; Wesley=s writings are apologetic and focused on protecting his Societies from legal interference under England=s laws regarding dissenters and conventicles. Consequently, his direct command that one Ahas nothing to do but save souls@ is directly to his lay preachers but not, to my knowledge, ever to his laity. Evangelism in the Wesley=s writings seems to be an activity of the Aclergy@ rather than the laity; this makes sense when we understand the political situation of the time. Evangelical preaching might be tolerated, but an evangelizing laity was not normal in the Anglican church and would likely be considered subversive and illegal. Consequently, we don=t discover the day to day role of the laity in evangelism. Instead of evangelism, we seem to have a focus on holiness which has nothing to do with saving souls.
Wesley=s management of detail within his discipleship system was prudent and excellent, resulting in a smoothly running, disciple making machine. As discipleship systems are based on relationships, they are usually ephemeral; Wesley=s endured. As Whitefield confessed, A…my brother Wesley acted wisely. The souls that were awakened under his ministry he joined in class, and thus preserved the fruits of his labours. This I neglected, and my people are a rope of sand…@ Unfortunately, when the relationship with the church of England was lost, the organizational machinery of the discipleship system very quickly became a controlling institution which welcomed sinners less and less openly as it became a church of its own.
NOTE (my response)
The quote is from Major League Disciple Making: An Overview of the Best Research on the Cell Church, an online course developed for the Institute for Discipleship at www.BeADisciple.com in 2009. Course materials, including these lectures, can be downloaded here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/IFD_MLD_Class_Links.html
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