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The Crucible Of Life By Timothy Crutcher

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The Crucible of Life, by Timothy Crutcher, is a book that explains: the interrelationship of theological method and religious epistemology, the function of experience as an authority, the specific epistemological grounds, and the usefulness today of John Wesley’s theological method (17). The book begins by explaining an important distinction in Wesley’s usage of the word experience in comparison to our contemporary common use of the word. That is, Wesley uses the word experience to describe an outward, active process rather than a subjective and passive interpretation (23). Furthermore, it is noted that Wesley should not be assumed to be a Lockean philosopher due to his variety of philosophical roots (25). Then, the book explains in…show more content…
In other words, subjective experience offers no grounds to be tested against in Wesley’s view (82). Then, the authority of scripture and its a priori usage is presented. Scripture provides a positive a priori, which is information that is useful when approaching new experiences (98) and negative a priori, which is that which provides boundaries to our understandings (102). Furthermore, our interpretation of scripture is monitored by reason. Reason (as logic) is necessary for a correct interpretation of scripture to Wesley (110). Without it, we would be unable to acquire tools for proper interpretation of scripture. In addition, reason may only be utilized when provided with experience (115). However, experience, at times, can exceed that which reason has the power to evaluate (117). And so, when reason is unable to be utilized to evaluate a particular experience, the hermeneutical process between reason and experience becomes useful. We can evaluate our experiences via reason continually until our experiences eventually point in a direction that can, perhaps, issue analyzable knowledge on issues that were, at first, merely subjective (120). If an experience never arises in an objective, rather than subjective, way throughout the hermeneutical, then Wesley admits that not even his concept of “spiritual senses” can resolve the issue and the experience
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