Happy Aldersgate! May your heart be strangly warmed!

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Mike Childs | Forum Activity | Posted: Wed, May 24 2017 3:08 PM

I almost let it slip by!  Today is the 279th anniversary of Aldersgate!

John Wesley searched for peace with God for years.  He even served as a missionary to the American colony of Georgia, but that experience was a disaster. 

After two years in Georgia, John Wesley was a broken man with broken dreams on a ship returning to England.  He wrote these words in his journal.  “It is now two years and almost four months since I left my native country, in order to teach the Georgian Indians the nature of Christianity: But what have I learned myself in the mean time? Why, (what I the least of all suspected,) that I who went to America to convert others, was never myself converted to God...”
In all of his searching, John Wesley had not found God.  But God was about to find him.  He returned to London on Feb. 3, 1738, and just four days later he met Peter Bohler.  Peter Bohler was a German Moravian Christian.

 Peter Bohler shared with John Wesley that he would never earn his salvation by good works.  He could never do enough good works to atone for his sins.  Salvation must be received as a free gift by faith.

John Wesley resisted this gospel of grace at first, but as he read the scriptures it was as if a blindfold fell from his eyes.

 He writes, “I was now thoroughly convinced; and, by the grace of God, I resolved to seek it unto the end, By absolutely renouncing all dependence, in whole or in part, upon my own works or righteousness; on which I had really grounded my hope of salvation though I knew it not, from my youth up...."

 On May 24, 1738, John Wesley found the peace with God for which he had so long sought.  Read to his description of what happened: 

“In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate-Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation: And an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”

Aldersgate changed John Wesley, and it also changed the world!  Happy Aldersgate!  May your heart be strangely warmed!

And I highly recommend the "John Wesley Collection" in Logos Bible Software!  

"In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church," John Wesley

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Kenneth Neighoff | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, May 24 2017 3:29 PM


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James Chin | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 25 2017 1:15 AM

An incredible man of God.

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Michael S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 25 2017 8:20 AM

Big Smile

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JRS | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, May 25 2017 1:30 PM


Into the Open Air

The news that Whitefield was again in England was greeted with joy by his friends. Charles Wesley was in Oxford at the time, and he quickly made his way to London. John Wesley, who was in the same area, wrote, "Hearing Mr Whitefield was arrived from Georgia I hastened to London. . . . God gave us once more to take sweet counsel together."

During Whitefield's absence the Wesleys had each been converted. They had been in contact with a Moravian minister, Peter Bohler, and he had impressed on them that nothing they could do would save their souls and that salvation came only through faith in Christ. In fear of being eternally lost, the brothers then made the search for faith the burning desire of their lives. But though they yearned to receive faith, they knew not how to do so.

Charles was aided by a book, Martin Luther's Commentary on Galatians, which a layman, William Holland, brought and read with him. As they came upon Luther's statement, "What, have we nothing to do? No! Nothing! but only accept of him 'who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness and sanctification and redemption,'" Holland was so overcome with joy that he declared, "I could scarce feel the ground I trod upon."

As days and nights went by, Charles prayed and longed for faith, and he felt Christ might appear in human form to bring it to him. He soon came to the end of all hope of saving his own soul, and on the morning of Sunday, May 21, 1738 he trusted solely in Christ and entered into the assurance of salvation. Filled with delight, he wrote a hymn to commemorate the occasion, and it may well have been his grand composition that begins,

And can it be that I should gain, An interest in the Saviour's blood?

Three days later John came into the same experience. As is widely known, he was present at a Society in Aldersgate Street where "one was reading Luther's preface to his commentary on the epistle to the Romans." The reader was undoubtedly William Holland, and Wesley states that as he read,

"I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

The experience of the new birth proved a great turning point in the life of each of the brothers.

Arnold Dallimore, George Whitefield: God’s Anointed Servant in the Great Revival of the Eighteenth Century (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1990).  Available in Vyrso

JRS has left the building.

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