(4) The United Methodist Church holds that Scripture, tradition, experience, and reason are sources and norms for belief and practice, but that the Bible is primary among them. What is your understanding of this theological position of the Church?
I understand this theological position to be globally recognized as the ‘Wesleyan Quadrilateral,’ and I understand it to be the formalized concoction of Wesleyan scholars who recognized this pattern of faith formation in the life of John Wesley. I would say that this formulaic approach to theology and faith formation preceded our founder in one form or another and has been massaged, added to, taken away from, and re-imagined numerous times over the past 2000 years. Our denomination holds that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture, illuminated by tradition, vivified in personal experience, and confirmed by reason. I understand scripture to be the primary element and I believe that transitive verbs ‘revealed, illumined, vivified, and confirmed’ add a great deal of depth to the nouns that follow them. In essence, I think that scripture, tradition, reason, and experience are set in motion, not only by the verbs that precede them, but by the way they are engaged in the life of ecclesial communities. I see these elements of faith formation as dynamic and fluid in nature, and I see each of them permeated with the presence of the Holy Spirit. I have been afforded the opportunity to witness all four elements of this theological position being explored within the confines of the everyday ecclesial experiences in my current and previous appointments. With respect to my own personal theology, I would add cultural context to the mix as other scholars have done.