"No man, for any considerable period, can wear one face to himself, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which may be the true" — Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter
Here is one set of nearly two dozen questions similar to what John Wesley gave to members of his discipleship groups more than 200 years ago.
The questions have their origin in the spiritual accountability group started by Wesley when he was a student at Oxford — a group that detractors called "The Holy Club." The first list appeared about 1729 or 1730 in the preface to Wesley's second Oxford Diary. Similar questions appeared in his 1733 A Collection of Forms of Prayer for Every Day in the Week. As late as 1781, Wesley published a list of questions like this in the Arminian Magazine.
- Am I consciously or unconsciously creating the impression that I am better than I really am? In other words, am I a hypocrite?
- Do I confidentially pass on to others what has been said to me in confidence?
- Can I be trusted?
- Am I a slave to dress, friends, work or habits?
- Am I self-conscious, self-pitying, or self-justifying?
- Did the Bible live in me today?
- Do I give the Bible time to speak to me every day?
- Am I enjoying prayer?
- When did I last speak to someone else of my faith? [ conversation starter questions ]
- Do I pray about the money I spend?
- Do I get to bed on time and get up on time?
- Do I disobey God in anything?
- Do I insist upon doing something about which my conscience is uneasy?
- Am I defeated in any part of my life?
- Am I jealous, impure, critical, irritable, touchy or distrustful?
- How do I spend my spare time?
- Am I proud?
- Do I thank God that I am not as other people, especially as the Pharisees who despised the publican?
- Is there anyone whom I fear, dislike, disown, criticize, hold a resentment toward or disregard? If so, what am I doing about it?
- Do I grumble or complain constantly?
- Is Christ real to me?
"Encourage one another daily . . . so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness." -- Hebrews 3:13
Check out John Wesley's mother's definition of sin.
In a blog, Martin Luff has collected several sets of accountability questions, including those used by the Salvation Army in their handbook of 50 years ago [ read Luff's blog
Eleven "Character Conversation Questions" used in Life Transformation Groups
"There is no holiness apart from social holiness"
At the center of John Wesley's understanding of "perfect love" was his compassionate heart. One compassionate ministry in the Wesleyan tradition is Love Link. [ read more ]
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