Toward a Wesleyan Sacramental Ecclesiology

in Ecclesiology
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John and Charles Wesley had a developed understanding of and reverence for sacramental practice and theology that suggests a dynamic sacramental ecclesiology and lends itself to a robust concept of sacramentality. Taking seriously Wesley’s imperative of ‘constant communion’, this paper looks to the Eucharist for an underlying, fundamental pattern of participation in the divine life whereby we embody and enact it by the power of the Spirit. The proposed Eucharistic pattern emphasizes a dynamic movement of ever greater participation in God by gathering together, offering all that we have and are, sharing our lives fully in trinitarian communion, and extending the communion we have become to little altars everywhere, especially to the ‘least of these’. To reframe Wesleyan ecclesiology in terms of a dynamic, relational sacramentality, patterned after the Eucharist, overcomes conventional oppositions of communion and mission by integrating them fully in the effort to follow Jesus Christ.

Toward a Wesleyan Sacramental Ecclesiology

in Ecclesiology




Richard P. McBrien (ed.)The HarperCollins Encyclopedia of Catholicism (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco1995) p. 1148.


Alexander Schmemann‘Worship in a Secular Age,’ For the Life of the World: Sacraments and Orthodoxy (Crestwood NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press 1973 [orig. 1963]) p. 120.


Ibid. p. 219.


Ibid. pp. 223-224.


Geoffrey WainwrightEucharist and Eschatology (New York: Oxford University Press1981) p. 149.


Judith Marie Kubicki‘Recognizing the Presence of Christ in the Liturgical Assembly,’ Theological Studies65: 4 (2004) pp. 817-837.


Miroslav VolfAfter Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans1998) p. 136.


Borgen pp. 76-78.


Borgen p. 75.


Borgen p. 75.


Theodore RunyonThe New Creation: John Wesley’s Theology Today (Nashville: Abingdon Press1998) p. 245 n.35.

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