Daniel Afu, Tongan Wesleyan Mission to Fiji

DANIEL AFU (Fiji, 1873)

In our Fijian Mission there are new 634 chapels and 354 other preaching places, making in all 988, or nearly a thousand pulpits to supply every Sunday. What are called our paid agents in Fiji, are paid by the Fijian Churches and not by the Missionary Society. It is a principle in our Fijian Mission to make this native agency self-sustaining. In addition to a large number of local preachers, who are called “unpaid agents,” we have 883 catechists and 52 Native Ministers, who “preach the Word” in the Fijian tongue. God has greatly blessed these native preachers and given them fruit to their labours. In our Class Meetings and Lovefeasts it is astonishing to find how many attribute their conversion instrumentally, to the sermons of native preachers.  They have great power in sympathy, in local illustration, and can follow the Fijian mind in all its twistings. They are generally fluent and impassioned speakers; and after careful training become “workmen that do not need to be ashamed,” –and of whom we, as a Church, have no need to be ashamed, “rightly dividing the Word of Life.”

Daniel Afu, whose portrait is given you in this number, is one of the best of our native ministers in Fiji. He was ordained nearly ten years ago, and had long been useful as a catechist, before he entered the ranks of the ministry. He is a Tongan by birth, and is one of many Friendly Islanders that live and labour for the salvation of Fiji. He is a strong advocate of total abstinence from intoxicating liquors; and would condemn smoking by a Missionary in the most polite and gentlemanly manner, but as boldly as he would condemn it in young native local preachers. He is frank and fearless; and on hearing that some brandy had been shipped on the “John Wesley” he protested at the District Meeting against the Mission Ship being made “unclean.” On hearing the explanation, that the brandy was part of the baggage of one of the passengers, he said, “If the Mission Ship cannot bring passengers without such baggage, let both passengers and their baggage be left to other ships, and keep our own ship clean of that which is the curse of Fiji.” The Committee in Sydney respected the bold protest of the native Minister, and the captain of the “John Wesley” received instructions to allow no spirits to be taken on board the Mission Ship as freight or passengers’ luggage. Daniel has always been a leading spirit among our native agents, and happy is the Missionary who has Daniel for a colleague. He will see that the instructions of the Missionary are carried out in every school and chapel in the Circuit. He is what is often called a “generally useful,” man. He can preach a good sermon, or steer a canoe through a difficult passage. He can give a lesson clearly in the school or do the work of the architect and builder combined in building and beautifying our large new churches. Some of the best native churches in Fiji were built under his supervision. He is in his day-school or teaching dress in the portrait given. He has a powerful voice and his appearance gives you the idea of combined mental and physical strength. He is now stationed at Rewa, where he has been very successful.

Daniel Afu, The Wesleyan Juvenile Offering, Vol. 7, 1873, p. 114-116.

Background: In the 1830s, Tonga had undergone a Christian revival. Tonga was now sending Christian missionaries out to surrounding nations – like Daniel Afu to Fiji.

Word to a Drunkard & John Wesley on alcohol

See also: Bible says be sober again and again.

Word to a Drunkard by John Wesley

John Wesley

1. Are you a man? God made you a man; but you make yourself a beast. Wherein does a man differ from a beast? Is it not chiefly in reason and understanding? But you throw away what reason you have. You strip yourself of your understanding. You do all you can to make yourself a mere beast; not a fool, not a madman only, but a swine, a poor filthy swine. Go and wallow with them in the mire! Go, drink on, till thy nakedness be uncovered, and shameful spewing be on thy glory! [Hab. 2:16] Continue reading “Word to a Drunkard & John Wesley on alcohol”

I am not half legalistic enough – John Wesley

Never talk against ‘legalism’: call it tenderness of conscience

John Wesley

Legality [Legalism], with most who use that term, really means tenderness of conscience. There is no propriety in the word if one would take it for seeking justification by works. Considering, therefore, how hard it is to fix the meaning of that odd term, and how dreadfully it has been abused, I think it highly advisable for all the Methodists to lay it quite aside.
Continue reading “I am not half legalistic enough – John Wesley”

Phoebe Palmer: Alcohol ‘This evil in the church’

Phoebe Palmer

This evil in the Church and the world is the stumbling-block of iniquity over which thousands of professors are falling away from God, and tens of thousands of the masses are being plunged into endless perdition. …

When a man that was well known as among the most successful in promoting the interests of the Church, in things that appertain to its true glory, was mentioned in your official board to be the successor to your departing minister, and it was whispered, “Do you know that he is a temperance man?” what is the reason that you and your anti-temperance friends turned so quickly away from him? Not because your conscience did not whisper the truth, and tell you that temperance principles promote the interest of souls, but because you preferred the ministrations of those who, “walking in the spirit of falsehood, do lie, saying, I will prophesy to thee of wine and strong drink: he shall even be the prophet of this people” (see Micah ii. 11). Continue reading “Phoebe Palmer: Alcohol ‘This evil in the church’”

Kava drinking: serving a holy God yet practising a dirty habit

Kava: the drug ruining the Pacific

The drug has been introduced to Australia – as if Australia did not already have enough problems from alcohol and other drugs.

Kava: psychotic effect clouds judgement

  • People ignore kava’s horrid taste, and unfortunately drink it for the sake of its psychotic effect. The drug reduces inhibitions and clouds judgement.
  • It is sedative, relaxes the muscles, slurs speech, and causes the mouth and throat to become numb. The kava-drinker becomes dizzy or unable to stand up.
  • It is harmful to the liver. The liver damage has symptoms of severe scaly skin. Continue reading “Kava drinking: serving a holy God yet practising a dirty habit”

Thomas Welch: Wesleyan Methodist, Anti-Alcohol, Anti-Slavery

Thomas Welch

Throughout his late teens, Welch was active in the Underground Railroad that transported escaped slaves from the south into Canada. In fact, he was not the only Wesleyan Methodist connected to the “Underground Railroad.”

At age 17, Thomas Welch joined the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion, founded the same year (1843).

From its beginning, the Wesleyan Methodist Connexion strongly opposed (1) the “manufacturing, buying, selling, or using intoxicating liquors”, and (2) “slaveholding, buying, or selling” of slaves.

With the first edition of their Discipline, the Wesleyan Methodists expressly required for the Lord’s Supper that “unfermented wine only should be used at the sacrament.” This requirement was about 25 years before Welch used pasteurization. So it is clearly evident that pasteurization was not the only method used to prepare it unfermented. There were traditional methods to prepare unfermented wine (juice) for use at any time during the year, e.g. to reconstitute concentrated grape juice, or to boil raisins, or to add preservatives that prevent juice from fermenting and souring.

Thomas Welch

Total Abstinence: Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia (2012 Handbook)

See also: Bible says be sober again and again.

‘…We believe that the sale and trafficking of tobacco, alcohol and other nonmedicinal drugs is a social evil which is draining and corrupting to society, and thus we believe that the best position is to practice total abstinence, protesting both the legal and illegal trade of such substances.’

Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia, 1997, ‘Statement on Social Issues’, National Conference Minutes, p. 104.

‘alcohol, tobacco, other harmful drugs … we deplore the industry created by the production of these substances and believe that even where these substances are legalised – total abstinence is the appropriate response. Eph. 5:15-18; Prov. 23:31-32; Prov. 31:4′
Handbook of The Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia, 2012, 187:2

Only unfermented grape juice shall be used in observing the Lord’s Supper.
Handbook of The Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia, 2012, 1693.

‘No alcohol is permitted during group functions as all activities are to be “dry”.’
Handbook of The Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia, 2017, 1379, Club Solo Small Groups.

Continue reading “Total Abstinence: Wesleyan Methodist Church of Australia (2012 Handbook)”

Duty to denounce alcohol: ‘by forces, both moral and legal’, Adam Crooks, Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1870

Adam Crooks

‘We may not innocently stand by and permit the infliction of injuries by others’ ‘by forces, both moral and legal, we prevent all others from the worse than murderous traffic in liquors that can intoxicate’
—Adam Crooks, 1870, Wesleyan Methodist Church.

If Orange Scott can be called the founder of the Wesleyan Methodist Connection, Adam Crooks would have to be named its perpetrator.

Lee M. Haines & Paul W. Thomas, 1990, An Outline History of the Wesleyan Church, Wesley Press, Indianapolis, p. 74.

“Now that the Heaven-insulting and Manvictimizing crime of chattel slavery has been abolished in this Country, the patriot, philanthropist and Christian can bestow more exclusive attention upon the soul-and-body-destroying evil of the rum-traffic. Human duty is one of the greatest thoughts that can occupy human attention. And duty respecting the temperance movement is well worthy the most candid and careful consideration. Continue reading “Duty to denounce alcohol: ‘by forces, both moral and legal’, Adam Crooks, Wesleyan Methodist Church, 1870”