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Wesleyand early Methodists views are at the center of social reform thatarose in the late 18thand 19thcenturies. Their great motivation was the adoring piety for Christ.Wesley and his later followers showed their concern for the poor andoppressed by writing volumes concerning the topic. From these works,it is evident that early Methodists valued the poor, and they werewilling to sacrifice themselves greatly to help them. Foundation oftheir passion was piety, willingness to be radically obedient to themessage, and witness of Jesus Christ (Dayton 1988, 77)1.Their goal was holiness while caring for the poor and oppressed was anatural result. According to Wesley, helping the poor was afundamental responsibility of every Christian. Failure to doing soendangered ones everlasting salvation.
Wesleyhas written in length regarding wealth, the right of action insideand outside the church, and poverty. He insists that there is ascriptural truth revealed by every plea or command. Within this truthis an opportunity for an individual to obey or rebel. Those who areChristians push for the obedience of Christ`s commands to socialreform. Through this obedience, the Christians move near perfectionvia sanctification. This gives them hope of moving the whole societyto perfection because of their obedience towards Jesus Christ.Wesley’s motto was “earn all you can, save all you can, give allyou can” (Dayton 1988)2.The motto created the base for personal and communal holiness.Focusing towards holiness through the process of gaining, saving, andgiving provided others with an opportunity to gain, save, and give.The obedience of Christ’s command offered the whole society anopportunity of receiving redemption.
Oneemphasis of Wesley was the formation of small groups to help inencouraging and exhorting members to holiness3.The groups worked together in study, prayer, and service. They helpedin guiding and rallying new converts. The groups had an addedadvantage of segregation, especially on the gender basis. This gavechances to women, who gained experience in church leadership. Theywere also training platforms for those who had minimal opportunitiesin other places. If taken seriously by the contemporary church, useof small groups can play a crucial role in moral formation. Onebenefit of small groups is that they help in changing a life because,on many occasions, life changes occur best in circles. They alsooffer an opportunity for personal discovery, which is essential inmoral formation. Personal discovery happens better in small groups.It is difficult for a person to achieve moral transformation throughthe use of sermons for many lack conversation, feedbacks, orquestions. Small groups in churches make people open up about theirstruggles and sins. In the process of moral formation, it isessential that people confess to each other freely, and this is onlypossible in a small group4.Moral changes require participation. Church ministries can encouragemoral changes through maximum participation, by the help of smallgroups. Trusted friends can openly discuss their life moral issues.
Throughtheir passion for obedience to Christ, early Methodists experiencedreformation. Holiness to them was a personal and social concerntowards Christ’s commands5.Today`s society has neglected the poor, distancing itself from theeverlasting salvation. It is essential that churches encourage theformation of small groups to assist in the holistic search of Christand for there to be a moral reformation and redemption in thesociety.
Crawford,Nathan. TheContinuing Relevance of Wesleyan Theology: Essays in Honor ofLaurence W. Wood.2011.<http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=914917>.
Dayton,Donald W. Discoveringan Evangelical Heritage.Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988.
Dayton,Donald W., Jim Wallis, and Douglas M. Strong. Rediscoveringan Evangelical Heritage A Tradition and Trajectory of IntegratingPiety and Justice.Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2014.<http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=3117489>.
1 Dayton, Donald W. Discovering an Evangelical Heritage. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988.
2 Dayton, Donald W. Discovering an Evangelical Heritage. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988.
3 Dayton, Donald W. Discovering an Evangelical Heritage. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1988.
4 Crawford, Nathan. The Continuing Relevance of Wesleyan Theology: Essays in Honor of Laurence W. Wood. 2011. <http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&scope=site&db=nlebk&db=nlabk&AN=914917>.
5 Dayton, Donald W., Jim Wallis, and Douglas M. Strong. Rediscovering an Evangelical Heritage A Tradition and Trajectory of Integrating Piety and Justice. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic, 2014. <http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=3117489>.