The Methodist Story begins with John Wesley’s determination to understand faith as a point of assurance rather than an emergence of hope, or “faith of adherence.” Through John Wesley’s conversion, the instantaneous work of grace through justification became the pivotal point of his theology, fostering his impulse to preach to all people, and his establishment of itinerant preachers.
For Wesley, the primary concern of Christianity had been saving people; the leading directive assigned to preachers stated by John, “You have nothing to do but save souls.” This imminent concern of Wesley is a reflection of his own conversion that enlightened his understanding of faith as an assurance granted through the instantaneous nature of justification.
I believe the Methodist Church is once again incorporating the primary premise of conversion into its current discourse. By imploring people to share their testimonials with congregations and inviting members to share their recent stories concerning their endeavors in sharing God’s word with their neighbors, the Church is once again embracing the essential need to evangelize.
Conversion is essential to Christianity; it is the transformation of the soul, the new birth of God’s creation. Our conversion is grounds for celebration; our story of faith reveals the divine act of God’s unmerited grace, compelling us to rejoice. God used John Wesley to start a revival that spanned across Europe and ultimately transformed America. By relating our stories of faith with others, we may experience the grand awakening of a revival once again.