Posts Tagged ‘Geordan Hammond’

Book review: Geordan Hammond’s John Wesley in America

February 11, 2015

hammond_bookIn the United Methodist-affiliated seminary I attended, we learned little in Methodist history class about John Wesley’s Savannah mission aside from its being an unmitigated failure: He sought an assurance of salvation, which he didn’t receive. He wanted to convert the Indians, which he didn’t do. And although he fell in love with Sophia Hopkey, his misguided zeal for his vocation prevented him from tying the knot, which led, indirectly, to his being run out of the colony.

In his new book, John Wesley in America: Restoring Primitive Christianity, Wesley historian Geordan Hammond corrects the record, or at least paints a fuller picture of what Wesley sought to accomplish in Savannah, and reassesses Wesley’s success in doing so. Unlike previous works devoted to Wesley’s journey to and ministry in the Georgia colony, Hammond draws upon a wider range of primary documents, including Wesley’s diaries, journals of both sympathizers and opponents, and other primary documents related to the Georgia colony at the time.

Hammond’s thesis is that Wesley’s main impetus for going to Georgia wasn’t, contrary to popular belief, to gain assurance of salvation or even to be a missionary to the Indians. He went primarily to make Georgia a “laboratory for restoring primitive Christianity.” To that end, an indigenous population yet untouched or uncorrupted by the Christianity of the Old World would provide fertile ground for doing so.

What did “primitive Christianity” mean to Wesley? Mostly it meant the Christianity of the first three centuries—pre-Nicene—as envisioned by a group of reforming High Church and Nonjuror Anglicans. The Nonjurors were a group of clergy who severed ties with the Church of England by refusing to take the “Oath of Allegiance” to William and Mary of Orange, believing that doing so broke faith with previous oaths to the Stuarts (Charles II and his heirs). Read the rest of this entry »

Sermon 07-14-14: “Bible Heroes, Part 6: Samson”

September 23, 2014

superhero graphic

This sermon is about “Samsonitis,” our sinful tendency to take for granted the gifts that God has given us and believe that we’re mostly responsible for our success. Do you suffer from it? How can you prevent it?

Sermon Text: Judges 13:1-5, 24-25; 16:4-6, 15-31

The following is my original sermon manuscript with footnotes. 

Chapters 13 through 16 of the Book of Judges, of which we’ve only read a small part this morning, tell the story of Samson, the last “judge” of Israel before Israel became a monarchy, ruled by a king. In this period before the monarchy, Israel’s king was supposed to be God. They were supposed to love and serve him, be faithful to him, submit to his authority and his commandments. Then they wouldn’t need a human king. But the Book of Judges tells the story of how badly that worked out for Israel.

The sad, tragic refrain of Judges, is the following: “And the people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.” Usually this evil consisted of idolatry, worshiping and serving the gods of other nations who lived alongside them in the Promised Land. God would punish them, usually by sending them a foreign army to conquer and oppress them. Then the people would repent and cry out to God. And God would raise up someone from among them who would be what the Bible calls a “Judge,” not someone in a black gown who presides over a court of law—but a mighty military leader capable of leading Israel in victory over their enemies. Read the rest of this entry »