New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors and all your creation, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

"A Liturgy for Morning Prayer," Upper Room Worshipbook

Used by permission from the Book of Common Worship, © 2018 Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. This prayer appears in “A Liturgy for Morning Prayer” in Upper Room Worshipbook.

A Perfect Love

Understanding John Wesley's "A Plain Account of Christian Perfection"

Steven W. Manskar, Marjorie Hewitt Suchocki, Diana L. Hynson • March 2004

A Perfect Love is the full text of Wesley's book. What makes this version unique is that the author has edited Wesley's text and updated his language for the contemporary reader.

Christian perfection is the doctrine that distinguishes Methodism from other Christian denominations. People who read and study this book will come away with a greater appreciation for this important doctrine. It will change their lives. It may even change their church.

A Perfect Love includes in-text definitions and notes that explain names and terms that may be unfamiliar to the reader. It also includes hymns by Charles Wesley that describe the work of grace in human lives that leads to perfection in love. In addition, Dr. Diana Hynson provides a study guide that may be used for individual or small-group studies, and Dr. Marjorie Suchocki offers a careful theological and spiritual reflection on Wesley's work.

Briefly, the term Christian perfection, as Wesley used and understood it, may be translated as "Christian maturity." It is the process of "growing up" in the love of God and neighbor. It is "holiness of heart and life." It is having "the same mind . . . in you that was in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). Christian perfection is the goal of salvation; it is the outcome of a life lived with and for God in Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Steven W. Manskar, DMin, is a retired United Methodist pastor living in Grand Rapids, MI. He served at Discipleship Ministries for 19 years as director of Wesleyan leadership. He also served pastoral appointments in Maryland, Minnesota, and Michigan. Manskar is the author of A Disciple’s Journal: A Guide for Daily Prayer, Bible Reading, and Discipleship (Years A, B, C); Disciples Making Disciples: A Guide for Covenant Discipleship Groups and Class Leaders; Accountable Discipleship: Living in God’s Household; and A Perfect Love: Understanding John Wesley’s “A Plain Account of Christian Perfection.”

Dr. Marjorie Suchocki is Professor Emerita, Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California. Her many articles and books include Trinity in Process (co-edited with Joseph Bracken), Divinity and Diversity, God Christ Church, and The Fall to Violence: Original Sin in Relational Theology.

The Rev. Dr. Diana L. Hynson is the Director of Learning and Teaching Ministries at the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church, Nashville, TN. Her focus is on Christian education and formation, education leaders in the local church and beyond, and pastors in their role as educators. Before joining the General Board, Diana worked for thirteen years as a development editor at The United Methodist Publishing House. She is an ordained elder in the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference and has served churches in the Baltimore area.

ISBN: 978-0-88177-426-9

Imprint: Discipleship Resources

Pub Date: March 2004

Trim Size: 8.5 in (w) x 11 in (h) x in (d)

Page Count: 144

BISAC Categories: RELIGION / Christian Ministry / Discipleship

BISAC1: REL023000

BISAC2: REL012120


"Those who are new to the writings of Wesley need to read this book, and seasoned students should read it again in this new edition. A valuable reference for all who seek to walk with Christ and learn his mind." Dr. David Lowes Watson, Director, Office of Pastoral Formation, Nashville Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church ". . . a resource not only for helping people in the church understand their Methodist heritage, but also for thinking about what kind of life God is calling us to live." Dr. Sarah Heaner Lancaster, Associate Professor of Theology, Methodist Theological School in Ohio