What sources should Christians use to construct their own ethical theories? How should those sources relate to and inform one another? One very common and even more useful tool used by many Christians to tackle complex topics is the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, named after John Wesley. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral is just one of several methods of theological analysis and reflection, and consists of four parts: Scripture, Experience, Tradition, and Logic.
Broadly speaking, Christians should first and foremost use scripture to construct their own ethical theories. Scripture is the word of God itself. However, the issue with only using scripture is that no matter how divinely-inspired it is, our interpretation of it is not always as “inspired”. Our understanding of scripture is incomplete, and will always be incomplete.
To build on scripture, commentaries are very helpful. They provide a more relatable understanding of the historical context of scripture, therefore the potential for application of it. They also often provide information on the original language used. It is by no means necessary for all Christians to understand Greek and Hebrew, but it is often very enlightening to read scripture in light of the meaning of the Greek terms used rather than according to our understanding of the English words chosen upon translation. Continue reading “Wesleyan Quadrilateral for Beginners”