Monday September 01, 2014
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09-054 John Wesley I

Monday Sep 01, 2014

Lead: In 1738 a skeptical Anglican clergyman, freshly returned from a failed mission to America, encountered what he later described as divine assurance of salvation.

Intro: A Moment In Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: John Wesley's father was a pastor, the rector of the small congregation at Epworth not far from the town of Doncaster in east central England. John was the ninth of thirteen children. Educated at the Charterhouse School in London and Christ Church College, Oxford, he assisted his father for several years and entered the Anglican priesthood in 1728. The following year he returned to Oxford to teach and there formed a religious study group with his brother Charles and two companions which came to be known as the Holy Club.

Their methodical approach to study and piety also earned them the uncomplimentary name of "methodists." The group studied the Bible, visited and counseled prisoners in the castle jail, and distributed food and clothing to the poor. For this activity their fellow students hounded them, but under John Wesley's leadership the group had modest growth.

After his father's death in 1735 and at the urging of friends, Wesley took ship for the new Colony of Georgia in North America to minister to the colonists and evangelize American Indians. The mission to the Indians was a failure and through a series of misjudgments and youthful indiscretions he fell out with his parishioners and had to return to England in December 1737.

While in Georgia he had a chance encounter with Graf von Zinzendorf, a member of the Moravian sect of followers of the pious Count Nikolaus Ludwig. Wesley later noted that there was something different and very appealing about the Moravians and when he returned beaten and ashamed from America, he began to spend time with them.

Next time: Revival.

The producer of A Moment In Time is Steve Clark. At the University of Richmond, this is Dan Roberts.


Hattersly, Roy. The Life of John Wesley: A Brand from the Burning. New York: Doubleday Publishing, 2003.

Monk, John C. John Wesley: His Puritan Heritage. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1999.

Tomkins, Stephen. John Wesley: A Biography. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2003.

Copyright 2014 by Dan Roberts Enterprises, Inc.


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