An analysis of some of the major roles of emotion in the soteriology of John and Charles Wesley and its implications in relationship to contemporary research on emotions

Boetcher, James Arnold (2019) An analysis of some of the major roles of emotion in the soteriology of John and Charles Wesley and its implications in relationship to contemporary research on emotions. PhD thesis, Middlesex University / London School of Theology. [Thesis]

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This thesis defends the hypothesis that emotion is at the heart of the soteriology of the Wesley brothers, and thus emotion provides a significant avenue for understanding their theology of salvation.

Although John was not known as an emotional preacher, he certainly was an emotive one, and this emotional component that is embedded within his writings provides the raw material needed for this analysis. His brother, Charles, became the poet of Methodism, and wrote with a true poet’s heart, for some of his hymns are still numbered among the mightiest to be found in the panoply of Christian hymnody covering the past five hundred years. Thus, Charles’s usual medium of expression, poetry, which is the language of emotion, provides a rich source for extracting some of the various roles of emotion within the Wesleyan corpus. Most importantly, both brothers, with few exceptions, were in full theological agreement, and worked in close cooperation with one another. John specifically endorsed the theological content of Charles’s poetry, which poetry was published under their joint names.

What is to be gained by studying the roles of emotion? A wise man once said: “Indifference in the world is largely the result of passionlessness in the pulpit” (frontispiece). In other words, life is lived through emotion, and religion is expressed through emotion; therefore, passion must still be present in today’s worship and preaching in order for the Church to thrive and grow.

Chapter one lays the research foundation by considering the history and development of the definitions of certain words that become critical in conducting meaningful research, and these words are discussed at length; parameters are set forth that guide the direction of research. Chapter two contains the literature review, and also includes justification for utilizing a small array of experts who provide technical specialty knowledge, each confined to a separate, specific pursuit that lies within the general fields of neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, and theology.

Chapter three presents the actual research, and a number of significant roles of emotion are suggested. A most interesting discovery is presented under the heading of Fire in the Pulpit, where specifics are identified that could make a contribution to a solution for the problem of passionlessness in the pulpit. Chapter four is a summary of the results of this research, and the final chapter summarizes important discoveries, suggestions for this writer’s original contributions to the field of Wesleyan studies, and possible future research areas.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Research Areas: A. > School of Law
B. > Theses
C. Collaborative Partners > London School of Theology
Item ID: 29907
Depositing User: Brigitte Joerg
Date Deposited: 13 May 2020 18:47
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 18:42

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