The Wesleys

Two Men Who Changed the World

Julian Wilson

Meet the Author

Julian Wilson has worked as an advertising copywriter and as an editor and writer for a number of publications. He is also the author of Complete Surrender, a biography of the Olympic athlete and missionary Eric Liddell. He spent 15 years living in Asia, but now resides in Australia with his wife and daughter.

Two Men Who Changed The World

John and Charles Wesley are, undoubtedly, two of the greatest heroes of the Christian faith who have ever lived. Their fearless preaching in the face of violent opposition and the rise of the Methodist movement powerfully inflenced an eighteenth century England that was rife with corruption, drunkenness, crime and religious apathy; a country described by Bishop John Ryle a century later as "...barren of all good. There was a gross religious and moral darkness; a darkness that might be felt."

In this most comprehensive biography of John and Charles Wesley to date, best-selling author, Julian Wilson describes in vivid detail the brothers' triumphs and failures, their conversion to true Christianity, their differing characters, their relationships with women, their prison outreach, their uncompromising preaching even when faced with death or serious injury, the growth of the Methodist movement and in John's case, his supernatural ministry, his work as a physician, his involvement in the abolition of slavery and his educational and social welfare initiatives.

John and Charles Wesley may have lived in the eighteenth century, but their message and their ministry are as vital and relevant today as they were more than two hundred years ago.


In The Wesleys – Two Men Who Changed the World, Julian Wilson has produced a very inspiring book which will be useful for both the student and those who have never read about these remarkable men of the eighteenth century.

As a Methodist by background, converted from outside the church, I have been an avid reader and collector of all things Wesleyan. It is interesting that Wilson deals with John and Charles Wesley within the same book. The way in which God used these two brothers is one of the outstanding stories of church history.

With skill, Wilson weaves into his narrative an account of two lives, so intricately bound together and yet the impact of each is unique. The writer does not regard Charles Wesley as merely providing “the background music of early Methodism”, but considers both brothers as powerful vehicles of evangelism in their own day and examples of what might still be achieved today.

Twenty-three independent chapters examine the various aspects of John’s and Charles’ ministries. Particularly fascinating are the chapters relating to their sojourn to North America, their association with George Whitefield and “The Wesleys and Women”.

he two brothers were different by nature and made distinctive contributions. Their relationship was not always perfect; an example being how Charles clumsily intervened when John may well have married Grace Murray, the housekeeper from the Orphan House, Newcastle Upon Tyne. But despite all of this, their complementary ministries are a powerful witness to the power of the Holy Spirit.

I am pleased that Wilson, in drawing his studies to a conclusion, refers to the sad but telling account of how, when the younger brother Charles died, a letter informing John of this was misdirected and arrived too late for him to attend the funeral. It was just a fortnight later, when preaching in my home town of Bolton, that John read out one of Charles’ hymns, “Wrestling Jacob” which includes the lines, “My company before is gone, And I am left alone with thee.” As he read the words, he broke down before proceeding to preach the gospel. The incident reveals John’s humanity and his abiding passion for Jesus Christ.

It was John’s love for his brother that put in his heart a desire to write his biography, but unfortunately he was unable to complete it before his own death. However, his journal suggests that he had begun the work. The legacy of the Wesleys is evident in their huge spiritual influence across the worldwide church in places they themselves could never have dreamt of visiting.

I warmly commend the book as a reliable and well-documented account of two people who may have been among the greatest of a generation and whose influence has stretched far beyond their own day and still speaks meaningfully in the twenty-first century.

Rev. Keith V. Garner AM
Wesley Mission

Product Details

978-1-78078-119-8 (paperback)
978-1-78078-240-9 (eBook)
352 pp
5 1/2" x 8 1/2" PB
RELIGION/Biography and Autobiography/Religious
(REL 018 000)
December 31, 2015

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