"The life and the teachings of John Wesley, the famous founder of Methodism, have probably had a greater influence than those of any other man since the days of the apostles in deepening the spiritual life of the present time."
- John Gilchrist Lawson
This is the kind of endorsement often found in biographies and articles about John Wesley. Born in England, June 17, 1703, he was fifteenth of nineteen children. From the moment he came into the world there seemed to be a mighty wrestling between heaven and hell for his life. Nine of his brothers and sisters died in infancy, and he was almost consumed in a fire that destroyed the Wesley home when he was only six. He survived and started a spiritual conflagration of his own that would sweep the world for two centuries, and still burns strong in the hearts of many believers. He drew more people into the Methodist Church during the last two centuries than would be found in any other Protestant denomination, and his teachings and actions had a profound impact on the politics of not only his time, but even into the present.
What are the characteristics of apostolic ministry? For those who believe the church is “built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus Himself as the chief cornerstone” (Ephesians 2:20) this is a vital question. Because the strength of the church depends on its foundation, the importance of the apostle is non-negotiable.
The Bible identifies apostles such as Peter, John, James, and Paul. But what about the 1900 years since John’s death? Have there been other individuals in church history that exhibited apostolic character and authority? Can we identify men and women who served as apostles and laid foundations upon which others could build? Is there any hope in our day for apostles known by their devotion and deeds?
More than 1300 years ago a man whose Celtic name, Aiden, which means “bright flame,” served his generation as an apostle of Jesus Christ. During a time known today as the Dark Ages, the light of Jesus in Aiden’s life drove back the darkness that covered the northern half of the island now called England.
“Remember the days of old, consider the years of all generations” (Deuteronomy 32.7). This admonition, given to Israel through Moses, required the children of Israel to examine their past and gain understanding about the Lord’s ways.
This same admonition has even greater value today as we challenge ourselves to understand our Christian heritage and learn about God’s sovereignty and His dealings with man. While we do not want to live in the past, we can examine and extract from the past, nuggets of wisdom concerning God’s ways with His church.
Since the days of the Reformation, the Lord has brought a progressive revelation of Himself to the church. This revelation has been line upon line and precept upon precept continually unfolding fresh revelation of Himself and His Word. This process is for the purpose of restoring the church to her former apostolic authority as realised in the first century church. As we consider the prior generations, we can relish the revelation given to them and also learn from their mistakes in order to avoid those same mistakes in our generation.
There has been a massive shift spiritually worldwide, which is also affecting the physical realm.
Here is what I sense the Lord showing me beginning to happen right now at the start of 2016…
There’s a grassroots movement arising across the nations.
A radical, supernatural army of followers of Jesus such as you’ve never seen before. It’s not going to be controlled, but will spread like a virus.
It will be hard to see who’s leading it, and even though many new leaders will be raised up by God at this time, it will be led by the Holy Spirit in a way not previously seen on this scale.