Happy Birthday John Wesley!
Today (or at least around this date) in 1703 is marked as the birthday of John Wesley. He was the fifteenth child of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. At the age of five he was plucked from a burning rectory and this seems to have left an indelible impression upon him that God had big plans for his life. While sailing to the New England colonies to become the minister of a new parish in Savannah, Georgia, Wesley came into contact with a group of Moravians and was deeply impressed by their pietism and true religion. At one point during the voyage a great storm overtook the boat. As the crew, as well as Wesley, feared for their lives the Moravians remained calm and sang hymns. He concluded that these men had something he did not. Upon arrival to the Americans he assumed his post as minister to the Savannah Parish in Georgia. His time there was a failure, primarily due to a possible lovers quarrel gone wrong, and Wesley returned to England dejected and depressed. It was during his time back in London that Wesley had a personal experience with the Lord. He attended a Moravian service and heard the introduction to Martin Luther’s Epistle to the Romans. He said during this time that “he felt his heart strangely warmed,” and Wesley began preaching the doctrine of personal salvation by faith in Christ alone. He organized small groups to study the bible, pray, and hold each other accountable for holy living. These were all pietistic elements incorporated from the Moravian influence. Through his preaching he founded the Methodist Society of England, which became the Methodist Church. Wesley was an influential pastor and theologian whose theology and pietistic influence is till felt over 200 years later. Happy Birthday Mr. Wesley!