Mister Richardson’s
Church History Class

Chapter 36: The Methodists

A. The Wesleys

1. John and Charles Wesley were brothers who both attended Oxford University in the 1720s.
2. While there, they started a Holy Club, emphasizing good works by which they would be saved.
3. Because of their strict method of living, they were nicknamed Methodists.
4. In 1735, both of them sailed to Georgia as missionaries.
5. On the way, a storm struck and John Wesley was impressed with the assurance of salvation of the Moravians on board.
6. Both brothers were unsuccessful as missionaries.
7. After they returned, they became acquainted with more Moravians who pointed them to salvation by faith.
8. Charles found salvation first in 1738.
9. On May 21, 1738, John reported feeling his heart ‘strangely warmed’ and began to preach with power.
10. Charles went on to preach and write many hymns.
11. John would continue preaching for over 50 more years, traveling all over England on horseback.

B. Methodist Societies

1. John Wesley formed the Methodists into societies as part of the Anglican Church.
2. He allowed lay preachers to minister to the societies.
3. Wesley also preached in the parishes of Anglican minsters without their permission.
4. Because of this, the Methodists soon began to face persecution.

C. George Whitefield

1. Whitefield was younger than the Wesleys, but came in contact with their Holy Club while at Oxford.
2. After much troubling of his soul, he came to salvation in 1735, and began to preach widely with much success.
3. If churches were not available, he would preach in the fields, and eventually persuaded John Wesley to do this, too.
4. Whitefield also traveled to America numerous times, and even met Jonathan Edwards.
5. Whitefield was Calvinistic in his theology while the Wesleys were Arminian, leading to some disagreements between them.
6. But the disagreements were settled and they continued to work together until death interceded.
7. Thousands were saved by the preaching of Whitefield and the Wesleys (and many others), and their influence is still felt today.