The Theology of Sanctification and Resignation in Charles Wesley's Hymns
Sanctification is a central theme in the theology of both John and Charles Wesley. However, while John’s theology of sanctification has received much scholarly attention, significantly less has been paid to Charles’ views on the subject. This book redresses this imbalance by using Charles’ many poetic texts as a window into his rich theological thought on sanctification, particularly uncovering the role of resignation in the development of his views on this key doctrine.
In this analysis of Charles’ theology of sanctification, the centrality he accorded to resignation is uncovered to show a positive attribute involving acts of intention, desire and offering to God. The book begins by putting Charles’ position in the context of contemporary theology, and then shows how he differed in attitude from his brother John. It then discusses in depth how his hymns use the concept of resignation, both in relation to Jesus Christ and the believer. It concludes this analysis by identifying the ways in which Charles understood the relationship between resignation and sanctification; namely, that resignation is a lens through which Charles views holiness. The final chapter considers the implications of these conclusions for a twenty-first century theological and spiritual context, and asks whether resignation is still a concept which can be used today.
This book breaks new ground in the understanding of Charles Wesley’s personal theology. As such, it will be of significant interest to scholars of Methodism and the Wesleys as well as those working in theology, spirituality, and the history of religion.
Introduction: Contexts for the Study of Resignation Part I Theological, Historical, and Spiritual Contexts 1 Charles Wesley and Sanctification 2 Resignation in Charles Wesley: historical and spiritual context; Excursus: ‘The Resignation’ Part II Analysis of Resignation Texts 3 The Resignation of Jesus 4 The Resignation of the Believer; Excursus: Funeral Hymn on the Death of Mrs. Elizabeth Blackwell, March 27, 1772 Part III Resignation and Sanctification 5 Resignation: an attitude of being and foundational temper for sanctification 6 Resignation and Sanctification 7 A Contemporary Wesleyan Theology and Spirituality of Resignation and Sanctification; Conclusion
‘This is an important contribution to study of the Wesleyan tradition and of Christian spirituality broadly. Lunn joins those seeking to help Charles Wesley’s distinctive emphases on the Christian life take their place alongside the emphases of his brother John. Drawing deftly upon his hymns, sermons, letters, and journal, Lunn illuminates the centrality of resignation in Charles Wesley’s understanding of Christian holiness or sanctification—not just as one virtue among others; but as the basic orientation conducive to Christian growth. Highly recommended.’
– Randy L. Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Duke Divinity School, USA
"This book automatically commends itself to admirers of Charles Wesley, but Lunn’s spirited retrieval of the resignation theme and her success in setting it in its wider context should also bring the subject to the attention of a wider readership in the areas of theology, pastoral work, and spirituality."
- Fred Sanders, Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, USA