Mere Methodism, Catholic Methodism: The Integration of Holiness and Love

The Mere Methodism Conference brought together world-class scholars and church leaders from across the Wesleyan world to explore the riches of our heritage, delve into the insights and contributions of faithful followers of Jesus Christ who have gone before us, and point us forward to a faithful future.

Participants gathered April 4-6 at the historic Lyceum in Alexandria, Virginia, at the invitation of the John Wesley Institute. Below you will find a video of Dr. Dale Coulter of the Pentecostal Theological Seminary in Cleveland, Tennessee, speaking on “Mere Methodism, Catholic Methodism: The Integration of Holiness and Love.”

To speak of ‘mere’ Methodism is not to identify its distinguishing features. Instead, emphasis should be placed on the fundamental catholicity of Methodism. The renewal of the church was and is her heart. The purpose of the movement from the beginning was to locate the wholeness of the church in the pursuit of holiness through the love of God, whose fervent embrace caused all other loves to withdraw. Yet one of the challenges within the entire movement has been the integration of holiness and love. Integrating holiness and love requires a return to the Catholic impulse within Wesley.

Drawing on Scripture and Christian tradition, Coulter explores how holiness and love can be integrated by arguing for two claims:

1) Holiness is a condition that describes the sum total of who God is and therefore who we are to be. Holiness is not a single quality or attribute such as a color or texture, but the proper order and complete integration of every part of us.

2) Love is the catalyst that brings about this state by facilitating our union with God, ordering our inner life and integrating our movements into a single purpose.

Holiness is the condition, love is the catalyst; holiness is the structure; love structures; holiness is the order; love orders; holiness is the form, love forms.

Additional talks from the conference will be posted to the John Wesley Institute YouTube channel in the coming days.

Downloadable podcast audio from this event is available on IRD’s SoundCloud account here: