Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date


Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery


The quest for perfection can undermine one's sense of assurance, since it requires some dissatisfaction with one's present state. For Kant, assurance is based on our continual moral progress, but divine assistance is required to overcome our radically evil nature. Still, we must merit this assistance, and this seemingly precludes the type of moral purity Kant asserts. Wesley offers a more robust resolution by upholding justification by faith and by recognizing love as the chief moral motive. Once we have assurance that our sins are forgiven, we respond by loving God in return, and this motivates us to pursue perfection.


Paper presented at the annual conference of the Society of Christian Ethics, January 6-9, 2005, in Miami, Florida.