There were many groups of people trying to reform the established church in their area. John Wesley was an individual who broke away from the Church of England. He founded Methodism, which started as a reform movement within the Church of England. It later broke away from the Church of England and became a separate domination. Wesley wrote a sermon on Luke 16:2 titled “The Good Steward.” The text of Luke 16:2 says, “Give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer a steward.” Wesley talks in length about the talents that people have and how they should use them to their best abilities. If they use all of their talents, they will be rewarded by God.
Wesley’s description of how one is rewarded by God and enters into heaven is not in line with the rest of Lutheran theology that has been discussed in the Honors Program. In the Honors Program, the focus has been on the teachings of Jesus and interpretations by Martin Luther and other contemporary theologians following the traditions of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. They teach that actions do not play a part in the salvation of a person. It is through faith that comes from God that a person is able to be saved.
I struggled with this reading from John Wesley. Wesley’s closing statement was a struggle for me. He wrote “It remains only that thou be rewarded, to all eternity, according to thy works”. I believe and am happy that there is nothing I can do to earn my way into heaven. I am a sinner and am not deserving of the spot in heaven. It is only through the person of Jesus that I am considered a child of God. Wesley put the emphasis on the works that come out of the saving grace of God. I would have put the emphasis on the grace that God has given to me. Both can be helpful in different situations, but Wesley seemed to skip over the foundation of God’s grace in favor of the works that flow out of His grace.