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KingsGambit
03-28-2014, 08:42 AM
I have never quite known how to understand the "Experience" part of the Wesleyan quadrilateral ( http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=258&GID=312&GMOD=VWD ). I have heard it sometimes taken to describe conclusions the church comes to over time, but according to this link from the UMC (who would seem to be a reasonable historical authority on Wesley) it apparently rather appears to conclusions reached in one's life through the process of sanctification.

I have a couple of questions: Is the concept of experience solely supposed to refer to one's personal, inner witness? If so, how would this manifest itself in practical terms? Or can the term also be used to refer to conclusions of the church over time? I have sometimes seen given as an example how the church came to adopt abolitionism in the 18th/19th century (Paprika and I had an interesting shoutbox discussion this morning on whether this was more of an example of the Scripture part of the quadrilateral, based on Philemon), and a modern example is how some people have come to accept theistic evolution based on modern scientific findings (and I'm not looking to debate that here, just to use it as an example).

Paprika
03-28-2014, 08:54 AM
Experience as a noun has a wide semantic range.


A. Past experience, accumulated knowledge
1. a doer's accumulated knowledge
2. a undergoer's accumulated knowledge
3. an observer's accumulated knowledge

B. Current experience, sensory or sensory -like
4. an observer's and an undergoer's perception or series of perception
5. an observer's and a participant's records of their perceptions
6. [a person's] current awareness-cum-feeling
7. [a person's] limited but reliable knowledge of a place and time

It would be interesting to see to which of these Wesley referred to.

Teallaura
03-28-2014, 09:34 AM
I've always understood it to be personal experience although collective experience wouldn't be ruled out. The quadrilateral is just a guideline - it's not meant to be more than that.

Tradition and experience are distinct, however.

KingsGambit
03-28-2014, 09:41 AM
Maybe I'm just more wary of personal experience than I should be. There have been countless people over the years who have confidently affirmed that God visited them in dreams and told them the end of the world was going to happen any day now. I came across a Youtube video yesterday by one such person, and it was met with many commenters affirming the same thing.

Teallaura
03-28-2014, 09:45 AM
Maybe I'm just more wary of personal experience than I should be. There have been countless people over the years who have confidently affirmed that God visited them in dreams and told them the end of the world was going to happen any day now. I came across a Youtube video yesterday by one such person, and it was met with many commenters affirming the same thing.

But it is through personal experience that many, maybe even most, come to Christ. Yes, it can be treacherous which is why it is the bottom of the quadrilateral and Scripture and reason (maybe even tradition) both overrule it (don't get overly hung up on which rules which - guideline. Scripture as supreme is the only one to really worry about).

RBerman
03-29-2014, 06:21 AM
It seems to me best understood as using reason (a means) to interpret data gathered from Scripture (above all), tradition (as an expositor of Scripture), and personal experience. It could be diagrammed as a triangle with those three vertices and reason as lines connecting each to the other, but that diagram wouldn't make the primacy of Scripture clear, so the analogy still wants improving.

Paprika
03-30-2014, 02:56 AM
I agree with RBerman that unlike the others which are sources of knowlege, reason is a means of knowing and thus it shouldn't be considered as the same type.

Teallaura
03-30-2014, 06:57 AM
Reason is also a means of knowledge - if it is a means of knowing it must necessarily result in knowledge.

Paprika
03-30-2014, 07:05 AM
Reason is also a means of knowledge - if it is a means of knowing it must necessarily result in knowledge.
Sure, but not of the same type. Reason works on existing knowledge to produce knowledge.

Teallaura
03-30-2014, 02:03 PM
You still end up with new knowledge so the point is moot. :shrug:

KingsGambit
03-30-2014, 07:21 PM
I would prefer some sort of model myself that essentially allowed for reason, though allowing it to take a backseat. If nothing else, an impression I get from the gospels is that Jesus wants us to seek the intent of God's commandments and a sort of reason may be needed to determine these. I'm having trouble articulating what I'm thinking here but I hope the point is somewhat clear.

Paprika
03-30-2014, 09:42 PM
You still end up with new knowledge so the point is moot. :shrug:
You have no sense of nuance. Got it.

Teallaura
03-31-2014, 06:18 AM
You have no sense of nuance. Got it.

And you just have no sense at all. Got it.

Any particular reason you enjoy doing the patronizing thing?

Teallaura
03-31-2014, 06:31 AM
I would prefer some sort of model myself that essentially allowed for reason, though allowing it to take a backseat. If nothing else, an impression I get from the gospels is that Jesus wants us to seek the intent of God's commandments and a sort of reason may be needed to determine these. I'm having trouble articulating what I'm thinking here but I hope the point is somewhat clear.
A backseat to what? Tradition and you (general) end up with 'but that's the way we've always done it'. Experience and you end up with 'but God told me something different'. Scripture, yes, presuming you have enough sense to make sure you understood it (not challenging Scripture as supreme but leaving reason at home does really bad things with exegesis).

"Judge not lest ye be judged." Matt 7:1
"Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" Luke 12:57

Now, at first glance, these appear to contradict one another. Granted, we've pulled them out of context, but without reason, even context won't reconcile them (the two contexts are different) - yet with context and reason, they are easily reconciled and no contradiction exists.

Reason isn't an authority - Scripture is. When reason leads to conclusions that conflict with Scripture, it too, takes the back seat. Is that what you had in mind?

Paprika
03-31-2014, 06:34 AM
And you just have no sense at all. Got it.

Any particular reason you enjoy doing the patronizing thing?
Perhaps your tendency to dismiss?

Teallaura
03-31-2014, 06:42 AM
Perhaps your tendency to dismiss?

Try making an argument that doesn't involve contradicting itself.

Paprika
03-31-2014, 06:45 AM
Try making an argument that doesn't involve contradicting itself.
Try appreciating nuance.

Teallaura
03-31-2014, 07:03 AM
Try appreciating nuance.
It isn't a nuance - you simply contradicted yourself. Nothing to 'appreciate' about it - the thing self contradicts.

You could have tried arguing that reason is more tool than end - but that still fails because the quadrilateral is about the means of knowledge. Even if I granted your 'nuance' it doesn't matter - Wesley was considering the 'how we know' more than the 'which source to look at'. All four fall into both categories to varying degrees.

Stop being a jerk - that job is taken.

Paprika
03-31-2014, 07:23 AM
It isn't a nuance - you simply contradicted yourself. Nothing to 'appreciate' about it - the thing self contradicts.

You could have tried arguing that reason is more tool than end - but that still fails because the quadrilateral is about the means of knowledge.
Sources of knowledge such as Scripture and tradition (can) contain knowledge in and of themselves. Reason - which includes logic deductive, inductive, and abductive - in and of itself contains little to no knowledge, but can produce knowledge when applied to data and information from sources of knowledge.



Even if I granted your 'nuance' it doesn't matter - Wesley was considering the 'how we know' more than the 'which source to look at'. All four fall into both categories to varying degrees.

The term “quadrilateral” does not occur in the Wesley corpus—and more than once, I have regretted having coined it for contemporary use, since it has been so widely misconstrued.
:whistle:


Stop being a jerk - that job is taken.
You might want to hold a mirror to yourself.

Edit Ernest Dubin makes the point better than I can:
While information and content can be extracted from Scripture, tradition, and experience, reason yields no content of its own, absent the input of the others. While reason is of no use without the data of Scripture, tradition, and experience, information derived from these three cannot be formulated and assimilated without reason.

Teallaura
03-31-2014, 07:49 AM
Sources of knowledge such as Scripture and tradition (can) contain knowledge in and of themselves. Reason - which includes logic deductive, inductive, and abductive - in and of itself contains little to no knowledge, but can produce knowledge when applied to data and information from sources of knowledge.None of which contradicts my assertion. :ahem:




The term “quadrilateral” does not occur in the Wesley corpus—and more than once, I have regretted having coined it for contemporary use, since it has been so widely misconstrued.
:whistle:Which tells us nothing about the subject at hand other than Wesley didn't coin the term. God doesn't mention 'trinity' in Scripture either - it's a dumb argument.


You might want to hold a mirror to yourself.Nah, I have you to watch.


Edit Ernest Dubin makes the point better than I can:
While information and content can be extracted from Scripture, tradition, and experience, reason yields no content of its own, absent the input of the others. While reason is of no use without the data of Scripture, tradition, and experience, information derived from these three cannot be formulated and assimilated without reason.Since when does Scripture require the input of others to yield content? Oh yeah - never. Reason does differ somewhat - that wasn't in dispute - but not so much that removal is warranted. Worse, it still refutes your 'reason doesn't create knowledge' nonsense that started this mess.

Can't be wrong on even a tiny point - sheesh.

Paprika
03-31-2014, 08:06 AM
Which tells us nothing about the subject at hand other than Wesley didn't coin the term. God doesn't mention 'trinity' in Scripture either - it's a dumb argument.
Again with the assumptions :ahem:

I didn't argue that the quadilateral didn't exist. However, you were so bold to say that with respect to the quadilateral "Wesley was considering the 'how we know' more than the 'which source to look at'." Given that ,as far as we can tell, Wesley did not construct the "quadilateral", but that it was a category later superimposed onto his thinking, how do you know what Wesley was considering?


Since when does Scripture require the input of others to yield content? Oh yeah - never.
Didn't say it did; neither does the source.


Reason does differ somewhat - that wasn't in dispute - but not so much that removal is warranted. Worse, it still refutes your 'reason doesn't create knowledge' nonsense that started this mess.

Can't be wrong on even a tiny point - sheesh.
In this earlier post (http://www.theologyweb.com/campus/showthread.php?1451-quot-Experience-quot-in-the-Wesleyan-quadrilateral&p=36995&viewfull=1#post36995) I agreed with you that reason does produce knowledge, and clarified that I intended to convey that reason is of a different type. I have no problems admitting when I'm wrong. You are too hasty to ascribe a position to someone, and then tilting at that windmill.

KingsGambit
03-31-2014, 08:28 AM
A backseat to what? Tradition and you (general) end up with 'but that's the way we've always done it'. Experience and you end up with 'but God told me something different'. Scripture, yes, presuming you have enough sense to make sure you understood it (not challenging Scripture as supreme but leaving reason at home does really bad things with exegesis).

"Judge not lest ye be judged." Matt 7:1
"Yea, and why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right?" Luke 12:57

Now, at first glance, these appear to contradict one another. Granted, we've pulled them out of context, but without reason, even context won't reconcile them (the two contexts are different) - yet with context and reason, they are easily reconciled and no contradiction exists.

Reason isn't an authority - Scripture is. When reason leads to conclusions that conflict with Scripture, it too, takes the back seat. Is that what you had in mind?

Yes, that's part of it... but I also had in mind the concept of knowing when not to follow a strictly literalistic reading when it would cause one to miss the point of God's commandments (such as the one for love of one's neighbor). I think Jesus was getting at this when he noted that people would still pull people out of the well on the Sabbath. Another example is those Christians who reasoned that it would be okay to lie to the Nazis when hiding Jews, even though Scripture strictly warns against lying. I think their conclusion was reasonable insofar as it followed the spirit of Scripture, which did not mention that particular circumstance (and perhaps reason could also be used to cross-apply the example of Rahab).

Teallaura
03-31-2014, 09:50 AM
Yes, that's part of it... but I also had in mind the concept of knowing when not to follow a strictly literalistic reading when it would cause one to miss the point of God's commandments (such as the one for love of one's neighbor). I think Jesus was getting at this when he noted that people would still pull people out of the well on the Sabbath. Another example is those Christians who reasoned that it would be okay to lie to the Nazis when hiding Jews, even though Scripture strictly warns against lying. I think their conclusion was reasonable insofar as it followed the spirit of Scripture, which did not mention that particular circumstance (and perhaps reason could also be used to cross-apply the example of Rahab).

:shrug: It follows that recognizing hyperbole and being able to correctly apply principles to situations not previously described would come from reason.

KingsGambit
03-31-2014, 09:55 AM
:shrug: It follows that recognizing hyperbole and being able to correctly apply principles to situations not previously described would come from reason.

That's what I meant, yes.

Teallaura
03-31-2014, 10:41 AM
That's what I meant, yes.

:cool:

phat8594
04-01-2014, 02:42 PM
I have never quite known how to understand the "Experience" part of the Wesleyan quadrilateral ( http://archives.umc.org/interior.asp?mid=258&GID=312&GMOD=VWD ). I have heard it sometimes taken to describe conclusions the church comes to over time, but according to this link from the UMC (who would seem to be a reasonable historical authority on Wesley) it apparently rather appears to conclusions reached in one's life through the process of sanctification.

I have a couple of questions: Is the concept of experience solely supposed to refer to one's personal, inner witness? If so, how would this manifest itself in practical terms? Or can the term also be used to refer to conclusions of the church over time? I have sometimes seen given as an example how the church came to adopt abolitionism in the 18th/19th century (Paprika and I had an interesting shoutbox discussion this morning on whether this was more of an example of the Scripture part of the quadrilateral, based on Philemon), and a modern example is how some people have come to accept theistic evolution based on modern scientific findings (and I'm not looking to debate that here, just to use it as an example).

From my understanding, the 'experience' is from one's own personal experience. Tradition has to do with the collective church experience.

Of course, from my understanding, 'experience' on Wesley's 'quadrilateral' was bottom of the totem pole, so to speak -- the quadrilateral (again, from my understanding) had to do with how we learn about God, and Christian doctrine.

So the point is that as a Christian, you will learn about God, His character, the Christian faith, etc. through Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.

So with regards to experience, we can say that there is something to be said about actually experiencing:
-prayer
-overcoming temptation
-witnessing to friends
-depending on God
-witnessing a miracle
-giving to the poor
-taking care of the broken
-discipling others
-God's creation
-marriage
-children
-casting out a demon
-etc., etc.

In other words, there is a level of learning that comes from personal experience - it might be in addition to scripture (areas not spoken about in scripture), or it might enlighten scripture. Of course, all experience must be submitted to scripture, tradition, reason, etc. That's why you got all four.

Teallaura
04-01-2014, 03:26 PM
^ What Phat said! :smile: