In 1971, Johannes van den Berg published his Dutch essay "John Wesley's Contacts with The Netherlands." This essay is an early member of a virtual explosion of scholarly research and writing on John Wesley in recent years. Van den Berg's essay represents a transition between the nineteenth century hagiography and today's more objective, contextualized analyses of Wesley.
The purpose of this work, co-authored and translated by Stephen Gunter, is to make accessible to English readers this significant work on John Wesley's travels to Holland. Gunter's introductory essay demonstrates the significance of those visits by providing a historical and theological context. The context he describes has three aspects: The Synod of Dort, Wesley's Arminianism, and Calvinism. His account and analysis of the Synod explains its complicated issues without oversimplification, utilizing much Dutch scholarship.
What Van den Berg reveals is that while Dort served as a historical context to Wesley's visit, a major issue involved was how piety was concentrated in the practical dimension of Christian living. This suggests that in addition to Calvinism, the Methodist understanding of Christian holiness was also a part of the discussion. While Wesley moved along the edges of the Dutch church and religious life, we can still discern traits of the later Dutch Awakening that left a powerful imprint on spiritual life in The Netherlands.