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John Wesley become a priest in the Church of England before he had become a Christian. His conversion story is very interesting:

Not long after the first Moravian missionaries came from Germany, Wesley had left for the West Indies, Wesley found himself on board a ship with a group of Moravian Christians on 25th January 1736. That day the weather was rough. Three storms had already battered the boat, and a fourth was brewing. Wesley scribbled in his journal, "Storm greater: afraid!"

But the Moravians trusted God so simply and so completely that they showed no signs of fear. They even held a service at the height of the storm. In the middle of their singing, a gigantic wave rose over the side of the vessel, splitting the main-sail and covered the ship. Water poured between the decks like water pouring over the Niagara Falls - "as if the great deep had already swallowed us up," Wesley wrote. The English passengers shrieked as the ship lurched and pitched between towering waves. A terrified Wesley clung on for dear life.

But the German missionaries didn’t miss a beat. Wesley, awestruck by their composure, later went to the leader and asked, "Weren’t you afraid?"

"I thank God, no."

"Weren’t your women and children afraid?"

"No," replied the man. "Our women and children are not afraid."

Wesley was so struck by their faith that he spoke to one of their main leaders, Peter Boehler, when they arrived in London. Wesley wrote in his journal, "Peter Boehler, whom God prepared for me as soon as I came to London, affirmed of true faith in Christ...that it always has two fruits with it: dominion over sin, and constant peace,

from a sense of forgiveness. I was quite amazed, and looked upon it as a new Gospel." Peter Boehler went on to share a passage with John Wesley, "The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God." (Romans 8:16)

He then persuaded Wesley into attending a meeting with Boehler’s Moravian Church one evening. Wesley continued on in his journal: "In the evening, I went very unwillingly to a Society in Aldersgate

Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the

Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ; Christ alone, for salvation; and an assurance was given me, that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death."

Wesley as we know was the founder of the Methodist Church and became a famous evangelist and social reformer. But he himself was won to Christ by a small group who knew that they were children of God because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

(My thanks to Michael O. Silva Beyond Repentance July 23, 2006 for the story)

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