john wesley

The Wesleyan Quadrilateral

Today in our Bible Study we had an interesting discussion about sources of authority for theological reflection. Traditional Catholic dogma emphasized two main sources of authority: Scripture and Tradition. Since Vatican II (1962-65), the Catholic Church has amended their view to mean there is “one source with two streams,” namely, revelation that comes to us in Scripture and Church Tradition as handed down through history by Apostolic teaching.

Protestants emphasized one source in the 16th century Reformation with the sola scriptura principle. Both Lutherans and Reformed Protestants argued that Scripture is not only the highest but the “only” source and authority over the Christian in theology and faith.

Although John Wesley never used the term “Quadrilateral” or explicitly stated that there are four sources of authority, examination of his writings led to the methodological formulation of a “Wesleyan Quadrilateral,” whose four sources are: (more…)