Incorporating The Wesley Fellowship Quarterly
Chairman : Rev. Dr Herbert B. McGonigle
: Mr Paul S. Taylor, M.A., Stonebridge Cottage, Back
Lane, Shearsby, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England, U.K., LE17 6PN
The Executive Committee includes the above officers together with:
Book/Tape Sales : Rev. Tony Tamburello, 13 Charles
Street, Colne, Lancashire , BB8 0LY
Mr John Gibby
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
I’m writing this page in the warm ‘after-glow’ of our Charles Wesley Tercentenary Conference at Swanwick. Our days together, April 3-5, saw the largest attendance we’ve had for any WF occasion. From the letters, telephone calls and e-mails I’ve had since then, the Conference was greatly appreciated. Those attending liked the combination of academic Papers, preaching services, the Love Feast and the general fellowship. There was a very enthusiastic response to the many hymn-singing sessions that were part of the programme! We were celebrating and giving thanks to God for the life and work of Charles Wesley, and a very important part of that celebration was not just the study of some of his hymns but actually singing them! We had a feast of the rich hymnody of the ‘Orpheus’ of the Christian Church. My thanks in particular go to Dr John Newton, our guest speaker; the Revd Harold Moore and Mr John Gibby, who preached in the services; and the Revd Dr Colin Peckham, and the Revds Trevor Staniforth and Allan Longworth, who led our evening and morning Prayers. Some of the correspondence I’ve received since includes requests for our WF residential Conferences to be annual events. The WF committee will be looking closely at all the suggestions we’ve received. If you would like to add your suggestions, please contact us.
We have two more WF events coming up this year; one in May and one in November. Early in May we’ve planned a WF meeting for our members and friends in Northern Ireland. We’ll meet on Saturday 5 th May in Lisburn Road Methodist Church, Belfast, beginning at 10:30 am and finishing at 1:30 pm. The programme will consist of three Papers all devoted to Charles Wesley. The Revd Robin Roddie will speak on ‘A work of grace begun: Charles Wesley and Ireland.’ The Revd Dr Herbert McGonigle will bring a Paper on ‘The Atonement in the hymns of Charles Wesley,’ and Mr Paul Taylor’s Paper is entitled, ‘Christ for all and all for Christ.’ I hope that all our Northern Ireland members will be able to join us on May 5 th.
We look forward to a new venture on November 3rd when a joint event will be sponsored by the Wesley Fellowship and the League of Prayer. The League of Prayer dates back to 1891 when it was founded by Mr Reader Harris (1847-1909) for the purposes of promoting prayer, revival and holy living among Christians. These are still the League’s objectives. Both the Wesley Fellowship and the League of Prayer are fully committed, in John Wesley’s well-known words, to ‘spreading Christian holiness over the land.’ We will meet in Zion Church of the Nazarene, Birmingham, at 10:30 am on November 3 rd. This year is the bi-centenary of the beginnings of Primitive Methodism. The morning session will have a Paper on the revival at Mow Cop, Staffordshire, in May 1807, that led to the formation of Primitive Methodism. In the afternoon there will be a worship service and the preaching will expound the great doctrine of Christian holiness. This will be an important and inspiring gathering when the Wesley Fellowship and the League of Prayer, both enthusiastically committed to Wesleyan doctrine and experience, arrange a united day of fellowship.
* Editorial Note : Our Chairman has refrained from mentioning that he himself played a very important part in the Conference (not forgetting his wife, Jeanne, with her piano accompaniment to the rich heritage of Wesley hymns that were sung!). Apart from Dr McGonigle’s delightful chairing of various meetings and other activities, his sensitive leading of the Love Feast on Wednesday evening was very moving and helped bring us all closer to our Lord; his informative, uplifting and dynamic presentation of the 19 th Maynard James Memorial Lecture on the subject of ‘The Bible in the Hymns of Charles Wesley’, was undoubtedly one of the memorable highlights of this outstandingly successful Wesley Fellowship Conference.
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Question: I’ve often heard the quotation, ‘Cleanliness is next to godliness’ attributed to John Wesley. Did he say that and could you please tell me where I can find it?
Answer : John Wesley used this quotation twice in 1786 in two of his published sermons. The sermons are numbered 1 to 151 and this quotation is found in Sermons 88 and 98. The former is entitled ‘On Dress’ and is based on 1 Peter 3:3-4. Wesley argues for what he calls ‘neatness of apparel,’ adding that ‘slovenliness is no part of religion’ and that ‘cleanliness is next to godliness.’ Sermon 98 is entitled ‘On visiting the sick’ and is based on Matthew 25:36. ‘I was sick and ye visited me.’ Wesley describes what visiting the sick means and draws attention to how such visitation can be profitable to the recipients. The visitor should pray for them, talk to them about spiritual things and teach them about ‘industry and cleanliness.’ Then he adds, ‘It was said by a pious man, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.”’ In dictionaries of quotations these words are nearly always attributed to John Wesley but he quoted them as from ‘a pious man.’ The quotation is much older than the 18 th century and originated in Rabbinic (Jewish) literature. The quotation can be found in The Works of John Wesley (14 vols.) edited by Thomas Jackson; 7:16, 123; also in The Works of John Wesley, Bi-Centennial Edition, 3:249, 392.
Note : Dr McGonigle is willing to consider questions on Wesleyan theology, history and experience for answers in the WF Bulletin, also locating Wesley quotes, etc. Such questions should be sent in the first instance via the Secretary.
FROM THE SECRETARY
1. Wesley Fellowship visit to Northern Ireland.To mark the tercentenary of the birth of Charles Wesley (1707-1788) the Wesley Fellowship will hold a special meeting in Ulster, beginning promptly at 10.30 am on Saturday 5 May 2007, at Lisburn Road Methodist Church, Belfast. We are very grateful to the church authorities for allowing us to meet in the sanctuary (despite the church hall being used for another event on the Saturday). Apart from a time of fellowship, which will include the singing of some Wesley hymns, there will also be three Papers, dealing with aspects of the life, work and lasting legacy of Charles Wesley: 1. ‘A Work of Grace Begun: Charles Wesley and Ireland’ by Revd Robin Roddie; 2. ‘The Atonement in the Hymns of Charles’ by Revd Dr Herbert McGonigle; and 3. ‘Christ for All and All for Christ’ by Mr Paul Taylor. Tea and coffee will be provided - but please bring sandwiches for lunch because the main church hall is being used for the other event. Our meeting will end by 1.30pm. All members and friends are warmly invited to attend. Please join with us – and make the meeting as widely known as you can!
2. The next regular meeting of the Wesley Fellowshipto be held in Englandwill be on Saturday 3 November 2007 at Zion Church of the Nazarene, Brearley Street, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 0JJ. The day will begin informally with arrivals from 10.30am ready for a formal prompt start at 11.00am. The meeting will end by 3.30pm. This should be a memorable and inspiring gathering because, for the very first time, the Wesley Fellowship and the League of Prayer, both enthusiastically committed to Wesleyan doctrine and experience, have arranged this time as a united day of fellowship.
The morning session will mark the bi-centenary of the beginnings of Primitive Methodism and will include a Paper given by the Rev Dr Herbert McGonigle, Chairman of the Wesley Fellowship. His subject will deal with the revival at Mow Cop, Staffordshire, that began with the Camp Meeting on 31 May 1807 and ultimately led to the formation of the Primitive Methodist Church. In the afternoon there will be a worship service with preaching that will expound the great doctrine of Christian holiness, well known to the early Primitive Methodists. The preacher will be the Revd Leslie Evans, retired Nazarene pastor, and Chairman of the Council of the League of Prayer.
Please bring your own food for the lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions. We are again grateful to the Zion Church for their hospitality and for providing the drinks at lunch and at the start and end of the day. PLEASE BOOK THE DATE – PLAN TO COME – BRING FRIENDS – ALL ARE WELCOME!
3. Membership Subscriptions
April is the usual time for members to renew their subscriptions. Indeed, Membership subscriptions for 2007-2008 were due on 1 st April 2007. We really do value your support for the Wesley Fellowship and look forward to hearing from you shortly. The rates will stay the same again for this next year. A payment slip for your use, to renew your subscription, is enclosed with this mailing of the Bulletin. Please send subscriptions to the Secretary. We thank you for your fellowship and support over another year. Incidentally, it is VERY important for members to inform the Secretary if their address changes at any time during the year – unless this is done promptly, important communications from us to you can easily go astray!
4. Wesley Fellowship Publications
Members will remember that at our regular WF meeting in Birmingham last November, Mr E. Alan Rose, presented a fine paper on ‘The Methodist New Connexion’. It was planned to publish this ready to go out with this present mailing. However, publication has been delayed partly because Mr Rose has discovered, since November, some hitherto unknown archive material on the subject that he firmly believed needed to be referred to in the published account. We are very grateful to him for all his work in getting his amplified text ready for publication; it should be available for distribution to members later in the year and prove a valuable update to his Wesley Historical Society 1990 Annual Lecture on a similar subject that was published at that time in the Proceedings of the WHS, XLVII, pp. 241-253.
5. Wesley Fellowship Tape Recordings
We apologise if you have found that any of your audio tapes of the Charles Wesley Tercentenary lectures purchased in April at the 2007 WF Conference at The Hayes were not of the usual excellent recording quality. If this has happened to you, please contact the Revd Tony Tamburello, WF Book/Tape Sales Officer, for a replacement or refund. (His contact details are on the front page of the Bulletin).
6. Notices of two other Charles Wesley Tercentenary events
The Wesley Historical Society Annual Lecture 2007 will take place promptly at 2.30pm on Saturday 30 June 2007 at the J.B.Maclagan Chapel, Nazarene Theological College, Dene Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2GU. It will be given by the Revd Professor Kenneth G.C. Newport on the subject of ‘Charles Wesley, “warts and all”: the evidence of the Prose Works.’
A residential conference: "An Eighteenth-century Evangelical for Today: A Tercentenary Celebration of the life and ministry of Charles Wesley" will take place at Hope Park, Liverpool Hope University, Liverpool , from 11-13th September, 2007. Plenary speakers include our own Wesley Fellowship Chairman, Revd Dr Herbert McGonigle. Further information can be obtained from the university or at http://www.hope.ac.uk/research/charles-wesley-conference-2007.
A personal report from one of those who attended the Wesley Fellowship Charles Wesley Tercentenary Conference held at The Hayes, Swanwick, Tuesday 3rd to Thursday 5th April 2007
A correspondent in The Times on Easter Saturday, 7 April 2007, complained that, although the Maundy Thursday’s edition had been ‘flush with articles on Christianity,’ the focus in all of them had been slanted towards the ‘curious and the negative’ aspects of the faith – such as the Dean of St. Albans berating his God as a ‘psychopath.’ On that same Thursday my wife and I had been travelling home to Darlington after spending three glorious days at the Wesley Fellowship conference held at The Hayes, to celebrate the tercentenary of Charles Wesley’s birth on the 18 th December 1707. The traffic on the M1 was horrendous but our hearts and minds were elevated and refreshed. We had shared in a marvellous retreat and our minds were ringing with the poetic glories of Charles Wesley’s great hymns.
The Rev Dr John Newton, former President of the Methodist Conference, was in great form and gave four exquisite papers on Charles Wesley: his ‘Families’, as ‘Preacher of the Gospel’, the ‘Atonement in his Hymns’, and finally (with John) as ‘Brothers in Arms.’ Sadly, Charles often seems to be overshadowed by his illustrious brother but we were allowed to gain a new snap-shot of this gifted poet and preacher, who temperamentally was very much the son of his father Samuel, sometimes hot headed and certainly more emotional and soft-hearted than his elder brother. We were given glimpses of him as a young man who at Oxford refused to ‘be made a saint all at once,’ but who became a most effective itinerant teacher, a prolific gospel poet, a staunch Anglican clergyman, a loyal husband to Sally Gwynne and a loving father to his three gifted children, and whose death (reported to John while visiting Bolton) turned that most unemotional man to tears as he announced and sung Charles’ superb hymn – Wrestling Jacob, with the words:
Come, O Thou Traveller unknown
The lecture devoted to Wesley’s teaching on the Atonement seemed to end abruptly and I felt we were not given a full insight into Wesley’s exposition of his favourite theories of the atonement. However it prompted a discussion that compared Wesley hymns on the Cross with the words ‘When I survey the Wondrous Cross’, of Isaac Watts, who follows Abélard in valuing our Lord’s death simply as a moral influence on our lives but is really devoid of God’s regenerating and reconciling grace, which is so characteristic of Wesley’s hymns, with lines like:
Set up Thy kingdom in my heart,
Over 70 people shared in Christian fellowship at the Love Feast, and the communion was rich and warm. The Wesley Fellowship is not exclusive to Methodists and the group included scholars and believers (such as Salvationists, Nazarenes, and others in the Wesleyan tradition) who share the same faith in Christ Jesus. Often they are more fervent and knowledgeable, and exult in Wesley’s Arminianism and his emphasis on Scriptural and Social Holiness. It was good to meet friends new and old. Some I had not seen for nearly 50 years. I was particularly struck by the generous gift of prayer; usually extemporary, fervent and eloquent, liberally sprinkled with scriptural texts and quotations from our great hymns. This gift is now so rare amongst modern Methodists, but once common in my boyhood days. The whole experience was a tonic to our souls and a breath of fresh air to the whole body of believers gathered together in one place. ‘God was in this place…it was the house of God and the gate of heaven’ (Gen 28:17).
The conference also included the 2007 Annual Maynard James Memorial Lecture, given by Dr Herbert McGonigle on the hymns of Charles Wesley. It was a real tour de force. It is to be published - and anyone interested in Wesley’s hymns needs to be sure to obtain a copy! All in all, we enjoyed a wonderful, enriching time, and returned to our homes, churches and tasks with brighter visions and renewed consecration. Praise be to God!
Harold E. Moore
BOOK REVIEWS AND BOOK NOTICES
Our Providential Way: Methodism. Its gospel and growth in Darlington. Harold E. Moore (Scotforth Books: Lancaster, 2005. pp.101, illus., pbk., £6.95. ISBN: 1-904244-42-4). The book is obtainable directly from the author at 25 Treelands, Darlington, DL3 8SB.
The author, Methodist minister Revd Harold Moore, was well qualified when he came to write this delightful book. Born and bred in County Durham, after evangelistic training at Cliff College and theological studies at Hartley Victoria College, he worked on itinerant missions in England and the USA, as well as being the pastor at Methodist churches all over England, before retiring to live in Darlington. A measure of the man is that profits from the sale of the book will go to the charity TEAR FUND. The book is a documented and nicely illustrated history of Methodism in Darlington from John Wesley’s time, but is of interest to a bigger group than just people living in Co. Durham. This is because, in Part Two, the author has widened the scope to interest a wider, more general audience with short lively chapters that expound the spirit of the teaching and preaching of John and Charles Wesley and the early Methodists regarding ‘Bible trustworthiness and Forgiveness’, ‘Assurance and Evangelism’, ‘Holiness and Citizenship’, and ‘How to become a Disciple’. The book is rounded off with a helpful, thought-provoking Study Guide. Those who attended our recent WF Conference at The Hayes and benefited from Harold’s preaching can be assured that they will also enjoy reading this book.
Bold as a Lion: The Life of John Cennick (1718-1755) Moravian Evangelist by Peter Gentry and Paul Taylor (Life Publications, Leicester, 2007. pp. 176, illus. pbk., £9.95. ISBN: 978-0-9554594-0-5).
The authors are to be highly commended for producing this unique and very readable biography of the life and work of John Cennick who, during his short life, worked at times with leading figures in the Eighteenth Century Methodist Revival, such as John and Charles Wesley, George Whitefield, and Howell Harris, before finding himself as a layman busily employed in the evangelistic outreach of the Moravians in England, Wales, and Ireland. Remarkably, to this present reviewer’s knowledge, apart from J.E. Hutton’s 78-page Sketch in 1906, and various short articles (or odd pages and footnotes in numerous books devoted to other people and subjects), there has not been even one substantial book published that can fairly claim to be a biography devoted entirely to the remarkable life of John Cennick, who, despite dying in his thirties, played a significant part in the Revival. As a measure of Cennick’s work and importance, it should be noted that, although Cennick’s life as an author covered less than fifteen years (and during those same years he was also fully employed as a schoolteacher, pioneer evangelist, church planter, church administrator, or extensive traveller) Frank Baker, the intrepid bibliographer and Methodist scholar, was able to identify over 300 distinct different published editions of works (including hymns, sermons, and other writings) written by John Cennick. The joint authors of Bold as a Lion (both WF members) have noticed this surprising gap in the literature and are to be congratulated on achieving what they set out to do, namely: ‘...not to write an academic thesis but to make available a readable biography of Cennick’s life and to examine some of the themes which captivated his mind and heart.’ It is a book that is very easy to read and it can be recommended without reservation to anyone who has the mildest interest in learning about John Cennick, or who simply wants a straightforward account of some of the background theological issues of the Revival including an explanation of the changing Moravian and Methodist attitudes to each other. The authors sometimes act as gentle teachers adding, as asides, snippets of helpful background information for the uninitiated who may not have much knowledge of this subject. For example, in the informative and interesting chapter on ‘John Cennick’s Theology’ (where they rely to a certain extent on V.W. Couillard’s 1957 published doctoral thesis), they go beyond just focusing on Cennick’s own changing theological interpretations, and helpfully explain in simple terms something about the complex antecedents to the theological debates of the eighteenth century that Cennick had to face. Similarly, when technical terms (such as: ‘Arianism’, ‘Sabellianism’, ‘Socinianism’, ‘Wesley’s Arminianism’, or ‘Whitefield’s Calvinism’) arise in the story, the authors gently explain such labels without losing the momentum of the plot. On the other hand, the advanced research student in this field should not lightly dismiss this book as of no interest or use to them because, apart from outlining the importance of Cennick’s life, work, and legacy, the authors have touched upon numerous potential avenues for possible serious academic research. They cite their sources and provide several handy appendices on subjects such as Cennick’s sermons, as well as a select bibliography and indexes. Particularly attractive features in this book are the excellent illustrations (many new and in colour), and the chapter on ‘Cennick Today’. This has an intriguing section ‘On the Cennick Trail’ which can be used as a guide to locating interesting places to visit in Britain and Ireland with Cennick associations. There is also a thought provoking section on ‘Cennick’s Spiritual Legacy’. The book has the odd blemish, not least the flimsy paper cover, and some typographical errors, like the reference (p.6) to what should surely be the The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1730-1860, not ‘...English Biography’! But these are minor matters in such a welcome and enjoyable book that truly brings Cennick to life. With its limited print run my advice is to obtain a copy of this fine little book before the opportunity is gone!
Two Seminal Books on Charles Wesley First Published April 2007
*Charles Wesley: Life, Literature and Legacy edited by Kenneth G.C. Newport and Ted A. Campbell (Epworth: Peterborough, 2007, pp. xviii, 573, pbk, £25.00, ISBN: 978-0-7162-0607-1). Edited by two leading Wesley scholars, this book contains a comprehensive bibliography, an index and twenty-eight scholarly essays reflecting the fruits of recent textual, historical and theological research into Charles Wesley’s life and work by contemporary scholars from the British Isles, the USA, and Australia.
*Charles Wesley and the Struggle for Methodist Identity by Gareth Lloyd. (Oxford University Press: Oxford, 2007, pp. xiv, 258, hb, £45.00, ISBN: 978-0-19-929574-6).
Using previously neglected or unknown primary documents , Gareth Lloyd, Methodist Archivist at the Methodist Archives in the John Rylands University Library of Manchester, has produced an important critical reappraisal of Charles Wesley’s ministry, with findings that cannot safely be ignored by anyone currently involved in Wesleyan historical research.
Book Availability Notice
At the WF 2007 Conference at Swanwick, one of the books on Charles Wesley highly recommended by Dr McGonigle was Charles Wesley: Man with the Dancing Heart by T.Crichton Mitchell (Beacon Hill Books: Kansas City, 1994. pbk. pp 279). It was thought then to be out of print, but we are informed that new copies of this book are still available for purchase in the UK at the bargain price of £12.00 +p&p from: Mrs A. Bolton, Beacon Hill Literature Department, c/o 183 Wythenshawe Road, Manchester, M23 0AD. Tel/Fax 0161 374 1089. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
© The Wesley Fellowship 2007