A Theology of Love: The Dynamic of Wesleyanism, by Mildred Bangs Wynkoop (Beacon Hill, 1972, 372 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by Kenneth E. Jones, professor of theology, Warner Pacific College, Portland, Oregon.
The professor of theology at Trevecca Nazarene College has given us a ground-breaking study of the theology of John Wesley and his spiritual heirs. “The thesis of this book is that love is the dynamic of Wesleyanism.… Rather than Wesley representing a theology of holiness it would be more faithful to his major emphasis to call it a theology of love.” The book does not seek to set forth a systematic theology but rather to lay the foundation for one. This it does not only by studying Wesley’s thought but also by reviewing the biblical teaching, carefully defining terms, studying presuppositions, and tracing out some of the implications of this perspective in theology.
All students of John Wesley have seen that he defines holiness in terms of “perfect love,” and that he puts a major emphasis on the kind of love manifested in Jesus Christ. But the major contribution of this book is the way in which Wynkoop spells out the results, in the various aspects of theology, of making godly love—agape—central. Naturally the emphasis is on theological anthropology and soteriology. There is careful analysis of all the major ideas and words so dear to Wesleyan theologians, and an exposition of the basic presuppositions of theology—both false and true.
In all these definitions and analyses, the author seeks above all to be biblical both in terminology and in concepts, giving a biblical meaning to such basic terms as love, sin, holiness, and perfection. In so doing she clearly shows that if one accepts her basic thesis, then he ...1
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