John Wesley presented Christianity as "plain truth for plain people." Oh, sure, he was an Oxford-educated priest, a deep-thinking theologian conversant in complex doctrines and religious philosophies both ancient and contemporary. But he was also wise, able to articulate all that into simple, straightforward messages. Those messages, the key themes of the Christian faith, could be understood by the people -- all the people. And then the people could apply that "plain truth" to their lives. They were truly "born anew" through God's Spirit as they pondered Wesley's messages and applied them to their own plain, cluttered lives.
I enjoy reading and thinking of all they main themes of Wesley's messages. One I think is particularly central: The Bible is the primary source for Christian belief and life. Our United Methodist doctrine statements say that the Bible contains "all things necessary to salvation" and is "the true rule and guide for faith and practice." (see The Book of Discipline -- 2008, pp. 60, 67, 78) Wesley affirmed II Tim. 3:16 that the Bible -- all of it -- is "inspired by God" (authoritative). He suggested many practices for studying te Bible in order to incorporate its timeless message of truth into our daily lives -- to make a difference, then, as new people.
How do you view the Bible in your life? Is it authoritative for you? Do you read it, study it, seeking the plain truth of God's message for you each day? Does your church teach the Bible as central to intentionally develop peoples' faith?
Wesley considered himself a "man of one book" -- the Bible. As leaders in today's church, can we do the same?