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Wesley's Sanctification Narrative: A Tool for Understanding the Holy Spirit's Work in a More Physical Soul

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Rapid advances in neuroscience during the past fifteen years require Christians to rethink traditional understandings of the human soul, sin, salvation, and sanctification. John Wesley's understanding of means of grace and his theology of the Holy Spirit provide tools to integrate our understanding of the soul and sanctification with current neuroscience. First, a new, more physical, Christian understanding of the soul is suggested. Then Wesley's theology of sanctification through acts of mercy is explained and related to current concepts of empathy. The relationship between empathy and sanctification, as understood by Wesley, is then compared with new neurological findings about human mirror neuron systems that are prerequisite for empathizing with others. The final section suggests a new sanctification narrative based on the interactions of the Holy Spirit, mirror neuron systems, and empathy, and then makes recommendations for Christian actions based on the correlation of brain function and operations of the Holy Spirit.

Affiliations: 1: Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California 91702, USA


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