The Wesleyan Quadrilateral and Adventist Theology

Speaker: Categories: Apr 13, 1996


[53min, 12sec / 32min, 14sec]


It's always a pleasure when a previous San Diego Forum speaker expresses an interest in returning to present some more recent insights or understandings which he/she has discovered. That is exactly what happened following Dr. Larson's August, 1995, presentation, Is Christianity the Only True Religion. He had made another discovery which he felt San Diego Forum-types might enjoy. Consequently, he was scheduled for the then next available date, April 13, 1996.

Current subscribers to Adventist Today will note that the January-February issue, focusing on how to interpret the Bible, featured an article by our April speaker entitled, What Adventists Can Learn from John Wesley. On April 13 Dr. Larson will develop this topic further.

He notes, "John Wesley's appeal to scripture, tradition, reason, and experience as the four sources of Christian truth is of great value today to Seventh-day Adventists and other spiritual grandchildren of the 18th century Oxford scholar and revivalist. This so-called "quadrilateral," he continues, "can help Adventists avoid the excesses of fundamentalism, on the one hand, and relativism, on the other. It can also encourage them to develop a wholistic account of Christian truth, one that integrates reliable evidence from secular and religious sources alike without preference or prejudice in any direction."

And then he challenges further by stating, "[This approach] can enable them [Adventists] to distinguish plausible forms of postmodern thought and life from those that ought to be rejected. All in all, in this respect, as in so many others, contemporary Adventists would do well to rediscover the Wesleyan character of their faith."

Sound interesting? A new approach? Another avenue for learning truth? But is it to the law and to the testimony? Is such an approach sola scriptura? If not, how might it be defended as an appropriate means for formulating beliefs?


Dr. David Larson is no newcomer to the San Diego Forum. He has addressed this Chapter on three earlier occasions with such presentations as: Form and Matter in Sexual Love (5-84), The Immorality of Miracles (9-86), and, most recently, Is Christianity the Only True Religion? (8-95).

Dr. Larson is Professor of Christian Ethics and Co-Director of the Center for Christian Bioethics at Loma Linda University where he has taught since 1974. He has served as a pastor in the Southeastern California Conference. He received his bachelor's degree from Pacific Union College, his D. Min. from the School of Theology at Claremont, and his Ph.D. from Claremont Graduate School. He has published a number of articles and has edited one book in the field of Christian theology and ethics. He was a responder to Dr. Caleb Rosado's presentation, Adventism and Pluralism, at the recent Association of Adventist Forums Conference in San Diego.

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