Rethinking the Wesleyan Quadrilateral
Guest T wrote an interesting post about the Wesleyan Quadrilateral and asked some important questions on Scot McKnight's The Jesus Creed blog.
How exactly do we come to think what we do about God? How do we think about each of Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience separately in relation to good theology? How do we think they inter-relate in our actual practice and how should they inter-relate?
Hopefully a post on each of the four "quads" will be helpful for all of us to think about those questions and refine our own approach. Before we look at each of the four individually, though, a little background is in order. First, Wesley saw scripture as clearly primary among the four. In fact, he saw the other three as the unavoidable lens through which we viewed everything, including scripture and even God himself. We should note that the Quadrilateral is offered as both prescriptive (for how we ought to build our theology) and descriptive (of how we all inevitably assemble our knowledge of God). Of course, the emphasis we put on each "quad" may make for a wide margin between the prescriptive and the descriptive uses, as well as the ideas about God that we end up with. (And two quick points for the record: 1. I'm not Methodist, so folks from that background may want to give correction or depth to my summaries, and 2. although the quadrilateral is faithful to Wesley's theology, the term "quadrilateral" was coined by a much later admirer of Wesley's approach.)