Wesley and Men Who Followedby Iain H. Murray
John Wesley -- Oxford don and itinerant preacher, intellectual and evangelist, author and man of action, upholder of the Church of England yet founder of another world-wide denomination, disagreeing with George Whitefield, yet preaching his funeral sermon -- truly a many-sided man. It is no wonder that he has had many biographers. Most books on Wesley have concentrated on his leading role in the Evangelical Revival. Wesley and Men Who Followed is more concerned with the spiritual explanation of a movement which, far from dwindling at his death, increased in momentum, breadth and transforming power. Drawing from original and often little-known Methodist sources, Iain Murray's thrilling study leads to conclusions that are of great relevance for the contemporary church. 'Was John Wesley deceived? Have our hymn-writers been deceived in their immortal songs? Was Saul of Tarsus deceived? Have we all been deceived?' So wrote one unhappy modern Methodist. The evidence Iain Murray provides demonstrates that this was not the case. The result is that Wesley and Men Who Followed points to the key to the recovery of authentic Christianity today.
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Iain H. Murray adds his voice to the abundance of biographical material made available this year, the 300th anniversary of Wesley's birth. This reviewer recommends Murray's biography over Roy Hattersley's 'A Brand Plucked From the Burning'---which though certainly well-written and accurately researched, presents the facts in a negative tone that often paints an unfairly harsh picture of Wesley---but Murray does not come close to the readability of John Pollock's popular biography. However, it should be noted that Murray is writing not so much to introduce the reader to Wesley as he is to contrast Wesley's belief with modern interpretations of Wesley, Methodism and Christianity in general, in order to represent the Christian perspective as opposed to the current trend toward unbelief (or wrong belief) so dominant in much of today's thought, even in Christian circles. Murray's goal appears to be the same as that of Kenneth Collins in his book 'John Wesley A Theological Journey', which is to present a detailed analysis of Wesley's own beliefs and the beliefs of those who came after him in order to show the inaccuracy of many modern interpretations of Wesleyan doctrine. Murray has both a sharp intellect and a heart for God, and both of these qualities come through in his writing.