JOHN WESLEY MOMENTS
John Wesley disaffiliates
John Wesley was a part of the Fetter Lane Society in London. The group was made up of Peter Bohler and about 40 Moravian Christians. It was as a part of this group that John went to a prayer meeting on Aldersgate Street and had his “heart-warming” experience. The group was very important to him. However, the society became involved in a movement called “Quietism” which taught that we should wait quietly for the Lord to move in our hearts. They said it was a sin to try to reach God by reading the scriptures, praying, or taking communion. John tried to convince them otherwise, but they responded by denying him the right to preach to the group. John went to the group, read a paper explaining his views, walked out of the meeting, and invited any who believed as he did to follow him. About a dozen people followed him. He disaffiliated!
John Wesley refuses to disaffiliate
Many early Methodists wanted to disaffiliate from the Church of England. They were weary of The Church of England criticizing Methodists for field preaching, giving leadership rolls to lay people and women, and preaching outside an assigned local parish. John Wesley would not allow his followers to leave the Church of England and form a new denomination during his lifetime. He said, “No, this movement is not about a new denomination or a new church; it is a renewal movement within the Church of England.” John Wesley refused to disaffiliate.
If you want to use John Wesley as an example in the issue of disaffiliation, take your pick.
The Rev. Dave Hanson is a retired pastor and John Wesley scholar.