Thursday, 23 February 2012

A New Awakening: More Responses, John Wesley, George Whitefield, Hearts Strangely Warmed and the Risk of Being Righteous Overmuch


More responses to my previous posts: Clara at VST writes, "I will be praying!!!" Pilar Gonzalez Gateman of Christ Church, Fort McLeod, writes, "Our folks are praying each Thursday morning during Lent. :)"

And more beginnings:

John Wesley
On 24th May 1738, Wesley attended evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral, as the choir sang: “Out of the deep have I called unto Thee, O Lord.” Deeply moved, he attended a prayer meeting in Aldersgate Street and heard Luther’s Preface to the Roman Epistle read: "While he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt that I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for my 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."
Wesley then "began to pray with all my might" and "then testified openly to all there what I now first felt in my heart." His beliefs had not changed; assurance had come. (J Edwin Orr, The Restudy of Revival and Revivalism, 1981, p. 2)
This was the beginning of John Wesley's revived ministry as an agent for Awakening across the church. 

George Whitefield 
George Whitefield, who had been "converted to God in a New Testament way" (Ibid., p. 1) before Wesley was also causing a stir by his preaching, so much so that: 
Opposition was not slow in developing. Joseph Trapp, an Oxonian DD, began a series of addresses on “the Nature, Folly, Sin and Danger of being Righteous Overmuch,” and the editor of the Church of England weekly devoted two pages to denunciation of Whitefield and his kind. (Ibid., p. 3)
The movement of the Holy Spirit which set the Whitefield and Wesley brothers on their new trajectory spread across the Atlantic where:
To Isaac Watts in England, Benjamin Colman wrote (September 1741): “Our lectures flourish; Sabbaths are joyous; our churches increase; our ministers have new life and spirit in their work.” 6
More Characteristics of Revival 
Hearts strangely warmed, joyous Sabbaths, churches increased, new life and spirit in worship and in work, and the risk of being thought of as Righteous Overmuch! All good and worth praying for. Please join us.