Archive: Listen to the Wesleys

By Charles W. Keyson, Editor

There is something forever “relevant” about the thinking of great Christians. They articulate the truth of the Gospel, so they deal with matters that really matter to people in every age.

One of the great problems of modern Methodism is its unfamiliarity with Wesleyan understanding of the Christian faith, the Christian life and the Christian church. Ignoring the Wesleys, we Methodists are something like the man who wandered around the world in search of treasures, not realizing that acres of diamonds lay in his own backyard!

Just a hint of our great Wesleyan heritage is found in these brief excerpts from The Message of the Wesleys by Philip S. Watson, Macmillan Paperback, $1.95.

On Prosperity: “Why is self-denial so little practiced at present among Methodists? Methodists grow more and more self-indulgent because they grow rich. Nine in 10 of these decreased in grace in the same proportion as they increased in wealth.”

On War: “If all nations do in fact make war their last resort, what further proof do we need of the utter degeneracy of all nations from the plainest principles of reason and virtue? So long as this monster [war] stalks uncontrolled, where is reason, virtue, and humanity?”

On Human Nature: “There is in the heart of every child of man an inexhaustible fund of ungodliness and unrighteousness, so deeply and strongly rooted in the soul that nothing less than almighty grace can cure it.”

On Life’s Purpose: “Let God be in all your thoughts and you will be men indeed! Your life [has no other purpose] than this: that you may know, love, and serve God on earth, and enjoy Him to all eternity.”

On Authority: “I allow no other rule, whether of faith or of practice, than the Holy Scriptures … God in Scripture commands me, according to my power, to instruct the ignorant, reform the wicked, confirm the virtuous.”

On Ministers: “A worldly clergyman is a fool above fools, a madman above all madmen! Indolent clergymen, pleasure­ seeking clergymen, money-loving clergymen, praise-loving clergymen, preferment-seeking clergymen – these are the pests of the Christian world, the grand nuisance of mankind, a stink on the nostrils of God! Such as these were they who made St. Chrysostom to say, ‘Hell is paved with the souls of Christian priests.’ ”

On Cultivation of the Mind: “It cannot be that people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading … Whether you (ministers) like it or not, read and pray daily. It is for your life; there is no other way; else you will be a trifler all your days, and a petty, superficial preacher.”

On Objectives: “Remember – before all, in all, and above all, your great point is to know the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent.”

On Faith: “Christian faith is not only an assent to the whole Gospel of Christ, but also full reliance on the blood of Christ; a trust in the merits of His life, death, and resurrection; a recumbency upon Him as our atonement and our life … as given for us and living in us.”

On the Atonement: “I firmly believe God was angry with all mankind, and that He was reconciled to them by the death of His Son. And I know He was angry with me till I believed in the Son of His love. This is no impeachment of His mercy, that He is just as well as merciful. But undoubtedly as long as the world stands, there will be a thousand objections to this scriptural doctrine. For still the preaching of Christ crucified will be foolishness to the wise men of the world.” (I Corinthians 1: 17-2:5.)

Quotations © Macmillan

 

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