Incorporating The Wesley Fellowship Quarterly
CHAIRMAN: Rev. Dr Herbert B. McGonigle
SECRETARY: Mr Paul S. Taylor, M.A., Stonebridge Cottage, Back
The Executive Committee includes the above officers together with:
BOOK/TAPE SALES: Rev. Tony Tamburello, 13 Charles
Street, Colne, Lancashire , BB8 0LY
WITHOUT PORTFOLIO: Mr John Gibby EDITOR : William T. Graham
FROM THE CHAIRMAN
We’re looking forward very much to our next WF meeting, on Saturday 3rd November. This WF meeting is of special interest because it is a joint venture with the League of Prayer. The League is an interdenominational organisation, founded by Mr Reader Harris QC (1847-1909) in 1891. Its vision was a network of fellowships across the country devoted to promoting prayer for revival and holy living. From its beginning the League was echoing John Wesley’s famous words about the Methodist preachers being raised up by God to ‘spread scriptural holiness over the land.’ In this way the vision of the Wesley Fellowship and the vision of the League of Prayer are identical. Such joint meetings are planned so that both our fellowships might encourage and strengthen each other in promoting Scriptural holiness.
We will begin from 10:30am with tea/coffee. The first session will start promptly at 11.00am with a Paper entitled ‘Fire on the Hill’, an account of the Revival Camp-Meeting at Mow Cop, Staffordshire, in May 1807 that led, eventually, to the formation of Primitive Methodism. This year is the 200th anniversary of the Mow Cop Revival. As always, the Paper will be followed by open discussion. Come and hear about the great things God did in our land in those days – and to pray that He might do it again in our day! The second session will be a preaching service. The Wesley Fellowship is deliberately named after John and Charles Wesley and the great work of their lives was preaching the gospel. So a joint meeting between the WF and the L of P must have a preaching session! The preacher will be Mr Daniel Howson, District Superintendent of the English Midlands District of the Faith Mission. The Faith Mission was founded by John George Govan in Scotland in 1886. It is whole-heartedly committed to evangelism, especially in the country areas of Great Britain and Ireland, and seeks to build Christians up in faith and holy living. So on Saturday 3rd November the meetings planned in Zion Church of the Nazarene, Birmingham, will feature the Wesley Fellowship, the League of Prayer and the Faith Mission – all three committed to preaching the gospel and emphasising Scriptural holiness! I’m asking you to please make a note of this date, plan to be with us, make the meetings known to others – and bring someone with you!
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Question: Did John Wesley say somewhere in his writings that he was once a Roman Catholic? I think I remember seeing it in his Journal.
Answer: In the sense of being a member of the Roman Catholic Church, John Wesley was never a part of it in any way. He was born into a Church of England home; he was made a member of that Church in baptism, was ordained into its ministry, and, although he became the founder and leader of Methodism, never formally left the C of E. I think, however, that I know the passage in his Journal that has prompted this question. On 27 August 1739, sixteen months after he had begun preaching in the open air, John Wesley was in Bristol. A rumour was begun anonymously by one or more people who didn’t like his evangelistic preaching. They spread the ‘news’ that Wesley ‘was a Papist, if not a Jesuit,’ and that he had been born in Rome! Wesley of course denied the false charge and then added. ‘For ten years I was (fundamentally) a Papist, and knew it not’ (Journal, 1: 219). The ‘ten years’ were from 1728 to 1738 and Wesley spent most of them as leader of the Oxford ‘Methodists.’ By ‘Papist’ he didn’t mean that he was a member of the Roman Church; rather, that he had mistakenly preached that sanctification comes before justification. This was taught by the Council of Trent that met between 1545 and 1563 and re-stated official Roman teaching. With the help of the Moravians Wesley began to see that this was not the teaching of Scripture and this was the beginning of the spiritual journey that led to his evangelical ‘heart-warming’ in London on 24 May 1738. For the rest of his life and ministry John Wesley preached clearly and emphatically that sinners are justified by grace alone and then as believers they are likewise sanctified by faith. So his confession that for ten years he had been a ‘Papist’ was an admission that he had not understood the teaching of Scripture and consequently had experienced spiritual defeat, confusion and frustration until gospel light broke upon him.
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. The next regular meeting of the Wesley Fellowship will be on Saturday 3 November 2007 at Zion Church of the Nazarene, Brearley Street, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 0JJ. Again we thank the Pastor and members of the church for their hospitality. The day will begin informally with arrivals from 10.30am ready for a formal start at 11.00am. prompt. 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 acknowledge the fact that this year is the bicentenary of the famous first revival Camp Meeting that took place on 31 May 1807 at Mow Cop, a prominent hill 1,000 feet above sea level overlooking Staffordshire and Cheshire, and led to the establishment of Primitive Methodism. This part of the meeting will be chaired by Revd Leslie Evans, Chairman of the Council of the League of Prayer and a retired minister of the Church of the Nazarene who now lives in Sheffield. The Paper will be delivered by our Wesley Fellowship Chairman, the Revd Dr Herbert McGonigle, who has given it the interesting title ‘Fire on the Hill’. As usual, after this there will be an opportunity for questions and open discussion. After a break for lunch (please bring your own sandwiches), the afternoon session will be led by Wesley Fellowship Chairman, Dr Herbert McGonigle. This part of the meeting will take the form of a preaching service, with the preacher, Mr Daniel Houson of the Faith Mission, taking a theme of Christian Holiness. We are again grateful to the Pastor (Revd Fred Calvert) and members of Zion Church for their hospitality and for providing the drinks at lunch and at the start of the day. PLEASE BOOK THE DATE – PLAN TO COME – BRING FRIENDS – ALL ARE WELCOME!
REPORT ON OUTREACH TO THE HOLY LAND
Members will be interested to know that plans are now in place for Wesley Fellowship executive member John Gibby to engage (DV) from 17th to 31st October 2007 in a ‘Mission of Encouragement’ to the Holy Land - in particular reaching out once again with the love of Christ, in spiritual and practical ways, to the needy in Bethlehem and the West Bank villages. John is so grateful to the Lord for enabling this work of faith and labour, representing God’s Kingdom, to continue in this part of a very troubled Middle East. One of John’s special projects this time is promoting and sponsoring the translation into Arabic of the book The Authority of the Bible, by fellow Wesley Fellowship member, Dr Colin Peckham. The work of translation is already underway - but please pray for the preparation of a manuscript suitable for printing, and also for guidance from the Lord for the actual publishing and effective distribution of this important book. The Arab World urgently needs books of this kind and calibre.
WESLEY FELLOWSHIP PUBLICATIONS
We need to report that Mr E. Alan Rose has been delayed in getting his very illuminating paper on ‘The Methodist New Connexion’ (that he presented to our meeting in Birmingham in November 2006) ready in time for us to be able to publish it this year. It is still hoped that we will be able to publish it in due course. In its place members should find enclosed with this mailing of the WF Bulletin, TWO Wesley Fellowship publications. First, an older publication from 1992, The Handmaid of Piety: and Other Papers on Charles Wesley’s Hymns, by Edward Houghton. This book was highly regarded by the distinguished hymnologist and Charles Wesley scholar, the late Dr Oliver Beckerlegge, and we hope you enjoy reading it – but, if you happen to already possess a copy, it may still make a worthwhile gift for someone you know. The second book is a completely new publication Charles Wesley: Evangelist, Christ for All – All for Christ by our Wesley Fellowship secretary, Paul S. Taylor. Members who were fortunate to be present at the WF meeting held in Belfast in May this year, will have enjoyed hearing Paul deliver this as one of the three stimulating papers read on that occasion. However, in order to keep our promise and produce and provide members this year with a Wesley Fellowship ‘Occasional Paper’ (in place of the delayed publication mentioned above), the Wesley Fellowship executive were placed in a challenging situation – namely: how to get Paul’s paper transformed from his lecture notes to a document ready for publishing and printing in just the few days available to us in August. In consequence, Paul and I would like members to take this ‘emergency’ situation into consideration as they read the book. The text reads well enough – and it captures something of the warmth and fervour Paul showed for his subject when he delivered his paper in Belfast. However, there remain a number of typographical and other little inconsistencies that, under the pressure of practically no time available for proof reading, escaped the notice of the editor - for which the present writer can only apologise to reader and author alike!
MAYNARD JAMES MEMORIAL LECTURES
The Flame Trust has recently decided to make the 2007 Maynard James Memorial Lecture the last in the series. As can be seen from the full list of lectures (given below) the first one was given in 1990, and for a number of years there was no particular connection with the Wesley Fellowship. In recent years, however, it is noticeable that the lectures have generally been delivered during Wesley Fellowship meetings, and this includes the eighteenth (and what is now to be the final) Maynard James Memorial Lecture, which was given by Dr Herbert McGonigle in April this year during the Wesley Fellowship residential conference at The Hayes to mark the tercentenary of the birth of Charles Wesley. It is hoped that this very well received final lecture, on ‘The Bible in the Hymns of Charles Wesley’, will be published in the near future, jointly by the Flame Trust and the Wesley Fellowship.
The Maynard James Memorial Lecture Series
All eighteen of the Maynard James Memorial Lectures have been sponsored (and some published) by The Flame Trust. Latterly the lectures have been hosted at Wesley Fellowship meetings and, in cases where subject interests have overlapped, some have also been jointly published by the Wesley Fellowship and The Flame Trust. Lectures marked with an asterisk in the list below have all been published. 1
No. 1, held at 7.30pm on Friday 20 April, 1990 at the Maclagan Chapel, British Isles Nazarene College, Didsbury, Manchester. The inaugural lecture: ‘Evangelism: with special reference to Maynard James, Evangelist Extraordinaire’ by Revd Dr Thomas W. Schofield.
NOTICES ON BOOK AVAILABILITY
Revd Dr Peter Gentry reports that all copies of Maynard James Memorial Lectures that have been published to date are now completely sold out - apart from Lecture No. 17, The Bible is Central: Cliff College and the Evangelical Tradition, which was given last year by Dr Ian Randall. If you would like a copy there are still some available at the ‘give away’ bargain price of just £2.00 each, including UK postage, from The Flame Trust, 14 Milton Road, Weston-super-Mare, Somerset, BS23 2SB.
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 Wesley Fellowship 2007