Five Means of Grace: Experience God's Love the Wesleyan Way
Duke Divinity School Dean Elaine A. Heath has written a new book/study guide on the five means of grace or practices that the Methodist movement founder John Wesley considered as a pathway for Christians to spiritual growth and its continued renewal.
Five Means of Grace: Experience God's Love the Wesleyan Way is being published in September by Abingdon Press and can serve as a valuable resource for the church and for individuals. It includes a video series featuring Heath and Joerg Rieger, Cal Turner Chancellor’s Chair of Wesleyan Studies and Distinguished Professor of Theology at Vanderbilt Divinity School. He received a Th.M. from Duke Divinity School and a Ph.D. in religion and ethics from Duke University.
In the new book/study guide, Heath leads readers through the five means of grace that Wesley considered spiritual practices that Jesus not only participated in but encouraged his followers to do. The five means of grace are: prayer, searching Scripture, receiving the Lord’s Supper, fasting, and conferencing (communion or fellowship).
Through Five Means of Grace, Heath helps readers consider how each of these five ordinary channels that God uses to draw people into a fruitful relationship can help faith communities pray more deeply and live more missionally.
In the volume, Heath discusses how Wesley observed the need for continuous renewal of relationships with God and others so he established a recurring annual process for Christians to make One Faithful Promise: The Wesleyan Covenant for Renewal.
She also emphasizes how one important aspect of Wesley’s theology is that spiritual practices are seamlessly integrated with practices of loving our neighbors well, which is why he stated that there is no holiness but social holiness ̶ a life of genuine prayer inevitably leads to a life of hospitality, mercy, and justice.
Heath, also professor of missional and pastoral theology at the Divinity School, cofounded the Missional Wisdom Foundation, which administers networks of missional and new congregations through a training program for church planters who work beyond the walls of the traditional church. She is the author of numerous books and monographs including God Unbound: Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church (2016).