Wednesday, December 9, 2009

As different as chalk and cheese - part two

The two founding fathers of the Primitive Methodist movement, Hugh Bourne and William Clowes were men of completely opposite temperaments. They were as different as the proverbial chalk and cheese. In this post we look at the personality of William Clowes.

William Clowes (1780-1851) – the extrovert

By contrast to Hugh Bourne, William Clowes was by nature an outgoing, vivacious, charismatic and magnetic personality. In his youth he led a decadent lifestyle wasting his money and running into debt. A prize-winning dancer, he always seemed to gather a crowd, wherever he went. Once he was converted to Christ, God used his outgoing nature to great effect.

Known as apostolic Clowes, as the leading missionary evangelist of the movement, he preached in the open air, to vast crowds of people. He took the gospel all across England, making converts wherever he went. In the Hull mission alone, from 1819 he gathered twelve thousand members, in seven years.

He was thought by some to be the best preacher in the world at that time. His journals record the stories of a man who met not only with success, but great hardship as a “missionary of the cross”. He often faced opposition, trouble and difficulty. His wife suffered from depression, possibly exacerbated by his long absences from home. Nevertheless he faced life and ministry with a positive outlook, with unshakable confidence in a great God.

So what can we learn? That God can use either an introvert or an extrovert, so long as we are prepared to obey Him.

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