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The Wesley family was made famous by the two brothers, John and Charles, who worked together in the rise of Methodism in the British Isles during the 18th century. They were among the ten children surviving infancy born to Samuel Wesley (1662 - 1735), Anglican rector of Epworth, Lincolnshire, and Susanna Annesley Wesley, daughter of Samuel Annesley, a dissenting minister. -- John Wesley was born June 28, 1703, died Mar. 2, 1791, and was the principal founder of the Methodist movement. His mother was important in his emotional and educational development. John's education continued at Charterhouse School and at Oxford, where he studied at Christ Church and was elected (1726) fellow of Lincoln College. He was ordained in 1728. -- After a brief absence (1727 - 29) to help his father at Epworth, John returned to Oxford to discover that his brother Charles had founded a Holy Club composed of young men interested in spiritual growth. John quickly became a leading participant of this group, which was dubbed the Methodists. His Oxford days introduced him not only to the rich tradition of classical literature and philosophy but also to spiritual classics like Thomas a Kempis's Imitation of Christ, Jeremy Taylor's Holy Living and Dying, and William Law's Serious Call. -- In 1735 both Wesleys accompanied James Oglethorpe to the new colony of Georgia, where John's attempts to apply his then high-church views aroused hostility. Discouraged, he returned (1737) to England; he was rescued from this discouragement by the influence of the Moravian preacher Peter Boehler. At a small religious meeting in Aldersgate Street, London, on May 24, 1738, John Wesley had an experience in which his "heart was strangely warmed." After this spiritual conversion, which centered on the realization of salvation by faith in Christ alone, he devoted his life to evangelism. Beginning in 1739 he established Methodist societies throughout the country. He traveled and preached constantly, especially in the London-Bristol-Newcastle triangle, with frequent forays into Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. He encountered much opposition and persecution, which later subsided. -- Late in life Wesley married Mary Vazeille, a widow. He continued throughout his life a regimen of personal discipline and ordered living. He died at 88, still preaching, still traveling, and still a clergyman of the Church of England. In 1784, however, he had given the Methodist societies a legal constitution, and in the same year he ordained Thomas Coke for ministry in the United States; this action signaled an independent course for Methodism. [article link]

Wikipedia: John Wesley (June 28, 1703 - March 2, 1791) -- A Church of England cleric and Christian theologian - Wesley is largely credited, along with his brother Charles Wesley, as founding the Methodist movement which began when he took to open-air preaching in a similar manner to George Whitefield - In contrast to George Whitefield's Calvinism, Wesley embraced the Arminian doctrines that were dominant in the 18th-century Church of England - Methodism in both forms was a highly successful evangelical movement in the United Kingdom, which encouraged people to experience Jesus Christ personally -- Wesley's teachings, known as Wesleyanism, provided the seeds for both 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 with a strong evangelical emphasis on the Reformed doctrine of justification by faith


Doctrines and theology: The 20th century Wesley scholar Albert Outler argued in his introduction to the 1964 collection John Wesley that Wesley developed his theology by using a method that Outler termed the Wesleyan Quadrilateral. In this method, Wesley believed that the living core of the Christian faith was revealed in Scripture; and the Bible was the sole foundational source of theological or doctrinal development. The centrality of Scripture was so important for Wesley that he called himself "a man of one book"-meaning the Bible-although he was well-read for his day. However, he believed that doctrine had to be in keeping with Christian orthodox tradition. So, tradition was considered the second aspect of the Quadrilateral. -- Wesley contended that a part of the theological method would involve experiential faith. In other words, truth would be vivified in personal experience of Christians (overall, not individually), if it were really truth. And every doctrine must be able to be defended rationally. He did not divorce faith from reason. Tradition, experience and reason, however, were subject always to Scripture, Wesley argued, because only there is the Word of God revealed "so far as it is necessary for our salvation." -- The doctrines which Wesley emphasised in his sermons and writings are prevenient grace, present personal salvation by faith, the witness of the Spirit, and sanctification. Prevenient grace was the theological underpinning of his belief that all persons were capable of being saved by faith in Christ. Unlike the Calvinists of his day, Wesley did not believe in predestination, that is, that some persons had been elected by God for salvation and others for damnation. He understood that Christian orthodoxy insisted that salvation was only possible by the sovereign grace of God. He expressed his understanding of humanity's relationship to God as utter dependence upon God's grace. God was at work to enable all people to be capable of coming to faith by empowering humans to have actual existential freedom of response to God. -- Wesley defined the witness of the Spirit as: "an inward impression on the soul of believers, whereby the Spirit of God directly testifies to their spirit that they are the children of God." He based this doctrine upon certain Biblical passages (see Romans 8:15-16 as an example). This doctrine was closely related to his belief that salvation had to be "personal." In his view, a person must ultimately believe the Good News for himself or herself; no one could be in relation to God for another. -- Sanctification he described in 1790 as the "grand depositum which God has lodged with the people called `Methodists'." Wesley taught that sanctification was obtainable after justification by faith, between justification and death. He did not contend for "sinless perfection"; rather, he contended that a Christian could be made "perfect in love". (Wesley studied Eastern Orthodoxy and particularly the doctrine of Theosis). This love would mean, first of all, that a believer's motives, rather than being self-centred, would be guided by the deep desire to please God. One would be able to keep from committing what Wesley called, "sin rightly so-called." By this he meant a conscious or intentional breach of God's will or laws. A person could still be able to sin, but intentional or wilful sin could be avoided. -- Secondly, to be made perfect in love meant, for Wesley, that a Christian could live with a primary guiding regard for others and their welfare. He based this on Christ's quote that the second great command is "to love your neighbour as you love yourself." In his view, this orientation would cause a person to avoid any number of sins against his neighbour. This love, plus the love for God that could be the central focus of a person's faith, would be what Wesley referred to as "a fulfilment of the law of Christ." Wesley believed that this doctrine should be constantly preached, especially among the people called Methodists. In fact, he contended that the purpose of the Methodist movement was to "spread scriptural holiness across England." -- Advocacy of Arminianism: Wesley entered controversies as he tried to enlarge church practice. The most notable of his controversies was that on Calvinism. His father was of the Arminian school in the church. Wesley came to his own conclusions while in college and expressed himself strongly against the doctrines of Calvinistic election and reprobation. -- Whitefield inclined to Calvinism. In his first tour in America, he embraced the views of the New England School of Calvinism. When in 1739 Wesley preached a sermon on Freedom of Grace, attacking the Calvinistic understanding of predestination as blasphemous, as it represented "God as worse than the devil," Whitefield asked him not to repeat or publish the discourse, as he did not want a dispute. Wesley published his sermon anyway. Whitefield was one of many who responded. The two men separated their practice in 1741. Wesley wrote that those who held to unlimited atonement did not desire separation, but "those who held 'particular redemption' would not hear of any accommodation." -- Whitefield, Harris, Cennick, and others, became the founders of Calvinistic Methodism. Whitefield and Wesley, however, were soon back on friendly terms, and their friendship remained unbroken although they travelled different paths. In 1770 the controversy broke out anew with violence and bitterness, as people's view of God related to their views of men and their possibilities. Augustus Montague Toplady, Rowland, Richard Hill, and others were engaged on the one side, and Wesley and Fletcher on the other. Toplady was editor of The Gospel Magazine, which had articles covering the controversy. In 1778 Wesley began the publication of The Arminian Magazine, not, he said, to convince Calvinists, but to preserve Methodists. He wanted to teach the truth that "God willeth all men to be saved." A "lasting peace" could be secured in no other way. His system of thought has become known as Wesleyan Arminianism, the foundations of which were laid by Wesley and Fletcher. [article link]

Wikipedia: Jonathan Edwards (1703-1778) -- An American preacher, theologian, and missionary to Native Americans. Edwards "is widely acknowledged to be America's most important and original philosophical theologian," and one of America's greatest intellectuals - Edwards's theological work is very broad in scope, but he is often associated with his defense of Reformed theology/Calvinism - Edwards played a critical role in shaping the First Great Awakening, and oversaw some of the first fires of revival in 1733-1735 at his church - First Church in Northampton, Massachusetts - Edwards delivered the **sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God", preached at Enfield, July 8, 1741, a classic of early American literature {Note: the sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" is considered to be the best sermon ever given by an American Preacher.}


Great Awakening: On July 7, 1731, Edwards preached in Boston the "Public Lecture" afterwards published under the title "God Glorified - in Man's Dependence," which was his first public attack on Arminianism. The emphasis of the lecture was on God's absolute sovereignty in the work of salvation: that while it behooved God to create man pure and without sin, it was of his "good pleasure" and "mere and arbitrary grace" for him to grant any person the faith necessary to incline him or her toward holiness; and that God might deny this grace without any disparagement to any of his character. -- In 1733, a religious revival began in Northampton and reached such intensity in the winter of 1734 and the following spring as to threaten the business of the town. In six months, nearly three hundred were admitted to the church. The revival gave Edwards an opportunity for studying the process of conversion in all its phases and varieties, and he recorded his observations with psychological minuteness and discrimination in A Faithful Narrative of the Surprising Work of God in the Conversion of Many Hundred Souls in Northampton (1737). A year later, he published Discourses on Various Important Subjects, the five sermons which had proved most effective in the revival, and of these, none, he tells us, was so immediately effective as that on the Justice of God in the Damnation of Sinners, from the text, "That every mouth may be stopped." Another sermon, published in 1734, A Divine and Supernatural Light, Immediately Imparted to the Soul by the Spirit of God set forth what he regarded as the inner, moving principle of the revival, the doctrine of a special grace in the immediate, and supernatural divine illumination of the soul. -- By 1735, the revival had spread-and popped up independently-across the Connecticut River Valley, and perhaps as far as New Jersey. However, criticism of the revival began, and many New Englanders feared that Edwards had led his flock into fanaticism. Over the summer of 1735, religious fervor took a dark turn. A number of New Englanders were shaken by the revivals but not converted, and became convinced of their inexorable damnation. Edwards wrote that "multitudes" felt urged-presumably by Satan-to take their own lives. At least two people committed suicide in the depths of their spiritual duress, one from Edwards's own congregation-his uncle, Joseph Hawley II. It is not known if any others took their own lives, but the suicide craze effectively ended the first wave of revival, except in some parts of Connecticut. -- However, despite these setbacks and the cooling of religious fervor, word of the Northampton revival and Edwards's leadership role had spread as far as England and Scotland. It was at this time that Edwards was acquainted with George Whitefield, who was traveling the Thirteen Colonies on a revival tour in 1739-1740. The two men may not have seen eye to eye on every detail-Whitefield was far more comfortable with the strongly emotional elements of revival than Edwards was-but they were both passionate about preaching the Gospel.They worked together to orchestrate Whitefield's trip, first through Boston, and then to Northampton. When Whitefield preached at Edwards's church in Northampton, he reminded them of the revival they had experienced just a few years before. This deeply touched Edwards, who wept throughout the entire service, and much of the congregation too was moved. Revival began to spring up again, and it was at this time that Edwards preached his most famous sermon, "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" in Enfield, Connecticut in 1741. This sermon has been widely reprinted as an example of "fire and brimstone" preaching in the colonial revivals, though the majority of Edwards's sermons were not this dramatic. Indeed, he used this style deliberately. As historian George Marsden put it, "Edwards could take for granted...that a New England audience knew well the Gospel remedy. The problem was getting them to seek it." -- **Sinners in the Hands of An Angry God, A Sermon Preached at Enfield, July 8, 1741, by Rev. Jonathan Edwards. Published at Boston, 1741 -- The movement met with opposition from conservative Congregationalist ministers. In 1741, Edwards published in its defense The Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God, dealing particularly with the phenomena most criticized: the swoonings, outcries and convulsions. These "bodily effects," he insisted, were not distinguishing marks of the work of the Spirit of God one way or another; but so bitter was the feeling against the revival in the more strictly Puritan churches that, in 1742, he was forced to write a second apology, Thoughts on the Revival in New England, his main argument being the great moral improvement of the country. In the same pamphlet, he defends an appeal to the emotions, and advocates preaching terror when necessary, even to children, who in God's sight "are young vipers… if not Christ's." He considers "bodily effects" incidental to the real work of God, but his own mystic devotion and the experiences of his wife during the Awakening (which he gives in detail) make him think that the divine visitation usually overpowers the body, a view in support of which he quotes Scripture. In reply to Edwards, Charles Chauncy wrote Seasonable Thoughts on the State of Religion in New England in 1743 and anonymously penned The Late Religious Commotions in New England Considered in the same year. In these works he urged conduct as the sole test of conversion; and the general convention of Congregational ministers in the Province of Massachusetts Bay protested "against disorders in practice which have of late obtained in various parts of the land." -- In spite of Edwards's able pamphlet, the impression had become widespread that "bodily effects" were recognized by the promoters of the Great Awakening as the true tests of conversion. To offset this feeling, Edwards preached at Northampton, during the years 1742 and 1743, a series of sermons published under the title of Religious Affections (1746), a restatement in a more philosophical and general tone of his ideas as to "distinguishing marks." In 1747, he joined the movement started in Scotland called the "concert in prayer," and in the same year published An Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God's People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ's Kingdom on Earth. In 1749, he published a memoir of David Brainerd who had lived with his family for several months and had died at Northampton in 1747. Brainerd had been constantly attended by Edwards's daughter Jerusha, to whom he was rumored to have been engaged to be married, though there is no surviving evidence for this. In the course of elaborating his theories of conversion Edwards used Brainerd and his ministry as a case study, making extensive notes of his conversions and confessions. [article link]

SermonAudio: Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God (Mp3)


"Great Sermon!" This particular reading of the "greatest sermon ever preached on American soil", scared the hell out of me. Even as a regenerated Christian, I was trembling throughout the entire sermon. The actor who performed the reading of this certainly outdid himself. I would recommend this particular reading (produced by cloudaudio.com) over all the others. [article link]

Wikipedia: Charles Finney (Finney (August 29, 1792 - August 16, 1875) -- An American preacher and leader in the Second Great [American] Awakening - He has been called The Father of Modern Revivalism [Alter calls and the 'sinners prayer'] - Finney was best known as an innovative revivalist, an opponent of Old School Presbyterian theology, an advocate of Christian perfectionism, a pioneer in social reforms in favor of women and blacks, a religious writer, and president at Oberlin College -- {Note: Charles Finney (1792 -1875) was one of the greatest men of the Christian faith. -- Finney was a primary influence on the "revival" style of theology which emerged in the 19th century (1800's). Though coming from a Calvinistic background, Finney rejected (Shepherding) tenets of "Old Divinity" Calvinism "Old School Presbyterian theology" which he felt were unbiblical and counter to evangelism and the Christian mission. - Wiki.com}


Theology: Finney was a primary influence on the "revival" style of theology which emerged in the 19th century. Though coming from a Calvinistic background, Finney rejected tenets of "Old Divinity" Calvinism which he felt were unbiblical and counter to evangelism and Christian mission. -- Finney's theology is difficult to classify, as can be observed in his masterwork, Religious Revivals. In this work, he emphasizes the involvement of a person's will in salvation. Whether he believed the will was free to repent or not repent, or whether he viewed God as inclining the will irresistibly (as in Calvinist doctrine, where the will of an elect individual is changed by God so that they now desire to repent, thus repenting with their will and not against it, but not being free in whether they choose repentance since they must choose what their will is inclined towards), is not made clear. Finney, like most Protestants, affirmed salvation by grace through faith alone, not by works or by obedience. Finney also affirmed that works were the evidence of faith. The presence of unrepentant sin thus evidenced that a person had not received salvation. -- In his Systematic Theology, Finney remarks that "I have felt greater hesitancy in forming and expressing my views upon this Perseverance of the saints, than upon almost any other question in theology." At the same time, he took the presence of unrepented sin in the life of a professing Christian as evidence that they must immediately repent or be lost. Finney draws support for this position from Peter's treatment of the baptized Simon (see Acts 8) and Paul's instruction of discipline to the Corinthian church (see 1 Corinthians 5). This type of teaching underscores the strong emphasis on personal holiness found in Finney's writings. -- Finney's understanding of the atonement was that it satisfied "public justice" and that it opened up the way for God to pardon people of their sin. This was the so-called New Divinity which was popular at that time period. In this view, Christ's death satisfied public justice rather than retributive justice. As Finney put it, it was not a "commercial transaction." This view of the atonement is typically known as the governmental view or government view. -- Princeton Theological Seminary Professor Albert Baldwin Dod reviewed Finney's 1835 book Lectures on Revivals of Religion and rejected it as theologically unsound from a Calvinistic perspective, not necessarily from a Christian perspective. Dod was a defender of Old School Calvinist orthodoxy (see Princeton theologians) and was especially critical of Finney's view of the doctrine of total depravity. [article link]

Charles Finney Revivals - Charles Finney Messages - Sermons From The Penny Pulpit (Resources)


CHRISTIAN EXPERIENCE: LECTURES TO PROFESSING CHRISTIANS (1836-37). DELIVERED IN THE CITY OF NEW-YORK, 1836 AND 1837. BY CHARLES G. FINNEY - What is the gospel, and what is Christianity? Are there false converts in the church? What is the real difference between true and false converts? Why do Christians struggle to live a life of obedience, and to win the lost to Christ? Does salvation really produce holiness? Does Christ actually make us holy so that we can enter heaven? Is this the message of the gospel? And how can we ourselves become HOLY? [article link]

Christian and Missionary Alliance: TOZER DEVOTIONAL, THOUGHTS ON COMMUNION - Tuesday, January 11, 2011 - What a sweet comfort to us that our Lord Jesus Christ was once known in the breaking of the bread - In earlier Christian times, believers called the Communion "the medicine of immortality," and God gave them the desire to pray - But do not then depart; Savior, abide with us and spread Thy table **in our heart [not just in our mind]


THOUGHTS ON COMMUNION: What a sweet comfort to us that our Lord Jesus Christ was once known in the breaking of the bread. In earlier Christian times, believers called the Communion "the medicine of immortality," and God gave them the desire to pray: Be known to us in breaking bread, But do not then depart; Savior, abide with us and spread Thy table **in our heart [not just in our mind]. Some churches have a teaching that you will find God only at their table-and that you leave God there when you leave. I am so glad that God has given us light. We may take the Presence of the table with us. We may take the Bread of life with us as we go. Then sup with us in love divine, Thy body and Thy blood; That living bread and heavenly wine Be our immortal food! In approaching the table of our Lord, we dare not forget the cost to our elder Brother, the Man who was from heaven. He is our Savior; He is our Passover! [article link]

Revival Hymn a Call to Action (Video & Mp3 Downloads)


Have We No Tears for Revival? "They that sow in tears shall reap in joy." (Ps. 126:5). This is the divine edict. This is more than preaching with zeal. This is more than scholarly exposition. This is more than delivering sermons of exegetical exactitude and homiletic perfection. Such a man, whether preacher or pew dweller, is appalled at the shrinking authority of the Church in the present drama of cruelty in the world. And he cringes with sorrow that men turn a deaf ear to the Gospel and willingly risk eternal hell in the process. Under this complex burden, his heart is crushed to tears. The true man of God is heartsick, grieved at the worldliness of the Church, grieved at the blindness of the Church, grieved at the corruption in the Church, grieved at the toleration of sin in the Church, grieved at the prayerlessness in the Church. He is disturbed that the corporate prayer of the Church no longer pulls down the strongholds of the devil. He is embarrassed that the Church folks no longer cry in their despair before a devil-ridden, sin-mad society, "Why could we not cast him out?" (Matt. 17:19). [article link]

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) - Erasmus' Bible Version the 'Textus Receptus' meaning the 'Received Texts' - In considering the experiences of Linacre and Colet, the great scholar Erasmus was so moved to correct the corrupt Latin Vulgate, that in 1516 A.D., with the help of printer John Froben, he published a Greek-Latin Parallel New Testament - The Latin part was not the corrupt Vulgate, but his own fresh rendering of the text from the more accurate and reliable Greek, which he had managed to collate from a half-dozen partial old Greek New Testament manuscripts he had acquired - This milestone was the first non-Latin Vulgate text of the scripture to be produced in a millennium… and the first ever to come off a printing press - The 1516 Greek-Latin New Testament of Erasmus further focused attention on just how corrupt and inaccurate the Latin Vulgate had become, and how important it was to go back and use the original Greek (New Testament) and original Hebrew (Old Testament) languages to maintain accuracy {Note: The King James Version Bible published in 1611 A.D. is an English TRANSLATION from the Greek New Testament and Hebrew Old Testament texts assembled by Erasmus that he published in 1516 A.D. as the Textus Receptus. The 1611 KJV Bible is for the most part a word for word Translation and not a paraphrase so the accuracy of the 1611 KJV translation can easily be checked for errors or corruptions by simply comparing it to the Greek and Hebrew of the previously published (1516 A.D.) Textus Receptus. The scholarship of the KJV translation was the very best the world had to offer at that time, or possibly of any time since the time of the Apostles and as the best scholars they didn’t write the Bible or even re-write the Bible they only TRANSLATED the already written Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew into the English of our day and Nationality.}

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