Towards a Theology of Ministry in the Wesleyan Tradition
By H. Lee Cheek Jr.
offers a theology
of ministry and work. The study seeks to define and
explicate a theology of ministry as an attempt to
understand God working in the world as part of a
persistent dialectical enterprise, grounded in a
desire to participate in the ancient conversation
between God and the people of God, and to
facilitate sharing among the People of God. It is
faith seeking understanding, which requires an
intellectual appreciation of God, namely, reflective
theology. At the center of this activity is faith,
which makes the enterprise possible. The
foundational element in this worldview is a
transcendent God, the creator of heaven and earth.
The pursuit of this appreciation must involve a
comprehensive view of reality. It must concern
itself with life before human existence, the
interaction of the creations of God and ultimate
heavenly union with God.
given the children of God appreceptive qualities so
that we might come closer to the divine reality
within our lives on the earth. At the center of our
gift is Jesus Christ, the insight of salvation.
Christ is the determinative norm for life. Christ
allows us to see the reality of self-giving or what
Paul Achtemier has described this as the
"self-limitation" of Christ that should be assumed
by all of our Lord's disciples. For Wesley, the
created world is the theater of God's glory.
Christ's life is a historic fact, making us historic
argues that we understand this history via a number
of means; the witness of scripture allows us to
share in the insight of those assembled at the feet
of Christ, as well as their spiritual patrimony.
Theology enables a more thorough understanding of
God in the here and now, as the attempt is made to
connect theos and logos; history tells
us of the provisional fulfillment of Christ in the
Old Testament and the history of Christ itself in
the New Testament, augmented by accounts of the
saints who have kept the message alive for
succeeding generations. The pedagogical enterprise
is an effort to understand God's self-gift, and it
possesses personal and historic dimensions. These
characteristics of the divine imperative are most
easily and completely accessible via Scripture and
the teaching of the Church. Cheek suggests that any
attempt to accurately portray the situation of the
Church is exasperated when it is done only through
the lens of contemporary culture, without an
appreciation of the claims of classical
Christianity, or what Thomas Oden describes as "postcritical
H. Lee Cheek, Jr., is
Professor of Political Science and Religion at East
Georgia State College. His many books include Political Philosophy
and Cultural Renewal, Order and Legitimacy,
Calhoun and Popular Rule, and Calhoun:
Selected Writings and Speeches, among others.
Dr. Cheek is a United Methodist minister (Western
North Carolina Conference) and he has served as a U.S.
Publication Date: April 2010; Second Edition, 2012;
Third Edition, 2013
and Cited by the
greatest living Wesley scholar, Dr. Thomas C. Oden,
in Volume 3 of his magisterial
[Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013 (p. 34)].