Thursday, September 17, 2009

Why Small Groups? by John Wesley

From "A Plain Account of the People Called Methodists"

And yes, I recognize that John Wesley may not have been an advocate of how some small groups operate today. To read a quick summary of the purpose/details of his groups...check out this link. Small groups today could gain something from the heart for God/others found in these.

"11. But it was not long before an objection was made to this, which had not once entered into my thought: — “Is not this making a schism? Is not the joining these people together, gathering Churches out of Churches?”

It was easily answered, If you mean only gathering people out of buildings called churches, it is. But if you mean, dividing Christians from Christians and so destroying Christian fellowship, it is not. For, (1.) These were not Christians before they were thus joined. Most of them were barefaced Heathens. (2.) Neither are they Christians, from whom you suppose them to be divided. You will not look me in the face and say they are. What! drunken Christians! cursing and swearing Christians! lying Christians! cheating Christians! If these are Christians at all, they are devil Christians, as the poor Malabarians term them. (3.) Neither are they divided any more than they were before, even from these wretched devil Christians. They are as ready as ever to assist them, and to perform every office of real kindness towards them. (4.) If it be said, “But there are some true Christians in the parish, and you destroy the Christian fellowship between these and them; “I answer, That which never existed, cannot be destroyed. But the fellowship you speak of never existed. Therefore it cannot be destroyed. Which of those true Christians had any such fellowship with these? Who watched over them in love? Who marked their growth in grace? Who advised and exhorted them from time to time? Who prayed with them and for them, as they had need? This, and this alone, is Christian fellowship:

But, alas! where is it to be found? Look east or west, north or south; name what parish you please: Is this Christian fellowship there? Rather, are not the bulk of the parishioners a mere rope of sand? What Christian connection is there between them? What intercourse in spiritual things?

What watching over each other’s souls? What bearing of one another’s burdens? What a mere jest is it then, to talk so gravely of destroying what never was! The real truth is just the reverse of this: We introduce Christian fellowship where it was utterly destroyed. And the fruits of it have been peace, joy, love, and zeal for every good word and work."

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