Thursday, June 14, 2012

John Wesley's Calling to America

Here are some facts of Wesley:

•    Born in Epworth, England in the year 1703
•    He was a prolific evangelist in both Europe as well as America
•    He was an Anglican priest and founder of the Methodist movement
•    His teachings, known as Wesleyanism, provided the seeds for: the modern Methodist movement, the Holiness movement, Pentecostalism, the Charismatic Movement, and Neo-charismatic churches, which encompass numerous denominations across the world.
•    In addition, he refined Arminianism (the teachings of theologian Jacobus Arminius) with a strong evangelical emphasis on the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith; consistent with the Gentile teachings of the apostle Paul. 

Wesley, however, was not called outright by God; not called, that is, by a divine, booming voice from the heavens. 

I recently came across an old book on Wesley’s ministry and missionary journey to America:

In 1735, the trustees of the colony of Georgia – in America – had been looking about for proper persons to send to the colony, to preach to the settlers and to the Indiana, and had fixed their eyes on him. 

Attached, as Wesley was, to Oxford, the proposition to GO on the mission to America, did not, at first, strike him favorably. In fact (it says) he raised several objections. 

Instead of accepting the proposition, at first, Wesley returned to Epworth to consult his mother; he supposed it would deeply grieve her to be left. He consulted with his sister, Emily, who – just as his mother did – urged him, “GO, my brother!” as did one of his brothers, Samuel. 

He consulted several able and distinguished men, and the all advised him to GO. It is clear from this that Wesley would never decide on any matter, till he had what he conceived a good reason for it.

Wesley believed the LORD had three modes if guiding men in the way He would have them GO: 

1.    To some, the LORD gives a divine impression.

2.    To others, in a more spiritual accordance with His Word, He gives an apt and convincing Scripture.
3.    To others, He gives a clear reason for that particular line of duty which they should adopt. This might be called “Providence” in a person’s life 

Wesley had been considered the poor man’s friend and his heart ached for the poor, desolate, dregs of English society. He felt the desire, upon further investigation and analysis of America, to bring the Gospel to the Indians. It says in this book that his, “Heart yearned to preach the Gospel to him; to kneel with him, in his rude wigwam, and offer up the prayer of faith to the great Being who ‘made of one blood all nations of men!’” 

Through many days of discussion and no doubt deep prayerful thought, Wesley gave the trustees of Georgia his consent to GO on the mission. 

Though, not ALL of his acquaintances approved his decision.
One reminded him of his position at Oxford; that he had provision for life and was in line for a promotion. This individual said to him, “And yet, you are leaving?” 

Wesley responds in a manner that surely was of a divine, godly state:
“Sir, if the Bible be NOT true, I am as very a fool and madman as you can conceive. BUT, if that book be of God, I am sober-minded; for it declares, “There is no man that hath left house, or friends, or brethren, for the kingdom of God’s sake, who shall NOT receive manifold more in the present time, and in the world to come everlasting life!” (Luke 18:29) 

On October 14, 1735, John Wesley, in accompaniment with one of his brothers, Charles, and other men, boarded a merchant ship – AGAINST THE ADVICE OF MEN WHOM HE CONFERRED, though in the will of the Lord – to America. 

Sometimes those closest to us – in our midst; our inner circle – are not there because of God. The ultimate conclusion about where God wants to lead us and why God has credited us with the gifts He has endowed upon us, will always be found in the Holy Spirit.

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