John Wesley, a servant of the Lord , to J. W.Worthy

Grace in Our Precious Lord!

       Your view of cosmic desiccation and regeneration comes not from the Bible, but arises perhaps from your own place of origin on this earth.   From dust, to be sure, our Lord creates man, and the dead shall in Jesus' sweet name arise from that dust again.  These are incomprehensible wonders wrought by God Almighty.  Nature did not create herself, nor does she generate a life except by the good Lord's loving-kindness and everlasting mercy.

       Not that the thinking you indulge were unfamiliar to me.  I have heard--first I believe from France, but soon enough here in England, too--the fond notion that God as ingenious craftsman designed Creation like some well-tempered instrument perfectly attuned to the human ear.  These self-styled philosophes claimed some pious faith in God as First Cause.  In truth, they were looking backward to the old heathen worship of  Natural forces (discoverable by human intellect).  My German brother, who so admires your major American proponent of this strange Nature-worship, should recognize that it denies the omnipresence of the one God.

       You carry your metaphorical Dustbowl yet further, holding it up as symbolic for the aridity of American learning. Then you turn your own education back upon the Bible.  Vowing that documentary evidence is your reality, you appoint Paul admiral of the New Testament, and make him draw the Gospels along like little skiffs bobbing in his wake.   You praise Luther as Bible critic.  Well, let him teach you then, that critical thinking does not detract from faith.  Great advances have indeed been made by scholarship and, as you proudly state, by science.  At times I feel the loss of humility more keenly.

       For example, your scholars by profession studied Jesus's material existence in minute detail, like some puzzle.  Among this close-knit group of careerists, the the task at hand was defined by each member's desire to impress his fellow scientists.  Success was measured by peer approbation.  How else?  These gregarious interests soon overrode the larger purpose which had brought them together in the first place. Did anyone among your Jesus questers remember, forgive me, the crux of the matter?  In the horror of the crucifixion lies the entire sense and challenge of Christianity.  Their measureless Jesus writings dealt with fundamentally extraneous minutiae, fascinating discussion topics within their little circle, but what did they contribute to knowledge?

       These career scholars wrote so immoderately that they could not physically survey their own product, much less harken to voices beyond their busy chat rooms.  Perceiving this, they compulsively sought broader venues for writing and speaking in ever narrower circles.  Had anyone attempted sincere work in a larger frame, he had surely found his mouth already stopped with their paper.  --Ah, forgive me, my dear Professor.  I become immoderate myself.  Seeking to cultivate more Christian virtues, I remain

                                                                                     Your good friend

                                                                                                      John Wesley

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