Five Keys to Wesley's Success
THE ARMINIAN MAGAZINE. Issue 2. Fall 2012. Volume 30.
Date Posted Jan., 2013
THE FIRST KEY: His High Regard for Scripture
Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no revelation, the people cast off restraint; but blessed is he who keeps the law. (NIV)
Foundations are critical to the endurance of what is built upon them. Wesley took care to build the beliefs and practices of Methodism upon the plain teachings of God's written Word. He early inculcated in them the conviction that God has spoken and that His Word has been faithfully preserved for the help, hope, and blessing of all the earth. Likewise, he regarded the Bible as the Word of God without error. As light is without darkness, so this book was held to be the uncontaminated and completely trustworthy Word of God and not the product of mere human reasoning.
In a letter to a Mrs. Chapman from Savannah, dated March 29, 1737, he wrote: "I feed my brethren in Christ, as He giveth me power, with the pure, unmixed milk of His word. And those who are as little children receive it, not as the word of man, but as the word of God."
He famously said, "Nay, if there be any mistakes in the Bible, there may as well be a thousand. If there be one falsehood in that book, it did not come from the God of truth" [Journal, 24 July 1776].
The importance of his confidence in the complete trustworthiness of the Scriptures may be seen in two of its effects: his work to "spread scriptural holiness" for the conversion and discipling of humanity with the consequence of "reform[ing] the nations." These twin emphases flowed from that confidence in the truth, directives, and promises of God's Word.
He trusted that the Book of God would reliably chart the whole course of the human journey from birth to eternity: "God himself has condescended to teach the way: for this very end he came from heaven. He hath written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price give me the Book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be 'homo unius libri'" [literally, "a man of one book"].
It was with this conviction that God used John Wesley and the early Methodists to open a path to Christ and full salvation in Him to the unconverted of England.