Talk:Christian perfection

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How does this doctrine differ from the "Perfectionism" commonly associated with Charles Finney? Is it in that Christians under his scheme cannot sin and remain a Christian? --Flex June 29, 2005 12:48 (UTC)

To answer my own question, I consulted this assessment, which was an external link under Finney's page:
Finney's perfectionism was excluded outright from the New School Presbyterian community, and tolerated at the margins of the Congregational community. The situation with the Methodists is more muddled and confusing than it is with the two Calvinist denominations. Here Finney played an important role in encouraging a trend that had begun before Finney; but it is also true the intellectual influences between Finney's perfectionism and Methodism worked both ways, with Finney deriving much of his inspiration from the Methodist tradition.
The Methodist perfectionist tradition could be traced back to the John Wesley; and it has been ably chronicled by other historians, most effectively by John L. Peters. (25) The Wesleyan tradition of perfection (or entire sanctification, or holiness) rested upon the belief that God might grant a second blessing to members of His Church, and thus it had some important variations from Finney's emphasis upon perfect obedience as a requirement of God's law.
Although a part of the Methodist heritage, this aspect of their theology received comparatively little attention during the opening decades of the nineteenth century. In his superb recent study of American Methodism, John H. Wigger notes that Wesley's ideas of entire sanctification received a diminished emphasis in America. During the 1830s, however, the holiness movement gained new importance, led by the remarkably energetic lay woman, Phoebe Palmer. For the remainder of the nineteenth century, the holiness movements attracted an important, but not unanimous following among the various Methodist denominations. It also led to several schisms, especially after the Civil War.(26)
Finney's role in the Methodist perfectionist movement could be described as both influenced by and influencing the Methodists. For all of his protestations of originality, there is little doubt that either Finney or Mahan would have conceived of a perfectionist theology without the influence of the Methodist tradition. In return, Finney, and the Oberlin faculty, gave further stimulation to the holiness movements with American and British Methodism. As Peters has pointed out Finney's endorsement of Perfection was welcomed by many within the Methodist community.(27)
Nevertheless, it must be remembered that the resurgence in Perfectionism began independently of Finney. Moreover, important Methodists, such as George Peck, editor of the Methodist Quarterly Review and a leading promoter of holiness, asserted that Finney's emphasis upon legal obedience differentiated him from the Methodists. Finney responded by confirming that his theology differed from the Methodists. "I [Finney] had known considerable [sic] of the view of sanctification entertained by our Methodist brethren, but as their view of sanctification seemed to me to relate almost altogether to the states of the sensibility ... I could not receive their teaching." (28)
--Flex June 29, 2005 13:17 (UTC)
Flex: Here is a good place to look for a basic overview of Christian perfection according to John Wesley. It's important to note that "perfection" as taught by Wesley and "mainstream Methodism" is not completely synonomous with "entire sanctification" as taught by the Holiness branch of Methodism (which, while without question Wesleyan, was heavily influenced by John Fletcher). Methodists view it more as a process; Holiness folks view it as a crisis. Finney's version of perfection came later, and doesn't really factor in to the Methodist understanding of the doctrine... but he sure upset a whole lot of Presbyterians/Calvinists with his take! KHM03 29 June 2005 13:36 (UTC)


I can't resist asking, tongue-in-cheek: isn't Christian perfection an oxymoron? Vranak

Church of the Nazarene[edit]

An editor has several times added a large section on the Church of the Nazarene teaching regarding Christian Perfection. Here is the comment placed on my talk page:

"== Christian Perfection Dispute ==

Ok dawg here's the deal. The church of the Nazarene is the largest of the Holiness denominations from the 19th Century movement. They have done a HUGE amount of work and study from scholars all around the world and other Wesleyan churches. They founded the Wesleyan Theological Society which I am a member. I am also a Licensed Nazarene Minister who has had the training on the Doctrine of Entire Sanctification. The Church of the Nazarene is critical in the understanding of this biblical doctrine. It is only critical that you allow me to have the section on the Church of the Nazarene in the article page. It is a theological doctrine and as such the Nazarene church has played a huge part in its development for holiness churches and the understanding of the doctrine as Wesley saw it. As such I made it a sub point under Wesley which I intend to edit in the future to try and further explain this doctrine and help readers have a credible source on the issue as Wesley saw it. Please don't remove my section I am trying to give a good and well rounded understanding of the doctrine and the statement from the Church of the Nazarene is the closet of the scholarly works to Wesley's clear understanding. I know this may seem confusing, but please just allow me to do this I know what I'm doing I have the training. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Swillia9 (talkcontribs) 03:55, 14 August 2010 (UTC) "

While I do not dispute that the Church of the Nazarene holds belief in this doctrine, it also is held by Methodists and many holiness denominations--too many to clutter the article. This doctine has its primary roots in Catholicism, but best reflects the teaching of the Wesley brothers. Your comments and opinion will be appreciated, and I further promise not to address you as "dawg!" รัก-ไทย (talk) 21:49, 14 August 2010 (UTC)
While I do not think that the Nazarene Church's views should have its own section, I do see value in having a section dedicated to the contemporary views of Methodists and a section dedicated to the historical and contemporary views of the holiness movement on Christian perfection. As I understand it, the holiness movement's ideas are not exactly the same as Wesley's and the Methodist Church today has somewhat of a different take on Christian perfection as well. Anyone know enough about this topic to flesh out the article more? Ltwin (talk) 02:58, 6 January 2011 (UTC)

Fletcher Wesley's Successor[edit]

According to the Wesleyan Center for Applied Theology, Wesley, in Wesley the Methodist in Chapter XVIII, did in fact select Fletcher as his successor, but unfortunately Fletcher died before Wesley. So it is accurate to call Fletcher Wesley's successor.

FYI Chuzz and others like him[edit]

I really think that you are being unfair about the whole Fletcher thing. There are plenty of website sources that have been used as citations and are not books. The source originally used for Wesley and Fletcher is an academic source from Northwest Nazarene University and is contemporary branch of the Wesleyan Theological Society as this site provides access to several works of Wesley and biographical information on him. Stop being a jerk and actually allow use who know something about the world of academia do the editing and citing. And just an FYI most, if not all schools and scholars, consider Wikipedia an UNRELIABLE SOURCE, when it comes to researching topics. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Swillia9 (talkcontribs) 18:21, 17 August 2010 (UTC)

Hi there, Swillia9, and thanks for bringing this discussion to the talk page. I assume by 'Chuzz' you mean me.
I assure you that I am not being a jerk; in fact, I am entirely neutral on this matter. I am merely concerned with Wikipedia policies and processes, and as you are a new user, it is perfectly natural that you might not understand it.
The main point is, that everything on Wikipedia is decided through discussion and consensus. You apparently wish to add something to this article, and others disagreed with your edits, therefore, we need to talk about it here - we can get other opinions, or whatever is necessary, in order to come to a decision which is based on the policies and guidelines.
To do that, it would help if you could make a clear statement here, on this talk page, simply saying, I think we should change (something) to (something else), because (some policy-based logical reasoning). It will help greatly if you can keep that brief; then other people can look at it, and see if they agree or not.
I appreciate that your suggestion might not be easily stated in brief, in which case, it would be better to suggest a part of the change - just one or two sentences - and let us discuss and agree upon that point first of all.
I wish to make two additional points,
  • Wikipedia is absolutely not a reliable source. It does not claim to be. In fact, there is a disclaimer on the bottom of each and every page of Wikipedia - you can see if at the bottom of this page, or here, and note that it says, in very large letters, "WIKIPEDIA MAKES NO GUARANTEE OF VALIDITY".
Wikipedia does not say, This (fact) is true. Wikipedia says, This is a fact.and here is the reference
We try to ensure that the references are appropriate reliable sources, but it is up to the reader to do the checking.
Any material challenged or likely to be challenged, and all quotations, must be attributed to a reliable, published source using an inline citation --WP:V.
Any information which lacks an appropriate reliable source can be challenged (e.g. [citation needed]) and removed from the page. In the event of a dispute, we discuss things...but there is no deadline.
Therefore, I fully agree with any academics that state Wikipedia should not be used for research - of course it should not. It can make a useful starting point, but to ensure the accuracy, it is necessary to check the references in detail. The same is true of other Encycloapedias. Please see;
From the above, I hope it will be clear that your own personal knowledge of a topic does not mean that your edits have any more validity than those of anyone else. Wikipedia depends upon verifiability, not truth.
  • Finally, I ask you to please be polite in all discussions; let us discuss the content, and try to come to an agreement. That is quite possible, without resorting to personal insults.
Once again, many thanks for bringing the discussion to this page, and I hope that you can explain (as briefly as possible) the suggested improvements to the article, so that any and all editors can discuss them, and we can decide if they are indeed appropriate for inclusion in some form.
Best,  Chzz  ►  06:33, 21 August 2010 (UTC)

Aquinas on the perfection of God[edit]

The article is flawed in its account of how Thomas Aquinas views perfection in God.

The author only quotes part of what Aquinas says about God's perfection: "Now God is the first principle, not material, but in the order of efficient cause, which must be most perfect. For just as matter, as such, is merely potential, an agent, as such, is in the state of actuality. Hence, the first active principle must needs be most actual, and therefore most perfect; for a thing is perfect in proportion to its state of actuality, because we call that perfect which lacks nothing of the mode of its perfection" (ST, 1.4.1).

God is "the first active principle" and is being called "most perfect."

The same is true of the next question in the Summa (1.4.2):

"I answer that, All created perfections are in God. Hence He is spoken of as universally perfect, because He lacks not (says the Commentator, Metaph. v) any excellence which may be found in any genus."

It may be true that the way in which a creature is perfect is not the same way in which the creator is perfect, since one is finite and the other infinite, but it is quite false to say that Aquinas thought that it was wrong to speak of God being perfect.

Source: Summa Theologica, Part 1, Question 4, questions 1 & 2: "The Perfection of God."

I do not know about other medieval philosophers.

Martin X. Moleski, SJ (talk) 22:14, 21 January 2015 (UTC)