Humanity and salvation : exploring concepts of humanity within the spirituality of Wesley's understanding of salvation and African perspectives within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.
This thesis seeks to explore the concepts of humanity within Wesley’s soteriology and African perspectives in response to the call of the leadership of the Methodist church of Southern Africa (MCSA) to develop theology that is informed by our Southern African context. The central problem of the paper attempts to understand how people within the life of the MCSA interact with an understanding of humanity that is formed within the frameworks of Nguni and Sotho culture as well as Christian perspectives. The thesis maps Wesley’s anthropology through his own experience of God and particularly within the trajectory of his soteriology. It also seeks unpack an understanding of humanity within the framework of Ubuntu. In attempt to ground the conversation within the lived experience of the MCSA the paper also draws in data from two focus groups that are comprised of laity and ministers in training, respectively as well as through feedback from questionnaires that the participants in the two focus groups completed. The thesis makes use of an interpretive qualitative approach to explore the interplay of the different world – views in the lives of the participants as they share who they understand themselves to be and why they hold those particular views. The paper concludes with the observation of a pattern within the feedback from the participants that within the lives of the participants there seems to be a difference in their theoretical conception of humanity and their lived experience of their humanity. Within their theoretical understanding the participants were able to draw equally from their cultural perspectives and their Christian understanding, whilst within their lived experience, participants drew their understanding mainly from their Christian perspectives.