ENTHUSIAST & Interview w/ author: What is an enthusiast?

Are you an enthusiast?

What makes you an enthusiast like John and Charles Wesley?

“Bearing up under challenges, staying rooted in God’s Word, having a close group of friends, ministering to the needs of the unfortunate and a vibrant prayer life” states Bob Whitesel, D. Min, Ph.D., author and professor of missional leadership at Wesley Seminary.

Dr. Whitesel explains these “methods” in Enthusiast! Finding a Faith that Fills, a book bursting with wisdom, advice and practical applications to discover the passion and enthusiasm for which we all yearn. A lifelong student of the leadership of John and Charles Wesley, he has been teaching and writing about evangelism and the organic church for many years.

His admiration for the Wesley’s passion, leadership and methods led him to collect his thoughts and experiences into a devotional that will revitalize, renew and create new enthusiasm in readers’ lives and communities through the examination of these brothers’ lives.

Enthusiast! Finding a Faith that Fills will teach Christians (especially those who trace their heritage back to the Wesleyan movement) how to enjoy and celebrate a world that is increasingly hostile towards enthusiastic Christians. Dr. Whitesel has found that many who call themselves Wesleyans or Methodists don’t know who the Wesley brothers were or about the methods they used.

“I want to introduce people to the daily lives of the Wesleys and the way their enthusiasm for God led to a movement that still helps people today find a faith that fills.”

John and Charles Wesley had to overcome doubt, ridicule and the hostility that was aimed at Christians. Even with many things against them, they helped usher a movement that ministered to all economic and social classes. They modeled their lives after the leadership of Jesus and the early disciples, leading the church in the way Christ led, which was critical for them and should be for all those who call themselves Wesleyans or follow their methods.

At the movement’s center was the understanding that true transformation through a conversion experience brought a better life. Dr. Whitesel believes the church can make the same impact for Christ today by participating in God’s plan to foster spiritual transformation in people and communities.

Learn more about Enthusiast! Finding a Faith that Fills at Enthusiast.life.

You can order your copy at wphstore.com.

CHURCH HISTORY & Ryan Danker’s insightful book on why the early Wesleyan Methodists & the Anglican evangelicals divided.

“Wesley and the Anglicans
Political Division in Early Evangelicalism” by Ryan Nicholas Danker


“The relationship between John Wesley and the growing number of evangelical clergy within the Church of England is a subject much in need of fresh treatment. Despite the fact that it seems obvious that ecclesiastical and theological differences in eighteenth-century England need to be located in rich social and political contexts, few scholars on either side of the Atlantic seem able or equipped to write in this inclusive way. Ryan Danker is an exception. He combines theological literacy with historical sophistication and serious research with accessible prose.”

David Hempton, dean of the faculty of divinity, McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies, John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

“Challenging the ‘standard line’ that Wesley’s relationship with those evangelicals who remained in the Church of England during the eighteenth century was one despoiled largely by theological considerations, that is, his Arminianism and their Calvinism, Danker has carefully weaved social, political and ecclesiastical threads to offer a far more sophisticated and ultimately convincing picture. This is a splendid book on so many levels: creatively conceived, deftly contextualized and wonderfully executed. I highly recommend it.”

Kenneth J. Collins, professor of historical theology and Wesley studies, director of the Wesleyan Studies Summer Seminar, Asbury Theological Seminary

“This is a most welcome study, greatly advancing our understanding of the warm, yet often heated relationships between John Wesley and other evangelical clergy in the Church of England. It demonstrates that while theological factors played an important role, much more was involved in the growing divergence among the broad evangelical camp. In the process it sheds new light on continuing debates about the very nature of evangelicalism, and where (or whether) Wesleyanism may fit within that stream of the Christian community. Highly recommended!”

Randy L. Maddox, William Kellon Quick Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, Duke Divinity School

“Wesley and the Anglicans is an important and timely discussion of the context and content of ecclesial shifts attributed to John Wesley and the rise of Methodism. Avoiding easy discourses with familiar anecdotes pitting Wesley against Calvin, Danker does the historical work to reintroduce the pressing issues of church, society and politics in the eighteenth century. Anyone interested in discovering or rediscovering how Wesley initiated and sustained an evangelical witness, both within the church and outside it, should read this book. Maybe these echoes of Wesley’s disdain for settled ministry can revitalize evangelical Christianity again.”

Joy J. Moore, assistant professor of preaching, Fuller Theological Seminary

“The last three decades have seen a revolution in scholarship on the eighteenth-century Church of England. Ryan Nicholas Danker’s Wesley and the Anglicans finally places John Wesley squarely and critically within the context of the vibrant and thriving eighteenth-century Church of England that newer scholarship has described. Danker’s highly nuanced historical narrative offers a fresh perspective on the Wesleyan movement—actually, on the ‘John-Wesleyan’ movement, since Danker is also conscious of Charles Wesley’s sharply delineated variance from John Wesley’s ecclesial vision. This is a must-read for serious students of the Wesleys and Methodist origins.”

Ted A. Campbell, professor of church history, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University

“From beginning to end, Danker effectively locates ecclesiastical and theological differences within their broader context in eighteenth-century England. The result is an engaging and richly detailed account of the development of evangelicalism and early Methodism. Any readers—whether Anglicans, Methodists, Calvinists, Catholics, or others—who desire to learn more about this period of history and its implications will benefit from reading Danker’s contextualized and convincingly argued book.”

Kenneth M. Loyer, Catholic Historical Review


Why did the Wesleyan Methodists and the Anglican evangelicals divide during the middle of the eighteenth century?

Many would argue that the division between them was based narrowly on theological matters, especially predestination and perfection. Ryan Danker suggests, however, that politics was a major factor throughout, driving the Wesleyan Methodists and Anglican evangelicals apart.

Methodism was perceived to be linked with the radical and seditious politics of the Cromwellian period. This was a charged claim in a post-Restoration England. Likewise Danker explores the political force of resurgent Tory influence under George III, which exerted more pressure on evangelicals to prove their loyalty to the Establishment. These political realities made it hard for evangelicals in the Church of England to cooperate with Wesley and meant that all their theological debates were politically inflected.

Rich in detail, here is a book for all who seek deeper insight into a critical juncture in the development of evangelicalism and early Methodism.

Read more at … https://www.ivpress.com/wesley-and-the-anglicans

NEED-MEETING & Quote: “Christianity… is a willingness to selflessly serve others, rather than an insistence on being served” www.Enthusiast.life p.42

“John (Wesley) saw most religion as self-seeking, designed to focus on the Christian’s needs, comfort, and pleasure. He began to realize the New Testament Christianity (which he sometimes called ‘primitive’ Christianity) was more about restoring purity in the church and a willingness to selflessly serve others, rather than an insistence on being served.”

Enthusiast! Finding a Faith That Fills (Wesleyan Publishing House, 2018), p. 42.

FAILURE & Video of the author of ENTHUSIAST! reading how Wesley overcame early failures

Watch this video of the book’s author reading a chapter (Chapter 6: Lessons from Failure) about how the adult Jacky (now John) learned two lessons:

Lesson 1: Early successes can lead to overconfidence

Lesson 2: Fear of death can test our readiness to be judged for our life.

©️Bob Whitesel used by permission only.



WESLEY & Dr. Elmer Towns thinks he is the greatest world changer since the Apostle Paul

John Wesley: The Greatest World Changer Since the Apostle Paul

“John Wesley was the most influential Christian leader since the apostle Paul because he carried out the Great Commission in its entirety. When Wesley died in 1791, there were 243 Methodist churches in the United States. By the War of 1812, there were 5,000 Methodist churches. John Wesley not only preached the gospel to lost people but also raised up an army of circuit-riding preachers, each one of them planting some fifty to one hundred churches. Within one generation after the death of John Wesley, the Methodist Church became the largest Protestant movement in the world.”

—Elmer L. Towns. co-founder and vice president of Liberty University, dean of Liberty University School of Theology. Excerpted from the “Foreword” of the devotional guide titled: Enthusiast! Finding a Faith that Fills [Wesleyan Publishing House, 2017]).

Read an excerpt of Enthusiast! Finding a Faith that Fills at Enthusiast.life

NEED-MEETING & Wesley used transformational thinking because churches were not providing health & wellness measures

In terms of serving the poor, I think Wesley used transformational thinking in that the churches were not providing health and wellness measures.  Wesley believed that providing remedies for those who could not afford doctors was serving the poor as required by God.  The notion of the serving poor as a work of the church was not new to Wesley, but making it mandatory for Methodists was new.  For most it was an option.  For Wesley it was a necessity.     – quote by Liz Wiggins, DMin in Transformational Leadership, 7/24/17.

AVOID FAME & Wesley’s Letter to Asbury re. Cokesbury: “Do Not Seek to be Something”

“O beware, do not seek to be something! Let me be nothing, and ‘Christ be all in all!'” – John Wesley

Letter To Francis Asbury [15]

LONDON, September 20, 1788.

[MY DEAR BROTHER], — There is, indeed, a wide difference between the relation wherein you stand to the Americans and the relation wherein I stand to all the Methodists. You are the elder brother of the American Methodists: I am under God the father of the whole family. Therefore I naturally care for you all in a manner no other persons can do. Therefore I in a measure provide for you all; for the supplies which Dr. Coke provides for you, he could not provide were it not for me, were it not that I not only permit him to collect but also support him in so doing.

But in one point, my dear brother, I am a little afraid both the Doctor and you differ from me. I study to be little: you study to be great. I creep: you strut along. I found a school: you a college! [Cokesbury College, so called after its founders Coke and Asbury, was twice burnt down.] nay, and call it after your own names! O beware, do not seek to be something! Let me be nothing, and ‘Christ be all in all!’

One instance of this, of your greatness, has given me great concern. How can you, how dare you suffer yourself to be called Bishop I shudder, I start at the very thought! Men may call me a knave or a feel, a rascal, a scoundrel, and I am content; but they shall never by my consent call me Bishop! For my sake, for God’s sake, for Christ’s sake put a full end to this! Let the Presbyterians do what they please, but let the Methodists know their calling better.

Thus, my dear Franky, I have told you all that is in my heart. And let this, when I am no more seen, bear witness how sincerely I am

Your affectionate friend and brother.

[15] This is the letter to which Asbury’s diary for March 15, 1789, refers: ‘Here I received a bitter pill from one of my greatest friends. Praise the Lord for my trials also! May they all be sanctified!’ It was the last letter he had from Wesley.

When Wesley directed that a General Conference should be held in 1787 and Whatcoat made Asbury’s colleague, Asbury said that ‘To appoint a joint superintendent with me were stretches of power we did not understand’; and the preachers and people were not willing to accept orders from England now that the Colonies had become independent. Asbury tells his old friend Jasper Winscorn on August 15, 1788: ‘I am a bishop and a beggar; our connection is very poor, our preachers on the frontiers labor the whole year for six or eight pounds. I have opened a house for the education of youth which will cost 4,000 to complete it, and the burden lies chiefly on me; so that I can hardly command my one coat and my yearly allowance.’ See letters of July 17, 1788, and October 31, 1789.

John Telford, ed., The Letters of John Wesley, A.M., 8 vols. (London: Epworth Press, 1931), p. 257 (retrieved from http://wesley.nnu.edu/john-wesley/the-letters-of-john-wesley/wesleys-letters-1788b/)