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John Wesley and Methodism


John Wesley was born in 1791 in Lincolnshire, England, and he was the founder of Armenian Methodist. It started when Wesley adopted open-air preaching, which was first established by George Whitefield. Wesley Methodism was an evangelical movement that believed that a person who had faith in God could be saved. It contradicted with Georges Calvinistic Methodism which believed in the Predestination doctrine; predestination is a concept that believes that only certain souls were appointed by God for Salvation. George formed Methodist societies which were further broken down into small groups; the small groups religiously instructed members. George’s great contribution to Methodism was the appointment of UN ordained preachers who spread the evangelical message widely and looked after people in the society. His method of assigning roles to new church members attracted a large number of people to the Church and also helped him in spreading the evangelical message. Wesley’s leadership greatly assisted his followers; most of them became leaders in social justice issues.

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Wesley motivation

Wesley’s parents Samuel Wesley and Susanna Annesley, were staunch members of the Anglican Church. His father was appointed rector of Epworth, where Wesley was born. At the age of five, Wesley escaped narrowly from a burning rectory; his escape made him believe and regard himself as chosen and set apart by God for a specific task. At the age of eleven, Wesley’s parents sent him to Charterhouse school, where he studied and practiced the religious life he had been trained at home (Thorsen 3). While in Charterhouse, he experienced Trauma as he was constantly being harassed by his fellow schoolmates; the ill-treatment made him develop great fear for God because he thought if young kids could do such things, then God would do worse. Wesley’s encounter with the Moravians during his voyage to Georgia made him believe that the Monrovians possessed an inner strength. This was because, during the voyage, a storm appeared and broke the ship’s mast; the Monrovians just sung hymns and praised God. In the year 1738, he traveled to Herrhut for studies. He later returned to England and composed a collection of hymn songs for the Fetter lane society. He often did not preach but frequently met with England religious societies (Thorsen 50).

Wesley works

Wesley took on open-air services because he thought it as the best means of reaching people who never went to Church. He often assembled gatherings at his Fathers Tombstone in Epworth and preached to them. For years he preached in Churches he was invited in and also preached in fields, halls and Chapels (Thorsen 13).

In the year 1739 Wesley parted ways with the Monrovians. He had assisted them in forming the Fetter Lane Society and had also converted many members who joined their societies. He formed the Methodist society in England and later on formed the same societies in Bristol and Kingwoods. During the same year and onwards, Methodists were persecuted by magistrates because they preached without being ordained by the Anglican Church; this did not deter them and they continued to work for the neglected and the needy. Wesley contradicted with the clergymen because he thought that they had failed to allow sinners to repent their sins and that they were also corrupt so he kept on with his divine urgency. To enhance his work he approved local preachers because he thought that the Clergymen were not enough to effectively pass the Gospel to a large multitude. The approval of Preachers was the major cause of the large wide spread of Methodism (Thorsen 22).

Wesley later on started to provide Chapels for his societies in Bristol London and the rest of England and this made him earn trust from the Methodist members. He adopted the method of giving tickets to his members which were renewed after every three months. He did this to settle disorders that arose among the societies members; that is, members who were unruly did not have their tickets renewed. In addition, to also keep the unruly out of the societies, he visited the societies regularly and as the societies grew he set up rules that were to be followed by the societies’ members, this later became the Methodist discipline (Thorsen 53).

The number of Members and preaching places later on increased, therefore in the year 1744 the first Methodist congress meeting was held which was to discuss on a systematic way that could assist preachers work more effectively. At the congress Wesley appointed helpers in well defined circuits. Each circuit had thirty preachers’ appointed after every month and to enhance preachers’ efficiency they were shifted from circuit to circuit. During the congress the itinerancy (set of rules that preachers had to adhere to) was also formed (Thorsen 72).

In the year 1794 Wesley ordained America and Britain preachers. Thomas Coke was the ordained preacher from America. The movement grew rapidly in America and was later adopted in the whole world. Wesley continued to actively promote Methodism until his death on March 1791 (Thorsen 97).

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It is clear to say that Methodism’s popularity was a product of John Wesley as it can be seen from the above discussion. He mainly did this by setting up Methodist societies and instilled discipline in them. He also arranged the society’s activities by organizing conferences on which the societies’ preachers met and discussed factors affecting them.

Works Cited

Thorsen, Don. The Wesleyan Quadrilateral. Emeth Press. (2005). pp. 1-97.

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