I wasn’t sure on this book as Wesley was Arminian and I am a Calvinist. 🙂 But the book brings out that he was very big on the gospel and bringing people to faith – justification was by faith alone. He also seemed to work well with others, even if they didn’t agree theologically. Overall, I had a hard time reading this book, which is why it is only 3 stars instead of 4. There were parts I enjoyed but other parts just didn’t grab me.
John Wesley was a huge influence in the Great Awakening and revival of the 1700’s. Though he remained an Anglican all his life, it appears he was influential in the Methodist denomination getting started. I did not know that his marriage was an unhappy one or that he never had children. He also was a theologian on the book of 1 John and taught that Christians should ever be striving onwards toward perfection. Yet he made a clear distinction between justification and sanctification.
For those who are interested in learning more about what John Wesley taught (and also some of his brother Charles’ hymns), this would be a good book to give an overview of Wesley’s teachings. I did not agree with all of what Wesley taught, but he was passionate about people getting saved.
“It is crucial to remember that Wesley took the doctrine of original sin and trumpeted it to an eighteenth century that preferred to believe in the essential goodness of humanity, the inevitable march of progress, and the bright future of decent people rightly governed. Wesley begged to differ. Even the otherwise sound churchmen of his day preached a message that was too weak and too soft, too much like a series of recommendations for how to behave better…The weakness of their preaching was rooted in their failure to understand how bad humanity really was.”
“We are not basically good, with a few external failings. We are radically fallen…Wesley taught that original sin is ‘the fundamental point which differences heathenism from Christianity.’ In contrast to all forms of paganism, even the highest and noblest forms, Christianity alone has an accurate understanding of the depth and extent of human sin, of ‘the entire depravation of the whole human nature…’ The human predicament goes to the heart of man.”
“If we were only a little bit sick, we would need only a little bit of salvation. But being desperately disordered and sick all the way to the heart, we stand in need of true religion, heart religion.”
*I received a copy of this book free from the publisher Crossway in exchange for my review.