One of the Best Preachers in The World

Thomas Coke referred to Harry Hosier as “one of the best preachers in the world.” It was not uncommon for Hosier to preach to crowds of several hundred—even reaching more than a thousand on at least one occasion. Unfortunately, this acclaimed orator faced unfounded accusations and posthumous rumors, which have tainted his image. His legacy is…

Persecution & Hospitality

“When those who were around him saw what was coming, they asked, ‘Lord, should we strike with the sword?’ Then one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. But Jesus said, ‘No more of this!’ And he touched his ear and healed him.’ — Luke 22:29-51, NRSV I have…

A Church Caught in the Middle

1776 marked the year of American succession from the British Empire. 1814 marked the end of the American War of 1812. This thirty-eight year period of political tension was also a foundational era for the North America Methodist work. The American and British political tensions from 1776 – 1814 might have caused a significant impact on Methodist missions…

Parallel Frontiers: The Leadership of Thomas Coke

This post is an excerpt from my master’s thesis, “Parallel Frontiers: Looking to Early Methodist Circuits in America for Insights on Church Multiplication in a Post-Modern Culture.” I was particularly intrigued by the work of Thomas Coke, as I was researching and writing about his leadership.  The leadership of Thomas Coke is probably the least recognized of…

A Citizen of Two Kingdoms

The Radical Reformation was a formative era of church history, having implications for much of the modern world. Prior to the work of the Anabaptist reformers, much of the Western World was under an alliance of the Church and State. This manifested itself in different ways throughout the multiple centuries following the Edict of Milan of…

Contrary to Their Religious Persuasion

A few weeks ago, I was doing some research and became more aware of a unique part of American history. As a Pennsylvania native, I have always been intrigued by the microcosm of religious diversity that has been part of this state’s history. You might be aware that Pennsylvania was founded as a British province…

History on the Side

As you might notice, the title of my blog is Jesus at the Center. However, it occurred to me this week that I am rarely writing specifically about Jesus. I largely attribute that to a change in my interests and foci in the writing. When I began this blog, I wanted to focus primarily on…

The Workers Are Few

I was sitting in a meeting last night where a person said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” As you might know, Jesus said this in Luke 10:2 and Matthew 9:37. Jesus spoke those words 2,000 years ago and they still have meaning today. The truth is that that has been the…

Movement after Disaster

This is the last post in a series of four posts about church leaders who did not give up in the midst of challenge. While the last three leaders were from the early and medieval periods of the church, this post is about a more modern leader: the visionary behind Methodism. John Wesley did not…

A Great Story without a Happy Ending

This post is an incredible story that ends with a less-than-happy ending. This is a story that many people do not know, but it truly worth retelling. This is the third post in a series looking at Christian leaders who did not give up in the midst of significant challenges. The person of interest in…

Baptism & Bringing Up Kids

“But take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your eyes have seen nor to let them slip from your mind all the days of your life; make them known to your children and your children’s children…” — Deuteronomy 4:9, NRSV I been part of three different denominations in…

Mutuality & Authority

I am currently working on a research project highlighting the similarities and differences between the early Methodist Episcopal Church and the modern multisite church planting movement. I actually believe the models share a great deal of similarities, but they do have distinct differences. One of the reasons that they both share significant similarities are due…