THE WESLEY FELLOWSHIP QUARTERLY
The Wesley Fellowship – Founded 1985
Former Hon. Presidents:
Rev.Dr Arthur Skevington Wood (1986-1993);
Rev. John Lawson (2000-2003)
Chairman: Rev. Dr Herbert McGonigle
Secretary: Mr Paul S. Taylor, M.A., Stonebridge Cottage,
Back Lane, Shearsby, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, England, U.K. LE17 6PN
Tel/Fax: 0116-247 8679. E-mail: email@example.com
The Executive Committee includes the above officers together with:
Book Sales: Rev. Tony Tamburello, 13 Charles Street, Colne,
Lancashire, BB8 0LY
Tel/Fax: 01282-859014. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Publicity Officer: Mr Ian Lockhart
Editor: Mr William T. Graham
Please visit the Wesley Fellowship on the Web at:
Our three-day Residential Conference at Swanwick, Derbyshire, in September was a time of rich inspiration and learning. From the opening devotions to the final benediction there was a marked sense of the Lord’s presence in all the sessions. Dr Ian Randall, our guest lecturer, gave us three fine sessions on ‘John Wesley and Evangelical Spirituality.’ There were fascinating insights into the characteristics of evangelical spirituality, and reminders that Wesley’s emphasis on holy living was influential far beyond ‘Methodism’ and the various groups and churches that might be labelled Wesleyan. Various other activities, including preaching, prayer times, open discussion and a Love Feast, made for a very full and rewarding Conference. Thanks to all who were involved in the planning and preparations, those who contributed to the programme, and to all who attended.
Early in August our Fellowship lost an enthusiastic member in the Homecall of the Revd Dr Sydney Martin (1910-2004). Dr Martin was minister of the home church of the Church of the Nazarene in Britain, at Parkhead Cross in Glasgow, from 1950 to 1975. As soon as the Wesley Fellowship was organised Dr Martin became a member and in 1990 he contributed the monograph, John Wesley’s Doctrine of the Witness of the Spirit. He often remarked that he wished the WF had been organised while he was in the active ministry. He looked forward eagerly to receiving our Newsletters and various WF publications. He wrote often to the members of the WF executive to encourage us in the work of promoting Wesleyan theology, history, biography and experience. We remember Dr Martin with much affection and in the highest esteem.
Our next WF meeting will be in the spring, at Zion Church, Birmingham, on Saturday 23rd April 2005. We are very grateful to the kind people at Zion who always make us so welcome. Elsewhere in this Newsletter there are more details of the programme planned for that day. Please make sure you have this date in your diary and plan to be with us.
Question: In books written by Holiness writers there are often many references to entire sanctification as ‘the second blessing.’ Did John Wesley ever use this expression?
Answer: Yes he did. I know of the following references - but I don’t claim that this list is exhaustive. ‘We should neither be forward nor backward in believing those who think they have attained the second blessing.’ (Letters, 3:212). ‘I believe within five weeks six in one class have received remission of sins and five in one band received a second blessing.’ (Letters, 4:133). ‘Insist everywhere on the second blessing as receivable in a moment, and receivable now, by simple faith.’ (Letters, 5:315). ‘It is exceeding certain that God did give you the second blessing, properly so called.’ (Letters, 6:116). John Wesley similarly referred to entire sanctification in the following quotations. ‘Though we watch and pray ever so much, we cannot wholly cleanse either our hearts or hands. Most sure we cannot, till it shall please our Lord to speak to our hearts again, to speak the second time, “Be clean….”’ (Works, 5:165). ‘Was your second deliverance wrought…at the time of the sermon or after it?’ (Letters, 5:128). ‘O, hold fast this also - this blessed hope, which He has wrought in your heart….in expecting a second change, whereby they shall be saved from all sin and perfected in love.’ (Letters, 5:215). ‘Certainly till persons experience something of the second awakening, till they are feelingly convinced of inbred sin, so as earnestly to groan for deliverance from it, we need not speak to them of present sanctification.’ (Letters, 6:144-5).
Editor’s Note: Dr McGonigle is willing to consider questions on Wesleyan theology, history and experience for answers in this Newsletter, also locating Wesley quotes, etc. Such questions should be sent in the first instance via the Secretary.
1. Spring 2005
Meeting of the Wesley Fellowship.
We would encourage all members who possibly can, to put this date in their diaries and plan to be with us at the next meeting of the Wesley Fellowship. It will take place on Saturday 23 April 2005 (by kind permission of the Pastor, Revd Fred J. Calvert, and the Church Board) at our usual venue, Zion Church of the Nazarene, Brearley Street, off Booth Street, Handsworth, Birmingham, B21 0JJ. The day will begin from 10.30am, when drinks will be served by our friends at Zion. Please remember to bring your own lunch – when again drinks will be available. The meeting will open formally at 11.00 am, during which time the first lecture, ‘MAKING A CALVINIST OUT OF JOHN WESLEY: A COMPARISON OF JOHN CALVIN AND JOHN WESLEY ON THE LORD’S SUPPER’, will be given by the Revd John Colwell, BD, PhD, who is Tutor in Christian Doctrine and Ethics and Academic Dean at Spurgeon’s College, London. Dr Colwell’s personal current focus of interest is the manner in which the Church can continue to speak to the world in a post-modern context (in particular with attention to the writings of Colin Gunton, Stanley Hauerwas, Kevin Vanhoozer and Francis Watson). His academic focus involves an interest in previous thinkers who have proposed some form of theocentric - and Trinitarian - epistemology (in particular George Berkeley and Jonathan Edwards). Apart from his paper, ‘Offending in Many Things: A Comparision of John Wesley and Thomas Aquinas on the Nature of Sin in the Believer’ (published by the Wesley Fellowship in Wesley Papers, ed. Paul Taylor, 2002), one of his other recent publications is: Living the Christian Story (London, T & T Clark, 2002). After a short break for lunch, the 16TH ANNUAL MAYNARD JAMES MEMORIAL LECTURE, with the title ‘JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH: THE HEART OF JOHN WESLEY'S THEOLOGY’, will be given (at short notice) by the Wesley Fellowship Chairman, Revd Herbert B. McGonigle, BD, MA, DD, PhD, Director of the Manchester Wesley Research Centre and former Principal of the Nazarene Theological College, Manchester. WF Members will notice that this is a change of speaker to the originally announced arrangements, as the Revd Gordon A. Thomas, ThB, MA, has, unfortunately, had to withdraw from this engagement owing to illness. Our prayers are with Mr Thomas at this time, with the hope that his present good progress will continue as he undergoes further treatment. We hope that he can deliver his planned lecture, with the proposed title ‘The Holiness Message – In Retrospect and Prospect’, at a later date.
2. The next autumn meeting of the Wesley Fellowship is planned for Saturday 22nd October 2005 in Birmingham. Details later.
3. Audit of WF Accounts. The auditor’s Report on the Wesley Fellowship accounts for the last financial year is now finalised. It is available to members who wish to see it on application to the Secretary.
A PERSONAL REPORT BY WF MEMBERS, DENIS & VIRGINIA HAYWOOD, ON THE 2004 WESLEY FELLOWSHIP RESIDENTIAL CONFERENCE HELD AT THE HAYES, SWANWICK
This, our third attendance at a Wesley Fellowship Conference, once again reached the high expectations we had of it. We enjoyed excellent leadership from our Chairman, Dr Herbert McGonigle, who opened the conference with devotions followed by a fine paper, described aptly as ‘a stimulating tour de force’, vividly outlining the work of the Wesleys. This immediately established the enriching tone of the whole conference. As on previous occasions, we continued to be amazed at Dr McGonigle’s wide knowledge of all things Wesley, and it was a delight to sit at his feet and learn. Even the meal times were a continuing source of fascinating stories so that our learning continued even then! Several regular friends from previous WF Conferences were unable to be with us (and were sadly missed), but several other people, who could not join us for the whole weekend, popped in for an odd day or part of a day – and it was lovely to see them, albeit briefly. Nevertheless, despite the lower than normal numbers, the fellowship was, as always, superb. This was especially so when we had gathered on the Saturday evening for a Love Feast and there was much by the way of sharing. At that time we were also graced by the presence of two Christian gentlemen from the United States (who were attending another conference at the Hayes) and could not resist coming in to join us for a while when they heard our singing at the start of the Love Feast. We were particularly privileged to have as our main speaker for the weekend, Dr Ian Randall, Vice-Principal and Tutor in church history at Spurgeon’s College, London. He led us in three sessions, addressing the theme of the evangelical spirituality of John Wesley. These sessions were ‘Conversion’, ‘Holiness’, and ‘Community’. In his introduction Dr Randall stated that each of these aspects held a commonality with each other. He began with John Wesley’s own conversion on 24th May 1738 and then moved on to look at Luther’s evangelical witness at Wittenburg. He emphasised that the above themes belonged together and were part of the believer’s journey in Christian discpleship. These three papers were packed full of references to people who throughout Church history had experienced God in a powerful way and had been inspired to seek the way of holiness and to become part of God’s people. Each of these papers is well worthy of listening to more than once – and, fortunately, this is possible by means of the tapes available from the Wesley Fellowship Books/Tapes Sales Officer, Revd Tony Tamburello. In addition, the lectures are a foretaste of part of a book that Dr Randall is writing, due for publication possibly late in 2005. Our final gathering was on the Sunday morning when Dr McGonigle led us in worship, preaching on a theme from the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart’. This included a wonderful sermon of many blessings as Dr McGonigle led us through moving examples of what it means to be ‘pure in heart’. We came away from the weekend feeling totally uplifted, well fed (spiritually and otherwise) and hardly being able to wait until the next conference – hopefully two years hence.
TRIBUTES TO THE LATE MRS JESSIE HENDY
There have been many tributes to Mrs Jessie Hendy, a faithful and generously kind member of the Wesley Fellowship, who died in September 2004.
Revd Dr Peter and Mrs Frances Gentry, both Wesley Fellowship members, represented the Wesley Fellowship at Jessie’s funeral, and Dr Gentry has written the following note.
Victoria Methodist Church in Weston-super-Mare was well filled on September 28th for a service of thanksgiving for the life of Mrs Jessie Hendy, who died suddenly on September 17th in her sleep. The service was led by the Superintendent Minister, Rev. Norman Wallwork, MA, and warm tributes were paid by one of Jessie’s neighbours, Mrs Ann Bunn, and by Jessie’s son, Philip Hendy. His brother Paul, a Salvation Army officer, brought the message from Matthew 26: 13 on ‘The Fragrance of Jesus’ as it was truly manifested in Jessie’s life and service for His Kingdom. This was fittingly expressed in the last verse of the closing hymn –
“’Tis Jesus, the first and the last,
Whose Spirit shall guide us safe home;
We’ll praise Him for all that is past,
And trust Him for all that’s to come.”
A private cremation service followed. Do pray for Jessie’s husband, Eric, for God’s help and comfort in the days ahead.
Wesley Fellowship member, Mr Denis Haywood, knew Mrs Hendy over many years. He has written the following personal tribute.
Jessie Hendy was known to many of us within the Wesley Fellowship and to be in her presence was always a great source of inspiration and blessing. I first came to know Jessie during the years when I was in the Cannock Chase Methodist Circuit, particularly when she was the Circuit JMA Secretary and I was a member of the Committee. As one of the many collectors I always looked forward to the annual letter that Jessie sent, thanking us for the offerings that we had collected and inviting us to the Annual Rally. The Rally was always a blessing to attend – even though I did not really know the Lord at that time, and it was an occasion when we were encouraged to give ourselves to Christ and our lives to His service. During these years I became aware of Jessie’s commitment to the Lord and of her faithful commitment to pray personally for each of us young people then, and for years afterwards. I well remember the letters of encouragement from her when I later left the Circuit to enter Cliff College as a student in 1973, and afterwards when I became a fully accredited Local Preacher.
When I moved away in 1983 we lost contact and it was not until 1999 that we met again, the occasion being when my wife Virginia and I attended our first Wesley Fellowship meeting at Birmingham. Both Virginia, and I were feeling nervous and, apart from speaking briefly by phone to the WF Secretary a few days earlier, we were not sure how we would get on because we knew we were treading on new ground that day. On arrival, the very first people that we met were Jessie and her husband Eric – and immediately we began to feel as though we were part of the people of God in the Wesley Fellowship. That welcome, along with the way others welcomed us, and the listening to the papers affirmed us greatly. We knew that the new ground that we had discovered that day was good and rich both in Wesley’s teaching as well as in the fellowship in the Lord with God’s people - not least in being re-united with Jessie and Eric. After that day, we kept in touch with them and became even more aware of their deep commitment to the Lord. At meetings of the Wesley Fellowship we noticed again and again Jessie’s commitment to the Lord’s work, not least how closely she listened to the papers and how her questions and reflections were from the heart, to the point, and helpful - not least to us.
Jessie and Eric were due to be with us at the Wesley Conference at Swanwick in September – but due to Jessie’s sudden illness they had to withdraw at the last minute. As we met that Friday evening we remembered Jessie in our prayers alongside others who were unable to be present with us that weekend. When the news was released by Jessie’s family that she had been suddenly called home to be with her Lord on the day of our Conference, there were mixed feelings of shock with sadness alongside our gratitude to God for allowing us to know Jessie whom we had all come to love as a dear sister in the Lord. We praise God for Jessie’s life and testimony of faith and for the fellowship she shared with us. We also continue to uphold in our prayers Eric, along with Jessie’s two sons and their families at this time of loss.
Sleepers Awake! The Gospel and Postmodernism: The 2004 Maynard James Memorial Lecture, by Paul Taylor (2004, The Flame Trust, Weston-super-Mare & The Wesley Fellowship, Shearsby, Leicestershire. pp.36. £3.00. ISBN 095347352. Orders to Wesley Fellowship Book Sales Department, c/o Rev. Tony Tamburello, Tel/Fax: 01282-859014; < e-mail: email@example.com >
Let me start with some general observations and then do a chapter-by-chapter comment. Firstly, the lecture is engagingly written and provides a good basic introduction to postmodernism, its impact on society and the evangelical Christian response. It is well structured and presented. The writing is largely clear and unambiguous and points are made with some flair! I am not sure how academic a paper it is supposed to be, but a couple of general weaknesses struck me with respect to sources. Almost all the sources are Christian and evangelical, which is probably fine in the terms of the lecture. However, in many cases we want to go to the originators of the ideas of postmodernism, to be sure we are representing it correctly. This is particularly the case where they are cited ‘through’ another author. It is generally best to go to the source and read it in its context. I also felt that the range of citation (although, again, probably appropriate for a lecture) was a little limited. I am no expert in the field, but I know of a couple of other Christian books (The Gagging of God by Carson, only quoted here through Blanchard, and Meltdown by Honeysett) that deal with the area and might be useful references. Now, chapter by chapter.
1. ‘Prologue and Purpose’. I thought this was well written and motivated the subject well. I wondered a little if some of the comments were a little strong. Is it true to say (1.2, para 1) that we are in the grip of sin as never before? Humanity has always been totally depraved. How it is expressed changes – sometimes in religious formality, sometimes in atheism, and so on. Personally, I would have preferred a little more precision in section 1.3. I think I agree with the author, but I am not totally sure what he means by ‘definition’ and ‘description’ (most important, I think, when referring to the gospel). Similarly, in terms of God still speaking (in the last para), I would want a little more precision (e.g. God still speaks through his Word, the Bible).
2. ‘Postmodernism’. Again, a readable and good introduction. I am personally interested in how pervasive the post-modern mind is. Working with students, I probably should see it more than most and I am not quite convinced it is as pervasive as we may think. That said, most seem to have some part of post-modern thinking. It would also be good to see some analysis of why post-modernism came about, or why it is persuasive in our generation.
3. ‘The Gospel’. A fine introduction. I would have perhaps liked a Bible quote to show God’s sovereignty over all things. Each section is a good discussion of a fundamental (such as ‘The Unchanging Nature of God’, or ‘The Uniqueness of Jesus Christ’) and how it impacts on postmodernism. In general, a little more Biblical support might have been useful (particularly in sections 3.3 to 3.5). I also thought that one part (Section 3.4, para 2) might be confusing – a clearer separation between Pelagius and the correct view would have been helpful. I was a little surprised not to see Calvin quoted here as he helped express this particular Biblical doctrine. In terms of structure, I was disappointed that the cross was not specifically mentioned as one of the fundamentals of the gospel. I think that it should be central (see John Stott’s The Cross of Christ, IVF, 1986, 8-9, indeed, the whole book!). The cross of Christ is the key to our message (as, in fact, the author does show in Chapter 4, pp 30-2); and yet it is under attack – even within the supposed evangelical camp (notably, e.g., in The Lost Message of Jesus by Steve Chalke, who chooses to remove any concept of propitiation, judgement, etc., in favour of his view of the God of love (a classic case of postmodern thinking – ignore the revelation and create Jesus our own way!). A couple of small things: the C.S. Lewis reference (p.24) is perhaps too vague to be helpful when read; citations are missing for Campbell Morgan and/or Immanuel Kant (p. 22); and the John Shepherd and Graham Johnson citations appear confused (pp 22-3).
4. ‘Doors of Opportunity’. This was a good way to round the lecture off. Encouraging and strongly Biblical. A little further application to the reader would have been great – making clearer just how these things are all opportunities. I think that would have really driven the point home for me (this emphasis may well have occurred in the lecture – but I write as one who was not present at the 2004 Maynard James Memorial Lecture itself).
Stephen P. Watkinson, BSc, MSc, PhD.
THE AUTHOR REPLIES TO THE ABOVE BOOK REVIEW
WF Secretary, Mr Paul Taylor, MA, CEng, MICE, author of Sleepers Awake: The Gospel and Postmodernism, was invited by the WFQ Editor to comment on the review by Dr Watkinson (who is responsible for evangelical outreach to many students in London, and is based at the medieval St Helen’s, Bishopsgate – a city church, twice bombed by the IRA in the 1990s - and where John Wesley’s Journal records he preached in 1738 (angrily dismissed!) and in 1790 (warmly welcomed!).
The author writes: [I wish] to thank Stephen Watkinson for his scholarly, careful and kindly review. There are several points to which I should like to respond. First, my contention is that sin has gone deeper into the heart of this generation than in previous times. I have in mind, among other things, the fashion now to think often of evil as virtue, e.g. sexual deviations (p.10). Second, I use the word ‘definition’ to refer to precision and completeness, i.e. the setting of bounds; and the word ‘description’ to denote a verbal representation or portraiture (see Shorter OED). Third, the four foundations (Part 3) underpin the message of the Gospel which is preached, the centroid of which is most surely the cross and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Part 4). Last, to cover several of Stephen’s points, the lecture was designed to be ‘popular’ rather than academic and it did have time constraints. Don Carson’s The Gagging of God is a much fuller treatment of some of the issues raised in the lecture, but from a largely American perspective.
Paul S. Taylor
The Wesley Fellowship 2004.