JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS
After his heartwarming experience during a German prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street in London on May 24, 1738, John Wesley sat down and examined his Christian walk up to that point in his life. He felt that up until that experience he had been simply “going through the motions” in his spiritual journey. He was reading his Bible and saying his prayers as he had been taught at his mother’s knee. He was doing his duty and trying to be good. He felt that during those years before Aldersgate he was trying to earn his salvation by his good works. He was trying to deserve God’s love. After Aldersgate he was eager to share his new insight about the Christian faith. You are saved by grace and it is a free gift from a loving God.
John was invited to preach in numerous churches around London. He preached salvation by grace not by works. Most of the pastors told him to never come back. They did not want anybody telling their congregation that good works did not bring salvation. They believed and wanted their people to believe that going to church, giving money, and serving on committees would lead them to salvation. Soon only six churches in all of London would allow John Wesley to preach there.
Then he received a letter from George Whitefield inviting him to come to Bristol and take over his field preaching mission. George Whitefield was an eloquent preacher – far better than John at captivating a congregation. He had begun preaching to large crowd outdoors. He was planning to go to Georgia to take over Wesley’s previous service in the new world. Wesley declined Whitefield’s invitation. At that time John believed it was almost a sin to be converted outside a church building. He thought preaching in the fields was tacky and would have no part of it.
George Whitefield simply said, “Come and see.”