Works of Piety

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Works of Piety, in Methodism, are certain spiritual disciplines that along with the Works of Mercy, serve as a means of grace,[1] and are necessary for Christian perfection.[2][3] All Methodist Christians, laity and ordained, are expected to employ them.[4] The Works of Piety are:

  1. Prayer[5]
  2. Searching the Scriptures[5]
  3. Holy Communion[5]
  4. Fasting[5]
  5. Christian Community[5]
  6. Healthy Living[5]

The more interior Works of Piety are paralleled by the external Works of Mercy.[6] The Rt. Rev John Wesley insisted that the Works of Piety were important because they "further ensconced believers in a spiritual world of conflict in which humans needed to pursue holiness with the same vigor with which they sought their justification."[7] In relation to soteriology, the grace of God was "all sufficient," and it issued in a universal atonement that made possible a saving "change of heart;" this change of heart required "the influences of divine grace," but it also required "constant exertions."[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ F. Belton Joyner. Being Methodist in the Bible Belt: A Theological Survival Guide for Youth, Parents, and Other Confused Methodists. Westminster John Knox Press. Retrieved 5 July 2011. "Prayer, be it in the congregation, in the family, or in one's closet, was typically listed as the first "work of piety," among which also figured searching the Scriptures (by hearing, reading, and meditating upon them), reception of the Lord's Supper, fasting or abstinence, and "conversation with the children of God." These "ordinances" were understood to be the instituted and usual means by which God's grace was channeled to the church; and all Methodists, but especially the lay leadership and (after the ordinations of 1784) the ministers, were expected to diligently to employ them." 
  2. ^ S. T. Kimbrough. Orthodox and Wesleyan ecclesiology. St Vladimir's Seminary Press. Retrieved 5 July 2011. "Perhaps Wesley's favorite description of his own calling and that of Methodism was to "spread scriptural holiness." He and his helpers preaced "entire sanctification" or "Christian perfection" understood as the single-hearted love of God and neighbor. The twin vehicles and expressions of such love were "works of piety" (prayer, fasting, searching the Scriptures, partaking of the Lord's Supper as "means of grace") and "works of mercy" ("doing good unto all men, to their souls and to their bodies"): "God works [in you]; therefore you can work. God works [in you]; therefore you must work."" 
  3. ^ "Christian Perfection: Works of Piety and Mercy". The United Methodist Church. Retrieved 5 July 2011. "Christian Perfection is "holiness of heart and life." It is "walking the talk." John Wesley expected Methodists to do not only "works of piety" but "works of mercy"--both of these fused together put a Christian on the path to perfection in love." 
  4. ^ American Methodist Worship. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 5 July 2011. "Prayer, be it in the congregation, in the family, or in one's closet, was typically listed as the first "work of piety," among which also figured searching the Scriptures (by hearing, reading, and meditating upon them), reception of the Lord's Supper, fasting or abstinence, and "conversation with the children of God." These "ordinances" were understood to be the instituted and usual means by which God's grace was channeled to the church; and all Methodists, but especially the lay leadership and (after the ordinations of 1784) the ministers, were expected to diligently to employ them." 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Mission: The Works of Mercy". The United Methodist Church. Retrieved 5 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Paul Wesley Chilcote (2007). Early Methodist spirituality: selected women's writings. Kingswood Books. Retrieved 5 July 2011. "The primary means by which the Methodists lived out this holistic understanding of the Christian faith was through works of mercy that paralleled the more interior works of piety." 
  7. ^ Jeffrey Williams. Religion and Violence in Early American Methodism: Taking the Kingdom by Force. Indiana University Press. Retrieved 5 July 2011. "Wesley insisted that though these actions were neither of the same sense nor degree as the role of faith in bringing about sanctification, they remained significant and thus further ensconced believers in a spiritual world of conflict in which humans needed to pursue holiness with the same vigor with which they sought their justification." 
  8. ^ E. Brooks Holifield. Theology in America: Christian Thought from the Age of the Puritans to the Civil War. Yale University Press. Retrieved 5 July 2011. "The grace of God was "all sufficient," and it issued in a unversal atonement that made possible a saving "change of heart." This change of heart required "the influences of divine grace," but it also required "constant exertions."" 

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