Teaching Wesleyan Grace in a Fractured Post-Modern Church in Central Appalachia

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Meade, Peggy Lorene
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School of Theology Thesis 2020 , School of Theology, University of the South , Holston Annual Conference, United Methodist Church , John Wesley , Ideologies , Grace
The United Methodist church in Central Appalachia--Holston Annual Conference in particular-- is a fractured, multi-cultural, multi-theological entity. This project is an effort to recognize the disparate ideologies involved and educate and unite them toward healing and witness based on the understood theology of our founder John Wesley. This educational model is an attempt at healing an abusive past within the congregations of Central Appalachia. It is based primarily on John Wesley's understanding of Grace as a unifying force that develops and grows over time. With the 1968 Uniting Conference, Methodism appears to have lost a large part of its distinctive expression of Grace and has become enmeshed or enculturated to American religious culture, a culture which, since the "Great Awakening" finds its strength in Calvinist theology. I am proposing an educational model with a pastoral approach to educate, or perhaps re-educate, from the top down to the local church level, Wesley's distinctive idea of Grace as it came to him through Arminius. From both his own writings and current modern scholarship on the Wesleyan theology of Grace, I give a brief outline of how he came to believe and live this theology. Then I develop a brief educational model whose structure is similar to the Wesley small group or society model.