Theology without experience is like faith without works; it is dead.
Theology of May 24 that was practically experienced many years ago was the foundation of Methodism and the roots of the Pentecostal phenomenon in relation to Wesley’s teaching which gave rise to the ‘Holiness’ tradition in the mid- to late 1800s.
It was on May 24, 1738 that John Wesley, father of Methodism received assurance of salvation in a momentous experience of conversion. It lit the fire of evangelistic zeal in his heart which continued until his death in 1791.
Wesley records his conversion at Aldersgate Street in these famous words from his Journal:
‘In the evening I went very unwillingly to a society in Aldersgate Street, where one was reading Luther’s preface to the Epistle to the Romans. About a quarter before nine, while he was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone, for salvation: and an assurance was given me, that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’
The next morning Wesley wrote: ‘The moment I awaked “Jesus, Master” was in my heart and in my mouth.’
The narrative of Theology of May 24 is the practical personal theological experience meant to cure and overcome the medieval/Christendom systematic and abstract approaches to theology and Christian mission. The Protestant scholasticism and the Western Enlightenment heritage heavily influenced Christian doctrine just as the modern theology is influenced by post-modernity.
However, Theology of May 24 is about the tasks and issues of restoring pure theology shaped and sought to redefine the authority of scripture in relation to salvation of souls as the basis of genuine Christianity.
The function of pure theology meant to draw people to God, in the Middle Ages became a systematic and philosophical discourse among the elites. Hence, the joy of theology’s invitation to seek and encounter God; the quest for eternal certainty began to compete with the quest for human philosophical agendas and pride.
Theology of May 24 is the unity of beauty, truth, and goodness, with a participatory underpinning. Theology of May 24 is to know and preach the truth and being in the truth so that the mystery of God can take up residence in those who encountered it. Theology of May 24 may be unintelligible to the modern secularised construal of truth because reading commentary and bible make them fall asleep.
Theology of May 24 is powered by the Holy Spirit and an interest in the study of God’s Word. Reading or preaching without the power of the Holy Spirit makes people fall asleep at home or in the church.
Before the emergence of theology of May 24, many things did not go right with Wesley and the church in general. Wesley’s mission to America was difficult before he returned to England, hence he questioned his faith and ministry. Wesley’s statement years ago is very good for renewal of our theology today: ‘Oh let no one deceive us by vain words (Theology), as if we had already attained this faith: By its fruits we shall know. Do we already feel peace with God and joy in the Holy Ghost? Does His Spirit bear witness with our spirit that we are the children of God? Alas! with mine He does not. Nor, I fear, with yours. O Thou Saviour of men, save us from trusting in anything but Thee! Draw us after! Let us be emptied by ourselves, and then fill us with all peace and joy in believing; and let nothing separate us from Thy love, in time or in eternity.’
Beloved, theology of May 24 is personal, experiential, and it is the secret of world mission.
Theology of May 24 is a theology of Holy Spirit with living consciousness of God’s presence and power. Theology without experience is like faith without works; it is dead. The signs of death abound.
Theology of May 24 is awakening call to the church and individuals to arise out of dead works and preaching. Theological education can civilize, but it is theology (being born) of the Spirit that saves. Theology of May 24 is not a taught subject in seminary, but it is a personal submission to God’s salvation.
Please pray for Theology of May 24 to come alive among individuals and in our churches.
Theology of May 24 brings deliverance, understanding, power, fire of God, and passion for the souls of men. Ask God to put a stop to all vain words and theologies that promotes and gives people wrong hope and faith.