Freedom in Christ
The Methodist movement began in the mid-eighteenth century with a small band of intensely devout students at the University of Oxford. These were towering figures like John and Charles Wesley and George Whitefield. They would meet regularly for study and devotion; they were known as the Holy Club because they practiced strict methods of increasing their spiritual zeal for God. Yet amid all the religious devotion and moral striving, these men had lost sight of what ultimately counts.
In fine, the Holy Club men knew little or nothing of grace as taught in the Scriptures. Their ironclad régime was one of human effort, that provided no assurance and left the all-important salvation of the soul a distant uncertainty. Its practices brought little joy.… These ardent men strove on and on, yet saw no point of arrival.
Following his conversion, George Whitefield admitted how he’d gotten off track by losing sight of what ultimately counts: “God showed me that I must be born again, or be damned! I learned that a man may go to church, say his prayers, receive the sacrament, and yet not be a Christian.”