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I have been told that John Wesley read the pre-Schism fathers a lot, and was influenced by them.

Is this so, and if so, to what extent and how was his doctrine influenced by them?

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Wow I don't know what happened there! The edit system is attributing some changes to me that I did not make -- I only edited the tags. –  Caleb Aug 26 '11 at 23:16
Yeah, I made some changes and got a "too many redirects" error from the server. Go figure. –  Robert Haraway Aug 26 '11 at 23:47
I think we both submitted edits at the same time and it tried to merge, but got the changes backwards. I've edited a lot of posts and never run into one that came out that bizarre. I think they fed the server room monkeys too many bananas! –  Caleb Aug 26 '11 at 23:49
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2 Answers

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Interesting question. Wesley, as an Anglican, would have learned to understand Scripture through the lenses of Tradition and Reason. Tradition for him would have included everything from his contemporary Pietists back to the early church fathers.

I did a quick search and discovered that Wesley believed those closest to the beginning of the church had an advantage over modern Christians:

Can any who spend several years in those seats of learning, be excused if they do not add to that reading of the Fathers the most authentic commentators on Scripture, as being both nearest the fountain, eminently endued with that Spirit by whom all Scripture was given. It will be easily perceived, I speak chiefly of those who wrote before the council of Nicea. But who could not likewise desire to have some acquaintance with those that followed them with St. Chrysostom, Basil, Augustine, and above all, the man of a broken heart, Ephraim Syrus. [source]

Wesley's teaching on Christian Perfection was partly influenced by his reading of the fathers, and his doctrine of Prevenient Grace appears to have been derived from Chrysostom; beyond that, I'm not sure how much he drew from the ancient fathers. The primary influences on his theology would have been his contemporary Pietists as well as the writings of Jacobus Arminius.

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It's known that John Wesley and his father loved to read the early Church Fathers together. John's favorite was St. John Chrysostom, a great preacher and theologian. Wesley carried with him a Bible and a copy of St. Marcarius of Egypt's writings from which John got some of his ideas on holiness which in the early church was called "theosis". John Wesley would line up closer to the Eastern Orthodox Church today, than any other branch.

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Welcome to Christianity.SE. This is great stuff and it sounds like you know something about the subject matter here, but I'm curious what sources you might have for this. In particular I'd love to see you edit and expand on the reasons why Wesley would line up with the Orthodox. Thanks for taking the time to participate. –  Caleb Jan 13 '13 at 7:49
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