Was John Wesley a Charismatic?

by Kwong Tek Chong

“Was John Wesley a Charismatic? Should true Methodists believe in the Charismatic movement or in the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Is the practise of the gift of tongues a sacrilege?”

These are questions that have often split the community within the Malaysian Methodist Church. Tek Chong shares his thoughts on the topic, as well as news about a related forum by the bishops of the Methodist Church of Malaysia (titled ‘Was John Wesley a Charismatic?’) that will prayerfully foster goodwill and help bring unity among the beloved Methodist brethren in our nation. 

About 30 years ago, while in the Methodist church, we were reprimanded by our missionary pastor from the U.S. to not “dabble with those screaming tongues-speaking cultist crowd”.

Recently in a small group of Bible Study on 1 Corinthians 12, I asked a dear sister, “Do you pray in tongues?”. Quietly she answered, “I am a Methodist”. Then I realised I was talking to another Christian who has been taught that “we Methodists should not be involved with those tongue-speakers”.

I recalled that many years ago, I was given a book by one of my spiritual mentors, Rev Dr. George Wan from a Singapore Methodist Church about some of the phenomena that occurred during John Wesley’s meetings.

While digging desperately in my library for that book, to my delight someone sent me a link to a Methodist Forum organized by Bishop-Elect Jeyakumar. The speaker was Bishop Emeritus Hwa Yung and the topic was “Was John Wesley a Charismatic?

In the video, Bishop Hwa Yung highlighted some extracts from John Wesley’s diary of what happened during Wesley’s meetings. He concluded the church will be much handicapped if we do not follow John Wesley in utilizing the supernatural signs and wonders towards affirming our evangelistic efforts.

Two books were named for further reading:

  1. The Supernatural Occurrences of John Wesley by Daniel Jennings.
  2. John Wesley’s idea of the Supernatural and his identification of Methodism in the 18th century by Robert Webster.

The written notes from the forum are available upon written request directed to Bishop Jeyakumar.

For those who are interested to look more into the topic, the forum is available on YouTube by searching for the topic “Was John Wesley a Charismatic?” OR  you can watch it below. 

Kwong Tek CHONG – Former Conference Lay Leader of the Malaysian Methodist Church.

Member of the Kingsway Methodist Church, Perth.

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