Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Are You the Next Wesley?

Here's a deep question for Fetter Lane: can any minister become the next John Wesley?

My answers are:

1. No.
2. Maybe.

First, the answer is "no" most strongly---if one sees Holy Spirit appointment as an automatic divine reaction to a human meeting of predetermined requirements. In other words, this belief says that anyone will/must become the next Wesley if he just jumps through all the hoops.

However,

You may fast and you still may not be chosen.
You may pray without ceasing and you still may not be chosen.
You may preach like Amos on his most fiery day and you still may not be chosen.
You may witness to sinners and you still may not be chosen.
You may hold "watch meetings" and "love feasts" and you still may not be chosen.
You may read Wesley until you're sick of him and you still may not be chosen.

God is sovereign. What made the Wesleys and Fletcher, well, the Wesleys and Fletcher? Not a thing but a person: God. Any true revival occurs because the Trinity says, "I pick that one," and the Spirit appears with a winnowing fork, separating him from the chaff.

Second, the answer is "maybe" most intriguingly---if one sees Holy Spirit appointment as a sovereign choice but in concert with human preparation.

So,

You may fast and you may be (or have been) chosen.
You may pray without ceasing and you may be (or have been) chosen.
You may preach like Amos on his most fiery day and you may be (or have been) chosen.
You may witness to sinners and you may be (or have been) chosen.
You may hold "watch meetings" and "love feasts" and you may be (or have been) chosen.
You may read Wesley until you're sick of him and you may be (or have been) chosen.

My point is this: be ready in case God says of you, "I pick that one," and the Spirit appears with a winnowing fork, separating you from the chaff.

Now, does God in part say, "I pick that one" because one is already ready to be separated from the chaff, or does one become ready to be separated from the chaff because God already has said, "I pick that one"? That's a question I can't answer but I exhort us all to be ready because holiness requires it, nonetheless.

What person can say where the wind of the Spirit will blow? I pray all through me and mine, and you, too!

I won't attempt to cloak myself in false humility; I want to be sent out in the spirit and power of Wesley (ref. Luke 1.17) but that's not my choice. That decision (at least in part) rests with the Triune God.

In his Sermons, number 46, Wesley notes the importance of prayer in "The Wilderness State":

“Perhaps no sin of omission more frequently occasions this [wilderness state] than the neglect of private prayer; the want whereof cannot be supplied by any other ordinance whatever. Nothing can be more plain, than that the life of God in the soul does not continue, much less increase, unless we use all opportunities of communing with God, and pouring out our hearts before him.”

In short, be prayed up, prayed through and hope that the Trinity threshes you from the chaff.

Will there ever be another John Wesley?

You just never know.