Reclaiming a Holy Desperation: John Wesley, Recovery, and the Church Today Open Access

Floyd, Ben (2017)

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Churches searching for renewal in the 21st century can take lessons from

both the Protestant renewal movements of the 18th century and recovery

groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). AA and the small group focus

in early Methodism (exemplified by the band meetings) are both examples

of an understanding of social holiness. Social holiness is the growth in

holiness that occurs in a social, communal context. In this paper, I

examine the theological and historical connections between early

Methodism, the Oxford Group and AA. Underlying the social dynamic of

salvation and healing in all these groups is the need to come together to

work out one's salvation in the company of others. I seek to answer the

question, "What if the church viewed sin itself as an addiction?" I believe

this shift in perspective may open up space for a holy desperation, leading

to renewal in both the pews and the world.

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