We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

Living by Rules:
The Significance of Wesleyan Rules as an Enduring Facet of the Gift of Grace for the contemporary Methodist Church in Britain.

LEIGH, SIMON,HUW (2023) Living by Rules:
The Significance of Wesleyan Rules as an Enduring Facet of the Gift of Grace for the contemporary Methodist Church in Britain.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

Full text not available from this repository.
Author-imposed embargo until 09 November 2026.


What does discipline mean to the contemporary Methodist Church in Britain? The thesis argues, discipline is rooted in the historical context of early Methodism, drawing on the influence of the Ante-Nicene Fathers and which has the capacity to influence contemporary British Methodism’s understanding and praxis of discipline as a renewed spirituality and theological paradigm.

Wesley had a tendency to create rules, but I have argued that these rules were formulated as a spiritual discipline for a holiness movement intended to revive eighteenth century Anglicanism. Macarius’ therapeutic theology, Reformation theology and European Pietism are identified as forms of enduring spiritual and theological significance in the development of Wesleyan rules.

In the early chapters an argument is developed, which suggests rules are an enduring facet of Methodist spirituality. Pierre Bourdieu’s concept of habitus is utilised to discern the complex relationship between Wesleyan discipline and the discipline of Methodist denominations in the nineteenth century through to Methodist union in 1932 until the present. Likewise, an enduring habitus is observed in the house rules of Susanna Wesley; the rules of the Societies and for Wesley’s preachers and Assistants who are the forerunners of the contemporary Methodist Superintendent presbyters. This is also articulated in structured ministerial supervision, the ministerial covenant, leadership and ‘A Methodist Way of Life’.

The latter chapters contend that by rediscovering, remembering and re-envisioning what living by a rule might mean theologically, that a renewed optimism may be discovered in a spiritual discipline which presents discipline as an inherited Methodist charism and resource for British Methodism’s mission. Living by Rules presents discipline as an historic and enduring theological and spiritual resource grounded in Wesleyan understandings of grace and salvation and not mere governance.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Theology and Ministry
Keywords:Grace, salvation, habitus, Macarius, therapeutic theology, discipline, Methodist Church in Britain, soteriology, charism, John Wesley,Wesleyanism, Bible Christian, Primitive Methodism.
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2023
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Nov 2023 19:44

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter