The latest monthly letter from our Minister, Revd David Hookins.
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Aldersgate Sunday falls on 19th May this year. This is the day when we remember what we call ‘John Wesley’s conversion’.
To outward appearance John Wesley was a virtuous Christian man. He was raised in a Christian home; his father was a clergyman in the Church of England. During John’straining at Oxford to become an ordained minister in the Church of England he founded what some called the ‘Holy Club’. This gathered a number of serious minded students together to live disciplined Christian lives given to study of the Bible, prayer, fasting, and charitable works. Because of their methodical way of life they were given the nickname the ‘Methodists’, it stuck! He went as a missionary, with his brother Charles, to the remote colony of Georgia in America, as he wrote, ‘to convert the Indians’.
In all this he seemed a virtuous Christian man but he knew in his heart that something was lacking. What he wrote about his experience in Georgia was, ‘I went to America to convert the Indians, but, oh, who shall convert me?’ He had all the outward signs of faith but no inner conviction.
On the trip out to Georgia there had been a terrible storm and, though most on their ship panicked, a group of German Moravians sang psalms unafraid of the chaos around them. One of these, Peter Böhler, advised John Wesley to, ‘preach faith till you have it, and then because you have it you will preach faith.’
John Wesley recorded in his journal for 24th May, 1738,
‘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.’
From that heart-warming moment John Wesley’s life was transformed and, although he had doubts immediately following his ‘conversion’, he went on to transform the lives of many thousands of people through his preaching and organization of his followers into local societies. These societies followed the pattern of meeting to help one another live disciplined Christian lives given to study of the Bible, prayer, fasting, and charitable works.
We stand in this legacy. How do we help one another to live disciplined Christian lives?
Your brother in Christ,