
so-called Wesleyan Quadrilateral)….The method if applied promises to
reinvigorate classical theology in our time….I find Thorsen’s
argument, convincing as historical theology and highly relevant as a
constructive proposal for our day.
— Clark H. Pinnock, McMaster Divinity College
This study, which highlights the evangelical catholicity of Wesley,
will greatly benefit all Christians who seek the renewal and unity
of the church today. It is a helpful, illuminating analysis of the
epistemological foundations of Wesley’s thought, showing that Wesley
is a biblical, evangelical theologian.
— Donald G. Bloesch, Dubuque Theological Seminary
Thorsen argues that Wesley’s reinterpretation of sola scriptura to
mean that the Bible is the “primary” rather than the “exclusive”
authority for theology is precisely what contemporary evangelicalism
needs to hear and appropriate. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral
commends Wesley’s integration of reason, tradition, and experience
as sources of theology as the way to achieve the kind of “catholic
evangelicalism” called for by, among others, Donald Bloesch and
Gabriel Fackre….This book will be of interest to all concerned with
the nature of biblical authority in evangelical theology.
— Kevin J. Vanhoozer, University of Edinburgh
About the Author:
Don Thorsen is Professor of Theology in the Haggard School of
Theology at Azusa Pacific University. He holds degrees from Stanford
University, Asbury Theological Seminary, Princeton Theological
Seminary, and Drew University (Ph.D).