This article is a critical analysis of John Wesley’s use of the witness of the Spirit as a “non-inferential” solution to the problem of spiritual knowledge. Specifically, it explores the foundational role that non-inferential knowledge plays for Wesley’s broader epistemological theology and the relevance that it has for contemporary discussions. Wesley refined his understanding of the witness of the Spirit around the concept of a direct, non-inferential spiritual knowledge as seen in the 1767 discourse “The Witness of the Spirit, II.” This knowledge was understood as prior to any knowledge founded upon rational discourse and antecedent to any operations of the intellect. In some important ways Wesley was able to use the terminology and epistemological frameworks of his day while also departing from them by allowing not just sense data of the material world but also of the immaterial, divine world to be immediately and directly perceived and given without utilizing the process of reason and reflection.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2021 Array