John Wesley

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John Wesley

John Wesley (1703 – 1791) was an English clergyman and Christian theologian who founded the Methodist movement of Protestantism, along with his brother, Charles Wesley, and George Whitefield. Methodism was the first widely successful evangelical movement in the United Kingdom. Methodists, under Wesley's direction, became leaders in prison reform and abolitionism movements.





John Wesley on the topic of War

Charles Yrigoyen, Jr. in his book "John Wesley: Holiness of Heart and Life" quotes Wesley's sermon "The Doctrine of Original Sin (1756)".
"[People] in general can never be [considered] to be reasonable creatures, till they know not war any more. So long as this monster stalks uncontrolled, where is reason, virtue, humanity? they are utterly excluded; they have no place; they are a name, and nothing more."
"Sometimes our neighbours want the things which we have, or have the things we want: So both fight, until they take ours, or we take theirs. It is a reason for invading a country, if the people have been wasted by famine, destroyed by pestilence, or embroiled by faction; or to attack our nearest ally, if part of [their] land would make our dominions more round and compact...."
"Another cause for making war is this: A crew are driven by storm they know not where: at length they make the land and go ashore; they are entertained with kindness. they give the country a new name; set up a stone or rotten plank for a memorial; murder a dozen of the natives, and bring away a couple by force. here commences a new right of dominion: Ships are sent, and the natives driven out or destroyed. And this [it is claimed] is done to civilize and convert a barbarous and idolatrous people."
Finally, Wesley believed that Christians are called to do everything to avert war and promote peace: "When war looked eminent with the colonies, Wesley told Thomas Rankin, his main aide in America, and his American preachers: "It is your part to be peace-makers, to be loving and tender to all, but to addict yourselves to no party. In spite of all solicitations, of rough or smooth words, say not one word against one side or the other side. Keep yourselves pure, do all you can to help and soften all." (Letter, March 1, 1775)


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