THE BACKGROUND: The Methodist church was the fruit of John Wesley’s attempt some 300 years ago to reform the spiritually dormant and corrupt Anglican church. The movement, however, became separate from its parent body and developed into an autonomous church. Wesley’s love of God’s Word, passion for souls, and desire to be used of the Holy Spirit birthed a work that has impacted the world. Here are two of Wesley’s quotes and a story that I added to my files over the years.
THE QUOTE ADDED TO MY FILES: “I am not afraid that the people called Methodists should ever cease to exist either in Europe or America. But I am afraid lest they should only exist as a dead sect, having the form of religion without the power.”
THE QUOTE SOURCE: This is taken from an article titled “Thoughts Upon Methodism” that John wrote for The Arminian Magazine in 1787. Herbert Welch Reflections from the Writings of the Rev. John Wesley (New York: Eaton & Mains, 1901), 127.
THE QUOTE ADDED TO MY FILES: “It does not appear that these extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were common in the church for more than two or three centuries. We seldom hear of them after that fatal period when the Emperor Constantine called himself a Christian, and from a vain imagination of promoting the Christian cause thereby heaped riches, and power, and honour, upon the Christians in general; but in particular upon the Christian clergy. From this time they almost totally ceased; very few instances of the kind were found. The cause of this was not (as has been vulgarly supposed,) “because there was no more occasion for them,” because all the world was become Christian. This is a miserable mistake; not a twentieth part of it was then nominally Christian. The real cause was, “the love of many,” almost of all Christians, so called, was “waxed cold.” The Christians had no more of the Spirit of Christ than the other Heathens. The Son of Man, when he came to examine his Church, could hardly “find faith upon earth.” This was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church — because the Christians were turned Heathens again, and had only a dead form left.”
THE QUOTE SOURCE: John Wesley Advice to a People Called Methodist (London: John Paramore, 1745). (The e-book is available through amazon.com)
A WESLEY STORY FROM MY FILES: Throughout Wesley’s campaigns, it was a common occurrence for God’s anointing to be so tangible that people in the services would fall out under God’s power as dead men and cry out for God’s mercy.
THE STORY SOURCE: J. Gilchrist Lawson Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians (Chicago: Glad Tidings Publishing Company, 1911), 155-160.