Typically, on each Sunday in my United Methodist Church we sing the hymns of the prophetic poet, Charles Wesley. John and Charles Wesley were co-founders of the Methodist Societies, which soon turned into the Methodist Church. John was the main preacher, prolific writer and organizer of the movement; Charles was known primarily as the composer of over 5000 hymns.
Among United Methodists, Charles may actually be a greater influence today than his brother, John. The sermons of Wesley are rarely read or studied anymore among United Methodists. John’s distinctive doctrine of Christian Perfection is seldom taught from the pulpits. However, the hymns of Charles, which speak of justification and sanctification and other basic doctrines, are still sung virtually every Sunday throughout Methodism and even in other denominational and non-denominational churches.
The United Methodist Church is paradoxical. Although it is widely known as liberal theologically and socially, in other respects it remains conservative, especially liturgically. The United Methodist Book of Discipline still publishes the Biblical sound Wesleyan doctrinal statement of historical Methodism. Through the beloved old hymns of Charles, the Wesleys, though dead, still speak loudly each Sabbath