Doubtful Disputations

QUOTE: Wesley’s financial difficulties were overcome by his father’s help, and he was ordained deacon in Christ Church Cathedral on Sunday, September 19th, 1725, by Dr. Potter, then Bishop of Oxford, who also admitted him to priest’s orders in the same place on September 22nd, 1728.* Dr. Hayward, who examined him for priest’s orders, put one question to him of which Wesley’s, whole after-history was an illustration, “Do you know what you are about You are bidding defiance to all mankind. He that would live a Christian priest, ought to know, that whether his hand be against every man or no, he must expect every man’s hand should be against him.”

In a sermon, “On Attending the Church Service,” Wesley refers to a counsel given him by Dr. Potter, when Archbishop of Canterbury, which also made a lasting impression on his mind: “If you desire to be extensively useful, do not spend your time and strength in contending for or against such things as are of a disputable nature, but in testifying against open, notorious vice, and in promoting real essential holiness.”

NOTE: The Christian life, truly lived, is not one of peaceful accomodation with the world. In this quote we see a clear sign of a path that Wesley took. There were many points in his day and this day about which we can debate, and which Wesley would have been a master at the convincing argument.

Romans 14:1 argues, in the King James, Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

Instead he seems to take to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury’s advice – rather than debate, rebuke “open, notorious vice” – about which there would be little disagreement – and promote “real, essential holiness” – which certainly became the deep, common theme of Wesley’s ministry.



The quote above is from The Life of John Wesley by John Telford – Chapter4, EARLIER YEARS AT OXFORD, AND CURACY AT WROOTE, 1720—1729 and is found at Copyright © 1993-2011. Wesley Center for Applied Theology, c/o Northwest Nazarene University. All Rights Reserved.

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