The Wesleys, in their radical obedience to Jesus Christ, let the contemporary Christ express Himself through them in new words and forms. But what have so many generations of the followers of the Wesleys done? They have sanctified the words, ways, methods, and tunes of the Wesleys. Tragic!Page 86
If Charles Wesley were to return today, he would doubtless scrap his old songs and write new ones. John Wesley would probably not hold "camp meetings". Rather, he would find new ways to evangelise, recruit, teach, and train Christians, ways based on the cultural and sociological and technological pressures and opportunities of the present. To be 20th century (21st ???) Christians in the tradition of the Wesleys, we ought not copy their words and deeds, but emulate their spirit and style and sense of adventure. In their day they heard the great, unchanging God say again, as He said ot His faithful people almost three thousand years ago, "Behold, I am doing a new thing. The old is passed away; do you not perceive it?
My reality within the Salvation Army is one where I see people following a course of action in worship and proclaimation that is becoming increasingly irrelevant to present society. We have sanctified the words of the Founder and his peers... we copy his words and deeds without necessarily following the spirit in which they were intended. What would Booth do now, if he was here? What songs would he use to proclaim the good news? I really doubt it would be brass band music or stuffy choir music... Personally, I think it would be raw and soulful and meaningful to ordinary people... something with a funk and a breakbeat... something with passion. Think about the Manchester Passion and you see where I am coming from... even Angels!
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