Bonhoeffer uses a similar phrase 'worldly Christianity'. It's J Gresham Machen that I want to line up most closely with. See his Christianity and culture here. Having done commentaries on Proverbs (Heavenly Wisdom) and Song of Songs (Heavenly Love), a matching title for Ecclesiastes would be Heavenly Worldliness. For my stance on worldliness, see 3 posts here.

Wesley's Conversion

John Wesley (1703-1791), of course was a minister in the Church of England and 'the founder of Methodism' (at least the Arminian sort). Theologically, he emphasised free will along with predestination and faith along with works. Spiritually, he encouraged a life of prayer, Bible study and charity. Today, there are as many as 70 million Methodists worldwide. Methodism is not what it was but its roots are good. I'm glad people make a fuss about Wesley still. i just wish they remembered George Whitefield (1714-1770), his shorter lived Calvinistic counterpart. Down in the City yesterday I saw both the statue of Wesley in St Paul's churchyard and a bronze memorial Methodist Flame and plaque on Aldersgate Street put there in 1981 to commemorate his conversion experience (or was it something else?) on the site on May 24, 1738. It is at Nettleton Court, London EC2 on the first floor level of the Barbican complex, and is reached via stairways on either side of Aldersgate St, near the entrance to the Museum of London and can be seen at any time. Nearest tube: Barbican or Moorgate.
The plaque records sections from his journal entry for May 24, 1738:

What occurred on Wednesday, the 24th, I think best to relate at large, after premising what may make it the better understood. Let him that cannot receive it ask the Father of lights that he would give more light to him and me. ...

I think it was about five this morning that I opened my Testament on those words: δι ων τα μεγιστα ημιν και τιμια επαγγελματα δεδωρηται ινα δια τουτων γενησθε θειας κοινωνοι φυσεως αποφυγοντες της εν κοσμω εν επιθυμια φθορας - ‘There are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, even that ye should be partakers of the divine nature.’ Just as I went out I opened it again on those words, ‘Thou art not far from the kingdom of the God.’
In the afternoon I was asked to go to St Paul’s [it's just around the corner]. The anthem was,
"Out of the deep have I called unto thee, O Lord: Lord, hear my voice. O let thine ears consider well the voice of my complaint. If thou, Lord, wilt be extreme to mark what is done amiss, O Lord, who may abide it? But there is mercy with thee; therefore thou shalt be feared. O Israel, trust in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption. And he shall redeem Israel from all his sins."
14. In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s Preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.
For more see here.

No comments: