John Wesley (1703-1791), Anglican priest, theologian, and church reformer, and his brother Charles Wesley (1707-1788), one of the most famous hymn writers of all time, were the co-founders of Methodism, a major movement of Christian renewal. These two were prolific! John published more than 400 books, journals, treatises, and pamphlets, and Charles wrote more than 9,000 hymns and sacred poems. Paul Wesley Chilcote, professor of historical theology and director of the Center for Applied Wesleyan Studies at Ashland Theological Seminar, has assembled this wide-ranging collection of their writings and hymns.
In the introduction Chilcote states:
"They taught and practiced a form of Christian discipleship that held together faith and works, personal and social holiness, physical and spiritual concerns, works of piety and works of mercy, Christianity and culture."
On these pages, you will read about the lineaments of a "practical divinity" where believers as loyal and alert sons and daughters of God spell out their days in gratitude and service of others with joy. As the writings and hymns reveal, the Wesleys were creating a faith tradition that was ancient, biblical, practical, and relevant to the times. At the outset, we are treated to autobiographical portraits of John as a preacher of grace and Charles as a poet of love. According to Chilcote the major themes in their theology and spirituality include the foundation of the grace and love of God, the way of salvation, accountable discipleship in a community of grace, and compassionate mission in God's world.