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John Wesley: A Brand From The Burning: The Life of John Wesley Paperback – 4 Nov 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; New Ed edition (4 Nov. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349116571
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349116570
  • Product Dimensions: 20 x 3.1 x 15.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

A Brand from the Burning weaves together the personal, theological, political and spiritual elements in the life of John Wesley to reflect the spirit of his age and the impact he had upon it. Roy Hattersley approaches writing with the same verve and commitment that marked his political career. Always one for plain talking and a brisk sense of humour, he also has a sense of proportion both about himself and the wider world. Having authored Blood and Fire, the biography of William and Catherine Booth, the Christian social reformers who founded the Salvation Army, Hattersley turns an observant and affectionate eye on John Wesley. As a Labour politician, he is naturally interested in the impact of the Methodist movement on the social and political scene of Britain. He traces Wesley's fascinating life to show how an itinerant preacher became "one of the architects of the modern world".

John Wesley's beginning in the Anglican rectory and his enthusiasm for the Christian faith at Oxford led to his becoming a missionary to the nascent colony of Georgia. There he found God in a new way and came back to preach a revivalist message across Britain. Out of this fiery movement the Methodist Church was established and it has been claimed that because of Wesley's work Britain experienced a spiritual revival rather than a bloody revolution. Roy Hattersley writes clear, straightforward prose and tells the story of Wesley with a spark of the same zeal and charisma that Wesley himself must have had. --Dwight Longenecker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

This is a first-class biography, lucid and always interesting... Hattersley asks all the right questions and seems incapable of writing a dull page. (INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY)

Roy Hattersley has written a full and fair biography. (NEW STATESMAN)

He can fashion an anecdote out of even the dreariest theological dispute. Indeed, a gossipy politician is the right man for the job. (MAIL ON SUNDAY)

An intellectually and theologically compelling portrait (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
“The facts and the fables are difficult to distinguish” Hattersley notes in the opening of the second chapter of his book. But he tells the story of John Wesley’s life without losing himself in conjecture. Instead we are treated to a palatable and enlightening read, making accessible the background of one of the most influential religious leaders of the eighteenth century. The fables add spice to an already remarkable life. Hattersley spares no details for those of us that would seek to idolise, or indeed idealise, this Christian figurehead. Wesley had a way with a large number of young and vulnerable women. Ostensibly he was providing them with spiritual guidance, but others (including his irate wife) saw the situations quite differently; the ‘sex scandals’ surrounding this churchman were almost enough to discredit the Methodist movement entirely.
From humble beginnings in a holy club at Oxford, John Wesley went on to spread his interpretation of the word across the country. Covering incredible distances in a short time, Wesley brought the gospel to the poorer urban classes who were perhaps most in need of spiritual salvation – a Church more tailored to their needs. His true inspiration came not from Oxford but from his mother, whose domestic prayer meetings, held when John was a boy, had elicited such large audiences that they became considered a threat to those in power. Roy Hattersley’s utterly absorbing characterisation of the strong-willed Susanna Wesley reminded me of his similar ability in “Blood and Fire”, the biography of William and Catherine Booth. Here Hattersley takes a perhaps more difficult subject, but excels beyond his previous achievement.
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Format: Hardcover
This was an easy biographical read. Hattersley kept a good balance betweenthe mundane facts and the spark of excitement that keeps one reading. Someprevious biographies have tended to elevate Wesley almost to sainthood andit was refreshing to see Wesley the man, warts and all come through thepages of this book. Perhaps this should be compulsory reading forMethodists?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Probably the best biography of John Wesley I've read. Hattersley has been wholly disinterested and dispassionate and come up with a very reliable first rate biography. It takes nothing from the man, indeed in my view stripping some of the myths actually adds to him. The work is well researched and gives the reader a far greater understanding of Wesley's private and family background. A highly readable and distinguished work.
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I found this a very well researched book. Roy Hattersley has clearly read a lot of the background to John Wesleys development, as a Christian and as an itinerant preacher and evangelist. It traces all of his spiritual growth and his energy in travelling the country, and beyond to spread God's word. He has clearly read all of Wesleys Journals. (I think that the edited editions run into 9 volumes) At times it is very heavy reading, but very compelling reading. It would have been interesting to learn more about the development of the Methodist Church, which boomed through his, and his brothers evangelism.
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Format: Paperback
Mr. Hattersley's comprehensive biography adeptly covered many facets of John Wesley's life and works. I was especially intersted in learning that John Wesley was a vegetarian for moral reasons. He promoted conservation stewardship and accentuated that all life is interelated and humans have a responsibility to be caretakers of God's earth. Wesley abhorred cruelty to bears, dogs, horses and all helpless animals. He lamented the fall of man and man's ensuing despotic dominion over the earth. John Wesley was a seminal environmentalist and animal advocate. He wrote the mystical "General Ressurection" sermon which envisions all of creation ascending into an idyllic afterlife tantamount to the Garden of Eden. There is no doubt that John Wesley had problems with female companions and other vexations, but it is amazing how visionary and humane he was for an 18th Century Preacher. Most importantly, I need to mention that John Wesley detested slavery. John Wesley was rife with flaws but he was also replete with compassion and a great sense of social justice and respect for life !
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I was greatly looking forward to this biography, based on the appraisals left by other customers! It is truly well written and a wonderful way to approach Wesley's life and theology. As a fellow theologian I am grateful that Roy Hattersley looked at the human side of Wesley, not elevating him to a saint status. I believe that his human weaknesses make him the intriguing figure that he is.
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Format: Paperback
`He that plays when he is a child will play when he is a man,' said Wesley. No wonder Thatcher admired Wesley"! He was a driven man with no time for fun or even, one suspects, contemplation.

So `I do not love God. I never did. Therefore I never believed in the Christian sense of the word. Therefore I am only an honest heathen, a proselyte of the temple.'

Many find the prayer which includes `put me to suffering', in the Methodist Covenant Service, difficult. John Wesley wrote to a mother whose son had died and to a man whose wife had died that they should praise God because it gave them more time for His service!

The author sketches the historical background: the beginnings of the industrial revolution and the poor spiritual state of the Church of England.
We see the flaws of Wesley - the way he treated women, the way he chose theology which suited him `promiscuously' - who said that `pick and mix' is new/postmodernism?

We also see his greatness - his opposition to slavery and cruelty to animals and his stewardship of money.

Written by an agnostic, this book is an affectionate portrait.
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