This week in Christian history: John Knox; day of prayer against grasshoppers, influential missionary dies

Missionary who influenced John Wesley dies – April 27, 1775

Peter Bohler (1712-1775), a Moravian missionary and church leader.
Peter Bohler (1712-1775), a Moravian missionary and church leader. | Public Domain

This week marks the anniversary of when Peter Bohler, a Moravian Church missionary and bishop who influenced the founders of Methodism, died.

Also rendered Boehler or Böhler, the Moravian Church leader was noted for his mission work in colonial America, setting up several congregations while in North America.

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Bohler is also credited with having influenced and provided comfort to John Wesley and his brother Charles, especially on the issue of justification by faith alone.

“The Wesleys were ordained Anglican ministers, and had done overseas missionary work. But when they met Böhler and his people, John and Charles finally began to understand that if this is what true Christianity was, it was something that the Wesleys still lacked,” wrote Fred Sanders of Patheos in 2012.

“In the crucial period leading up to John Wesley’s evangelical conversion at Aldersgate in May 1738, John Wesley seemed to spend most of his spare time losing arguments with Peter Böhler. They were the best arguments he ever lost.”

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