Have you ever heard of this man -- the man from Aldersgate? You should have. He has two names. The first name is, of course, John Wesley. The other name is more modern, and you should have heard of him, too. He is B.J. Johnston. Let's talk about John Wesley first.
He was born June 17, 1703, in Epworth, Lincolnshire, England, and died March 2, 1791, in London. He was an Anglican clergyman, evangelist and founder, with his brother Charles, of the Methodist movement in the Church of England. However, John had an experience that he would want me to share with you. Here it is in John Wesley's own words.
"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."
This "Aldersgate Experience" had a permanent effect on Wesley's life. He answered a request from fellow preacher George Whitefield to join him in Whitefield's evangelism ministry. Whitefield preached outdoors, something unheard of at the time. John probably did more to promote holiness than any other figure in British history. One of his notable memories is that he rode over 250,000 miles on horseback to bring spiritual renewal to the English-speaking world.
Now, let's bring in Brother B.J. Johnston. B.J. is my friend, and I fun-lovingly call him Brother Wesley.
For many years B.J. and his wife, Karen, served as missionary artists with Youth With a Mission (YWAM) in many countries including: Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, England, Egypt, Guyana, New Zealand, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Thailand.
B.J. also performed several thousand one-man shows at Six Flags Over Georgia and in hundreds of schools utilizing mime, magic, music, stories and dance.
Besides appearing in over 50 theatrical productions, Johnston performs "The Man From Aldersgate," a one-man play on the life of John Wesley compiled from Wesley's own journals.
Through this powerful drama, B.J. Johnston brings John Wesley and his dynamic ministry to life. Having appeared in more than 34 States, eight countries, and 23 denominations, Johnston uses Wesley's own words to tell how John's faith in Jesus Christ sparked a revival that changed the history of England, America and much of the world.
I've had the privilege of attending three of B.J.'s dramatic presentations. One of those events was held at the home of Larry and Gina Van Dyck. Dinner was served first, then with a powerful voice, (B.J.) John Wesley in colonial garb came riding up on his horse. Not only is B.J. a great historian and a great singer, he has a dynamic relationship with Jesus Christ. But I want to tell you, he is also funny.
More recently, I saw him at the Methodist Church here in town. And I must say, John Wesley should have felt quite at home.
The audience was singing, you might guess, a hymn written by Charles Wesley, when we were drowned out by the powerful voice of B.J. Johnston as John Wesley. B.J. is perfectly at home in this dramatic production because he knows the Wesley history so well.
He didn't ride his trusty steed down the church aisle, but he did carry his saddle-bag over his shoulder and interacted with several people. At times he had conversations with his mythical stable hand. Hearing only one side of the discussion, it was easy to understand what the stable hand was supposedly saying, and laughter easily flowed from all of us. B.J. allowed questions, and he had answers for all.
Toward the end of the drama, B.J. reminded us of one of Wesley's memorable sayings:
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can!"
If you have opportunity, I recommend you go hear Brother B.J. Johnston present "The Man From Aldersgate." And ask him about his Bible memorization sessions.
Visit his website at www.johnwesleyplay.com, and you can contact B.J. Johnston at 601-951-1761, and [email protected]
--GENE LINZEY IS A TEACHER, AUTHOR AND MENTOR. SEND COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS TO [email protected] VISIT HIS WEBSITE AT WWW.GENELINZEY.COM. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR.Editorial on 11/20/2019
Print Headline: The Man from Aldersgate