ADDoration Ministries
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
God is SO GOOD; although I have ADD.

2 United Methodist founders

HOW ABOUT TWO UNITED METHODIST FOUNDERS, WESLEY AND OTTERBEIN, AS MAYBE ADD?

Perhaps you read the web page about Martin Luther as maybe ADD. Because I am Methodist, you might ask about John Wesley.

 

This does raise a good question. Like with Martin Luther, we cannot be certain about John Wesley. During my decades as a Methodist, I have not seen any denominational literature to suggest that John Wesley was ADD. But still a case could be presented that maybe John Wesley was ADD.

Actually John Wesley was highly organized and disciplined to a degree that perhaps he was the opposite of ADD. Maybe he was hyper-focused. Maybe he was obsessive-compulsive. As with anybody of the past, we cannot know. He was influenced by the Moravians, a German denomination that stressed personal faith and disciplined living.

Early in John Wesley's adulthood, he experienced failure. He thought God called him to Georgia, which then was an American colony. The colonists in Georgia were not interested, because they came to America to escape the Anglican church. The Indians (oops, Native Americans) were equally not interested, because Native Americans already had their religion. So Wesley became disallusioned and returned to England.

John Wesley certainly was a renegade, who didn't fit in among his brother Anglican priests. The Anglican church just only tolerated his evangelistic style of preaching. Other Anglican clergy criticized him as being fanatical and a "boat rocker." He was influenced by the preaching of George Whitefield, who could be heard a block away. When a religious meeting caused his heart to be "strangely warmed" (as his journal says) that established his mode of spreading The Gospel. He was a trailblazer in leading believers to a personal disciplined relationship with The Lord. A means toward this pietist lifestyle was his "class meetings" that were small sharing groups of believers.

Most of all, John Wesley's open air preaching drew large crowds. Open air preaching especially put him in the "dog house" with the Anglican church. John Wesley preached to miners at the mines, on Sunday. Miners had to work seven days a week, in those days. Although the Anglican church disapproved of preaching outside of any church building, Wesley rightfully insisted that was the only way to deliver the Gospel to the miners.

He certainly was a deep thinker. He kept a journal faithfully. His journal probably would turn up evidence of ADD.

He once said, "No one can be a Christian alone."

I have read some of his sermons; therefore I have seen his sentence structure style that a school teacher would disparage. When you read his sermons, you might need to read it multiple times before you get it. His writing style was because of trying to quickly tie together multiple ideas. But yet, his preaching drew crowds; although his sentences were somewhat complicated -- thanks to The Lord.

Wesley was so non-conformist that his followers had the derisive vernacular lable, "methodist," for methodical. Hence that is how the denomination got it's name. That is similar to how Quakers got their name -- they quaked.

Wesley had no intention of starting a denomination, and he remained an Anglican until death. The Methodist denomination started in America, after some of John Wesley's followers, such as Francis Asbury and Thomas Coke, came to America. Wesley did have some new ideas that resulted in the Methodist's government by conferences.

THREE JOHN WESLEY PRINCIPLES

(1) Do no harm
(2) Do good
(3) Draw closer to God

Some United Methodists consider these three principles to be a vow of United Methodist church membership. These three principles were originated by John Wesley, and they likely are a result of his keen insights.

CHARLES WESLEY

His brother, Charles Wesley, was a prolific creative genius, having written the lyrics for 6000 hymns. This includes the Easter hymn, "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today, Alleluia," and the Christmas hymn, "Hark The Herald Angels Sing." Other Charles Wesley hymns include, "Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing," "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling," "And Can It Be," "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus," and "Come, Sinners, To The Gospel Feast." Charles Wesley's creative genius was about like Mozart and Beethoven. Especially there is heart felt spirit in the lyrics of "And Can It Be" and in "Oh For A Thousand Tongues To Sing." It is only on creative genius basis that I suggest maybe Charles Wesley; however maybe ADD runs in the family. Charles also was an Anglican priest, and he sometimes assisted his brother with the preaching.

OTTERBEIN

Another denomination starter that you might wonder about is Phillip Otterbein, who is the patriarch of the former United Brethern denomination, that merged with the Methodists in 1968. Otterbein grew up in Germany with a Calvinistic background. His ministry was in Pennsylvania, around Lancaster area. He too was a non-conformist, and he attacked the cold formality of the church. Some congregation members felt that Otterbein needed to curtail his zeal.

At one point, he was locked out of his church. His followers wanted to break down the door, but he disapproved of violent entry. So he then preached outdoors in the graveyard behind the church.

Like Wesley, Otterbein did not intend to start a denomination. Otterbein accumulated a following who eventually became a denomination called the United Brethern in Christ. When he first met his assistant, Martin Boehm, Otterbein enthusiastically exclaimed to Boehm in German, "Wir sind bruder," which translated is, "We are brethern" -- hence that is how the denomination got it's name.

Otterbein's followers regularly dialogued and fellowshipped with early Methodists in America, such as Francis Asbury. There is considerable similarity between the roots of both the United Brethern and Methodists. Both were in on the Great Awakening spiritual movement in America, during the 1700's. Both emphasized a disciplined personal relationship with The Lord. Some people have thought of the United Brethern as the German Methodists. This was long before the denominational merger in 1968.

<*(((>< your ADD brother in the Risen Christ,
Lester Hemphill
Founder of ADDoration Ministries