Anglican and Social Reform

John Wesley – Evangelist to the Downtrodden

While preaching a sermon one day, John Wesley was dismayed to find that several members of his congregation had fallen asleep. “Fire! Fire!” he suddenly cried, whereupon the guilty parishioners jumped up with alarm. “Where?” they demanded, glancing around. “In hell,” Wesley replied, “for those who sleep under the preaching of the Word!” He is …

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The Man Behind “Amazing Grace”

The yellow light of the lamp washed across the page. The Reverend John Newton was scratching out his latest hymn. The Parish of Olney, Buckinghamshire had grown used to his novel habit of composing hymns to illustrate the text and message of his sermons.  He latest hymn would change musical history. The earlier life was …

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John Newton – The Uneducated Vicar

It was April 13, 1764.  The brown-coated figure ran awkwardly through London’s streets. He skipped around raw sewage, skirted hawkers’ carts, and pushed his way awkwardly through the afternoon crowds.  John Newton had an appointment to keep. In his pocket he had a letter to the recently installed Archbishop of York,  Hay Drummond, from the …

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Wesley’s Dilemma – Part Two

We tend to believe that the development of women coming into church leadership was the by-product of an egalitarian-minded  20th century.  It wasn’t.  The idea took hold in the sexist, male-dominated 18th century.  Its proponent was the evangelical Anglican theologian and church-planter, the Reverend John Wesley. John Wesley looked like a priest.  He stood straight, …

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The Essay that Convicted its Author

Any preacher who has been convicted by his or her own words will appreciate what happened to the young Thomas Clarkson (1760-1846), who heard God speaking to him while researching a college essay. The year was 1785.   Slavery was big business in England. During the 18th century,  British ships had shipped over  2,600,000 enslaved Africans …

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