Charles Wesley and the Struggle for Methodist Identity by Gareth Lloyd

By Gareth Lloyd

A big new examine of the lifestyles and ministry of the Anglican minister and Evangelical chief Charles Wesley (1707-88) which examines the often-neglected contribution made by way of John Wesley's more youthful brother to the early historical past of the Methodist stream. Charles Wesley's value because the writer of vintage hymns like `Love Divine' and `O for 1000 Tongues to Sing' is widely known, yet his wider contribution to Methodism, the Church of britain and the Evangelical Revival has been ignored. Gareth Lloyd offers a brand new appraisal of Charles Wesley in line with his personal papers and people of his associates and enemies. the image of the Revival that effects from a clean exam of 1 of Methodism's most vital leaders bargains a brand new standpoint at the youth of a denomination that this day has an anticipated eighty million contributors around the world.

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Charles no less than his brother proved himself a courageous and determined man during these difficult years. 59 The entry made on 18 July 1743 is representative: When we came to the place of battle, the enemy was ready, set in array against us. I began the 100th psalm and they beating their drum and shouting. I stood still and silent for some time . . then offered to speak to some of the most violent; but they stopped their ears and ran upon me crying I should not preach there, and catching at me to pull me down.

A significant introduction in terms of its effect on the growth and consolidation of Methodism was the concept of the religious society. 67 The societies consisted of small groups of laymen and supervising clergy whose avowed purpose was the promotion of holy living as a challenge to the moral laxity of Restoration England. Members met regularly to study the Bible and other devotional works as a means 64 Paul Langford, Public Life and the Propertied Englishman 1689–1798 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1991), 96.

Green, The Young Mr Wesley, 168–9. 24 Ingham, Diary of an Oxford Methodist, 31–2. Ibid. 32–3. The Shared Ministry of John and Charles 27 The holy club aroused mixed reactions within the university and the Church. Some senior figures such as Bishop Potter of Oxford were supportive,25 but others were distinctly lukewarm. This may seem strange as the club’s Anglican credentials were beyond question and leaned towards the conservative wing of the Church establishment. The sight of young students flaunting their faith and good works in a rather sanctimonious fashion always inspires some derision, but there was a more serious side to the hostility.

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