Sunday, September 15, 2013

Wesley on the Christian Life by Fred Sanders


Wesley on the Christian LifeJohn Wesley is one of those historical figures I feel like I know though I know little about him. I have heard his name throughout my Christian walk but outside of writing some hymns and defending perfectionism, my knowledge about Wesley was lacking. That is why I think Fred Sanders’ book Wesley on the Christian Life is a perfect beginner’s guide to learn about that which made Wesley unique.

Wesley on the Christian Life continues the Crossway series highlighting key historical figures that have been influential in the continuing of the Christian faith. What makes this particular book worthwhile for those ignorant about Wesley, is that Sanders let’s Wesley speak for himself while Sanders essentially just facilitates the conversation.

The book starts with a short biography of John Wesley, highlighting some key moments of his life, most importantly his conversion. I found it interesting that like many in today’s church, Wesley was a religious man without being a saved man.

 Luckily for us, once his conversion took place and his heart was changed, he was unnaturally productive. As mentioned before, Wesley wrote some of the Church’s most beloved hymns as did his brother, Charles. But Wesley was more than a hymn writer. He was an evangelist. I loved reading about his passion for spreading the gospel and training laymen to do so. I respect the fact that he was willing to think out of the box to spread the good news. Though, I think some of his rules for his lay leaders were a bit stringent, I would have liked to sit in one of their meetings.

There were many aspects of Wesley’s theology I did not quite agree with but the thing that disappoints me most about him is his failed marriage. To hear of such influential leaders (and he is not the first to be sure) be great evangelist but terrible husbands causes me to wince a bit. I do not expect any man to be perfect, but allowing a marriage to fall by the wayside makes me question how successful one really is at ministry. Not to discredit the work Wesley did, but marriage is kind of a big deal.

Wesley on the Christian Life is a great introduction of Wesley and his theology. Sanders’ writing style is inviting and he does a good job of allowing Wesley to speak for himself. He also is successful in being careful not to place Wesley on a pedestal, but takes the opportunity to point out areas in which Wesley’s theology may have been misled. Overall, this is a great read.


I received my copy of this book from Crossway for free in exchange for an honest review.