The Lectionary brings us this week to one of the iconic verses in Wesleyan theology.
Matthew 5:48 tells us: “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The verse comes from the gospel reading for this week, Matthew 5:38-48, and its context provides the meaning of the term “perfection” for Wesleyans. We are not called to be without error. We do not expect to never cause harm by accident or ignorance or misunderstanding. But we strive for – we hope to be going on to – perfection in love.
Perfection was certainly one of the most misunderstood doctrines in Wesley’s day. It is still controversial, even among Methodists. If there was ever a week to talk about the doctrine of perfection, this is it.