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A Response to John Wesley’s, ‘A Plain Account of Christian Perfection’

John Wesley in his influential text entitled 'A Plain Account of Christian Perfection' presents intense insights into one of his most central theological ideals. The treatise which amalgamates a series of separate publications and a number of John and Charles Wesley hymns covering the period of 1725-1765, provides a journey into John's position on the theme of 'Christian perfection'.

Wesley ultimately surmises that there is a journey that is required in order to achieve Christian perfection, which should not be confused with Absolute perfection, which belongs to God alone. The dissertation also puts forth a reminder that Christian perfection does not make Humanity infallible.

Therefore, we can appreciate that the journey of Humanity towards perfection is predicated on individuals being reunited with God from our sin separated state. This reunification with God should be fueled by an earnest desire to attain a sinless life, filled with a compassionate love of God. All of which is a response to the Divinity’s majestic grace, love, and mercy provided to humankind. In a similar manner, the perfected believer should demonstrate that same love towards their neighbors.

The ethos of Christian perfection is not static but rather a transformation process that begins with justification and the new birth. The process continues as we grow in grace through sanctification; this is where humanity demonstrates active love towards God and the community through thoughts, words, and actions. The end process is the attainment of entire sanctification or Christian perfection where we reside in a position of mature humble love with both God and our neighbors.

We, therefore, conclude with the thought that Christian perfection represents the journey of Humanity towards love and reconciliation with God, and merciful, compassionate love of neighbors. Perhaps it would be prudent to end with this reflection by John Wesley:

For as the rivers all return into the sea, so the bodies, the souls, and the good works of the righteous return into God, to live there in His eternal repose. [1]


[1] John Wesley, “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection,” ed. Thomas Jackson, Wesley Center Online, 1872,

Image Credit: Person Forming Clay Pot. March 20, 2017.

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