John Wesley (1703-1791), born in England, is considered the founder of the Methodist branch of what is now The United Methodist Church. A co-founder of this Methodism was John's brother Charles (1707-1788), the outstanding hymn-writer. Both brothers were missionaries to the American Georgia colony in the 1730s. John was an energetic preacher, traveler, and organizer who delivered approximately 40,000 sermons in Britain and America during his lifetime. His sermons, diaries, and other writings include 35 volumes. Today's United Methodist Church has several million members in Africa, Asia, the United States, and Europe. There are many other Christian denominations in the United States and around the world which trace their origins to the Wesley brothers. Among them are the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Church of the Nazarene, the Korean Methodist Church, Methodist Church of Mexico, Great Britain Methodist Church, Free Methodist Church, Wesleyan Methodist Church, African Methodist Episcopal Church, and others. The Wesleyan family of churches embraces more than 42,000,000 members.
Charles Wesley's hymns are not only sung by Methodists, but are found in the hymnals of a variety of Protestant churches as well as in Roman Catholicism. Among them are such favorites as "O For A Thousand Tongues To Sing," "Hark, The Herald Angels Sing," and "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today."
Of the thousands of sermons John Wesley preached, he chose to publish only 151. They contain the core of his understanding of the Christian faith including the seriousness of sin, prevenient (preparing) grace, salvation by faith, new birth, assurance of salvation, and holiness of heart and life (growing in the practice of one's faith). Most of these sermons are available free on the website http://wesley.nnu.edu. According to John Wesley Christian faith includes the right use of reason (head), experience of the presence and empowering of God (heart), and reaching out in loving and caring ministry to the essential spiritual and physical needs of our neighbors (personal and shared use of our resources). Charles Yrigoyen, Jr.
Have fun with a short quiz about John Wesley. "Are you smarter than the average United Methodist?" United Methodist Communications
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