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University of Manchester

1. Saunders-Hindley, Richard John. A New Perspective on Wesley: A Dialogue Between John Wesley and N.T. Wright on Justification by Faith.

Degree: 2019, University of Manchester

This thesis examines John Wesley’s doctrine of justification by faith through the interpretative framework of the New Perspective on Paul (hereafter ‘the New Perspective’), specifically the work of N.T. Wright. The New Perspective has hitherto been used as an analytical tool to reinterpret traditional Protestant understandings of Pauline theology. The thesis makes a novel application of Wright’s interpretation of justification by faith to provide a new reading of the doctrine in Wesley’s theology. Justification in Wesley is thus re read in the light of Wright’s recasting of it in terms of ‘covenant’, ‘election’, ‘vocation’ and ‘eschatology’. The thesis employs a dialogical method to read Wesley in the framework of Wright’s interpretation, thereby identifying points of convergence and divergence between the two. It is not an attempt to synthesize their respective understandings of justification, but a fresh reading of the doctrine in Wesley through dialogue with Wright. To this end, the thesis traces justification by faith in Wesley and Wright respectively, each on his own terms. Using the keys of ‘embodied justification’ in Wright and ‘movemental ecclesiology’ in Wesley, it unlocks what is at stake for each in their respective understandings, before bringing them together in dialogue. Thus the focus of the thesis is the major contextual issues and implications of justification in each, drawing out the key missional and ecclesiological questions arising from justification. In the dialogue between Wesley and Wright, the thesis argues that justification by faith in Wesley shares many of the covenantal, vocational and eschatological features of Wright’s interpretation. Thus for example, ‘Catholic Spirit’ is a significant people defining motif, while there is inaugurated eschatology discernible in the new birth and sanctification. There are, however, important aspects of Wesley’s understanding of justification that differ from Wright’s view. Thus his stress on personal salvation and transformational discipleship that flow into a corporate identity give his teaching on justification distinctive shape and emphasis. The thesis concludes that justification by faith in Wesley is not only a soteriological doctrine but also ecclesiological. It argues that justification is not merely a private inward experience, but an embodied lived reality of divine grace and renewal. Thus justification is the key marker which both defines and is defined by the ‘company of believers’ (to use Wesley’s term). The thesis argues further that Wesley’s ecclesiology in general is always essentially movemental and missional rather than institutional. It thus moves away from polarized contemporary debates that have played off against each other different understandings of justification as either ‘soteriological’ or ‘ecclesiological’. From this fresh reading of Wesley it is therefore possible to draw out key principles that look beyond the dichotomy of ‘Old’ versus ‘New’ Perspective… Advisors/Committee Members: WHITTLE, SARAH SK, Meadows, Philip, Whittle, Sarah.

Subjects/Keywords: justification; John Wesley; N.T. Wright; new perspective; ecclesiology; catholic spirit; covenant; discipleship

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APA (6th Edition):

Saunders-Hindley, R. J. (2019). A New Perspective on Wesley: A Dialogue Between John Wesley and N.T. Wright on Justification by Faith. (Doctoral Dissertation). University of Manchester. Retrieved from http://www.manchester.ac.uk/escholar/uk-ac-man-scw:318086

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Saunders-Hindley, Richard John. “A New Perspective on Wesley: A Dialogue Between John Wesley and N.T. Wright on Justification by Faith.” 2019. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Manchester. Accessed February 22, 2019. http://www.manchester.ac.uk/escholar/uk-ac-man-scw:318086.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Saunders-Hindley, Richard John. “A New Perspective on Wesley: A Dialogue Between John Wesley and N.T. Wright on Justification by Faith.” 2019. Web. 22 Feb 2019.

Vancouver:

Saunders-Hindley RJ. A New Perspective on Wesley: A Dialogue Between John Wesley and N.T. Wright on Justification by Faith. [Internet] [Doctoral dissertation]. University of Manchester; 2019. [cited 2019 Feb 22]. Available from: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/escholar/uk-ac-man-scw:318086.

Council of Science Editors:

Saunders-Hindley RJ. A New Perspective on Wesley: A Dialogue Between John Wesley and N.T. Wright on Justification by Faith. [Doctoral Dissertation]. University of Manchester; 2019. Available from: http://www.manchester.ac.uk/escholar/uk-ac-man-scw:318086

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