Category Archives: Books

Blogger review of Calvin v Wesley

Blogger Allan Bevere at the Faith Seeking Understanding blog looks at Don Thorsen’s book Calvin Vs. Wesley: Bringing Belief in Line with Practice. Bevere draws out the comparisons between Calvin and Wesley on issues such as

  • Authority of Scripture
  • Predestination
  • Grace
  • Salvation
  • Holiness
  • the Church

Calvin believed that God unilaterally acted on behalf of human beings, saving them from a totally depraved state of sin. Wesley believed that God initiated salvation, enables it by grace, and completes the salvation of people. According to Wesley, God does not unilaterally save people, God expects people to cooperate in salvation, since it involves a genuine, uncoerced choice to become reconciled to God. The choice is not a natural ability; God makes it possible by graciously permitting people to choose to accept salvation, to have a personal relationship with God, and to love freely. Such freedom continues throughout the lives of Christians, always by God’s grace, giving them hope of growing into greater Christlikeness and of expressing love to God and others, individually and socially

Calvin v Wesley: A quotable review

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Thomas a Kempis prayer

Blogger Craig Adams at Commonplace Holiness Blog shares A Prayer for Today (Thomas a Kempis)

Write thy blessed name, O Lord, upon my heart
there to remain so indelibly engraved,
that no prosperity, no adversity
shall ever move me from thy love.

Be thou to me a strong tower of defense,
a comforter in tribulation
a deliverer in distress,
a very present help in trouble,
and a guide to heaven
through the many temptations and dangers of this life.

Commonplace Holiness Blog

In his studies at Oxford, John Wesley read Kempis’ The Imitation of Christ, written by the German prior, copyist and writer who lived in the 1400s at the Monastery of Mount St. Agnes. The Imitation of Christ is a handbook for spiritual life.


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Wesley loved Bible, read extensively

Pastor Allan Bevere in his Faith Seeking Understanding blog writes that Wesley famously noted he was a man of one book.

In the Preface to his Sermons, Wesley talked about the importance of the Bible, especially for the sake of salvation, and he famously described himself as homo unius libri (Latin, “A man of one book”)

Bevere notes that Wesley was a well read university graduate who demanded that his church leaders were well read.

Wesley was an Oxford University tutor who was well aware of church history, including its ecclesiastical and theological developments. He read, edited, and wrote vast numbers of books, and required that pastors and lay leaders he supervised read widely from the classics of Western civilization, logic, and rhetoric as well as the Bible in preparing them to provide leadership in churches and ministry

John Wesley: a man of one book?

The Wesley Center Online at Northwest Nazarene University offers Wesley’s Christian Library.

Seedbed bloggers consider Radical Wesley

Seedbed Blog writer Allison Norman writes about Howard Snyder’s book, The Radical Wesley

With every story and every novel detail about Wesley’s ministry, my mind raced with ideas, thoughts, and dreams of modern-day parallels. Each facet of Wesley’s work unearthed the same repeating questions within me: “What would this look like for our church?” and “What if?”

Also from Seedbed, Paul Lawler writes

Wesley, Wrath, & the Revival that Changed a Nation

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Reading Baker’s From Wesley to Asbury

Amazon had a copy of From Wesley to Asbury by Frank Baker that I just received. Baker starts out talking about John and Charles Wesley serving as missionaries in Georgia. Baker says, “Georgia meant much to the Wesleys and the Wesleys to Georgia.” Baker argues that the ministry they began there expanded on their work in the Holy Club at Oxford and led to their work with small groups in societies, preaching in informal locations, hymn-singing, extempore prayer, use of laymen and women, working for social causes and connections with Moravians that greatly impacted their work in England. He also argues that the seeds planted by the Wesleys in Savannah, nurtured further by Holy Club member George Whitefield laid groundwork for future Methodist successes.

Baker seeks to provide a timeline of early Methodism.

I think that we can claim that Methodism as a movement began with the Wesleys in 1736 and as a church in 1784. Methodist societies of a kind existed from 1736 and remained a feature of the movement.


It seems to me that although the birth of the Methodism movement in American must be dated in 1736, the conscious formation of groups of converted and converting Christians into Methodist societies looking to John Wesley as their exemplar and leader began in 1766.

Baker notes that:

in 1729, Methodist movement begins with Wesleys and Holy Club at Oxford

in 1736 Wesleys arrived in Georgia

in 1739, Methodist society begins with Wesleys organizing societies in Bristol and London

in 1766  Methodist society meetings were being held by Robert Strawbridge in Maryland and Philip Embury in New York.

in 1784, Methodist Church begins when annual conference of Methodist Church legally incorporated

Future chapters focus on Thomas Webb, Franics Asbury and Thomas Coke.

From Wesley to Asbury: Studies in Early American Methodism

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Wesley and the People called Methodists

Richard Heitzenrater of Duke Divinity School is considered by many to be the foremost expert on eighteenth-century Methodism.

If you are United Methodist and have attended seminary since 1995, you have (or should have) read Wesley and the People Called Methodists. This book is the standard history of John Wesley and early Methodism and it is required reading in every Methodist History course for which I have seen a syllabus.- Kevin Watson

Amazon listing for book.

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Reading about John Wesley

I have begun collecting books about John Wesley. I have been able to find them quicker than I find time to read them. Living near Duke University, I have had Duke students/graduates recommend books by faculty.

I really liked the Barrie Tabraham book The Making of Methodism. Of late, I have been reading a compilation of Wesley writings by Albert Outler. Here are some of the books I’ve picked up. I would love your suggestions.

Wesley and the People Called Methodists
Richard P. Heitzenrater

Mirror and Memory
Richard P. Heitzenrater

Aldersgate Reconsidered
Randy Maddox

The Methodist Conference in America
Russell Richey

The Making of Methodism
Barrie Tabraham Continue reading