Charles was born two months premature on December 18th 1707 at Epworth England. His father prophecied over him, saying, “Be steady, the Christian faith will surely revive in the Kingdom; you shall see it though I shall not.”
In April of 1716 he entered Westminster School and then in June of 1726 he entered Christ Church, Oxford. While at Oxford he formed the Holy Club which would be the foundation of Methodism.
He says about his time at Oxford. “Diligence led me into serious thinking. I went to the weekly sacrament, and persuaded two or three young students to accompany me, and to observe the method of study prescribed by the statutes of the University. This gained me the harmless name of Methodist.”
It is well to note that “no new theology was involved, no break with the Church, no revolt against tradition. Methodism meant discipline, self-discipline, a resolute sense of duty and responsibility, a life of regular devotion and active witness.” The latter is a point that must not be undervalued. The ‘Methodists’ as Charles’ group came to be called “were neither sour puritans nor pious sentimentalists. Their enthusiasm found a healthy outlet in social and philanthropic as well as evangelical activities.”
I thought this may be encouraging to some like me who are struggling with the same issues 300 years later. Theology is no good if it is not practiced. And one need not revise theology to cause a revolution. The Gospel as it is written is enough for that!
I really dig that Charles also had a great intentionality of missional living (though they did not call it missional then) Loving this world is the whole point of Christ’s church on earth. So let’s get out there and love the world!
John Telford, The Life of the Rev. Charles Wesley, MA. Wesleyan Methodist Book Room. EC.
John R. Tyson, Charles Wesley; A Reader. Oxford University Press. Oxford. 1989.
Frederick C. Gill, Charles Wesley; The First Methodist. Lutterworth Press. Great Britain, 1964.