John Wesley and St.Macarius the Egyptian - New

  New  Last update: Date 31/10/2011: to the end of Chapter 1

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لقراءة عرض موجز لهذه الرسالة باللغة العربية، اتبع أحد الروابط الآتية

Thesis - Part 1 
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Characteristics of Christian Piety:
A Conversation between
the Eastern Desert Fathers’ Tradition and the Wesleyan Tradition
concerning the Aim of Christian Life

Tharwat Maher Nagib

A Thesis Submitted to
the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo
in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of
in Theological Studies
in the Middle Eastern Christianity Concentration

Cairo, Egypt


"Church History can be and should be read as a story for that is exactly what it is."[1]

In his classical book Great Leaders of the Christian Church, Moyer[2] wrote these words which reflect a very significant and important perspective for reading church history. This important perspective is the idea of the continuity of this very precious history. "Church History can be read as a story" means that we can follow elements of this story from one stage to another, through the whole story. Also, it means that we can notice the development which has occurred for a certain element from one stage to another. This thesis intends to demonstrate the development of a particular element of the Christian story over an immense span of time and culture.

In this research, the element which will be traced is “the characteristics of Christian piety”. It will not be followed through the whole story of the church. It will be followed according to just two of the great Christian traditions in church history. The first tradition is the Eastern desert fathers’ tradition and the second is the Wesleyan tradition. The research will not follow all the characteristics of piety according to these two traditions. The research will focus only on those characteristics of Christian piety which deeply reflect the aim of Christian life according to both of them.

For the first tradition, the life of Macarius the Egyptian, in general, in addition to the fifty spiritual homilies attributed to him will be considered as representative of this Eastern tradition. The first representative, St. Macarius the Egyptian, lived in the fourth century (300-390) and is considered one of the most important Eastern desert fathers. Macarius is well known as the legal inheritor of the monastic desert tradition of St. Antony[3], the founder of the monastic desert fathers’ tradition. The characteristics of Christian piety, according to Macarius, will be followed through some texts relating to him.

The second representative of the desert tradition is the fifty spiritual homilies attributed to Macarius.[4] This work is considered a very important piece of work related to the Eastern monastic fathers’ tradition. It reflects many characteristics of this form of piety at that time.

This research will refer to these two representatives together by using the phrase “the Macarian tradition”. The monastic life of St. Macarius and the homilies attributed to him, the Macarian tradition, can be considered as a very good expression of the Eastern monastic fathers’ tradition.

For the second tradition, the Wesleyan tradition, the research will follow the characteristics of Christian piety according to the life of John Wesley, the English founder of this tradition. John Wesley lived in the eighteenth century (1703-91). He was a theologian who did not write a systematic theology, but rather than wrote, preached a practical theology in his sermons and writings. The writings of John Wesley can be considered the best representative of this Wesleyan tradition.

Although hundreds of years separate the formation of the two great traditions and although one of them was from the East and the other from the West, the continuity of church history may be discerned with respect to the original works. Wesley himself affirmed this perspective of continuity. In one of his letters, he wrote about the new American Methodist: “They are now at full liberty, simply to follow the scripture and the primitive church”[5]. In one of his sermons, he said, “What is Methodism? … Methodism, so called, is the old religion, the religion of the Bible, the religion of the primitive church….”[6] And in the same sermon, Wesley explained a definition of the primitive church. He said:
This is the religion of the primitive Church, of the whole Church in the purest ages. It is clearly expressed, even in the small remains of Clemens Roman’s, Ignatius, and Polycarp; it is seen more at large in the writings of Tertullian, Origen, Clemens Alexandrinus, and Cyprian; and, even in the fourth century, it was found in the works of Chrysostom, Basil, Ephraim Syrus, and Macarius.[7]

This definition demonstrates that when Wesley spoke of the primitive church, he referred to the church in the first centuries. A Wesleyan scholar, Ted A. Campbell[8], agrees with that, identifying the ante-Nicene period[9], plus the fourth and fifth centuries, plus the apostolic age, as being Wesley’s primary meaning when referring to the primitive church.[10] According to these words, it is evident that Wesley saw himself and the Methodists in continuity with the primitive church. Moreover, he considered Macarius as an important part of expression of this primitive church.

This research follows this perspective of continuity between the Macarian tradition, as a representative of the Eastern monastic tradition, and John Wesley. It does not intend to prove that Wesley was Macarian, or that every characteristic of the Macarian and the Wesleyan Christian piety was the same. It rather aims at examining the perspective of continuity between these two stages from church history, through an analytical reading of some texts relating to both of them. The research aims to answer the question: What are the major similarities and differences in the characteristics of Christian piety relating to the basic aim of Christian life, according to these two great traditions? By this kind of comparative study, the degree of continuity can be demonstrated.

This research consists of four chapters; the first chapter deals with the definition of Christian piety, and explains the meaning of the phrase “Characteristics of Christian piety relating to the aim of Christian life”. Also, it gives brief biographies of Macarius and of Wesley and a brief history of the Macarian homilies. Then, to put the thesis in its context, these briefs are followed by evidence; to prove that Wesley was in contact with the thoughts of the early fathers in general. Also, pieces of evidence are offered to prove that Wesley was interested in the Macarian thoughts. The first chapter ends with a general idea of the historical and contemporary scholarly efforts concerning the issue of this thesis.

The second chapter deals with the characteristics of Christian piety concerning the aim of Christian life according to the Macarian tradition. It investigates, through an analytical reading for the primary Macarian texts, the Macarian structure for the important spiritual practices which reflect the goal of Christian life from the Macarian perspective.

The third chapter deals with the characteristics of Christian piety concerning the aim of Christian life according to John Wesley. By using some texts relating to Wesley, the same analytical process of the Macarian chapter is followed in the Wesleyan chapter.

The fourth chapter demonstrates the similarities and the differences between the two forms of Christian piety and attempts a conclusion. The conclusion summarizes the results, demonstrating the role which this kind of researches can play in the general ecumenical movement. It also suggests the role that this kind of research can play in the contemporary ecclesiastical relations in Egypt.
Chapter One
Setting the Context
1.1   Defining the Theme
This section aims to define the main theme of this research. It defines the meaning of “characteristics of Christian piety relating to the aim of Christian life.” First, it defines the word “piety”. Then, the meaning of the Christian piety will be explained. Finally, it demonstrates the relation between the aim of Christian life and the characteristics of Christian piety.

The word “piety” comes from the Latin word “pietas”, the noun form of the adjective “pius” which means “devout” or “good”.[11] Inside every group of people, religious, ethnic or national group, people have their own practices which express their religious, ethnic or national belief. The belief itself, in addition to the practices which reflect this belief, can be expressed by the word “piety”. So, piety is “essentially the way people act, as a result of what they believe.”[12]

For Christianity, beginning from the first era of church history until now, Christian history reflects many forms of piety. Christian piety can be explained by “the actions and the practices resulting from the heart of belief and loyalty of a specific Christian group or individuals.”[13] To put Christian piety in its wider context of the Christian faith, Martha Myers, a Lutheran pastor, wrote: “Piety is Christian faith in practices. If theology is Christian faith in theory, then piety is Christian faith as it is lived in the concreteness of every day human life.”[14] From this explanation of Christian piety, a definition of characteristics of Christian piety can be demonstrated.

Characteristics of Christian piety can be defined as the way, or the practical direction, that a group or individuals decide to take to fulfill their perspective of the ultimate goal of their Christian call. About the result of this practical way, James M. Gustafson, wrote: “…the end might be as general as human happiness; it might have the particularly religious qualities of a vision of God, of communion with God….”[15]

The main focus of this research is to study the characteristics of Christian piety relating to the aim of Christian life, according to the Macarian tradition and the Wesleyan tradition. It means to study the main goal of Christian life according to each of them. And it means also to study the practical way in which each of them understood to fulfill his main goal of Christian life. So, the main aim of Christian life is the final result or the final goal which each one of them wanted to gain and “the characteristics of Christian piety” is the practical way that each one of them affirmed to reach this final goal.

1.2   The Historical Context
1.2.1 The Macarian Tradition
This section aims to put the Macarian tradition in its context. First, it gives a brief biography of Macarius the Egyptian. Second, it demonstrates the historical context of the Macarian homilies.   St. Macarius the Egyptian: A Brief Biography
Abba Macarius the Great (300-390), in the sources, is called St. Macarius the Egyptian to distinguish him from his namesake, Macarius the Alexandrian. The name Macarius means “blessed”.[16] St. Macarius the Great was born in Jijber[17] around the year 300. Before becoming a monk, he was a camel driver and a gatherer of Natroun[18]. Around the year 330, Macarius went to Wadi n’Natrun[19] where he first lived his ascetic life alone. Macarius chose Wadi n’Natrun because he had a dream, early in his life, about this place. In this dream, God revealed to him that this place, Scetis, will be his land.[20] So, after a visit to him by a cherub, Abba Macarius chose the land of Wadi n’Natrun to be his place of ascetic life.[21] Then this kind of life began to attract disciples and a small community formed.[22]

Around the year 340, Abba Macarius founded the first defined ascetic community in Wadi n’Natrun, or Scetis.[23] This community was in the place of the contemporary Egyptian monastery of al-Baramus.[24] After twenty years, around the year 360, Macarius founded the second defined ascetic community in Scetis.[25] He founded this community in the place of the contemporary monastery named in his honor, the monastery of St. Macarius.[26] In the year 374, the year that St. Athanasius[27] died, Macarius the Egyptian and his namesake, Macarius the Alexandrian, were exiled because of the Arian persecution to an island in the North of Egypt. After two years, Macarius went back to Wadi n’Natrun, the place of his present-day monastery, where he spent the rest of his life.[28]

During his life, St. Macarius visited St. Antony twice. In the first visit, St. Antony taught Macarius his monastic tradition. And in the second, Antony clothed Abba Macarius in the monastic habit.[29] These two visits give the reason why Macarius is called the disciple of Abba Antony.[30] Also, these visits explain why Macarius, according to the Coptic tradition, is considered the legal inheritor to the monastic tradition of St. Antony. Macarius' life was filled with the heavenly wonders and signs. Year 390 is commonly taken as the year of his death[31], and the fifth of April is considered the feast day of St. Macarius in the Coptic Orthodox Church.[32]

There are many texts relating to Macarius. Among these texts, there are two Coptic works. The first is Life of Macarius by Sarapion.[33] This work reflects a theological and spiritual meditation on the importance of Macarius as a very important monastic ascetic character. Life of Macarius may have originally been written to be recited on the Coptic feast day of St. Macarius.[34] The second work is Virtues of Macarius. This work calls Macarius “the Spirit-Bearer” and mentions some of his sayings, his advices to the ascetic community and some of his visions.[35]

In addition to the previous two works, there are 41 sayings attributed to Macarius in the Greek alphabetical collection of The Sayings of the Desert Fathers.[36] Also, there is an epistle called To the Sons of God, a letter written to the monks and found in Greek, Latin, Coptic and Syrian.[37] There is a considerable agreement among scholars that this work was originally written by Macarius himself.[38] Among all the Macarian works, the most famous work attributed to him is The Fifty Spiritual Homilies[39], which will be the subject of the next section of this chapter.

[1] Elgin S. Moyer, Great leaders of the Christian Church (Chicago: Moody Press, 1951), xii.
[2] Elgin S. Moyer was an honored teacher of church history in Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He died in 1985.
[3] St. Antony or Anthony the Great (251–356) is considered the father of all monks. He is also considered the founder of monasticism. His biography by Athanasius of Alexandria helped to spread the concept of monasticism, particularly in Western Europe through Latin translations [].
[4] A brief review of the academic deliberation relating to the authorship of the fifty spiritual homilies will be demonstrated in the first chapter of this research.
[5] John Wesley, “Letter to Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury and our brethren in North America, Bristol, Sep.10, 1784”, in The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, 3rd Edition, ed. Thomas Jackson, 14 vols., CD-ROM edition (Albany, Oregon: Ages Software, 1997), 13:313; hereafter cited as Wesley’s Works.
[6]Sermon on Laying the Foundation of the New Chapel, Near the City-Road, London, in Wesley’s Works, 7:470.
[7] Ibid, 471.
[8]Ted A. Campbell, a Wesleyan scholar who described himself as an evangelical within an old-line Protestant denomination, United Methodist. He earned his Ph.D. degree in church history in 1984 at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He was the president of the Charles Wesley Society (1999-2003). Also, he is an ordained elder of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has many publications such as Methodist Doctrine: the Essentials (Abingdon Press, 1999); Christian Confessions: a Historical Introduction (Westminster John Knox Press, 1996); John Wesley and Christian Antiquity: Religious Vision and Cultural Change (Kingswood Books imprint of the Abingdon Press, 1991). [Ted A. Campbell, “Back to the Future: Wesleyan Quest for Ancient Roots: The 1980s,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 32, no.1 (1997), [] and [].
[9]Ante-Nicene period, literally meaning "before Nicaea", or Post-Apostolic Period, it means this period of church history from the late first century to the early fourth century, with the end marked by the First Council of Nicaea in 325. [].
[10] Todd A. Steppe, “Discovering Wesley’s Criteria”, Wesleyan Theological Conference, March 2009, Grace Church of Nazarene, Evansville, Indiana, [].
[12] Walter Taylor, ed., “Early Christian Piety”, a curriculum taught at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Graduate Studies Program (Fall 2009), 1.
[13] Walter Taylor, 2.
[14] Martha Myers, “Toward a Viable Piety,” Word &World III, no. 2 (Spring 1983), 117, [].
[15] James M. Gustafson, “Theology and Piety,” Word &World III, no. 2 (Spring 1983), 116, [].
[16]William Harmless, Desert Christians: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), 194.
[17]Jijber is a village in the southwest portion of the Nile delta, now called Shabshir.  
[18]Natroun is Sodium Carbonate, which was used as a preservative in mummification and as a reagent in manufacturing glass.
[19]Wadi n’Natrun, in Arabic Wadi al-Natroun, also known as Scetis, is a valley about twenty-two miles long and five miles wide, located in the Egyptian Great Western Desert, west of the Nile. In the fourth century, Wadi n’Natrun became one of the three major ascetic communities in the Egyptian Great Western Desert. These three ascetic communities were Nitria, Kellia and Scetis. Scetis is located about forty miles from Kellia and about fifty two miles from Nitria. The term “Scetis” is sometimes used in the old sources to cover Nitria. But the term “Nitria” is never used to cover Scetis. The ascetic communities in Nitria and Kellia were founded by St. Amoun, one of the desert fathers (290- 347) while the ascetic community in Scetis or Wadi n’Natrun was founded by Abba Macarius the Egyptian.  [Otto Meinardus, Monks and Monasteries of the Egyptian Desert (Cairo: The American University in Cairo Press, 1961), 118-121 and Derwas J. Chitty, The Desert City : An Introduction to the Study of Egyptian and Palestine Monasticism Under the Christian Empire (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1966), 12].
[20]Tim Vivian, Saint Macarius the Spiritbearer: Coptic Texts Relating to Saint Macarius the Great (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 2004), 158.
[21] Ibid., 170.
[22] Ibid., 19, 20.
[23] Matthew the Poor, Al-Rahbana Al-Kbtya, or “Coptic Monasticism” (Wadi El-Natroun: St. Macarius' Monastery Press, 2006), 213 and Otto Meinardus, 126.
[24] Al-Baramus is one of the most famous present-day Egyptian monasteries.
[25] Matthew the Poor, 227-236.
[26]The monastery of St. Macarius represents a very significant role in the monastic tradition and in the Coptic history in general. After the Council of Chalcedon, the whole tradition of the school of Alexandria moved to the Monastery of St. Macarius. The monastery and its library became the successor of the Theological School of Alexandria. In the middle of the sixth century, the monastery became the official residence of the Coptic Patriarchs of Alexandria.  During the centuries of Islamic rule, the Macarian monks faced persecution with patience. They rebuilt the old buildings in the monastery many times from the rubbish.  Some scholars argue that the Monastery of St.Macarius was the only place where Coptic monasticism continued to be strong during some Islamic eras.  The Macarian resistance to the difficult circumstances did not keep the buildings from deteriorating badly from the fourteen to the twentieth centuries. In 1969, Father Matthew the Poor, an Egyptian Coptic Orthodox monk and a renowned Orthodox theologian and author, went with his disciples to live their ascetic life in the Monastery of Abba Macarius. Since this date, the monastery entered a significant period of architectural and spiritual revival. [For more details about the monastery and Father Matthew the poor see: and].
[27] St. Athanasius or Athanasius of Alexandria (293 – 2 May 373), also given the titles Athanasius the Great, Pope Athanasius I of Alexandria, and Athanasius the Apostolic, was a Christian theologian, bishop of Alexandria, church father, and a noted Egyptian leader of the fourth century. He is best remembered for his role in the conflict with Arius and Arianism. At the First Council of Nicaea, Athanasius argued against Arius and his doctrine that Christ is of a distinct substance from the Father. [].
[28] William Harmless, 196.
[29] Matthew the Poor, 50.
[30] Tim Vivian, 176.
[31] Matthew the Poor mentioned in his book Coptic Monasticism, p.119, that in the Coptic scroll of The life of St. Macarius the Egyptian, Sarapion wrote that Macarius lived 97 years. If this information is accurate, the year of his death would be 397 instead of 390.
[32] Tim Vivian, 193.
[33] There is a general agreement that this work was written originally in Coptic, but there is also a suggestion that it was written in Greek. There is ongoing discussion about the author if he was Sarapion of Thmuis, a disciple of St. Antony or another Sarapion who was a near-contemporary of St. Macarius. [William Harmless, 196, and Tim Vivian, 34-37].
[34] Tim Vivian, 35.
[35] Ibid, 26-34 and William Harmless, 196.
[36] Tim Vivian, 23.
[37] William Harmless, 191, 192.
[38] Matthew the Poor, 123 and William Harmless, 196.
[39] St. Macarius and Arthur James Mason, Fifty Spiritual Homilies of St. Macarius the Egyptian (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1921).

Will be followed

Part 2 
will be followed   The Fifty Spiritual Homilies: A Brief History:
The fifty homilies can be considered as one of the most important and famous Eastern desert fathers’ works. It is known in both the East and the West as the Macarian fifty spiritual homilies. The Macarian manuscripts, in general, are classified into five collections. These five collections include four famous collections, plus an Arab-Coptic manuscript (TV). The second collection from these five collections is the best known source of the Macarian fifty homilies.[40]

This second collection, first, was printed in Greek with a Latin translation by Johannes Picus in 1559.[41] The first English translation of the homilies was in 1721 by an anonymous “presbyter of the Church of England”.[42] This primitive edition was the edition which John Wesley reedited and published in his Christian Library. In 1921, a new English edition was translated from the Greek text by A.J. Mason and published by the London Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge.[43] This English edition is the edition used in this thesis.

Although this research does not intend to discuss the issue of the authorship of the Macarian homilies, a brief account of the contemporary academic critique will be useful. It will prove that there is general agreement that this work is a good representative of the Eastern monastic fathers’ tradition in the fourth and the fifth centuries.

For hundreds of years and until the middle of the nineteenth century, there was common agreement that the author of the fifty spiritual homilies is St. Macarius the Egyptian. An example of this agreement was John Wesley himself, who considered that the homilies put him into direct contact with Macarius the Egyptian.

In the nineteenth century, this authorship was challenged by a monk of Mount Athos, called Neophytos Kavsokalivites.[44] Beginning from that time, the argument of the authorship has not stopped until now. There is no convincing conclusion that has been accepted by all patristic scholars.[45]

In 1906, in the Journal of Theological Studies, Bishop Gore, the Bishop of Birmingham, wrote a famous classical article titled The Homilies of St. Macarius of Egypt.[46] In this article, he argued that although there is no external evidence to prove that Macarius is the author, the internal evidence can prove that he is. He gave seven long internal proofs to prove that the real author of the Homilies is Macarius the Egyptian himself. He concluded his article by saying:
The internal evidences of these homilies points to the authorship of one, who stood exactly where Macarius stood in time and place. There seems to be no argument against his authorship except that, while his reputation was great not in Egypt only but in the West, there is no mention in later writers of these homilies… The tradition about Macarius on the whole is thoroughly in accordance with the evidence of the homilies.[47]

In 1921, Mason referred to this article in his introduction to the homilies. Mason also depended on the internal evidences to prove that the author had to be from the date and circumstances of Macarius.[48] He mentioned the probability that the author could be a disciple of Macarius the Egyptian, who collected the teaching and the sermons of Macarius.[49] David C. Ford[50], a contemporary Orthodox scholar, affirmed this probability. He wrote, “It is generally assumed that St. Macarius the Great did not write these homilies himself, but that they were compiled by one or more disciples based on actual sermons preached by Macarius, or at least on material that is representative of Macarius’ thought.”[51] David also referred to the New Catholic Encyclopedia which offers this opinion.

The previous stream of thought usually affirmed that the homilies are a product of Macarius’ thoughts, whether he wrote it or preached it and another one wrote it. This stream of thought considers Egypt to be the geographical context of the fifty homilies.

 Another stream of thought, which is highly recommended now by many scholars, affirms that Macarius the Egyptian could not be the real author of the homilies.[52] It also affirms that the author was not Egyptian at all. David Bundy[53] wrote that it is clear that the homilies are from the context of Syria.[54] William Harmless[55] also referred to the Syrian context of the homilies in his book Desert Christianity: An Introduction to the Literature of Early Monasticism.[56] The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality affirmed that the homilies are a product of the late fourth or early fifth century stating that it is now recognized that the homilies were produced from Syria or North Mesopotamia and not from Egypt.[57]

Albert Outler[58] affirmed this idea, he wrote, “the author of the so-called Macarian homilies was not a fourth-century Egyptian desert father but rather a fifth-century Syrian monk.”[59] Outler went farther by arguing that this Syrian monk was in contact with Gregory of Nyssa[60] and the homilies represent the thoughts of Gregory himself.[61] Outler argued for this assumption depending on the significant similarities between the homilies and the writings of Gregory. Howard A. Snyder[62], a Wesleyan scholar, also mentioned this idea in an article in The Asbury Theological Journal.[63] Recent researches suggest the opposite direction, that Gregory’s writings were influenced by the Macarian homilies.[64]

The Egyptian theologian, Matthew the Poor, did not give a certain opinion in the issue of the authorship of the Macarian homilies. He quoted the Macarian homilies in a significant number of his writings and wrote that the contemporary scholars exaggerate in their criticism of the Macarian homilies.[65]

As shown previously, there are different streams of thought about the authorship of the fifty spiritual homilies. In spite of these differences, it is clear that there is a general agreement that this work is an authentic work coming from the fourth or fifth century, whether the context was Egyptian or Syrian. All the scholars affirm that the fifty spiritual homilies can be considered as a very good representative of the Eastern monastic tradition. So, this research depends on these Macarian homilies in addition to the other writings relating to Macarius the Egyptian to represent the early Eastern monastic tradition.

[40] Ibid., 5.
[41] St. Macarius, Ezat Al-Kdis Macarios Al-Kbir, or “Homilies of Macarius the Great”, Trans. Noshy Abd El-Shahid (Cairo: Orthodox Patristic Center, 2005), 16.
[42] David Bundy, “Vision of Sanctification: Themes of Orthodoxy in the Methodist, Holiness, and Pentecostal Tradition,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 39, no.1 (2004), 112, [].
[43] St. Macarius, 17.
[44] Pseudo-Macarius and George A. Maloney, The Fifty Spiritual Homilies and the Great Letter, Classics of Western Spirituality (New York: Paulist Press, 1992), 6.
[45] Ibid.
[46] Bishop Gore, “The Homilies of Saint Macarius of Egypt,” Journal of Theological Studies VIII (1906), 85-90.
[47] Ibid., 90.
[48] St. Macarius and Arthur James Mason, xvii.
[49] Ibid., xviii, xix.
[50] David C. Ford received his Ph.D. from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. He works as associate professor of church history at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. [].
[51] David C. Ford, “Saint Macarius of Egypt and John Wesley: Variations on the Theme of Sanctification,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 33, no.3 (1988), 285, [].
[52] Hieromonk Alexander Golilzin, “A Testimony to Christianity as Transfiguration: The Macarian Homilies and Orthodox Spirituality.” in Orthodoxy and Wesleyan Spirituality, edited by S.T. Kimbrough (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 2002), 129.
[53] David Bundy is an associate professor of church history at Fuller Theological Seminary. He earned his Th.M. from Asbury Theological Seminary and his D.Th. from Uppsala University, Sweden. He has published two books and has written more than 200 scholarly book reviews and 300 essays in scholarly journals. [].
[54] David Bundy, 111. “In 1921, Mason refused this idea, he wrote in the end of his introduction to the homilies, “The words of the title: Epistle… to the Abba Symeon of Mesopotamia in Syria” [is] sufficient proof that they came from elsewhere.”
[55] William Harmless received his Ph.D. from Boston University. He works as a professor of historical theology and patristic studies at Creighton University. He published four books and wrote many articles in scholarly journals.
[56] William Harmless,196.
[57] Gordon S Wakefield, The Westminster Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1983), 256.
[58] Albert Cook Outler (1908-1989) was a twentieth century American Methodist theologian and philosopher. Outler is generally considered to be one of the most important Wesley scholars in the history of the church as well as the first real United Methodist theologian. He was also a key figure in the 20th century ecumenical movement. He received his Ph.D. from Yale University and taught at both Yale and Duke Universities. He also was an ordained Methodist Elder and served on the Faith & Order board of the World Council of Churches and was an official observer at the Second Vatican Council. Albert Outler wrote and edited a great many works. Many of his writings have been collected in the Albert Outler Library series by Bristol House publishers. [].
[59] Albert Outler, John Wesley (New York: Oxford University Press, 1964), 9.
[60] Gregory of Nyssa (335-394) was the Bishop of Nyssa (in modern day Turkey). He was a younger brother of Basil the Great and a good friend of Gregory Nazianzus. The three are known by the Cappadocian fathers. Gregory of Nyssa wrote on the doctrine of Trinity and on Spiritual growth. His writings are considered some of the most important Christian writings of this Christian era. [].
[61] Albert Outler, 9.
[62]Howard A. Snyder received his Ph.D. from University of Notre Dame in 1983. He worked as a professor of the Wesleyan theology, history and theology in mission, historical theology and church renewal at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio and at Asbury Theological Seminary. He published many books about the Wesleyan tradition and church renewal. The Community of the King (1977), The Radical Wesley and Patterns for Church Renewal (1980) and The Divided Flame (1986) are considered his most famous books. [Howard A. Snyder, The Divided Flame: Wesleyan and the Charismatic Renewal (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1986].
[63] Howard A. Snyder, “John Wesley and Macarius the Egyptian,” The Asbury Theological Journal 45, no.2 (Fall 1990), 55.
[64] David Bundy, 111.
[65]Matthew the Poor, 123.

Will be followed

Part 3
 will be followed
1.2.2   The Wesleyan Tradition
John Wesley: A Brief Biography
John Wesley was born on June 17, 1703 in Epworth, England, the fifteenth child of his parents; the Reverend Samuel Wesley and his wife, Susanna Wesley. Samuel Wesley was a priest of Church of England in the town of Epworth, so John spent his childhood in the Epworth rectory. In 1709, John was rescued from the burning Epworth rectory. This deliverance was taken by his mother as a sign of special providence for him.[66] After this deliverance, Susanna dealt with John as “a brand plucked from the burning”. She taught him the religious issues in a very deep sense. Some scholars consider Susanna as the center of John’s early life in Epworth and some consider his early years in Epworth as the real birth place of Methodism.[67]

In 1714, Wesley went to the Charter House in London where he spent six years in the school. In 1720, John entered Christ Church College in Oxford as a scholar. Wesley entered the famous British college at the time of the early eighteenth-century patristic revival in Oxford.[68] This patristic revival played a significant rule in attracting Wesley to the mystic and early fathers’ writings.[69]

In 1725, John Wesley read two books which affected his life strongly. The first book was Rule and Exercises of Holy Living and Dying by Bishop Taylor.[70] The second was Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis.[71] These two books helped Wesley to know the ascetic form of Christian life in a deeper sense. As a result of these readings, Wesley began a new stage in his Christian life journey with a different perspective for the holiness and Christian perfection. He decided to give his life for religious work. In 1725, he was ordained deacon by Bishop John Potter of Oxford. In 1728, John was ordained priest by the same Bishop and served as his father’s assistant.

In November, 1729, John and his brother Charles Wesley, with another two friends[72] formed the Holy Club. The Holy Club was founded first by Charles while John was not at Oxford. When John returned to Oxford in 1729, he became the senior of this group. The Holy Club’s initial concern was to spend some evenings together to read the Greek New Testament.[73] Then the club became interested in the early fathers’ writings[74] and grew in the ascetical exercises, continues prayers and continues communion.[75] One of the names that people gave this group in those days was the Methodists. Wesley did not like this name at this time.[76] In fact, this point can not be considered as the real starting point of Methodism. A crisis of belief was still waiting for the founder of Methodism, John Wesley himself.[77]

In 1735, Wesley went to the American colony, Georgia. He went to do some missionary work for the Indian in this colony. In this mission trip, Wesley came to his life’s central crisis. He discovered that in spite of his ascetic experience, personally and with the Holy Club, he has no assurance of his personal salvation. From 1725, Wesley was looking to gain this assurance through the life of ascetic discipleship, but this ascetic form of Christian life could not produce what Wesley looked for.[78] After Georgia, he started to feel that he was looking for something more than what he already had. He returned from Georgia in December 1737 with a sense of being a miserable failure.[79]

In 1738, Wesley had some conversations with a German Moravian friend, John Böhler. John Böhler was convinced that Wesley had to change his basic understandings about the Christian faith. Böhler began to talk with Wesley about “salvation by faith and only by faith.” Wesley understood that he did not have this kind of faith.[80] For the first time, Wesley began to see holiness as the fruit of faith not the cause of faith.[81] Wesley began to ask Böhler if he could continue preaching without experiencing this kind of saving faith or not. Böhler answered him, “Preach faith, till you have it; and then, because you have it, you will preach faith.”[82] Wesley continued preaching and searching for this kind of faith till he found it in the Aldersgate Street’s conversion.

On May 24, 1738, Wesley went to attend a meeting in a society in Aldersgate Street. It was there where Wesley found his real faith and the assurance of his personal salvation. Wesley wrote about this experience in his Journal:
In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.[83]

“I felt my heart strangely warmed”; this sentence is considered the turning point in John Wesley’s life. It is significant, for the idea of the continuity of church history, that Wesley knew and experienced his right direction for the Lord and for his personal salvation by Martin Luther’s words. This evangelical reformed personal experience can be considered as the starting point of the true Christian life and ministry of John Wesley.

After the Aldersgate experience, the revival started and continued for the rest of Wesley’s life. Wesley began to preach the message of “salvation by faith.” He preached, for fifty years after Aldersgate, in the fields, churches, societies, at factories and on the streets. During the fifty years of the revival, he preached more than forty-four thousand sermons.[84] In the early months of the revival, it was a regular occurrence for Wesley to conduct fourteen meetings indoors and eight meetings outdoors weekly.[85] Wesley did not write a systematic theology but his sermons formed his Methodist practical theology.

From the beginning of the revival, Wesley organized the new converts into societies.[86] These societies can be considered as the real starting point of the people called Methodists. It also can be considered one of the very early forms of the contemporary small groups’ discipleship concept. [87] From 1744, Wesley began to hold an annual conference for the leaders of the Methodists. This conference can be considered as an important connection among the Methodist societies even after Wesley’s death.

Wesley published four hundred and forty books, tracts and pamphlets.[88] His sermons, notes on the Bible, Plain Account of Christian Perfection, his journal and letters are considered his most famous works. Between 1749 and 1757, he published his famous Christian Library.[89] The Christian Library is a collection of Christian books, published first in fifty volumes, by different authors from different traditions.[90] Wesley collected these writings which he recommended for Methodist preachers. Part of his effort was to demonstrate that Christian truth is one from the beginning to his own days, in other words to demonstrate the continuity of church history.[91] It is significant that Wesley put extract of twenty-two of the Macarian homilies in the first volume of this collection. He also wrote a brief biography of Macarius the Egyptian as an introduction to the homilies.

On March 2, 1791, Wesley said his final words, “The best of all is, God with us.”[92] John Wesley died at the age of eighty- eight. After his death the Methodist work increased rapidly. The minutes of the Methodist conference in 1834, less than fifty years after Wesley’s death, recorded that the total number of the members in the Methodist societies around the world reached more than one million.[93] In 1952, the general Methodist conference recorded the total number of Methodists within the United States alone at more than nine million.[94] The Wesleyan work also spread outside the West and reached Africa, Asia, Middle East, India and Latin America.[95]

[66] Albert Outler, 6
[67] Steve Harper, John Wesley’s Message for Today (Grand Rapids, Mich.: The Zondervan Corporation, 1983), 13.
[68] Howard A. Snyder, 55 and Michael J. Christensen, “Theosis and Sanctification: John Wesley’s Reformation of a Patristic Doctrine,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 31, no.2 (1996). [], and Michael Harper, “The Waves Keep Coming In: the Evangelical, Charismatic, Orthodox Axis, 3, an address given by the Reverend Michael Harper in Wesley House, Cambridge. [].
[69] The eighteenth-century patristic revival in Oxford can be considered as a part of the general English revival of studying the classical literatures. This general revival started with the beginning of studying ancient Greek in the English universities in the early sixteenth century and continued until Wesley’s time. Ted Campbell wrote that, “Christian Antiquity was in fact the focus of intense study and debate in the British Christianity of John Wesley’s age… By the time Wesley arrived in Oxford in 1720, the university’s libraries were replete with scholarly editions of ancient Christian works….” [Ted Campbell, John Wesley and Christian Antiquity: Religious Vision and Cultural Change (Nashville, Tennessee: Kingswood Books, 1984), 6-9].
[70] Rule and Exercises of Holy Living and Dying by Jeremy Taylor was originally published as two books; the first is Rule and Exercises of Holy Living (1650), and the second is Rule and Exercises of Holy Dying (1651). The two books together provide a manual of Christian practices. The author, Jeremy Taylor (1613-1667), was a clergyman in the Church of England and a famous writer. [].
[71] Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis is a famous Catholic Christian spiritual book. It was first published anonymously, in Latin (ca. 1418); several other authors have been proposed, but Kempis' authorship is now generally accepted. The book is a writing of the mystical German-Dutch school of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and is widely considered one of the greatest manuals of devotion in pre-Reformation Catholic Christianity. [ (book)].
[72]These two friends were Mr. Morgan, member in the House of Commons of Christ Church, and Mr. Kirkman, of Merton College. [Charles Claude, The Methodist Primer (Tennessee: Tidings, 1953), 10].
[73] Harold Mayo, “John Wesley and Christian East: on the Subject of Christian Perfection” (M.Div. Thesis, St. Vladimir Theological Seminary, 1980), 10.
[74] Albert Outler, 8.
[75] Harold Mayo, 11.
[76] Albert Outler, 8.
[77] Robert Tuttle, John Wesley: His Life and Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1978), 77.
[78] Ibid., 143.
[79] Ibid., 15.
[80] Wesley’s Works, 1:106.
[81] Robert Tuttle, 183.
[82] Wesley’s Works, 1:106.
[83]Wesley’s Works, 1:124.
[84] Steve Harper, 14.
[85] Robert Tuttle, 247.
[86] Ibid., 250 and Stanley Ayling, John Wesley (Cleveland: Collins, 1979), 95.
[87] David Hunsicker, “John Wesley: Father of Today’s Small Group Concept?,” Wesleyan Theological Journal 31, no.1 (Spring 1996), [].
[88] Charles Claude, 9.
[89] Robert Tuttle, Mysticism in the Wesleyan Tradition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1989), 133.
[90] Richard P. Heitzenrater, “John Wesley’s Reading of and References to the Early Church Fathers”, in S.T. Kimbrough, ed., Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir Seminary Press, 2002), 28.
[91] Ibid.
[92] Wesley’s Works, 5:61.
[93] Ibid., 64.
[94] Charles Claude, 39, 40.
[95] Ibid., 59-66.

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Part 4
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1.3   Wesley’s References to the Early Fathers

- This part includes:
 1.3.1   Wesley’s References to the Early Fathers in General
1.3.2   Wesley’s References to the Macarian Tradition
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1.4   A Brief Summary about Previous Wesleyan-Eastern Fathers’ Scholarship
The Wesleyan-Eastern fathers’ scholarship can be considered as a part of the development that occurred in the Wesleyan studies in general. Wesleyan studies in general passed through three different stages. The first stage covers from the time from Wesley’s death to the end of the nineteenth century. During this stage, biographical and historical studies on Wesley flourished.[127] The first biography of Wesley was written in 1792 by Thomas Coke and Henry Moore. Several others followed during the course of the century.[128] Also, The Complete Works of John Wesley edited by Thomas Jackson was published in 1831.[129] In this first stage, the academic and critical studies were rare; all of them were by Methodists for the Methodists.[130]

With the beginning of the twentieth century, Wesleyan studies entered its second stage. Biographical and historical studies moved in a scholarly and critical direction. The researchers began to see the Wesleyan tradition in a wider context of other Christian traditions. Although this development existed, it did not spread widely.[131]

In 1964, Wesleyan studies entered its third stage through a book titled John Wesley, edited by Albert Outler.[132] In this book, Outler presented a collection of Wesley’s works, with critical editor’s introductions and notes by Outler himself. A famous long footnote by Outler on page nine opened the door for a new phase of the Wesleyan studies. In this footnote Outler suggested a connection between the Wesleyan tradition and the Eastern tradition. This suggestion encouraged others to follow this line of thought, not only among Wesleyan but also among Greek Orthodox scholars.

Some of these studies began to appear during the last four decades. For example, a theological dialogue between Wesley and Gregory of Nyssa appeared towards the end of the sixties as a direct result of the Outler footnote.[133] Another study about Wesley’s use of Chrysostom by Steve McCormick, a Wesleyan scholar, was published in 1983.[134] An article about Wesley and Ephraim Syrus was published in Journal of Syriac Studies.[135] The Syriac scholar David Bundy studied Wesley and the Alexandrian tradition.[136] The Wesleyan scholar Randy Maddox wrote about John Wesley and Eastern Orthodoxy in general.[137] Robert Tuttle[138] wrote about the effect of the Eastern mysticism on Wesley.[139] Ted Campbell’s study about John Wesley and Christian Antiquity is considered one of the most important studies in this field.[140]

From the Orthodox side, Harold Mayo studied Christian perfection in Wesley and in the Eastern tradition.[141] St. Vladimir’s Seminary organizes conferences for Orthodox and Methodist scholars to explore the roots of spirituality in the both traditions.[142]

Concerning the Wesleyan-Macarian studies, although some scholars suggested parallel thoughts between the two traditions, few specific studies were accomplished.[143] For example, a Korean Methodist scholar, Hoo-Jung Lee, wrote a chapter in his PhD’s dissertation about Wesley’s appropriation of ancient Eastern Christian literature, especially Macarius.[144] Also, a few articles about Wesley and Macarius were published. For example, the Greek Orthodox Theological Review published an article in 1988 by David C. Ford[145] and Asbury Theological Journal published an article in 1990 by Howard A. Snyder.[146]

[127] Randy L. Maddox and Jason E. Vickers, The Cambridge Companion to John Wesley (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010), 5-7.
[128] Many books were written during the nineteenth century about the life of John Wesley such as:
1. Richard Watson, and John Emory, The Life of John Wesley, Founder of the Methodist Societies. The first American official ed., with Translations and Notes (New York: Carlton & Phillips, 1853).
2. John Telford, The life of John Wesley (Kansas City, Missouri: Nazarene Publishing House, 1898).
3. Also, Henry Moore wrote another book in two volumes after his first book with Coke. (Henry Moore, The Life of John Wesley; in Which Are Included the Life of His Brother, the Rev. Charles Wesley, A.M., and Memoirs of Their Family, 1824).
[129] Thomas Jackson edition is considered the most famous collection of Wesley’s Work. In spite of this consideration, the Jackson edition can not be considered as a complete edition. For more details about this issue, see Randy L. Maddox and Jason E. Vickers, 7.
[130] Ibid., 5.
[131] Ibid., 6.
[132] Albert Outler, John Wesley.
[133] Robert Sheffield earned his Ph.D. degree through his dissertation Gregory of Nyssa and John Wesley in Theological Dialogue at Boston University in 1969. [Ted A. Campbell. “Back to the Future: Wesleyan Quest for Ancient Roots: The 1980s.”] . Also, the Wesley Center for Applied Theology published in 2000 an article by Major John G. Merritt entitled Dialogue within a Tradition: John Wesley and Gregory the Nyssa Discuss Christian Perfection. [].
[134] Steve McCormick earned his Ph.D. degree through his dissertation John Wesley’s Use of John Chrysostom on the Christian Life: Faith Filled with the Energy of Love. Also, the Wesley Center for Applied Theology published in 2000 an article by McCormick entitled Theosis in Chrysostom and Wesley: An Eastern Paradigm on Faith and Love. [].
[135] Gordon Wakefield, “John Wesley and Ephraem Syrus,” Hugoye: Journal of Syriac Studies 1, no.2 (1998). [].
[136] David Bundy, “Christian Virtue: John Wesley and the Alexandrian Tradition,” Wesleyan Theological Journal39, no.1 (1997), []. Also, see: David Bundy, “Vision of Sanctification: Themes of Orthodoxy in the Methodist, Holiness, and Pentecostal Traditions” (see footnote 42 in this research).
[137] Randy Maddox, “John Wesley and Eastern Orthodoxy: Influences, Convergences, and Differences,” The Asbury Theological Journal 42, no.2 (1990).
[138] Robert G. Tuttle received his Ph.D. from the University of Bristol and worked as a professor of Evangelism and Wesleyan Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary. In 1988 he received the Philip Award from the National Association of United Methodist Evangelists. He is the author of several books relating to the Wesleyan tradition.
[139] Robert G. Tuttle, Mysticism in the Wesleyan Tradition (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, 1989) and Robert Tuttle, John Wesley: His Life and Theology (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing, 1978).
[140] Ted A. Campbell, John Wesley and Christian Antiquity: Religious Vision and Cultural Change (Nashville, Tennessee: Kingswood Books, 1984).
[141] Harold Mayo, 11.
[142] There are three books published as a fruit of these conferences; S. T. Kimbrough, ed., Orthodox and Wesleyan Spirituality (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2002), S. T. Kimbrough, ed. Orthodox and Wesleyan Scriptural Understanding and Practice. (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2005) and S. T. Kimbrough, ed., Orthodox and Wesleyan Ecclesiology (Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 2007).
[143] Randy Maddox, “John Wesley and Eastern Orthodoxy: Influences, Convergences, and Differences”, 31.
[144] Campbell, “Back to the Future: Wesleyan Quest for Ancient Roots”, 8.
[145] David C. Ford, “Saint Makarios of Egypt and John Wesley: Variations on the Theme of Sanctification,” Greek Orthodox Theological Review 33, no.3 (1988).
[146] Howard A. Snyder, “John Wesley and Macarius the Egyptian,” The Asbury Theological Journal 45, no.2 (1990).
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