Today, May 24 is John Wesley Day. Methodists around the world remember a turnaround in the life and ministry of the Founder of the Methodist Movement, the Rev John Wesley.
On this day in 1738, Wesley received an “assurance” of salvation.
In his own words: “In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”
Wesley’s experience marks the beginning of the Methodist experience of the evangelical revival that was spreading across Britain at the time.
Wesley was born into a strong Anglican home: his father, Samuel, was a priest, and his mother, Susanna, taught religion and morals faithfully to her 19 children.
Wesley attended Oxford, proved to be a fine scholar, and was soon ordained into the Anglican ministry. At Oxford, he joined a society (founded by his brother Charles) whose members took vows to lead holy lives, take Communion once a week, pray daily, and visit prisons regularly. In addition, they spent three hours every afternoon studying the Bible and other devotional material.
Wesley died as an Anglican priest in 1791 but his life and ministry led to the spread of scriptural holiness in England and the expansion of the Methodism Movement across the globe.