John Wesley: Challenges and Gifts Book Report

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John Wesley: Challenges and Gifts

No one will disagree that John Wesley transformed Christianity in a way that made it a tangible force in people's lives. Wesley's doctrines are the foundation for modern Christianity, particularly those of the United Methodist Church, as we know it today. His philosophy embraced the idea that a real Christian is transformed not only on the outside, but on the inside as well. Modern Christianity embraces the idea that a person must demonstrate piety, real personal connections with Jesus Christ, mercy, and social responsibility. These are the hallmark of the modern church today.

John Wesley's works were no less then miraculous in their ability to transform Christianity from the material to the spiritual domain. The book a real Christian: The Life of John Wesley, by Kenneth Collins, provides the some interesting insight into what drove Wesley and his quest for perfect Christianity. The following challenges and gifts were identified as playing a key role in the passion and desire behind John Wesley and his ideas.

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According to Collins, Wesley had a strict Puritan upbringing at a time when conflicts between the Puritans and the Anglican church were the key point of contention. His father, Samuel Wesley abandoned his Puritan upbringing and pursued a higher education at Oxford. Later, he was reaffirmed by the Anglican church and rose to become a deacon (Collins, p. 9). In the early pages of Collins book, this accounting is factual. However, when one considers the influence of Samuel Wesley's Puritan upbringing and the indoctrination his father into the Anglican Church, one thing stands out was not mentioned by Collins. Wesley's father easily changed between one doctrine and another doctrine. This was the first clue that Samuel Wesley's brand of Christianity went deeper than political boundaries between the churches. It quickly becomes apparent that Samuel Wesley does not place emphasis on denomination or on which form Christianity takes, but that his focus is on the ideals that bind all denominations together: the principles of the Holy Bible in the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Book Report on John Wesley: Challenges and Gifts No One Assignment

This quickly brings out one of the key challenges in Wesley's religious life. Wesley's teachings were beyond the confines of a denomination politics. One of his key challenges throughout his life would be convince others to move beyond their petty politics and power struggles of the time. John Wesley's reforms were not accepted for their underlying principles and Wesley had to continually work to bring Christianity into common ground, much like his father before him.

Wesley was surrounded with people that were supportive of his spiritual and religious beliefs. Both Samuel and Susanna came from Conservative Christian backgrounds, which undoubtedly gave them the ability to support each other in their pursuit of a deeper relationship with God. The support of family would become more important, as the struggle between Samuel Wesley's ideas and the divine right of monarchs created opposition that would tear him apart other in his family (Collins, p. 10). John Wesley's principles were a result of the example set by his father and the leadership shown by his mother in the daily activities involved with raising John and his extremely large entourage of brothers and sisters. It was his mother's leadership as she went through her daily tasks that later became the foundation of some of Wesley's most famous early writings (Collins, p. 12).

The most important facts in the early pages of the book represent gifts that were given to John Wesley in order to accomplish his chosen mission were the teachings of his mother and father. Wesley's father was a dissenter many of the principles that were held by the church, particularly his opposition to the idea that the monarchy had some importance in church life and that they had the right to dictate spiritual matters. John Wesley's early upbringing taught him to distinguish between the spiritual and material. The emphasis of his early life was on the spiritual, even at the expense of material wealth. His mother's refusal of help from the priory is a key example of the importance of faith over material matters in Wesley's early upbringing. This upbringing represents one… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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