Born on this Day: John Wesley

Statue of John Wesley on the campus of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky

John Wesley
June 28, 1703 – March 2, 1791
(some say June 17)

John Wesley was an Anglican cleric and Christian theologian. Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement.

Wesleyanism was the precursor to the modern Methodist movement, the Holiness movement, Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement and Neo-charismatic churches.

Wesley was born into a strong Anglican home: his father, Samuel, was priest, and his mother, Susanna, taught religion and morals faithfully to her 19 children.

Along with brother Charles, John Wesley made his way to America on a missionary journey that was widely viewed as a failure. On board ship when the weather turned rough, Wesley feared for his life. But also aboard was a group of German Moravians who throughout the storm sang calmly. Wesley later said of his faith, “I fear they were vain words.”

Back in England, Wesley had concluded that he lacked saving faith. Then on May 24, 1738 he had an experience that he recorded in his journal.

“In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Do all the good you can,
by all the means you can,
in all the ways you can,
in all the places you can,
at all the times you can,
to all the people you can,
as long as ever you can.”
~ John Wesley

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