John Wesley, the younger brother of the poet Charles and an extraordinary evangelist, preached, wrote and financed the gospel of Christ. He also spoke of its spiritual and social implications for urban and field workers, shopkeepers and soldiers and sailors in unequal eighteenth-century England. The mere assertion that Christ was the ceremonial Savior in ritual form was never enough to confirm the conversion of faith in John. He insisted that his followers realize their commitment to Christ and then methodically practice what Jesus and his older half-brother James – and then Wesley himself – considered important. John did so so successfully that many historians believe that England avoided the horrible bloodbath of the French Revolution because the Wesley Spiritual Revival reformed the island society without resorting to violence. During his ministry, Wesley taught that any religion that does not offer love and support equally to everyone, regardless of their possessions, prestige, or power — or lack thereof — is not a Christian faith at all. This offended some of the narcissistic rulers of Parliament so much that they expelled John from his Anglican pulpit, forcing him to preach in the streets and fields – which, of course, was where all these prickly people were. Gentlemen and bishops could not have better planned John’s success if they had worked out the details for six months – but then God often uses the folly of men for great and wonderful purposes! John did not allow his converts to accidentally mature like Christians. He developed the procedures he named methods should be followed when internalizing the means of mercy (which is why his followers are sarcastically called Methodists!). He trained pastors, evangelists, conscripts, and evangelical leaders who met with people at least once a week between services. They also conducted Renaissance classes and camp meetings with the enthusiasm of preaching, calling, and singing, as the church has seldom heard since the early days of Christianity. Roberta remembers when the phrases “sing like Methodists” and “shout Methodists” were in respect of respect. Jard, in his youth, loved camp meetings deep in the great forest, away from the hustle and bustle of life and work. It was an honor to choose testimony at Methodist meetings. These activities were so popular that a person could not even come to the evening sessions and come to the camp meetings without a ticket. Roberta’s grandfather, Will Howard, was the last head of the Methodist class in Denver before the denomination became too difficult for such evangelical training, as it had been arguing with German top critics for too many decades.
John’s reputation (and the political affiliation of his explosive assemblies) spread across England like wildfire until he was able to spend an afternoon in a foggy London town, demanding money from wealthy merchants, raising two to three thousand pounds for charity. Then he gave it all away to care for the orphans before coming home. John really looked after the poor and needy, spiritually and physically – and they loved a somewhat strict man. In his lifetime he had amassed hundreds of thousands of pounds of silver, but, having become mind and spirit, he realized that he could bear nothing for it. So he donated it to the poor to the great disgust of King George III’s tax collectors, who spent a fruitless week ramming his wife’s hereditary house and stable for John’s treasure – money long spent for those disseminated by the popular aristocracy despised by the ignorant and insincere. . But while the British elite did not understand people like John and Charles, the middle class world emerging in the world accepted them and their message of redemption, love and social service in one of the greatest Christian awakenings of all times and peoples.
John lived to a ripe old age and died with almost no money. Some said it was a shame – a tired old man left behind – a few patchwork woolen suits, a broken and soiled Bible, a redeemed old mare – and – and – a Methodist church all over the world. As a result, Methodism numbered about eighteen million middle-class people: London in Singapore and Sydney, from Cape Town to Chicago, Hong Kong and San Francisco, and almost every point between them. All because a few stupid teenagers have matured spiritually enough to emerge from the shadow of a narcissistic society and church that has fallen into the notion of a ruthless aristocracy of the Empire that has exploited and abused the clergy and the faithful.
Flooding devout Methodists who systematically worked to improve their faith, hope, and love, England soon freed its slaves by opening free classes on Sundays to teach reading, writing, math, and religion to children of all classes, helping the poor escape poverty by teaching them trade. and the establishment of a constitutional monarchy with a strong House of Commons elected by the people to oppose the hereditary and highly elitist House of Lords.
Wesleyan’s belief that spiritual worship and social responsibilities go hand in hand, as well as the guide’s right and left hands, had a major impact on the English-speaking world. For example, throughout our civilization there has hardly been a city without a few Methodist churches, a Methodist hospital, free orphanages, Weslin College, and charities of various kinds.
Not too shabby a legacy for a poor field preacher who failed to save a shilling, but who saved a nation from a bloody revolution with a message of his faith and the mercy of the Lord – when he crossed cold and foggy England, embracing more than twenty thousand riding horses during deep service.
And two hundred years later, when Chaim Ginot (a clinical psychologist and pediatrician) named a man he felt became a self-actualizing leader, he named John Wesley as a man who gave his best to the people among whom he lived, loved, and belonged.
Unfortunately, the church has not always been as spiritual as led by pious leaders such as John and Charles Wesley – along with other people like Luther, Whitfield, Arminius, Feeney, Moody, Graham, King and more – each with fire for God and people in the belly! Certainly, narcissistic users and rapists don’t need much time to sniff out opportunities for themselves by entering into and controlling something as poorly organized and as generous with their love, time, and money as the church. The story, probably apocryphal, tells that the Renaissance pope displayed one of the most powerful European monarchs through his treasuries under the Vatican, which were stocked with treasures of silver, gold and precious stones. He smiled proudly and boasted;
We can no longer talk to Jesus – we do not have silver and gold. After this the old crust of the emperor grinned and stopped roaring;
You also cannot say to lame men and women, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth we command you to get up, take the bed, and go!”