Where did the name WesleyNexus come from?
The name was chosen to show a connection—nexus—for our group to John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in Britain to which all Methodists in the early United States traced their roots. Wesley not only accepted many scientific findings of his day, but his writings demonstrate a profound enthusiasm for studying science. Underlying WesleyNexus is our attempt to connect with Wesley’s enthusiasm for scientific study, hoping to encourage that attitude within our churches today.
What do you mean by “Wesleyan?”
We refer to “Wesleyan” in a very broad sense as any Christian group whose traditions
include significant aspects of John Wesley’s theology and practice. John Wesley was the
founder of Methodism in Britain to which all Methodists in the early United States traced
their church roots. Today, there are an estimated 100 million Wesleyan Christians around
the world, among whom the approximately 8 million members of the United Methodist
Church are counted.
Is WesleyNexus associated with the United Methodist Church?
WesleyNexus is not associated officially with the United Methodist Church; however, all
five individuals involved in the forming of WesleyNexus were active in local United Methodist
churches, as are our current Board members. We want our dialogue to include individuals beyond the boundaries of The United Methodist Church. We welcome others in the Wesleyan tradition and those in
other faith traditions who sincerely enjoy the interaction and creative dialogue among people taking seriously science and religion.
How was WesleyNexus started?
A small group of people found it interesting and helpful to share thoughts and information related to the discussion of science and religion topics. They decided to form WesleyNexus to provide resources to assist others interested in the science and religion dialogue. Our goal is to stimulate the dialogue and provide a more formal way to share resources.
Who can join WesleyNexus?
One does not formally “join” WesleyNexus because we are not a membership organization. WesleyNexus welcomes all who want to engage topics at the interface of science and faith and participate in dialogue based on civility and mutual respect.
Your mission statement says the group supports “sound science and religion.”
What is sound science? How about sound religion?
We believe that sound science explores wherever careful research leads.
Looking for only data that supports a preconceived conclusion is not thought of as sound
scientific research even if scientific instruments and methods may be used. Similarly,
sound religion does not reject another’s beliefs simply because these may differ from our
own. As Wesleyans, we affirm the four principles that have been defined as the
“Wesleyan Quadrilateral.” For analysis and interpretation of our religious convictions, we
draw upon (1) Scripture, (2) Tradition, (3) Reason and (4) Experience. “Sound science”
is encompassed by Reason.
Does WesleyNexus support Darwinism?
WesleyNexus does not advocate or support any one position; however, some of our
members may well be part of advocacy groups as individuals. John Wesley lived in the
century before Darwin, and he affirmed a position which has commonly come to be
called “the great chain of being” in which humanity was thought to occupy the highest
place. This is often considered a “pre-cursor” to what Darwin later published. Because
Wesley’s writings show enthusiasm for science, we believe that if John Wesley had been
alive at the time Darwin published “On the Origin of Species” he would have actively studied all the
contemporary writings and vigorously worked on writing theological opinions concerning
Does WesleyNexus oppose the teaching of Intelligent Design in our schools?
WesleyNexus does not take political positions on questions related to science and religion,
but does encourage thoughtful study of the issues. One such resource which we believe
informs the discussion is Darwin and Intelligent Design, by Francisco J. Ayala, Fortress
Press, Minneapolis, 2006. Those of us who are members of the United Methodist
Church are pleased to welcome the statement passed by the 2008 General Conference
warning about inclusion of the Intelligent Design position in the science curricula of public
schools. That Statement, now included in the United Methodist Book of Resolutions,
can be found on the United Methodist Doctrinal Statements Page.
I am starting a small discussion group in my church; do you have a suggested
resource as an introduction to John Wesley, including his interest in science?
John Wesley for the 21st Century, by John O. Gooch, Discipleship Resources, Nashville,
2006 has a good chapter on “God and Science.”
Does acceptance of evolution lead to atheism (for example: Richard Dawkins)?
There are many practicing Christian biological scientists who accept evolution. An
example is Dr. Francis Collins, formerly the Director of the Human Genome Project and
now Director of the National Institutes of Health. We believe these scientist Christians bear witness to the compatibility of science and Christian faith and you will see them referenced often by WesleyNexus.
Some Christians worry that science, especially evolutionary theory, contributes to an anti-religious secularization of contemporary society. How would WesleyNexus answer this concern?
The WesleyNexus approach is to suggest reading and learning from sound resources.
One example related to this comment: What about Religion and Science? A Study of
Reason and Faith, Paul E. Stroble, Abingdon Press, Nashville, 2007.
(revised October 10, 2017)