This Fernley-Hartley Lecture represents an avowed attempt by Eric Baker, a leading Methodist scholar and statesman, to "reach the ordinary man in the pew and the street." This does not mean that scholarly precision in this important lecture is in any way lacking, but simply that the distinguished author has taken pains to express himself, as is his wont, with clarity and simplicity.
Baker virtually claims, as did John Wesley himself, that "the faith of a Methodist" is just plain Christianity! But Wesley was led to emphasize certain aspects of the gospel that had become obscure in the cold and formal eighteenth-century salvation by faith conviction--the assurance of a new relationship with God, the need for holiness in heart and life, and the great importance of fellowship and sharing among like-minded followers of God.
Baker sees Wesley's doctrine of "Christian Perfection" as the central and moving theme of the new evangelical movement, and he writes clearly and lucidly upon this doctrine. He then examines several of the great doctrines of the faith in the light of this particular emphasis.
This God-given message of the Wesleys is, then, the theme of Dr. Baker's book, presented by him in the light of all the tests afforded by the passing two hundred years--and in the light of the growth of the world's largest Protestant communion. The book cannot fail to be of prime importance both to scholars and to all thinking people.