I was intrigued by John Wesley’s family background. Of how, “John Wesley began life as a happy by-product of a family dispute” (p. 3, Abraham) of praying for King William III. I find it hard to consider that the leader of the Methodist movement was the result of conflict resolution. John was the fifteenth child of a family of nineteen children. His parents, “Susanna and Samuel Wesley was both Dissenter, those who rejected the vision of Christianity developed by the Anglican Church after the Reformation” (p. 4, Abraham). John grandfather, Susanna’s father, was a “distinguished Dissenting Preacher” (p. 4, Abraham). His family tree was rich with ancestors who did not go along with the establishment if it did not match with spiritual truths.
John had a strong background in the Anglican Church, “he never wavered in his own sense of loyalty. He loved the church of England dearly, gloried in its treasures, pined over its faults, and worked mightily to goad it into a deeper spirituality and into a more effective service to God” (p. 4, Abraham). John “inherited a rich theological tradition and was steeped in its way of piety and ritual. He spent most of his life in Anglican educational institutions, first as a student and then as a lecturer in Logic and Greek (p. 4, Abraham). “He was totally immersed in his church’s worship and prayer, shaped in a host of ways by its wonderful intellectual balance, ...
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2. Second Circle – all those that profess to be Christian
3. Innermost Circle – Real Christians” (p. 165, Abraham)
On the issue of predestination Wesley held that “God has decreed that those who believe will be saved; those who do not believe will not be saved” (p. 174, Abraham). Wesley went ever farther in the “God makes the decree, but the decree does not exclude genuine human agency and freedom; indeed, it builds the exercise of such freedom into the very content of the decree” (p. 174, Abraham). He held that if one would come to God that they should have no doubts about their salvation. God has a drive for our salvation but it is an active choice that we must make, even those God knows what the decision will be from the very beginning.
1. Abraham, William J., 2005, Wesley for Armchair Theologians. Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.
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