Back at Christian History, we were working for a while on getting a series of “Christian History Minutes” together for airing on a certain network of Christian radio stations. The deal never went down, but today I stumbled across the small series of “minutes” that I wrote at that point as a demonstration of what we might do. I’ll post a few of these today. Here’s the first, on a key moment in John Wesley’s career:
As all of us do, John Wesley one day faced a “moment of truth.”
I’m Chris Armstrong, editor of Christian History magazine.
The founder of Methodism had broken precedent by preaching outdoors. He had pioneered the “class meeting”—ancestor of today’s small group meetings. He had encouraged laypeople to travel as preachers.
But now some of those wanting to preach and lead class meetings were women. And John Wesley balked. This had never been done in England.
Then, he watched the ministry of class leaders like Mary Bosanquet. And he saw that the Holy Spirit was gifting these women. So, against his day’s prejudices, he decided to give their work his blessing.
An army of woman leaders and preachers filled England. And Wesley watched his beloved evangelical revival explode. He knew, despite often violent criticism, that he’d made the right decision.
Interesting. Many people still are still against women ministering today. And women’s issues are still considered unimportant in many churches.