Mercy Immense and Free
Essays in Wesleyan History and Theology
In Mercy Immense and Free, Victor Shepherd explores the context of John Wesley's theology in four dimensions:
- intellectual: Wesley's grounding in Patristics and Anglican theology;
- theological: his simultaneous acceptance of and penetration of Reformation theology through his insight that the purpose of justification by faith is the sanctification of believers, the church, and the world;
-religious: his pioneering development of systems of accountability and support for Christians forgiven of their sins but longing for release from the habituation of their sins;
and social: his communal understanding of holiness as "social holiness."
Shepherd also probes:
-how Wesley's theology is uniquely poised to inform a broader and deeper ecumenicism, not only because of his adaptation of Reformation theology but also because of his orientation toward the Eastern Fathers;
-the way Wesley's theology is deep enough to sustain his emphasis on "practical divinity" - theology not based on speculation but to the concrete patterns of the people of God in their engagement with the treachery of their own hearts and the turbulence of the world.