Wesley's Quadrilateral

  • We rely on the way of salvation
    given in the Bible.

  • We use the Bible as  a
    touchstone in examining real or
    supposed revelation.

  • We take it as the final authority
    in matters of faith and practice.

  • Thus we need to study and
    interpret it carefully.

Roots: Protestant Reformation

Danger: bibliotry
The bible is our final authority in faith and practice.  However we also rely on
tradition, reason and experience.  Each must balance the other for there is a
should not be assumed that tradition or experience or reason can be used to
override what the bible says.  The bible alone is our source for spiritual truth.  
We cannot reason a truth apart from the bible.  Nor can experience invalidate
the bible.  And nor can tradition override the bible.

The Wesley Center Online

The Wesley Center on Line (Second Article)
Aldersgate United Methodist Church Article
Scripture   Tradition   Experience   Reason

These are the four elements that make up  Wesley's Quadrilateral

  • We revere the ancient church as
    well as our own.

  • We use the writings of
    Christians through the centuries.

  • Particular value is given to the
    early church fathers.

  • The standards of the Church of
    England are utilized: prayer
    book, homilies

Roots: Roman Catholic Church

(New life in Christ)
  • The Holy Spirit uses scripture
    and tradition to bring us to faith

  • By God's grace we receive a
    personal experience of faith..

  • There are variations of Christian
    experience; none can be

  • Thus ours is a "heart religion,"
    but is not dependent on feelings.

Roots: free churches

Danger: "enthusiasm"
  • Reason lays the foundation for
    true religion and helps raise its

  • Reason helps us order the
    evidence of revelation and (with
    tradition) guard against poor
    interpretation of scripture.

  • But reason cannot prove or
    disclose God..

  • Thus ours is a "heart religion,"
    but is not dependent on feelings.

Roots: deisms

Danger: "rationalism"