The Wesleyan way is a middle ground between rationalism and fanaticism. We believe in both the form and the power; in both a clear mind and the warm heart. All too often, however, teaching on spiritual warfare has become the domain of extremists.
Daniel Jennings has compiled from John Wesley's Journal the primary accounts of his encounters with the supernatural. Jennings has divided this material into the following categories: demonic cases, miraculous healings, slain in the Spirit, holy laughter, the gift of tongues, unusual manifestations of the Spirit, the gift of prophecy, visions and dreams, divine retribution, experiences with angels, and supernatural answers to prayer.
Jennings wrote me, "The Wesley I discovered in my research was a man who fell between dead liberalism which denies all miracles and Charismatic emotionalism which accepts anything that seems miraculous as being real. He was simply a man who believed that God had always worked miracles."
It becomes evident from the material which Jennings has gathered that Wesley neither sought nor denied the supernatural. Nor did Wesley regard all supernatural phenomenon as necessarily from God. He warned against regarding extraordinary circumstances as essential to the inward work and against condemning them altogether as if they were a hindrance to God's work. While God worked many miracles through Wesley's ministry, yet Wesley did not claim to have supernatural, apostolic-like gifts. His emphasis was upon preaching the Word and all things were to be tried by the written Word. Thus, Wesley was neither a cessationist nor a charismatic. Jennings documents the fact that Wesley never spoke in tongues nor did he teach that tongues were the evidence of the baptism with the Holy Spirit. In fact Jennings includes a helpful chapter summarizing Wesley's teaching which equated the baptism with the Spirit with regeneration.
The teaching and influence of John Wesley have become something of an undefined banner, with various segments of Church each claiming Wesley was or would have been sympathetic to their emphasis. By relying on the primary words of Wesley himself, Jennings has demonstrated that the emphasis of early Methodism concerning the supernatural was a balance which has largely been lost and which needs to be recovered.