The doctrine of Christian Perfection is often understood to be a Wesleyan or Methodist distinctive. It is something that is taught (or at least mentioned — albeit sometimes with embarrassment) in those Christian circles which have been influenced by the teachings of Wesley. It has sometimes been viewed as a Wesleyan oddity — even by those within the Wesleyan tradition itself.
But, I think we need to take a new look at that. Wesley didn’t understand himself to be teaching something new. He understood himself to be re-affirming something taught in the Scriptures and repeated in the teachings of the early Church Fathers. (more…)
And just as limpid and transparent bodies, when the sun’s ray falls upon them, themselves become radiant and shine with another ray from themselves, so the Spirit-bearing souls illumined by the Spirit themselves become spiritual and send forth the grace to others. From this comes foreknowledge of future events, understanding of mysteries, comprehension of hidden things, distribution of gifts, heavenly citizenship, dancing with angels, joy without end, abiding in God, likeness to God, and the summit of desires, becoming god.
— St. Basil the Great, On the Human Condition
You grant us sleep for rest from our infirmities, and repose from the burdens of our much toiling flesh. We thank you, for you have not destroyed us with our sins, but have continued to love us; and though we were sunk in despair, you have raised us up to glorify your power.
Therefore, we implore your incomparable goodness:
Enlighten the eyes of our understanding and raise up our minds from the heavy sleep of indolence.
Open our mouth and fill it with your praise, that we may be able without distraction to sing and confess that you are God,
glorified in all and by all, the eternal Father, with your only begotten Son, and your all-holy, good, and life-giving Spirit, now and forever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
— Prayer of Saint Basil.