The year is 1732. John Wesley, an irritatingly self-righteous instructor at Oxford is offered the chance to go to the new colony of Georgia, where he hopes to preach to the Indians. During the voyage, the ship encounters a violent storm; overwhelmed with the fear of death, Wesley begins to doubt the validity of his faith In Georgia, Wesley’s plans are waylaid: he is not able to do much preaching among the native tribes, and falls in love with Sophy Hopkey, the beautiful niece of the local magistrate. When the star-crossed romance fails to produce a proposal from the angst-ridden young minister, Sophy marries another; bitterness explodes between the two until one day Wesley publicly refuses to serve Holy Communion to Sophy. He is arrested for defamation of character – and is to be tried by Sophy’s uncle! There will be no fair trial here. Escaping from Savannah, he returns to England in failure and shame. Back in London, he meets a Moravian missionary, Peter Boehler, who counsels the disturbed and depressed young man. John struggles with his failure and fears and is finally experiences the peace he longed for: “I felt my heart strangely warmed.” Wesley begins to preach about his experience of saving faith, but is turned out of most churches in London. Undaunted, he begins preaching in fields, and discovers a hungry audience in the downtrodden poor of England. Appalled by the terrible needs of families overwhelmed with alcoholism, abuse, and poverty, John and his hymn-writing brother Charles begin revolutionary (and controversial) social ministries to better the lives of the poor while also preaching to them of the transformation of the heart. Despite opposition, mob violence that seeks to break up their meetings, Wesley and his “Methodies” establish social ministries to the poor that transformed the face of England. Today, almost 75 million people worldwide trace their spiritual heritage back to John Wesley.
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.