by Bob Whitesel D.Min., Ph.D., 12/5/15.
John Wesley noted that people generally existed in a journey through three waypoints (or stages): natural existence, legal existence and evangelical existence. Put forth most famously in Wesley’s “The Spirit of Bondage and the Spirit of Adoption” (1746), Thomas Oden’s helpful introduction prepares the reader to understand these important waypoints in spiritual discovery.
These categories are not too dissimilar to my friend and colleague Ed Stetzer’s categories of “cultural Christians” (somewhere between Wesley’s natural-legal continuum) and “conversion Christians.” In Stetzer’s typology, Wesley’s conversion took place at Aldersgate. But since in Wesley’s day “evangelical” did not have today’s negative media connotation (and hence perhaps Stetzer’s aversion to its use), I believe that if Wesley lived today, due to his emphasis upon conversion, he would embrace Stetzer’s designation of “conversion Christian.” Wesley certainly after his Aldersgate experience places conversion as the fulcrum upon which his methodology and theology would emerge.
Here is a screenshot of Oden’s helpful introduction to the idea:
Buy the book at … https://books.google.com/books?id=8qqtss5N6cYC&pg=PA277&dq=John+wesley+natural+legal+evangelical&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwipxrLx_MTJAhUF6CYKHSUsDTYQ6AEIHTAA#v=onepage&q=John%20wesley%20natural%20legal%20evangelical&f=false
Hear more about John Wesley’s conversion and his experience of the interplay of these three existences at …http://livestre.am/5fQ0e