Perceptible Inspiration as Pneumatological Model: A Critical Appraisal of John Wesley’s Correspondence with ‘John Smith’ (1745–48)
This chapter explores the extent to which John Wesley's understanding of faith illuminates his doctrine of perceptible inspiration and vice versa. To John Wesley, faith is both gift from God and human response. It is theological assent and filial trust. Wesley's theology of faith as spiritual sensation is significant with respect to perceptible inspiration as via Spiritus. Faith, then, is Wesley's term for spiritual knowledge of God's divine reality, a species of knowledge distinct from reason. Faith is intimate union with God, experienced in relation to personal conviction that God in Christ has transformed one's life. In addition to Susanna Wesley's influence, John Wesley's theology of faith as intimate union with God reflects another source, Cambridge Platonist, John Smith. In summary, Wesley believed that human beings are epistemically sustained by the Holy Spirit's prevenient grace subsequent to original sin. Reason, as such, enables human beings to think critically and act morally.