Crossing the Divide
By Jake Hanson
Barbour Publishing (Shiloh Run Press), 2016
How can Christians today reach a world that is becoming increasingly intolerant to the teachings of the church? John Wesley entered the scene of 18th century England with greater hostility than exists today in the West. His life and teaching offer the 21st century church a way forward.
John Wesley forged his ministry in the midst of mobs, riots, and angry diatribes, yet this fearless evangelist found a way to reach the very enemies in need of transformation. This complex personality drove one of the most significant renewal movements of the English-speaking world--a movement that transformed the spirituality, morality, and work of the church for the next three centuries.
Crossing the Divide is a well-written biography of world-famous evangelist, John Wesley. Sometimes biographies and reference books can be a little dry, uninteresting, or hard to follow – but that is not the case here. Jake Hanson is knowledgeable and communicates that knowledge in a style that is interesting and flows easily.
Hanson makes this biography even richer by the inclusion of Wesley’s own words from journals and correspondence. Little-known details – to me, at least – are accounts of events like Wesley’s miraculous deliverance from a house fire as a child and his failed missionary work in America. Church history fans will enjoy reading of his relationships with fellow theologians of that time – George Whitefield, Charles Wesley, Peter Bohler, and Jonathan Edwards, for example.
The faith I want is, “a sure trust and confidence in God,
that through the merits of Christ my sins are forgiven,
and I reconciled to the favour of God.”
- John Wesley
I especially enjoyed Wesley’s slow, steady journey from the idea that people are justified by works, to a doctrine of salvation by faith alone. Opposition and hostility were no strangers to Wesley, and his life has much relevance for us today.
Crossing the Divide is an interesting account of John Wesley’s life and ministry – and also an excellent reference tool for students of church history.
Jake Hanson is a graduate of Wheaton College (B.A.) and Beeson Divinity School (MDiv). A preacher and teacher, Jake also operates a web site (TheDecidedLife.com) devoted to biography, Bible study, and theology.
He lives near Birmingham, Alabama with his wife Charissa and three girls.
Thank you to Barbour Publishing for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.