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A Perfect Life: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

3.76  ·  Rating Details ·  242 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
Ever wonder what it would be like to live "a perfect life"? People have been pondering that question for years. Christians have gone so far as to say "there is no perfection on earth." But what if that was not quite the truth? What if you could live the perfect life? What would it take? Bo Cassell's modern-day paraphrase of John Wesley's classic A Plain Account of Christia ...more
Paperback, 93 pages
Published December 23rd 2004 by Barefoot Ministries (first published January 1st 1844)
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Alex Stroshine
"A Plain Account of Christian Perfection" is not as plain as it would seem. I found John Wesley (whom I greatly admire) to be defensive throughout the book, as opponents of his sharply spoke out against his doctrine of Christian perfection. Just what is Christian perfection exactly? Some have said that Wesley did not believe perfection meant to be without sin but on pg. 125 Wesley writes, "I do not contend for the term sinless, though I do not object against it." There appears to be a lot of qui ...more
John Barbour
Jun 12, 2013 John Barbour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Christians
This is an excellent book that I used as a devotional. It is a compilation of John Wesley's reflections on the subject of entire sanctification from the years 1722-1777. Christian perfection or entire sanctification is loving God with all of your heart soul, mind, and strength and loving your neighbor as yourself.

The idea of entire sanctification is in contrast to the idea of total depravity. Even as sin had affected every area of our lives before Christ; so in Christ, God desires us to be sanct
Wesley lays out his argument for Christian perfection, explaining what it is and what it is not. Responding to critics, he argues it is not an absolute perfection (it does not mean the Christian knows everything God knows). It also does not mean no more growth is possible, the Christian continues to grow in love. Another thing it does not mean is that the Christian no longer relies on grace, actually the Christian who is perfected in love relies on grace more. Simply put then, Christian perfecti ...more
like the title says, this book lays out the ideas surrounding living in perfection in this life. while the author shies away from the term "sinless living," it's what he means.

he does allow that someone who found their way into christian perfection would still be subject to making mistakes.

when i first asked my ex-pastor about this idea i was sure there was no such thing. he surprised me and suggested the book. i read it and wesley does make his case. my ex-pastor said that if someone came into
May 08, 2016 Alex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good read, if only to be able to say that one actually read Wesley. A few thoughts
1) Theology aside, the book is good, albeit a bit repetitive and maybe lacking in a certain type of cohesiveness. I can tell that Wesley had this idea of Christian Perfection, and really wanted to get it across, but something just wasn't getting across; basically the same feeling I get trying to balance the check book.
2) Theologically, I mean, its nice to see someone take sanctification seriously, and I
May 26, 2013 Ryan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really good explanation of the much misunderstood concept of Christian Perfection and Entire Sanctification. While most people criticize the ideas, it's hard to argue with Wesley's analysis of growth in love and the holiness it results in. He never argues for sinless perfection, he argues for a life so filled with love that the desire to sin is eclipsed by the love of God.
Dec 18, 2014 Roy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed reading John Wesley's own views regarding holiness and sanctification. I'm not clear on whether Wesley held to his views as a second work of grace. I feel he implies this in his work but not as clearly as I would like. This is must reading for Arminians and especially those who are Wesleyans.
Jul 03, 2016 Glen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This short polemic was written in the 18th century to counter misconceptions of a key Methodism doctrine. The structure of the book is woven around several smaller arguments that number around 30. Each is defended with biblical references and examples taken from observed ministry.

I struggle in the first part of the book in adapting to the literary style, however, my perseverance was rewarded greatly as I found the book taking on more relevancy for me. Wesley's legacy of intensely pursuing Jesus
Feb 10, 2016 Nate rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Wesley was a great man, who accomplished great things for the Kingdom of God. I admire Wesley's passion for holiness. However, his passion for holiness led him in a wrong direction. This is anything but a "plain" account of anything. Wesley is pretty ambiguous on his position of Christian perfection. I believe Wesley's definition of sin is weak, and it led him to believe that one could be "wholly" perfect. He avoids saying that one could be "sinless" but at times he alludes to such ideals. Unfor ...more
May 20, 2016 Tim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[A Methodist is one who loves the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his soul, with all his mind, and with all his strength. God is the joy of his heart, and the desire of his soul, which is continually crying, "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth whom I desire besides Thee." My God and my all! "Thou art the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever." He is therefore happy in God; yea, always happy; as having in Him a well of water springing up into everlastin ...more
This was an intriguing read for me. I read it with an open mind because I hadn't studied this doctrine heavily at all, but when I finished it I was quite confused. I think if Wesley had chosen a word other than “perfection” to describe what he is alluding to, it would be much less of an issue. He never states that some Christians are incapable of making mistakes; in fact, he blatantly states that he does not believe that. But the word “perfection” definitely leaves that impression if not explain ...more
Mar 19, 2011 Devan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Wanted to read this because I'm joining a Church of the Nazarene, a Wesleyan-Holiness denomination, in a few months. Wesley's account of Christian Perfection - a distinct Wesleyan doctrine which is defined by Wesley as:

"The loving [of] God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. This implies, that no wrong temper, none contrary to love, remains in the soul; and that all the thoughts, words, and actions are governed by pure love."

I found myself in general agreeing with Wesley. He is often m
Sylvan Finger
John Wesley wrote his theology rather clearly. Lutherans struggle with what Wesley means my "Christian Perfection" My take on it is that once people become Christian they are to strive for perfection. However, what would Paul say to this as he wrote in Romans 7(:15) "I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do." Yet Paul says in Romans 12(:1) "offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God."
Michael Laflamme
Starts out well and quite inspiring but soon becomes muddy and not a little self indulgent.
Joshua Foote
Merely ok

I bought this to try and find out John Wesley's much maligned theology of Christian perfection. I still don't really see where he stands on this and mainly because I don't agree with the theology. the book format was hard to follow as it was a q&a with I don't know who or why and also half a normal book but seemed to switch back and forth
Thomas Kinsfather
Wesley argues that when a believer is dedicated to following Christ he will cease from sinning. Wesley claims to have attained this pinnacle himself as well as several of his friends.

This book is a classic example of ungrace, guilt, and spiritual elitism. It offers no hope for those struggling in sin. The implication is that you have failed as a Christian is sin is still present in your life in any way. The Apostle John is clear that John Wesley is lying when he claims to be sinlessly perfect.
Apr 16, 2016 Lisa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Potter's School Classial Track Year 3
Joseph Shafer
Feb 05, 2016 Joseph Shafer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read for school. Worth it.
Oct 20, 2010 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: theology
Very good. A challenging read, and an important work on sanctification. Not sure I entirely agree with some of the detail, but I do think that God does transform us, and I suppose he can completely sanctify us.
Tom Bolton
Jan 13, 2015 Tom Bolton rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked the book. It reinforces Wesley's concepts on sanctification in a cohesive and understandable format. This is very readable.
Jan 24, 2008 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book challenged my view of what a perfect Christian is. Though I still am not sure I believe all that is written, it definitely made me think.
What does it mean to be perfect as a Christian? (to love God and love your neighbor)
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John Wesley is recognized as the founder of Methodism. An acclaimed preacher, Wesley travelled extensively on horseback and drew large crowds for his outdoor sermons. A contemporary of William Wilberforce, Wesley was a strong voice opposing slavery in England and the United States. His influence upon modern Christianity can be seen by the large number of Methodist organizations in the Wesleyan tra ...more
More about John Wesley...

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“Even in the greatest afflictions, we ought to testify to God, that, in receiving them from his hand, we feel pleasure in the midst of the pain, from being afflicted by Him who loves us, and whom we love.” 7 likes
“The readiest way which God takes to draw a man to himself is, to afflict him in that he loves most, and with good reason; and to cause this affliction to arise from some good action done with a single eye; because nothing can more clearly show him the emptiness of what is most lovely and desirable in all the world.” 5 likes
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