"The first and most important thing to say about John Dominic Crossan's work is that it is bad history."
- D.A. Carson
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
10 Things You'd Hate about John Wesley (and 10 Things He'd Hate About You!)To find out what 10 things Wesley would hate about you, you'll have to go over to the site and check it out. Todd intended this post as a lighthearted post about how times have changed. However, much of the feedback he got was negative. So he added this to the beginning of the post:
John Wesley: inspiring preacher, inspired organiser, relentless social activist, challenging writer, historic church builder, world-shaking reviver... but would you actually want to be in his church? And would he let you in?
He rode 250,000 miles on horseback, preached 40,000 sermons, gave away ?30,000 and left behind 132,000 followers. A hero maybe, but is he someone better appreciated at a distance? You decide.
10 things you'd hate about John Wesley
1. Despotism ? Even Wesley's own preachers called him "Pope John". He ruled his followers like an enlightened despot, and his beloved brother Charles plotted to "break his power". John expected every Methodist society to follow his rules like a McDonalds franchise, and took personal charge over every member's private life, expelling them for laziness or selling spirits.
2. Superstition ? He saw rain storms as God's punishment on him - or the Devil's attack. He made decisions by opening the Bible at random for God's guidance, and even decided whether to marry by pulling bits of paper out of a hat.
3. Copyright ? Wesley was a plagiarist and pseudepigrapher - he passed other people's writings off as his own and his own as other people's. He got into trouble for ripping off an anti-American tract of Dr Johnson's. And he attacked a book by Toplady (of "Rock of Ages" fame) by publishing a cheap caricature of it at the same time under Toplady's name. Toplady denounced him as a common crook worthy of deportation to America.
4. Grief ? He didn't believe in it, as Christians should be happy when someone goes to heaven. "I believe the death of your children is a great instance of the goodness of God towards you," he told his sister. "You have often mentioned to me how much of your time they took up. Now that time is restored to you, and you have nothing to do but serve the Lord without carefulness and without distraction."
5. Drink ? He wasn't against alcohol, actually, unlike later Methodists. While he forbad spirits, he loved wine and beer, published home brewing tips and campaigned for real ale. He also allowed tobacco for medicinal purposes. But he discouraged Methodists from drinking tea, being a waste of time and money.
6. Charismania ? Wesley often reduced his hearers to ecstatic convulsions, screams and groans, fainting, beating the ground and uncontrollable laughter. He claimed exorcisms and healings, and once thought he might have raised the dead. You might like that kind of thing or you might not.
7. Narrowness ? After his evangelical conversion, he considered all non-evangelicals "almost Christians". Though one of the most devout believers alive before then, he had been "an heir of hell". In later years he mellowed a lot.
8. Women ? Despite great services to the role of women in church, even his greatest admirers admitted that Wesley had "an inexcusable weakness" for the prettily devout. Nothing sinister, but as a married man, his gushing and intimate letters to his circle of young female acolytes was neither good matrimony nor good pastoring. And his treatment of a quasi-fianc? in Georgia led to him jumping parole and fleeing the state at night.
9. Perfection ? Throughout his life, Wesley preached the thoroughly eccentric doctrine that Christians can be perfect, full of love and without sin. Later he came to see it as a miraculous sudden change, like salvation, though he was as surprised as anyone when Methodists started to claim it had happened.
10. Plain-speaking ? Wesley believed in the importance of pointing out others' errors and faults with utter candour. As "one of the greatest instances of friendship", he told an old friend whose only child was dying that she was the most spoiled he had ever seen, "Happy would it be for both her and you if God would speedily take her to himself!"
I'm taking a good amount of flack for posting this article. Some, after reading this article are very upset. Some feel that the statements below are not true. Some feel that the purpose of the article is to tarnish the reputation of John Wesley and impune his character. Some felt that the real purpose of the post was to make you really 'hate' (literally) Wesley.I, for one, wasn't offended at all. No Christian leader is perfect. God does indeed "hit a mighty lick with a crooked stick." Besides, times do change. It cracks me up that Billy Sunday dedicated entire sermons to the condemnation of cardplaying. I wonder what sacred cows we have today, that we just think are so Biblical, will just turn out to be cultural 300 years from now?
Nah... this article is meant to be an interesting piece that, at least to me, shows how things can change in our culture over a few hundred years, and 1. What it would've been like to live in Wesley's time, or 2. What it would be like to have Wesley alive today. That's all. Nothing else. There is nothing deep here.