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"Experience" in the Wesleyan quadrilateral

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  • "Experience" in the Wesleyan quadrilateral

    I have never quite known how to understand the "Experience" part of the Wesleyan quadrilateral ( http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp...D=312&GMOD=VWD ). I have heard it sometimes taken to describe conclusions the church comes to over time, but according to this link from the UMC (who would seem to be a reasonable historical authority on Wesley) it apparently rather appears to conclusions reached in one's life through the process of sanctification.

    I have a couple of questions: Is the concept of experience solely supposed to refer to one's personal, inner witness? If so, how would this manifest itself in practical terms? Or can the term also be used to refer to conclusions of the church over time? I have sometimes seen given as an example how the church came to adopt abolitionism in the 18th/19th century (Paprika and I had an interesting shoutbox discussion this morning on whether this was more of an example of the Scripture part of the quadrilateral, based on Philemon), and a modern example is how some people have come to accept theistic evolution based on modern scientific findings (and I'm not looking to debate that here, just to use it as an example).
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

  • #2
    Experience as a noun has a wide semantic range.

    Source: Experience, Evidence and Sense by Anna Wierzbicka


    A. Past experience, accumulated knowledge
    1. a doer's accumulated knowledge
    2. a undergoer's accumulated knowledge
    3. an observer's accumulated knowledge

    B. Current experience, sensory or sensory -like
    4. an observer's and an undergoer's perception or series of perception
    5. an observer's and a participant's records of their perceptions
    6. [a person's] current awareness-cum-feeling
    7. [a person's] limited but reliable knowledge of a place and time

    © Copyright Original Source



    It would be interesting to see to which of these Wesley referred to.

    Comment


    • #3
      I've always understood it to be personal experience although collective experience wouldn't be ruled out. The quadrilateral is just a guideline - it's not meant to be more than that.

      Tradition and experience are distinct, however.

      "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


      "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

      My Personal Blog

      My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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      • #4
        Maybe I'm just more wary of personal experience than I should be. There have been countless people over the years who have confidently affirmed that God visited them in dreams and told them the end of the world was going to happen any day now. I came across a Youtube video yesterday by one such person, and it was met with many commenters affirming the same thing.
        "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
          Maybe I'm just more wary of personal experience than I should be. There have been countless people over the years who have confidently affirmed that God visited them in dreams and told them the end of the world was going to happen any day now. I came across a Youtube video yesterday by one such person, and it was met with many commenters affirming the same thing.
          But it is through personal experience that many, maybe even most, come to Christ. Yes, it can be treacherous which is why it is the bottom of the quadrilateral and Scripture and reason (maybe even tradition) both overrule it (don't get overly hung up on which rules which - guideline. Scripture as supreme is the only one to really worry about).

          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


          "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

          My Personal Blog

          My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

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          • #6
            It seems to me best understood as using reason (a means) to interpret data gathered from Scripture (above all), tradition (as an expositor of Scripture), and personal experience. It could be diagrammed as a triangle with those three vertices and reason as lines connecting each to the other, but that diagram wouldn't make the primacy of Scripture clear, so the analogy still wants improving.

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree with RBerman that unlike the others which are sources of knowlege, reason is a means of knowing and thus it shouldn't be considered as the same type.

              Comment


              • #8
                Reason is also a means of knowledge - if it is a means of knowing it must necessarily result in knowledge.

                "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                My Personal Blog

                My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                  Reason is also a means of knowledge - if it is a means of knowing it must necessarily result in knowledge.
                  Sure, but not of the same type. Reason works on existing knowledge to produce knowledge.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    You still end up with new knowledge so the point is moot.

                    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                    "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                    My Personal Blog

                    My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I would prefer some sort of model myself that essentially allowed for reason, though allowing it to take a backseat. If nothing else, an impression I get from the gospels is that Jesus wants us to seek the intent of God's commandments and a sort of reason may be needed to determine these. I'm having trouble articulating what I'm thinking here but I hope the point is somewhat clear.
                      "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                        You still end up with new knowledge so the point is moot.
                        You have no sense of nuance. Got it.
                        Last edited by Paprika; 03-31-2014, 01:00 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Paprika View Post
                          You have no sense of nuance. Got it.
                          And you just have no sense at all. Got it.

                          Any particular reason you enjoy doing the patronizing thing?

                          "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                          "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                          My Personal Blog

                          My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
                            I would prefer some sort of model myself that essentially allowed for reason, though allowing it to take a backseat. If nothing else, an impression I get from the gospels is that Jesus wants us to seek the intent of God's commandments and a sort of reason may be needed to determine these. I'm having trouble articulating what I'm thinking here but I hope the point is somewhat clear.
                            A backseat to what? Tradition and you (general) end up with 'but that's the way we've always done it'. Experience and you end up with 'but God told me something different'. Scripture, yes, presuming you have enough sense to make sure you understood it (not challenging Scripture as supreme but leaving reason at home does really bad things with exegesis).

                            "Judge not lest ye be judged." Matt 7:1
                            "Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" Luke 12:57

                            Now, at first glance, these appear to contradict one another. Granted, we've pulled them out of context, but without reason, even context won't reconcile them (the two contexts are different) - yet with context and reason, they are easily reconciled and no contradiction exists.

                            Reason isn't an authority - Scripture is. When reason leads to conclusions that conflict with Scripture, it too, takes the back seat. Is that what you had in mind?

                            "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." - Jim Elliot


                            "Forgiveness is the way of love." Gary Chapman

                            My Personal Blog

                            My Novella blog (Current Novella Begins on 7/25/14)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Teallaura View Post
                              And you just have no sense at all. Got it.

                              Any particular reason you enjoy doing the patronizing thing?
                              Perhaps your tendency to dismiss?

                              Comment

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