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Book Joy – Anticipating The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales

Category Articles
Date June 27, 2008

Yesterday while I was in London a parcel arrived. Opening it, I found my new two-volume set of The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales. Peachy! I had ordered these at a discount while at the Banner of Truth Conference in Leicester earlier this year (at which the translator, John Aaron, delivered an appetite-whetting paper). I have read a few bits and pieces in translation in other sources, but this is the real thing.

In approaching these books (and I do hope to read them before too long, probably more as ‘relaxation’ than anything else – you cannot beat a nice chunk of history), it is worth bearing several things in mind:

First of all, I must not make the abnormal normative. These were men whom God raised up at a time and for a purpose that the history of Christ’s church suggests is not usual, however much it may be desirable. Furthermore, their intensified experience of the Holy Spirit’s operations is not the Biblical norm, although our desires for such are not illegitimate in their proper place.

Secondly, I can pray for God’s grace to be bestowed upon his church and ministers now as then, but I am not entitled to expect the replication of particular gifts – ‘By the grace of God I am what I am’ (1 Cor. 15.10) – nor need I beat myself up because God has not given them to me.

Thirdly, I must recognise that the core of their experience is essentially nothing more nor less than Biblical Christianity. Blood-earnest preaching, conviction of sin, heartfelt repentance, vital faith, assurance of salvation, pursuit of holiness, longings for glory: are these things to be expected only in times of God’s more unusual operations? If we make the notion of revival some panacea – if we sit on our hands until God moves to accomplish these things in us without praying and labouring as called in accordance with the means appointed – then we are missing the point entirely. Though we might wish them intensified and advanced, they are not the exception but the rule of Christian experience and life under any circumstances.

Fourthly, I must remember that these things begin with the people of God. Too often Christians think and pray as if revival is something that happens to the world because the church – we smug believers – is all OK as it is. I must recognise that it is my soul which clings to the dust, and which needs to be revived according to God’s Word, and that my life and ministry, and the life and ministry of the church I serve, will have an effect upon the unbelieving world in proportion to the degree that I live near to God. The problem is not first and foremost with the world, but with the church. Saved by grace, we need to know and feel the glories of our salvation, and then the light of the gospel will not trickle out, but shine forth to the praise of God’s grace in Christ.

Notes

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      Yesterday while I was in London a parcel arrived. Opening it, I found my new two-volume set of The Calvinistic Methodist Fathers of Wales. Peachy! I had ordered these at a discount while at the Banner of Truth Conference in Leicester earlier this year (at which the translator, John Aaron, delivered an appetite-whetting paper). I […]

Jeremy Walker is one of the pastors of Maidenbower Baptist Church, Crawley, West Sussex, UK. This article was first posted on his The Wanderer blog on 17 June 2008, and is reproduced here with permission.

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