AMAZING LOVE HOW CAN IT BE? AN INTERVIEW WITH A CONTRIBUTOR
Amazing Love How Can It Be?
Note: Your blogger co-wrote the chapter contribution to AMAZING LOVE HOW CAN IT BE?
entitled "Love Divine All Loves Excelling."
What made you want to contribute to a volume of essays of Charles Wesley Hymns?
First I have always loved singing Wesley’s hymns. I grew up in church singing them. Each hymn is so worshipful. And this one is so lively and full of spirit. I especially love it. In turn each teaches experiential theology to those who enter into worship while singing. Each one is indeed a catechism as it were!
2. Why do an exposition of “Loves Divine: All Loves Excelling”?
This is one of the great hymns of Wesley for the entire Evangelical Church at large. It tells of the Father “Almighty” of the Apostle’s Creed. It tells that Jesus is “all compassion.” And it also speaks of the “loving Spirit.” It is trinitarian in its content and makeup.
3. How do you occupy yourself since your retirement?
I retired as a college professor of Religion and Communication fours years ago. I did so to follow the call of the Lord to be a freelance writer. Since then I have published four e-books on Kindle. Besides this work I co-edited a work entitled The Spirit of Holiness. It is a formation volume of Biblical Spirituality. We dedicated it to Dr. Don Whitney of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is due out Sept. 23 next. It can be found at www.amazon.com/gp/product/1683593243/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i7.
My wife and I are also very much involved in the lives of our four grandsons. I continue to write and speak whenever I get the opportunity. My writing and speaking can be seen at the invertedchristian.com.
4. What is my background?
I am an ordained Southern Baptist Minister (SBC) and received my doctorate from The University of the South—Sewanee. I have taught grad school, seminary, university, and at the college levels for 20 years before retiring in 2016. I have expertise in the areas of Religion, Communication, Rhetoric, Christian Thought, and Ethics.
5. As a Baptist, what interests you in the Wesley brothers thought and hymns?
I have recently been reading about the Wesleyan brothers and churches, I found them to have more in common with my own theology and background than I had realized. The “spiritual formation” of the early Weslyan movement informed mine as I was growng up. And I did not see how closely we were. The Evangelical Church(es) owe the Wesley brothers a great deal to their expeiential holiness and applied theology.
6. How do the Methodists and Baptists differ from your point of view?
I suppose there are two basic ways: First the Baptists believe, at least those coming from the Reformation tradition, that it is not possible for the true believer to loose his / her salvation. But that is not the belief of the Wesleys as I understand it. Secondly, the Baptists believe in a progressive sanctification rather than a particular time when one might be perfected in this life through a second act or experience of grace.
More about this commentary of Charles Wesley's hymns:
The present collection of essays examines specific texts by Charles Wesley in multiple dimensions (theological, poetical, historical, biographical, etc.), demonstrating both the profound nature of the hymns and their continued relevance for Christians today. The discussions are organized by theological/liturgical topics, and each essay treats us to the hymn in its complete original form (noting significant variants as necessary), explains the historical context of its composition, provides a theological interpretation, and relates it to the life and faith of the believer.
In the pages of this book, the reader will find both information and inspiration. Scholars of hymnody and of Charles Wesley will appreciate the depth of inquiry in the chapters. Just as importantly, laypersons and hymn lovers (as well as scholars) will find much spiritual benefit from the study of hymns they know and love, as well as texts with which they may be less familiar. This exploration of these profound hymns will surely lead to a deeper understanding of the “amazing love” responsible for changing the course of Charles Wesley’s life, who in turn changed the course of Christian worship.