All need to be saved.
All can be saved.
All can know themselves to be saved.
All can be saved to the uttermost.
In the early 20th century, a writer summarized the Four Alls of Methodism listed above. I don’t recall when I was first exposed to them, but to this day when I hear people say “all means all,” I have to remind myself that they are not referring to this list.
For me, these four Alls still are the best short hand for the heart of Methodism.
10 thoughts on “The Four Alls of Methodism”
Love it. Have you read Robert Chiles’s Theological Transition in American Methodism? He shows how these beliefs (doctrines of sin and salvation – along with Scriptural authority) were progressively undermined in the 19th and early-20th centuries.
Return to a robust theological understanding of sin and salvation – these 4 all’s – and we’ll be well on our way back to true Methodism.
Reblogged this on Gestating A Church and commented:
Good snapshot of Methodist soteriology (the theology of salvation).
While I do not disagree with the sentiment expressed in these four statements, I have trouble with claiming they summarize the heart of Methodism. I say that because the emphasis in all four statements is upon human beings. It communicates that the gospel is all about me, and you. There is nothing in the four that speaks to the mission of God and that we are save in order to participate in God’s mission of redeeming the world.
Finally, the four also have nothing to say about human participation in the process of salvation. There is no mention of the importance of Christian discipline as the means by which we grow in holiness in heart and life.
Steve, I find all those elements present in the explanation of what we mean by these four things. I did not mean to suggest these four short statements contained all you need to know, but in explaining these four statements you will touch on all the issues you raised.
I’m thinking this could be a good sermon series. A catchy series title: “All means all..” Thanks for this post.
While I am no longer a practicing Christian, while I was, I was a Methodist. I never learned about this specifically though but after seeing it, it makes me proud of Methodists and Methodism. It brings back some great memories. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to comment. Grace and peace.
What a great post. I might even use the “All Means All” for a series!
This reminds us of our deep roots in I Timothy 2:3-4, a verse that must make our Calvinist friends squirm while reading it: “This is good and pleases God our Savior who desires ALL men to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth.”
These four “Alls” would describe practically any evangelical organization one would care to name therefore it can be no definition of Methodism. A more useful list would identify those beliefs that would make Methodism distinctive. Wesley taught some doctrines that were distinctive from the general Evangelical denominations, such as Christian Perfection as well as “event” of complete sanctification. These would be useful to mark the distinctive attributes of Methodism (assuming these are still maintained)
Daniel, I read “saved to the uttermost” as a reference to Christian perfection.
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