Christian Perfection Library
'A Plain Account of Christian Perfection'
The Annotated Edition
ISBN 1-932370-85-4 ISBN 13 digit 9781932370850
Vol. I. 352 page HARDCOVER direct from the Publisher $25 (34% off retail)
ISBN 1-932370-86-2 SOFTCOVER $17 (36% off retail)
Chapter 19 Thoughts on Christian Perfection. 32 pages. $2
Chapter 25 Farther Thoughts on Christian Perfection. 78 pages. $3
John Wesley (1703-1791) is the chief architect and source of inspiration to the teaching commonly referred to as Christian perfection. Among his many publications, the book that best summarizes his teachings on holiness is A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, as believed and taught by the Reverend Mr. John Wesley, from the year 1725 to the year 1777. For many years this timeless classic has been reproduced in various formats. Now, for the first time, John Wesley's 'A Plain Account of Christian Perfection' is being offered in a definitive Annotated Edition by Mark K. Olson. This edition is volume one in a projected three volume series. The Annotated Edition offers the following:
· The entire text has been divided into chapters and verses for detailed study and cross-referencing.
· The introduction examines in detail when and why Wesley wrote A Plain Account.
· The verse by verse commentary discusses the history and background behind the text, offering unsurpassed explanation of Wesley's doctrine of perfect love.
· Five end notes address Wesley's early doctrinal development, the impact of Aldersgate on his perfection doctrine, many testimonies of attaining perfection, and other relevant material from early Methodism.
· Over 150 quotations from Wesley's sermons, writings, and letters offer unlimited clarification to his views on perfection.
· The insights of many Wesley scholars are included: Albert Outler, Randy Maddox, Kenneth Collins, William Greathouse, Thomas Oden, Harold Lindstrom, Stephen Gunter, H. Ray Dunning, Theodore Runyon, plus many others.
· A timeline details every event in Wesley's lifetime corresponding to A Plain Account.
· Several exhaustive indexes are included: scripture, annotation, subject, author, Wesley quotations, and two synonym indexes from Wesley's Journal and A Plain Account.
· The Essential Reading Section further empowers the study of Wesley's theology of perfection. Included are:
· Twenty key sermons, along with their dates and locations in Wesley's Works (both the Jackson and Bicentennial editions).
· Wesley's most important writings on perfection, listing their date and location in his Works.
· 250 letters relevant to his theology of perfection. The index includes their date and location in Wesley's Works, with a brief description of their contents.
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Four additional volumes are planned in the series. John Wesley's Theology of Perfection will offer specialized studies for those wanting to dig deeper into Wesley's theology of perfection. The third volume, John Wesley's Doctrine of Christian Perfection, will present in systematic format every facet of Wesley's views on perfection (the other two volumes will be mentioned shortly). The projected release for both volumes two and three is 2006 and 2007. Together, these five volumes will present one of the most thorough and exhaustive studies ever done on Wesley's most beloved, yet, most controversial doctrine.
Mark K. Olson is an ordained minister in The Church of the Nazarene and resides in Antioch, California. He has spent many years researching John Wesley's life, ministry and writings. His other publications are John Wesley's 'A Plain Account of Christian Perfection': The Annotated Edition and John Wesley's Theology of Christian Perfection: Developments in Doctrine & Theological System.
Vol. I. 352 page HARDCOVER direct from the Publisher $25 (34% off retail price)
ISBN 1-932370-86-2 SOFTCOVER $17 (36% off retail price)
Or send a check with $3 extra for shipping to our address.
Comments from the Publisher
While I appreciate John Wesley in many ways I do not agree with everything he taught or did. With some years of research, and formerly being a member of the Free Methodist church in Canada, I have had a chance to evaluate the life and doctrine of Wesley and the movement that resulted from his labors. Actually, it was that research that lead me as a young man to join the Free Methodist church. And before that time I was won over to Christ by the influential writings of men like Wesley and Finney. Over the years I have tried in many ways to distribute these convicting and useful works of these revivalists and reformers. At first we just made photocopies for tract booklets. Then we transcribed them for better printing and for computer viewing on CD and online. As time went on and demand increased we began republishing books. Our first work in Wesleyan scholarship was with John Fletcher's complete works (not yet finished).
Rev. Mark Olson is a customer who had ordered some books from our latest 20 volume Charles Finney series. After some correspondence Mark was willing to help with some editing work in this ministry. Out of those conversations this Wesley publication developed. The work was already mostly done over many years but was named and reworked over the last few months. While it was a lot of work to examine every detail and produce this volume, it certainly was worth all the efforts. In fact Mark's work in showing the mind and teaching of Wesley has given me a lot more appreciation for that great reformer. As anyone will see, the research involved in this volume results from years of work. Mark shows himself familiar with John Wesley's complete works and with the whole body of Wesleyan scholarship. He has organized that research to some extent in this volume, and I look forward to seeing the systematic developments in the upcoming volumes.
Mark Olson has taken a classic work and made it user friendly. If you want to understand what Wesley's "Plain Account" is all about, without having to read all that is contained in Wesley's Work, this is the book for you. This book can be used by anyone to deepen their understanding of Wesley's classic work. For those new to Wesley, this book will aid in their understanding of the classic doctrine of Christian Perfection. For those who consider Wesley a good friend, the annotated notes, will aid one in their quest "to mine the depths of Wesley's mind." (p. 10)
Those in the Wesleyan tradition owe a deep debt of gratitude to Mark Olson for his labor of love.
I have used this book to aid me in my own study of Wesley's thought and in teaching the classic doctrine of holiness to those who have felt the call of God on their lives.
Bellefontaine Church of the Nazarene
John Wesley's Theology of Perfection
Developments in Doctrine & Theological System
ISBN 10: 1-932370-88-9 13: 978-1-932370-88-1 524 pages.
Volume two of this magisterial series highlights the evolution of John Wesley's theological system in relation to his doctrine of perfection. Wesley's early theological system is examined in detail and highlighted for its strengths and weaknesses. This gives the foundation necessary to understand why and how his perfection theology took shape during his Aldersgate era and following. Of special interest to every student of Wesley is Olson's thesis that John Wesley went through a second period of spiritual crisis in the mid-1760's, propelling his doctrinal system in new directions. Special attention is given to Wesley's doctrine of sin, both showing its chronological development and its mature articulation as voluntary and involuntary. Wesley's letters are plumbed for insights into how he counseled seekers toward the experience of perfect love. In addition, Wesley's mature reflections on cosmic renewal and his views on non-Christians being finally saved are looked at and defined. In all, major themes and contours that shaped Wesley's perfection theology are addressed; this includes identifying the Achilles heel implicit in his concept that perfection is attainable in this life. Several appendices offer additional insights into specifics of Wesley's views. This volume represents one of the most exhaustive studies on the evolution of Wesley's perfection theology available today. Below is the table of contents:
Section One: Early Developments
1. The Gospel of Holiness
2. The Gospel of Faith Alone
3. The Gospel of Two Works of Grace
Section Two: Mature Enlargements
4. Aldersgate II
5. Sin in the Ordo Salutis
6. Spiritual Father
7. The Gospel of Universal Holiness
Section Three: Making Sense
8. A Plain Account of Christian Perfection
9. The Faith Journey
10. Evolving Contours
11. The Achilles Heel
A. Timeline on Wesley’s Doctrinal Development
B. John Wesley’s Confessions
C. Early Testimonies of Perfect Love
D. The Evolution of the New Birth
E. The Roots to Wesley’s Servant Theology
F. Clement of Alexandria: A Second Century Wesleyan?
G. Doctrinal Resource Lists
Index A: John Wesley’s Writings
Index B: Scripture References
Index C: Subject
The John Wesley Reader on Christian Perfection
ISBN 10: 1-932370-90-0 13: 978-1-932370-90-4 344 pages.
JOHN WESLEY (1703-1791) is the chief architect and source of inspiration for the modern doctrine of Christian perfection. From the year 1725, when Wesley was “exceedingly affected” and resolved to “dedicate all (his) life to God,” holiness became the DNA of his spiritual temperament. For the next sixty-six years Wesley taught and proclaimed a gospel of holy love, graciously given to sinful humanity in Jesus Christ, for the recovery of the divine image lost by the first Adam. Yet the vision of perfect love did not take shape overnight.
The path Wesley journeyed in developing his theology of holiness was often arduous, at times turbulent, became personally painful at specific junctures, and was long. It took Wesley many years to work through the particulars of his theological principles and finally integrate them into a holistic theological system.
For the first time all the significant writings from Wesley's pen on the subject of holiness are brought together in a reader format that tells the story how he developed his theology of Christian perfection. All periods of Wesley's ministry are included—early, middle, and late. Selections from the entire Wesley corpus are included: sermons, journal, letters, commentary notes, tracts, and other writings. Introductions offer historical context and alert the reader to major themes and motifs. Study guides are included for personal and group study.
Whether one agrees or disagrees with John Wesley on the subject of Christian holiness, all will be challenged to reflect more deeply on the nature of Christian discipleship and what it means to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ.
The Early Period 1725-1738
Ars Moriendi 1725
Forgiveness & Assurance 1725
Seeking After Holiness 1730-31
The Circumcision of the Heart 1733
Preface to a Collection of Prayers 1733
One Thing Needful 1734
Holiness Defined 1734
The Trouble and Rest of Good Men 1735
Unwilling to Die 1735-36
A Single Intention 1736
Early Testimonies 1736
Who Will Deliver Me? 1737-38
The Aldersgate Period 1738
A Perfect Faith Needed 2/1/38
A New Gospel Embraced 2-4/38
My Heart Strangely Warmed 5/24/38
Salvation By Faith 6/11/38
Victory Over Sin 10/38
Perfection in the New Birth 12/38
The Middle Period: Part One 1738-1755
Struggles Over Assurance 6/38
Living Proofs 7/38
Christian David's Testimony 8/38
Falling Short 10/38-1/39
Degrees of Regeneration 1/39
The Kingdom Within 2/39
Key Doctrines Clarified 1739-40
A Second Work of Grace 1740
Stages of Growth 1740
Christian Perfection 1741
Biblical Promises 1747
Biblical Expositions 1755
The Middle Period: Part Two 1756-1767
Letter to William Dodd 1756
Perfection in an Instant 1757-58
Thoughts on Christian Perfection 1759
Wandering Thoughts 1760
Clarifying Perfection 1760-62
Perfection Distorted 1762
On Sin in Believers 1763
The Scripture Way of Salvation 1765
Humble, Gentle, Patient Love 1767
The Repentance of Believers 1767
The Late Period 1768-1791
The Imperfection of Perfection 1772
Pressing on to Perfection 1771-84
On Perfection 1784
On Working Out Our Own Salvation 1785
Instantaneous & Gradual Perfection 1785-86
Degrees of Faith 1788
Counsel for One Made Perfect 1787-1790
On The Wedding Garment 1790
Ars Moriendi Perfected 1791
Doctrine of Christian Perfection
Systematic Formulation For Contemporary Relevance
(Projected Release: 2008)
Everyone who has read A Plain Account of Christian Perfection, or Wesley's other writings, realizes that he never attempts to present his doctrine of perfect love in a systematic format. This was left for later generations to do. This third volume will use the text of A Plain Account as a window into Wesley's perfection theology, highlighting core motifs and other central themes. In this way the Wesleyan path to holiness of heart and life is expounded and clarified. Wesley's views will be compared to later perspectives within the Holiness Movement, highlighting his unique contribution to the subject of holiness in the Christian life.
Preaching of Christian Perfection:
For The 21st Century
(Projected Release: 2008)
This vol. will examine how John Wesley proclaimed the teaching and what we can learn from him. Also how we can proclaim it today in the 21st century. It will include examples of John Wesley's writings, pointing out his methodology of proclamation and apply that in light of 21st century needs.
For another classic from a later Methodist Reformer on the same subject see Asa Mahan's Scripture Doctrine of Christian Perfection. 1837, 1875. Vol. 11 in the New 20 vol. Series: Life and Works of Asa Mahan. $16 HC
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