You cannot speak intelligently about Wesleyan theology if you discard the doctrine of Original Sin.
John Wesley understood his entire ministry to be built upon a linked chain of doctrines. Creation, fall, and original sin are the first links in that chain. Without original sin the rest of what he preached was incomprehensible. Or, as he put it in the preface to his book on the doctrine of Original Sin:
If we are not diseased, we do not want a cure. If we are not sick, why should we seek for medicine to heal our sickness? … If, therefore, we take away this foundation, that man is by nature foolish and sinful, “fallen short of the glorious image of God,” the Christian system falls at once …
Of course, this is no challenge for those who view the doctrine of Original Sin as an embarrassment, a relic from a less Enlightened culture. But what are we United Methodists to do with our Book of Discipline and its doctrinal standards that say:
We believe man is fallen from righteousness and, apart from the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, is destitute of holiness and inclined to evil.
The challenge for United Methodists, it seems to me, is to learn how to speak about Original Sin in ways that touch the heart and mind of people today, so that we might — having shared the diagnosis — offer the cure that will make people whole again.