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Joy of Heaven to Earth Come Down : Perfection and Millennium in the Eschatology of John Wesley
Authorship Description
Robert B. Brown.
Bibliographical Details xviii, 187 p. 23 cm.
Edition, Place & Publisher 1st ed. New Delhi, Christian World Imprints.
ISBN-10 9351481859
ISBN-13 9789351481850, 978-9351481850
Year of Publication 2016.
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John Wesley was not a systematic theologian and therefore never expounded a systemized eschatology. Nevertheless, his soteriology and eschatology were inseparably linked. His belief in the possibility of entire sanctification in the present life of the believer meant that Christians could be perfected in love on earth as preparation for their eternal presence with God. Therefore, end-time events were already occurring now. Additionally, Wesley was an optimist of grace. He envisaged an extensive conversion of mankind throughout the world before Jesus' second advent, through the preaching of the Gospel. This led naturally to his belief in a future millennium, for it was during this period that this spiritual utopia would take place.

However, Wesley adopted much of the strange millennial eschatology of Johann Albrecht Bengel, who believed in a double millennium. Additionally, Wesley seldom wrote overtly about the millennia, especially the second 1000-year period. Thus, as an 18th century evangelist, Wesley should not be so readily labelled using the familiar post-19th century millennial language which exists today, as previous scholarship has so often done. It is the conviction of this thesis that Wesley can only safely be described as a `millenarian' in the broadest definition of that word.

Contents

Abstract

Acknowledgements

Preface

Introduction

Part 1
The Millennium

1. John Wesley's Millennial Views in Scholarship

        1.1 The Premillennial view

        1.2 The Postmillennial view

2. The Eschatological Calculations of Johann Albrecht Bengel

        2.1 Bengel's Writings

        2.2 Bengel's Chronology

        2.3 Revelation and the Millennium

3. John Wesley and the Millennium

        3.1 Wesley's Use of Bengel

        3.2 The Millennium : Imminent and Literal

        3.3 The Millennium in Wesley's Sermons

Part 2
Eschatological Hope in the Present

4. `Inward and Outward Holiness'

        4.1 Thomas a. Kempis, Jeremy Taylor and William Law Aldersgate

5. Christian Perfection

        5.1 Sin and the Believer

        5.2 Wesley's Belief in Entire Sanctification

        5.3 Wesley's use of the Johannine Literature

6. Synergism

        6.1 Prevenient Grace

        6.2 Eschatology and Social Concern

        6.3 Eternity in Time

Conclusion

Appendix A: Eschatological Terminology

Appendix B: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

Bibliography

The author holds an undergraduate honours degree in History from the University of St Andrews (1994), and a postgraduate Masters degree in Palaeography and Archive Administration from the University of Liverpool (1997). The author was also awarded a MTh in Biblical Studies from The Queen's University, Belfast in 2007 (Belfast Bible College). The present work represents the author's thesis from his MPhil in Historical Theology, obtained from the University of Manchester (Nazarene Theological College) in 2011.

The author is an ordained Pastor with the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches (FIEC). He served as a Pastor in Glasgow in 2011 for four years before taking up the same role at Fraserburgh Baptist Church in 2015.


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