Evangelical Revival sermons recreated in Wesley's pulpit
25 May 2012
Sermons preached by two notable figures of the evangelical revival - Jonathan Edwards and John Wesley - were recreated yesterday from the pulpit where Wesley himself preached many times.
Trinity Old Testament Tutor Revd Dr Knut Heim (in the photo) preached Edwards' 'Sinners in the hands of an angry God' while Revd Dr Peter Hatton, who has recently been appointed to the staff of Bristol Baptist College, preached a contrasting sermon by John Wesley on 'Free grace'. The event, held in the New Room, Bristol (the first Methodist chapel in Britain, where Wesley and others preached and stayed) was on 'Evangelical Preaching', looking at the significance of preaching in the Evangelical Revival and what it can teach us today.
The sessions were introduced by the Revd Dr David Hart, a specialist in Methodist history and an Associate Faculty Member of Trinity. He spoke on 'The place of preaching in the Evangelical Revival' and gave introductions to Edwards and Wesley. After the sermons there was discussion, which ranged over ideas of hell and damnation, predestination, and God's mercy and considered whether or not this type of preaching is appropriate to us today.
Contrary to what one might expect, Edwards' preaching was low key and Knut Heim reflected this in his delivery: 'Edwards was a shy man,' he said, 'and although the content of his sermons was fiery, his delivery was not; apparently he was short-sighted and held his script close to his face.'
While saying that he did not agree with some of the doctrinal statements in Edwards' sermon, Knut Heim was clear about the importance of the preaching of the revival: 'it can stir our faith, giving us a challenge to grow in our thinking and believing.'