With contributions by Paulo Ayres Mattos, Helmut Renders, and José Carlos de Souza, this book invites you to rethink core concepts of the Christian faith in the invigorating, life-giving light of grace that has the power to change everything. We all live with the pressures of life; but those at the margins, at the edges, the fringes of society struggle mightily. Our thinking about God, our theology, is rooted in the bloody tooth and claw of gritty existence. Those of us who enjoy the privileges of life are too easily preoccupied with ourselves, our problems, our idiosyncratic view of self and other. Without grace, we cannot formulate hopes and dreams for the future; and the church, as the community of faith, cannot make a difference and transform the world. Without re-envisioning our self-serving images of God, we exist as a people without a vision and many are already perishing. This book is not about religion or morality. It is about grace, grace that works in the midst of pressure to liberate us in sync with the struggles of others around the world for liberation. Thus we can authentically experience God and others in the midst of the everyday not just on the mountaintop.
Joerg Rieger tackles difficult, contemporary issues related to race, class, gender, and sexuality. He skillfully relates them to Wesleyan perspectives on sin, grace, salvation, and the role of the church. Throughout his book, he amplifies the voices of Methodist liberation theologians from the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Graciously including edifying essays by José Carlos de Souza, Helmut Renders, and Paulo Ayres Mattos, Rieger’s No Religion but Social Religion: Liberating Wesleyan Theology is a strong addition to his oeuvre, in which John Wesley’s legacy attains fresh, contemporary significance.
–Josiah U. Young III, Professor of Systematic Theology, Wesley Theological Seminary
The theology of John Wesley, though projected from an historical past, is capable of serving as a living and dynamic force in the world and in contemporary theology. This volume impressively captures the voices of Wesleyan scholars working around the world on behalf of liberation and social holiness. The authors creatively and contextually reinterpret theological themes and ethical commitments in the Methodist tradition, breathing new life and relevance into each. I hope this volume will become a standard for those studying Wesleyan and liberation theologies and for those on the front lines seeking justice in the world.
–Bryan P. Stone, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs; E. Stanley Jones Professor of Evangelism; Co-Director of the Center for Practical Theology, Boston School of Theology