John Wesley was riled in his day for the unfashionable crime of enthusiasm. But this was tempered by his more bookish or academic tendencies to reason. Hence he was known somewhat derogatorily as a ‘reasonable enthusiast’. A recent biography of Wesley by Rack picks up on that terminology, and seeks to put Wesley firmly in his place – in the manner of many revisionist history, reacting against the hero worshipping hagiographies of old.
His contemporary George Whitefield has faced similar treatment (‘Divine Dramatist’, ‘Peddlar in Divinity’). While providing interesting critical insight into the life, psychology and methodology of these revivalists I find that these revisionist histories leave me short of an adequate explanation for all the extraordinary activities that accompanied their ministries. This blog seeks to uncover whether there are lessons from the ‘reasonable enthusiast’ and the ‘divine dramatist’ that can inform current ministerial development and the proliferation of church leadership strategies now on the market.
Other entries will reflect on our life and practice leading, under God, a multisite church in West London.