A brand plucked from the burning. A heart strangely warmed. Those are two of the phrases commonly associated with John Wesley, who may or may not have been born on this date in 1703. (He was born, and it did happen in 1703; however, some question exists as to whether John entered the world on June 17 or June 28).
Wesley was number 15 out of 19 kids, son of an Anglican priest named Samuel and a godly mother named Susanna. He miraculously survived a house fire when he was five, leading Susanna to refer to her little boy as “a brand plucked from the burning,” a phrase from Zech. 3:2. When he was 35, while listening to the reading of Martin Luther’s introduction to the book of Romans, Wesley “felt his heart strangely warmed.” What happened next changed his life.
“I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” Wesley was transformed. His orderly manner of following Christ gained derogatory names at the time like “holy club” (at Oxford) and Methodism. That second one stuck. He didn’t set out to launch a new denomination, nor did he ever join the one named after his methods. He may well have been saddened by controversies debated by them today, but John Wesley’s legacy of deep passion for God lives worldwide to this day.
Happy birthday (maybe), John!